Celebrity Masterchef winners, George Crosses, Olympic titles and Lions home matches – all among the bizarre and memorable Lions-related events that took place this week in history.

 

For yet more must-know watercooler trivia, check out the brilliantly researched British & Irish Lions On This Day by Tim Evershed – it’s the ultimate Xmas stocking-filler for any British rugby fan!

 

Saturday 21st October 1899

Captains Robert Johnston and Charles Herbert Mullins each won the Victoria Cross for their actions at the Battle of Elandslaagte in the Second Boer War. Johnston, an Irish international, stayed on in South Africa at the end of the 1896 tour. Mullins was the elder brother of Cuth Mullins who had also played for the Lions three years earlier.

 

Saturday 21st October 2006

Coach Warren Gatland’s Waikato team won the inaugural Air New Zealand Cup after they beat Wellington in the Grand Final 37-31 in front of a capacity crowd of 25,000 fans at Waikato Stadium.

 

Saturday 22nd October 1955

A rare Lions match on home soil saw the side face a Welsh XV at Cardiff Arms Park to mark the 75th anniversary of the Welsh Rugby Union.

 

Saturday 22nd October 2011

England and Lions prop Phil Vickery won BBC’s Celebrity Masterchef title beating off journalist Kirsty Wark and actor Nick Pickard in the final.

 

Sunday 23rd October 2011

Former Lions head coach Graham Henry led New Zealand to victory in the World Cup as the All Blacks overcame France 8-7 in the final at Eden Park in Auckland.

 

Thursday 24th October 1912

Scrum half Tommy Vile, a member of the 1904 Test team, played a key role as Newport defeated the touring Springboks 9-3 at Rodney Parade. It was one of only three defeats that South Africa suffered on their 28-match tour.

 

Friday 25th October 1963

Major General Sir Douglas Kendrew was appointed Governor of Western Australia. The former England and Lions prop was so popular in the role that his term was twice extended until he stepped down in 1974…

 

Monday 26th October 1908

An Australian side featuring Tom Richards won the Olympic gold medal at rugby union beating England 32-3 in the final at White City Stadium in London. Two years later Richards was playing domestic rugby in South Africa when he was called up to join the Lions…

 

Click here for more information, or to read a sample from British & Irish Lions On This Day.