'There will be blood': How the 1981 Springbok Tour of New Zealand began

The 1981 Springbok Tour was marked by violent clashes between police and protesters. Photo / Herald file

Debate raged in the months leading up to the arrival of the 1981 Springboks in New Zealand for their divisive rugby tour which left a trail of destruction, broken friendships and families - and even broken bones.

Over a 56-day period, riot police and pro-tour sports fans violently clashed with protesters.

Arson attacks targeted grandstands at grassroots rugby fields and a controversial rugby administrator also had his house shot at by a shotgun.

On the 40th anniversary of the tour, Neil Reid unravels the complex build-up to the tour, including the chilling prophecy that "New Zealanders' blood" would be spilt