REVEALED: The trophy the B&I Lions and Boks will play for
NEWS: The winner of the 2021 British and Irish Lions versus Springboks series will be the recipients of the first perpetual trophy in the history of the Tour.
The B&I Lions’ eagerly-awaited trip to South Africa will see the tourists attempt to repeat the heroics of 1997 in a three-Test series against the Boks.
There will be more than just bragging rights that will be up for grabs when the famous rivalry – which stretches back to 1891 and includes 13 series in total – is renewed in July.
Standing at 60cm tall and weighing six-and-a-half-kilogrammes, the main body of the trophy was handspun from a single sheet of sterling silver, while the base is handmade from Sapele hardwood.
Hot forging was used to bend small rods of sterling silver at over 700 degrees Celsius before they were soldered together to create the shape of a chalice with the Lions Series Logo attached.
The chalice was gold plated in a chemical reaction called electroplating and all the individual pieces were polished separately with motorised polishing lathes spinning at over 3000 rpm.
Once the Lions Series Logo was engraved onto the main body of the trophy, it was assembled, cleaned and passed to Thomas Lyte’s quality control team for the final check.
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Specialising in bespoke gold and silverware as well as elite sporting trophies, Thomas Lyte is world-renowned trophy makers for many of sport’s most prestigious awards.
The FA Cup, the Six Nations trophy, the FIFA eWorld Cup, the Laver Cup, the FIBA World Cup trophy and the Nitto ATP World Tour Singles trophy are all Thomas Lyte creations.
The Lions last toured South Africa in 2009 when the Springboks emerged triumphant with a 2-1 Test series victory following three brutal, tightly-contested matches.
South Africa was also home to the first Tour of the professional era as the Lions upset the odds in the now-iconic 1997 Series – famously documented in Living With Lions.
Jim Telfer’s Everest Speech, Matt Dawson’s dummy, Jeremy Guscott’s drop-goal were all etched into the rugby history books from that Tour as the Lions claimed a dramatic 2-1 series win.
And while the first three-quarters of the 20th century was largely a tale of Springbok dominance, Willie John McBride’s 1974 Invincibles changed all that and ended 78 years of hurt.
Historically speaking, the Lions and South Africa are incredibly evenly matched.
The Boks have won 23 of the 46 Test matches played, the Lions have won 17 with six more draws.
This year will be the third-consecutive tour to South Africa in which the Lions face the reigning world champions and the stage is set for another chapter in the saga to be written.
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) May 4, 2021