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A privilege to play tourists | News24


Norman Mbiko welcoming the touring side of John Pullin at the airport in 1972.

Not every rugby player can boast that he played against the British and Irish Lions, especially the team of Willie-John McBride of 1974. It is history that the Lions had a clean sweep against all South African opponents and Norman Mbiko (75) from Nyanga, the only living African Springbok captain of the South African Rugby Association (Sara), had the privilege of playing against them.

“The Leopards, as the Sara team is also known, was inexperienced but the late Doc Danie Craven sent us on a rugby tour to Italy in May 1974 to gain experience against international opposition. In Italy we played six matches in 15 days and I played flank in five of the six matches, although I was a scrumhalf. We won two, drew one and lost three,’ Mbiko says.

Until 1974 Sara played Test…

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