We take a look at five African-born rugby players who went on to represent the British & Irish Lions down the years, including three South Africans.
1. Duhan van de Merwe (George, South Africa)
The Scotland wing returns to the country of his birth as part of the squad to tour South Africa in 2021.
He has made a major impact since arriving in Scotland in 2017, when he joined Guinness PRO14 side Edinburgh after stints in France at Montpellier and South Africa with the Blue Bulls.
The powerhouse outside back qualified for Scotland through the residency rule and made his Test debut against Georgia in October 2020, where he scored a try in a 48-7 win.
2. Mike Catt (Port Elizabeth, South Africa)
The Gqeberha-born playmaker dreamed of playing for the Springboks throughout his sport-fuelled youth, but he would instead achieve one of his career highlights playing not for but against the green and gold of South Africa.
Having appeared in a World Cup and won a Grand Slam with England in his three-year international career prior to the 1997 Lions tour, Catt admitted to being devastated to miss out on a place in Sir Ian McGeechan’s original squad to tour his homeland.
3. Matt Stevens (Durban, South Africa)
The prop signed for English club Bath in 2002 after attending the Western Province academy. Two years after his move, he made his Test debut for England against the All Blacks. Stevens, who qualified for England by virtue of his English parents, won 39 Test caps for the country.
He was selected for the British & Irish Lions for their 2005 and 2013 tours of New Zealand and Australia, respectively, but while he played a total of six tour matches, Stevens didn’t play any Tests for the Lions.
4. Simon Shaw (Nairobi, Kenya)
Shaw was born 1 September 1973 in Nairobi, Kenya. He was educated at Runnymede College in Madrid and at Godalming College in Surrey. He played for Bristol at 17, despite not taking up the game seriously until he was 16, after his family had moved to England.
The powerhouse second rower played for Bristol, London Wasps and Toulon. He won 71 caps for England between 1996 and 2011, and two for the British & Irish Lions, with whom he toured three times.
5. Graham Price (Moascar, Egypt)
The Wales forward was a member of the famous Pontypool RFC front row known as the ‘Viet Gwent’. He won 41 caps for Wales, and a record 12 for the British & Irish Lions as a prop forward.
Photo: Gallo Images