1927 British Lions tour to Argentina

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1927 British Lions Tour to Argentina
Date 24 July – 21 August
Coach(es) James Baxter
Tour captain(s) Scotland David MacMyn
Test series winners British Isles (4–0)
Top test point scorer(s) England Ernest Hammett (40)

During its second tour to Argentina, the British Isles team, formed by English and Scottish players,[1] played 9 matches in the country, winning all of them with more than 295 points scored and only 9 conceded.[2]

Background[edit]

C D Aarvold, E. Hammett and EG Taylor, covered on Argentine magazine El Gráfico

The River Plate Rugby Union (RPRU, current "Argentine Rugby Union") had formed a commission to study how to bring a British team into the country. To do so they had to have the sum of m$n 25,000 (about £ 3,000 at that time) to pay the travel and subsistence costs of a staff of twenty-five people,[3] with contributions from clubs, newspaper companies, stores such as Gath and Chaves, British railroads and refrigerators and personal contributions, 30,000 pesos were collected. In mid-1926 the RFU received an invitation from the RPRU, requesting for a team of "first class players" to visit Argentina for three or four weeks, the delegation should be of 25 people including a manager and a referee. The RFU responded affirmatively after consulting the International Board.

On July 19, 1927, a team composed of twenty-three players from England, Scotland and Ireland under the direction of James Baxter, none other than the president of the RFU, and a first-class referee, arrived in Buenos Aires and settled in the headquarters of Hurlingham Club for a fixture of nine games.

Fulfilling the request of the RPRU, this British combined was considerably stronger than the one that had been assembled in 1910. No less than fifteen of the twenty-three players were-or were ahead-international, his captain, David MacMyn, was a leading Scottish forward who had been part of the team that won its first Grand Slam in 1925 and shared the title of the Five Nations with Ireland in 1926. During the long sea voyage to Argentina, MacMyn made good use of onboard time for his men to train and make a tactical plan for the tour.

We were all imbued with the desire to play as it should be played, and there was no laziness in our preparation on board the ship. We train hard, every morning we had practice of scrum, backs, physical training of all kinds and swimming before lunch. At night we had many conversations in front of the blackboard and we made all kinds of plans. And so, the hard training and the free exchange of ideas stimulated us for the exhausting days that we had ahead.

— David MacMyn in his travel diary[4]
The Lions playing a Universitario–Gimnasia y Esgrima combined in Plaza Jewell, Rosario on 3 August

In their first games, the Lions played an Anglo-Argentine combined and the Argentine champion San Isidro, which had won eight consecutive domestic championships to date, the Lions won those games with no goals conceded.

The Lions before playing the last test v. Argentina on 21 August

The following game was the first test v. Argentina, played on 31 July at Gimnasia y Esgrima stadium. It was the first time Argentina wore the horizontal light blue and white jersey (after wearing blue and white jerseys alternatively since its first match in 1910) after a proposal by Gimnasia y Esgrima executive Abelardo Gutiérrez,[5] the match was attended by a record 12,000 spectators. After the match, MacMyn wrote: "The crowd was delighted, they were impressed by the fact that we played in silence, listening only to the captain's voice. Argentines have all the physical qualities required for rugby, they are big, strong and fast. They are tremendously enthusiastic –sometimes, excessively".[4]

After playing Argentina, the Lions moved to the city Rosario in Santa Fe Province to play a combined team composed by players of porteños clubs Universitario and Gimnasia y Esgrima due to the impossibility of joining a competitive team with the small number of players in Rosario. Players of both teams arrived in Rosario after a long journey by train from Retiro to Rosario Norte station, the same day of the match. Held in Plaza Jewell, home venue of Club Atlético del Rosario, the Lions defeated the combined team by 24–0 in a rainy day.

The Lions returned to Buenos Aires to play the second test v. Argentina, winning 46–0 at GEBA, then playing another combined team (composed by players of Belgrano A.C. and Buenos Aires F.C.). The team would play two games more against the national team, the last of them on 21 August.[4]

Touring team[edit]

Player Position Club Born / National team 1st test 2nd test 3rd test 4th test
Roger Wakefield Forward Cambridge Univ. (uncapped)
JNS Wallens Fullback  England Played Played Played
AF Hamilton Smythe Three-Quarter (uncapped) Played
RF Kelly Three-Quarter  Scotland Played Played Played
EG Taylor Wing Oxford Univ.  Scotland Played Played Played
C D Aarvold Wing Cambridge Univ.  England (capped in 1928) Played Played Played Played
Peter Douty Scrum-half  Scotland Played Played
George McIlwaine Flanker Cambridge Univ. South Africa (uncapped) Played Played Played Played
AD Allen F. Prop Cambridge Univ. (uncapped) Played Played Played Played
Granville Coghlan Lock Cambridge Univ. England (uncapped) Played Played
TW Gubb Lock Oxford Univ. South Africa (uncapped) Played
DS Troup Lock/Flanker Oxford Univ. (uncapped) Played Played
E Coley Flanker  England (capped in 1929) Played Played
Theodore Pike Flanker Lansdowne  Ireland Played
DE Law Hooker  England Played Played Played Played
CT Payne Prop Ireland Played Played Played Played
DJ MacMyn (C) Number 8 London Scottish  Scotland Played Played Played Played
EDG Hammett Three-Quarter  England Played Played Played
JL Farrell Lock Ireland Played Played Played Played
WH Sobey Scrum-half Old Millhillians  England (capped in 1920) Played Played Played
JOJ Malfroy Scrum-half Cambridge Univ. New Zealand (uncapped)
RS Spong Fly-half Old Millhillians  England (capped in 1929) Played Played Played Played
GS Wilson Wing  England (capped in 1929) Played Played

Matches[edit]

Match summary[edit]

The full list of matches[6] played by the British Lions in Argentina:[7]

     Test matches

# Date Rival City Venue Score
1 24 Jul Anglo–Argentinos [note 1] Hurlingham Hurlingham Club 27–0
2 27 Jul San Isidro Buenos Aires Belgrano A.C. 14–0
3 31 Jul  Argentina Buenos Aires Gimnasia y Esgrima 37–0
4 3 Aug GEBA / CUBA Combined Rosario Plaza Jewell 24–0
5 7 Aug  Argentina Buenos Aires Gimnasia y Esgrima 46–0
6 10 Aug BAC / BAFC Combined Buenos Aires Belgrano A.C. 44–3
7 14 Aug  Argentina ? [note 2] Gimnasia y Esgrima 34–3
8 15 Aug Combinado de Clubes [note 3] Buenos Aires Gimnasia y Esgrima 29–3
9 21 Aug  Argentina Buenos Aires Gimnasia y Esgrima 43–0
Balance
Pl W D L PS PC
6 6 0 0 298 9

First test[edit]

Source: ESPN

31 July 1927
Argentina  0–37 United Kingdom British Isles
Try: Aarvold, Hammett
Kelly, MacMyn
Payne, Spong
Wilson 2
Con: Hammett 3
Pen: Hammett
Drop: Spong
Gimnasia y Esgrima, Buenos Aires
Attendance: 12,000
Referee: Thomas Vile (WalesWales)
Argentina
British Isles
Argentina British Isles
Cesar Pollano FB 15 FB Jack Wallens
Cesar Vazquez W 14 W Guy Wilson
(capt.) Arturo Rodríguez Jurado C 13 C Ernest Hammett
Fabio Lucioni C 12 C Robert Kelly
W. Braddon W 11 W Carl Aarvold
Alberto Zappa FH 10 FH Roger Spong
Reginald Cooper SH 9 SH Wilf Sobey
Antonio Pasalagua N8 8 N8 David MacMyn (capt.)
Antonio Hobson F 7 F Theodore Pike
Miguel McCormick F 6 F George McIlwaine
Rodolfo Serra L 5 L Donald Troup
Jose Cuesta Silva L 4 L Jimmy Farrell
Ray Cameron P 3 P Arthur Allen
Jorge Conrard H 2 H Douglas Law
Enrique Bustamante P 1 P Charles Payne

Second test[edit]

7 August 1927
Argentina  0–46 United Kingdom British Isles
Try: Aarvold 4, Kelly 2
McIlwaine, MacMyn
Payne, Spong
Con: Hammett 6
Drop: Hammett
Gimnasia y Esgrima, Buenos Aires
Referee: Thomas Vile (WalesWales)
Argentina British Isles
A. Jacobs FB 15 FB Peter Douty
Martin Ayerra W 14 W Carl Aarvold
Carlos Reyes C 13 C Ernest Hammett
Cesar Vazquez C 12 C Robert Kelly
G.E.F. Cooke W 11 W Edward Taylor
Marco Hernandez FH 10 FH Roger Spong
Reginald Cooper SH 9 SH Wilf Sobey
Julian Sommer N8 8 N8 David MacMyn (capt.)
Arturo Rodríguez Jurado (capt.) F 7 F Eric Coley
Roberto Botting F 6 F George McIlwaine
Ray Cameron L 5 L Granville Coghlan
Jose Cuesta Silva L 4 L Jimmy Farrell
Alfredo Riganti P 3 P Arthur Allen
Jorge Conrard H 2 H Douglas Law
Enrique Bustamante P 1 P Charles Payne

Third test[edit]

14 August 1927
Argentina  3–34 United Kingdom British Isles
Goal from mark: Torino Try: Douty, Hamilton-Smythe 2
McIlwaine, Taylor 3
Con: Hammett 5
Pen: Hammett
Gimnasia y Esgrima, Buenos Aires
Referee: Thomas Vile (WalesWales)
Argentina British Isles
C. Derkheim FB 15 FB Jack Wallens
Norberto Escary W 14 W Carl Aarvold
Carlos Reyes C 13 C Ernest Hammett
Marco Hernandez C 12 C Arthur Hamilton-Smythe
Llewellyn Makin W 11 W Edward Taylor
Francisco Torino FH 10 FH Roger Spong
Reginald Cooper SH 9 SH Peter Douty
Roberto Botting N8 8 N8 David MacMyn (capt.)
Arturo Rodríguez Jurado (capt.) F 7 F Donald Troup
Antonio Pasalagua F 6 F George McIlwaine
Rodolfo Serra L 5 L Tom Gubb
Jose Cuesta Silva L 4 L Jimmy Farrell
Alfredo Riganti P 3 P Charles Payne
Vicente Grimoldi H 2 H Douglas Law
Enrique Bustamante P 1 P Arthur Allen

Fourth test[edit]

21 August 1927
Argentina  0–43 United Kingdom British Isles
Try: Aarvold 3, Coghlan
Kelly 2, McIlwaine
MacMyn, Sobey
Spong, Wilson
Con: Wilson 5
Gimnasia y Esgrima, Buenos Aires
Attendance: .000
Referee: Thomas Vile (WalesWales)
Argentina British Isles
A. Jacobs FB 15 FB Jack Wallens
Cesar Vazquez W 14 W Carl Aarvold
Carlos Reyes C 13 C Robert Kelly
Marco Hernandez C 12 C Guy Wilson
Norberto Escary W 11 W Edward Taylor
Francisco Torino FH 10 FH Roger Spong
Reginald Cooper SH 9 SH Wilf Sobey
Roberto Botting N8 8 N8 David MacMyn (capt.)
Salvador Muller F 7 F Eric Coley
Arturo Rodríguez Jurado (capt.) F 6 F George McIlwaine
Jose Cuesta Silva L 5 L Granville Coghlan
Rodolfo Serra L 4 L Jimmy Farrell
Alfredo Riganti P 3 P Arthur Allen
Vicente Grimoldi H 2 H Douglas Law
Enrique Bustamante P 1 P Charles Payne
Notes
  1. ^ Selection of Argentine players with English bornplace or origin. At those times, it was usual to play an end of season match of that nature.
  2. ^ The match was played at "Gimnasia y Esgrima" venue, but some sources state it refers to Estadio GEBA in Buenos Aires while other say it was played in Juan C. Zerillo Stadium, home venue of Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata
  3. ^ Combined team of unknown local clubs.

Aftermath[edit]

The British Lions tour on Argentina was a huge success, with a great amount of people attending the games in spite of the large defeats to the national team, the RPRU obtained a profit of almost m$n 65,000,[8] which would be invested in mortgage titles to cost future tours with no help from the National State or other government subsidies.

In sporting terms, the tour of the British team of 1927 was of great importance for Argentine rugby, which gave a powerful boost to the expansion of the game in the country. 33 teams were registered to the Union to play at the 1927 domestic championships (four teams more than the previous edition). The boost given by the British team tour also encouraged the creation of new rugby clubs, such as Olivos in 1927 and Los Matreros one year later.[4]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Mackern, Hugo, Historia del rugby argentino 1917-1930, Buenos Aires, 1986
  • Búsico, Jorge, y Cloppet, Alejandro, Ser Puma, 2° edition, Buenos Aires: Zona de Tackle, 2012
  • Jones, Stephen, Behind the Lions, Edimburgh: Birlinn Ltd., 2013
  • Thomas, Clem & Thomas, Greg, The British & Irish Lions Official History, Edimburgh: Mainstream, 1966, 2013

References[edit]

  1. ^ El Gráfico No. 424, 20 August 1927
  2. ^ 1927 Argentina on British Lions website (Archive, 21 Jan 2012)
  3. ^ 1927: Argentina by David Walmsley - Genesis Publications on Lions website, May 15, 2013
  4. ^ a b c d "Lions (segundo viaje olvidado)" by Ricardo Sabanes on Periodismo Rugby, 24 May 2017
  5. ^ "La pasión cumple 100 años", La Nación, 10 April 1999
  6. ^ B & I Lions - Tour of Argentina 1927 - Full listing
  7. ^ Los Lions en Argentina by Frankie Deges on Mundial XV website, 21 Jan 2013
  8. ^ THE RIVER PLATE RUGBY UNION – INFORME SOBRE LA TEMPORADA 1927 on UAR website (Archive, 4 Mar 2016)