Throughout the British & Irish Lions tour we will look back through our archives to recall those players from our own club’s history who have pulled on the famous red jersey down the years. Our connection to the Lions goes back as far as 1930 when Headingley duo of Sir Carl Aarvold and Tony Novis both toured New Zealand and Australia.

On this day in 1974 and 1977, Sir Ian McGeechan was in action for the Lions. Back in 1974 he was part of the Lions side who played Rhodesia. It was the seventh and final time the Lions played Rhodesia in their history, starting in 1910. The game was four days before the second test against South Africa, which McGeechan also played in. The Lions defeated Rhodesia 42-6.

40 years ago today, McGeechan was in the Lions side that lost the first Test to New Zealand. The game was played at a wet and windy Athletic Park and the Lions could, and probably should, have won.

They were struck two first-half blows. A typically opportunistic early try by rugged All Black scrum-half Sid Going was followed by a highly dubious one from prop Brad Johnstone – later to coach Fiji and Italy – awarded after the referee had initially appeared to signal an All Black knock-on.

Yet the Lions led 12-10 from four penalties by Bennett [three] and brilliant Scottish fullback Andy Irvine in the final stages. They then worked an overlap which seemed to promise a certain try, but Welsh flanker Trevor Evans saw Grant Batty, a combative veteran wing wearing a knee brace, intercept his pass to charge 60 metres for the try.

This “12-point try”, with a likely Lions lead of 18-10 transformed in seconds into an All Black advantage of 16-12, was how it ended.

In 1983, former Headingley back row Peter Winterbottom was in the line up for the Lions against the All Blacks in the second test at Athletic Park in Wellington. The Lions had lost the first test and were desperate to level the four game series but lost out 9-0.

In 2005, the Lions were back in New Zealand and taken on Otago in Dunedin. Scottish international Gordon Bulloch started at hooker and was replaced after 61 minutes by Steve Thompson whilst Simon Easterby started in the back row in the 30-19 win for Sir Clive Woodward’s side.