Schmitt and cotter interviewing for lions job

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Post by stevetynant on Thu 21 Jul 2016, 8:42 pm

First topic message reminder :

Read that John spencer has confirmed that both cotter and Schmitt will be interviewed for the lions job today.this amazes me,not that I don't think they could do the job but that Schmitt is being considered whilst not committing,publicly at least for the Ireland post. Gatland remains favourite but not a one horse race I would say.just not sure what to make of this, what do other Ireland fans think this says about joes future prospects of taking Ireland to Japan for the next World Cup now?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 01 Aug 2016, 8:27 pm

Oh good we get to look forward to you moaning about a traditional part of the game by moaning about it being too professional and successful a little longer then!

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Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 01 Aug 2016, 9:47 pm

I'd love to accommodate your wishes and moan about a traditional part of the Lions but the only traditional thing left is the colour of the shirt and that's still a perfect shade to hide the blood.

Of course they'll plaster it with advertising soon enough though, so that would be something to look forward to.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 01 Aug 2016, 9:54 pm

Haven't seen you moaning about rugby like you do about the Lions though, its all professional now. The things you seemingly dislike are prevalent everywhere.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue 02 Aug 2016, 9:06 am

The Great Aukster wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:Also, just on the Irish Lions, I don't actually foresee it being a particularly big contingent. I think Best and McGrath will go, and possibly Henderson as well, but that's probably it from the pack. It's a shame that Healy, Ferris and O'Brien have floundered for one reason or another, that's three forwards who you'd have nailed on starters had their careers reached true potential.

In the backs I'd expect Murray to tour, and possibly Henshaw and Payne (with McCloskey a bolter perhaps), but I doubt there will be many. That's not meant as a slight on Irish rugby (comfortably better than Scotland at the moment), more that you have young players coming through (Jackson, Olding, McCloskey and Henshaw) combined with older players (Sexton and Kearney) with a relatively small number in the prime of their careers.

A smaller contingent is obviously better from my pov, but they are also the best players that will be stripped from the team, usually the leaders who are there to be the backbone of the side.

It is interesting that you mention Healy, Ferris and O'Brien.
Healy hasn't been the same player since his return, Corbisiero has now retired and the squad injury count was such that Tom Court had to be called in because he happened to be on holiday in the country!
Ferris' knee injury that took him out of the tour was the start of an injury laden decline and unsuccessful rehabilitation programme that resulted in his retirement age 28
SOB was already injured when selected and was probably still carrying it when Warburton went down.
Tommy Bowe is also brought to mind playing with a fracture and has never recovered full fitness since.

Hmm, whilst it serves your agenda nicely, I'm not sure it's justified to lay the blame on the Lions for these players failing to fulfil their undoubted potential.

Ferris - knee injury with the Lions. Ankle injury (against Edinburgh as it happens) effectively ended his career.
Healy - numerous injuries throughout his career. Not sure any were Lions related. Also on "hasn't been the same player since" - I'd argue his performance against the ABs in the 2013 AIs was one of his very best.
SOB - see Healy.
Bowe - I agree that the Lions probably should not have used him on that occasion, but he's played plenty rugby since and I'm not sure there's much evidence for "never recovered full fitness since". He's won quite a few caps since 2013!

The Lions injury was an important one for Ferris because he himself said he had been unready for the rehabilitation required. Similarly Bowe has won more caps and scored more tries, but plenty of Ulster fans would say he has never fully regained his sharpness following the '13' tour. Regarding Healy it could be equally argued that the mullering Ireland took from the Wallabies in the scrum the week before was one of Healy's worst? His minutes on the pitch per season for the three seasons post Lions for Leinster are roughly half what they were for the three seasons before. SOB is closer to a third and he was injured when selected so had already lost time that season.

The debate isn't about unfulfilled potential, it's simply relating performance post Lions injury to that of before, and in each case the fulcrum is the tour.


Given that these players all played for Ireland post-tour, the fulcrum is really where you choose it to be. Healy was fit for the AIs and performed strongly against the ABs. You can just as easily treat his next injury as "the fulcrum", since he played 100% for Ireland in the AIs.

I'm not denying that the Lions presents an injury risk to players, clearly it does. I also think that it's a relatively unique risk due to the scheduling of the tour, certainly greater risk that a standard Ireland tour/beating down under. I do, however, think that there's an element of the dramatic going on when we hear tale of the Lions having wrecked all these careers. I genuinely don't think the ankle injury suffered by Ferris was caused by the knee injury suffered on the Lions tour, nor do I think Healy's current knee injury is related to an injury he didn't suffer with the Lions, and finally I don't think SOB's current hamstring troubles are related to an injury he didn't suffer with the Lions.

I do have sympathy re: Tommy Bowe. I have a lot of respect for Gatland and Dr Robson, but I think they got that wrong. Quite how much input Bowe had in the decision I don't know.

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Post by Cyril on Tue 02 Aug 2016, 10:11 am

Makes you wonder if the Irish international/provincial medical terms are earning their corn.

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Post by Pot Hale on Tue 02 Aug 2016, 11:17 am

Cyril wrote:Makes you wonder if the Irish international/provincial medical terms are earning their corn.

I'd agree with that. I have wondered about how good it is with a number of players breaking down regularly over the last number of seasons. I also wonder sometimes about the strength and conditioning regimes that they advocate/pursue. Did players such as Ferris and O'Brien spent too much time in the gym and over-develop some muscles/joints? Knees and ankles are put under too much stress/pressure with added bulk and lifting.
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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 02 Aug 2016, 2:01 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Haven't seen you moaning about rugby like you do about the Lions though, its all professional now. The things you seemingly dislike are prevalent everywhere.

It's precisely because of professionalism that the Lions are an anachronism.

I suspect it's different for teams like England with huge player pools, but for a country like Ireland that has a very shallow pyramid of players, the good ones need to be looked after more than ever. The IRFU and provinces can only afford so much investment in academies and grass roots rugby, so losing a world class player has a big impact on Test/provincial performance as the quality of the understudies drop off very quickly. Flogging players at the end of a season on a tour where they play twice the games of a normal summer and against fresh opposition out to make individual reputations is a perfect storm. There are plenty of opportunities for players to get career threatening injuries without adding to them on a pointless tour that does nothing to help their country or province.

The concept of a group of players showing up and playing together is pure amateur era, and was fine in the... er... amateur era. Lining them out against a professional team is the most amateurish thing the Lions could do from a rugby perspective, irrespective of how much money rolls in.

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Post by nlpnlp on Tue 02 Aug 2016, 2:09 pm

Isn't money though the paymaster for professional rugby? As much as the Lions may be flawed from the playing perspective, the money talks so the Lions will continue as a business proposition. New Zealand, Australia, SA all love the Lions because of the money it brings to them. It also brings money into the 4 home unions. Whilst England could probably afford to turn their noses up at this, could the other 3?

It is disappointing when any player gets injured, but I think it is just a symptom of the modern game. If a player didn't tour with the Lions, they would just tour with their country.

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Post by lostinwales on Tue 02 Aug 2016, 2:29 pm

nlpnlp wrote:Isn't money though the paymaster for professional rugby?  As much as the Lions may be flawed from the playing perspective, the money talks so the Lions will continue as a business proposition.  New Zealand, Australia, SA all love the Lions because of the money it brings to them.  It also brings money into the 4 home unions.  Whilst England could probably afford to turn their noses up at this, could the other 3?

It is disappointing when any player gets injured, but I think it is just a symptom of the modern game.  If a player didn't tour with the Lions, they would just tour with their country.

Yes most likely. There is no guarantee but I would guess that they would be managed better by their country because
-Their medical team know them better,
-If they get hurt they'll get another choice soon rather than in 4 years time
-Their coaches would be looking at their team development over the following months and years rather than the next few weeks.

I think the Lions have been terrific for rugby in the past, both for the nations involved and the individual players. I don't think that is still the case and I don't think using past tours to estimate how future tours will pan out is of much use.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 02 Aug 2016, 2:47 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Haven't seen you moaning about rugby like you do about the Lions though, its all professional now. The things you seemingly dislike are prevalent everywhere.

It's precisely because of professionalism that the Lions are an anachronism.

I suspect it's different for teams like England with huge player pools, but for a country like Ireland that has a very shallow pyramid of players, the good ones need to be looked after more than ever. The IRFU and provinces can only afford so much investment in academies and grass roots rugby, so losing a world class player has a big impact on Test/provincial performance as the quality of the understudies drop off very quickly. Flogging players at the end of a season on a tour where they play twice the games of a normal summer and against fresh opposition out to make individual reputations is a perfect storm. There are plenty of opportunities for players to get career threatening injuries without adding to them on a pointless tour that does nothing to help their country or province.

The concept of a group of players showing up and playing together is pure amateur era, and was fine in the... er... amateur era. Lining them out against a professional team is the most amateurish thing the Lions could do from a rugby perspective, irrespective of how much money rolls in.

So you don't like it because they're not getting injured for their country? Thought you said earlier you didn't like the creeping professionalism of the Lions. It just turns out you don't like the concept as was said originally.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue 02 Aug 2016, 2:52 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Haven't seen you moaning about rugby like you do about the Lions though, its all professional now. The things you seemingly dislike are prevalent everywhere.

It's precisely because of professionalism that the Lions are an anachronism.

I suspect it's different for teams like England with huge player pools, but for a country like Ireland that has a very shallow pyramid of players, the good ones need to be looked after more than ever. The IRFU and provinces can only afford so much investment in academies and grass roots rugby, so losing a world class player has a big impact on Test/provincial performance as the quality of the understudies drop off very quickly. Flogging players at the end of a season on a tour where they play twice the games of a normal summer and against fresh opposition out to make individual reputations is a perfect storm. There are plenty of opportunities for players to get career threatening injuries without adding to them on a pointless tour that does nothing to help their country or province.

The concept of a group of players showing up and playing together is pure amateur era, and was fine in the... er... amateur era. Lining them out against a professional team is the most amateurish thing the Lions could do from a rugby perspective, irrespective of how much money rolls in.


It's the most profitable endeavour in world rugby. What could be more professional? From a rugby perspective I'd also point out that the Lions won the last tour and came mighty close in the tour before (thanks for that ROG), so I don't think it's fair to describe the current Lions as an amateur outfit. In fact there isn't anything amateur about it at all.

For some rugby is an anachronism, an essentially amateur sport completely ruined by professionalism. I'm wondering if you're one of those?

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 02 Aug 2016, 10:57 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Haven't seen you moaning about rugby like you do about the Lions though, its all professional now. The things you seemingly dislike are prevalent everywhere.

It's precisely because of professionalism that the Lions are an anachronism.

I suspect it's different for teams like England with huge player pools, but for a country like Ireland that has a very shallow pyramid of players, the good ones need to be looked after more than ever. The IRFU and provinces can only afford so much investment in academies and grass roots rugby, so losing a world class player has a big impact on Test/provincial performance as the quality of the understudies drop off very quickly. Flogging players at the end of a season on a tour where they play twice the games of a normal summer and against fresh opposition out to make individual reputations is a perfect storm. There are plenty of opportunities for players to get career threatening injuries without adding to them on a pointless tour that does nothing to help their country or province.

The concept of a group of players showing up and playing together is pure amateur era, and was fine in the... er... amateur era. Lining them out against a professional team is the most amateurish thing the Lions could do from a rugby perspective, irrespective of how much money rolls in.

So you don't like it because they're not getting injured for their country? Thought you said earlier you didn't like the creeping professionalism of the Lions. It just turns out you don't like the concept as was said originally.

I don't like players getting injured especially from playing in games that are peripheral and harm the teams they are contracted to.

If the definition of 'professional' is narrow then getting paid to play covers the Lions and they are professional. On the other hand if 'professional' also means expert and experienced as a team them it patently does not cover the Lions as they novice and untried.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 12:02 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Haven't seen you moaning about rugby like you do about the Lions though, its all professional now. The things you seemingly dislike are prevalent everywhere.

It's precisely because of professionalism that the Lions are an anachronism.

I suspect it's different for teams like England with huge player pools, but for a country like Ireland that has a very shallow pyramid of players, the good ones need to be looked after more than ever. The IRFU and provinces can only afford so much investment in academies and grass roots rugby, so losing a world class player has a big impact on Test/provincial performance as the quality of the understudies drop off very quickly. Flogging players at the end of a season on a tour where they play twice the games of a normal summer and against fresh opposition out to make individual reputations is a perfect storm. There are plenty of opportunities for players to get career threatening injuries without adding to them on a pointless tour that does nothing to help their country or province.

The concept of a group of players showing up and playing together is pure amateur era, and was fine in the... er... amateur era. Lining them out against a professional team is the most amateurish thing the Lions could do from a rugby perspective, irrespective of how much money rolls in.


It's the most profitable endeavour in world rugby. What could be more professional? From a rugby perspective I'd also point out that the Lions won the last tour and came mighty close in the tour before (thanks for that ROG), so I don't think it's fair to describe the current Lions as an amateur outfit. In fact there isn't anything amateur about it at all.

For some rugby is an anachronism, an essentially amateur sport completely ruined by professionalism. I'm wondering if you're one of those?

The concept of matching a scratch team against the world champions is naive. Occasionally upsets happen like beating Australia last time but one win in the professional era only proves the long odds of that happening.

Rugby isn't an anachronism, because teams were becoming more and more professional whilst others were languishing in the amateur era, the 1995 RWC basically heralded the professional era with everyone given the same ground rules and the sanction for change. Professionalism was inevitable, but the consequences of it were not fully considered by many. Whilst Test teams got paid to train full time together the Lions didn't change and still thought that they didn't have to prepare like their opponents and still stand a chance.

Whether professionalism has been good or bad for rugby is debatable, but it was inevitable. The Lions approach has remained rooted in the amateur era and it is increasingly falling behind. The only anachronism is the Lions concept that says a new team can compete against proven and settled Test outfits. I applaud the underdog spirit however illogical. clap

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 6:35 am

Thery obviously can and do compete, but you just want your province and country, some don't even want their country; it takes all sorts!

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Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 8:53 am

I would rather support Ireland and improve their chances of success, than give pots of money to their biggest rivals and harm the Irish team in the process.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 8:59 am

I'd rather lose Ireland than the Lions.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 9:15 am

The Great Aukster wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Haven't seen you moaning about rugby like you do about the Lions though, its all professional now. The things you seemingly dislike are prevalent everywhere.

It's precisely because of professionalism that the Lions are an anachronism.

I suspect it's different for teams like England with huge player pools, but for a country like Ireland that has a very shallow pyramid of players, the good ones need to be looked after more than ever. The IRFU and provinces can only afford so much investment in academies and grass roots rugby, so losing a world class player has a big impact on Test/provincial performance as the quality of the understudies drop off very quickly. Flogging players at the end of a season on a tour where they play twice the games of a normal summer and against fresh opposition out to make individual reputations is a perfect storm. There are plenty of opportunities for players to get career threatening injuries without adding to them on a pointless tour that does nothing to help their country or province.

The concept of a group of players showing up and playing together is pure amateur era, and was fine in the... er... amateur era. Lining them out against a professional team is the most amateurish thing the Lions could do from a rugby perspective, irrespective of how much money rolls in.


It's the most profitable endeavour in world rugby. What could be more professional? From a rugby perspective I'd also point out that the Lions won the last tour and came mighty close in the tour before (thanks for that ROG), so I don't think it's fair to describe the current Lions as an amateur outfit. In fact there isn't anything amateur about it at all.

For some rugby is an anachronism, an essentially amateur sport completely ruined by professionalism. I'm wondering if you're one of those?

The concept of matching a scratch team against the world champions is naive. Occasionally upsets happen like beating Australia last time but one win in the professional era only proves the long odds of that happening.

Rugby isn't an anachronism, because teams were becoming more and more professional whilst others were languishing in the amateur era, the 1995 RWC basically heralded the professional era with everyone given the same ground rules and the sanction for change. Professionalism was inevitable, but the consequences of it were not fully considered by many. Whilst Test teams got paid to train full time together the Lions didn't change and still thought that they didn't have to prepare like their opponents and still stand a chance.

Whether professionalism has been good or bad for rugby is debatable, but it was inevitable. The Lions approach has remained rooted in the amateur era and it is increasingly falling behind. The only anachronism is the Lions concept that says a new team can compete against proven and settled Test outfits. I applaud the underdog spirit however illogical. clap

Sadly for your argument, all evidence is to the contrary. Since rugby turned professional, each and every Lions tour has been very closely fought with the exception of 2005, when the Lions were a collective shambles against a very good AB team.

1997 - Lions won. One of the most memorable Test series I can recall.
2001 - Series went to the wire. The Lions were sensational in the 1st Test, winning it comfortably. Many believe, myself included, that Lions team should have won that series.
2005 - See above.
2009 - One of the hardest and most closely fought Test Series you are likely to see. Watch the 2nd Test again and tell me that it's naïve to suggest the Lions can compete.
2013 - Lions won with a thumping victory in the 3rd Test. Many fans have heavily criticised Warren Gatland for not winning the series by a greater margin (which I personally think is ridiculous).

So, when you consider the facts, your position is untenable.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 12:29 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:I'd rather lose Ireland than the Lions.

So we are agreed, you can keep the Lions and lose Ireland.

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Post by Cyril on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 1:12 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:I'd rather lose Ireland than the Lions.

So we are agreed, you can keep the Lions and lose Ireland.
The Lions should play Ireland. Whoever loses gives up rugby. That would be a tense affair.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 1:15 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Haven't seen you moaning about rugby like you do about the Lions though, its all professional now. The things you seemingly dislike are prevalent everywhere.

It's precisely because of professionalism that the Lions are an anachronism.

I suspect it's different for teams like England with huge player pools, but for a country like Ireland that has a very shallow pyramid of players, the good ones need to be looked after more than ever. The IRFU and provinces can only afford so much investment in academies and grass roots rugby, so losing a world class player has a big impact on Test/provincial performance as the quality of the understudies drop off very quickly. Flogging players at the end of a season on a tour where they play twice the games of a normal summer and against fresh opposition out to make individual reputations is a perfect storm. There are plenty of opportunities for players to get career threatening injuries without adding to them on a pointless tour that does nothing to help their country or province.

The concept of a group of players showing up and playing together is pure amateur era, and was fine in the... er... amateur era. Lining them out against a professional team is the most amateurish thing the Lions could do from a rugby perspective, irrespective of how much money rolls in.


It's the most profitable endeavour in world rugby. What could be more professional? From a rugby perspective I'd also point out that the Lions won the last tour and came mighty close in the tour before (thanks for that ROG), so I don't think it's fair to describe the current Lions as an amateur outfit. In fact there isn't anything amateur about it at all.

For some rugby is an anachronism, an essentially amateur sport completely ruined by professionalism. I'm wondering if you're one of those?

The concept of matching a scratch team against the world champions is naive. Occasionally upsets happen like beating Australia last time but one win in the professional era only proves the long odds of that happening.

Rugby isn't an anachronism, because teams were becoming more and more professional whilst others were languishing in the amateur era, the 1995 RWC basically heralded the professional era with everyone given the same ground rules and the sanction for change. Professionalism was inevitable, but the consequences of it were not fully considered by many. Whilst Test teams got paid to train full time together the Lions didn't change and still thought that they didn't have to prepare like their opponents and still stand a chance.

Whether professionalism has been good or bad for rugby is debatable, but it was inevitable. The Lions approach has remained rooted in the amateur era and it is increasingly falling behind. The only anachronism is the Lions concept that says a new team can compete against proven and settled Test outfits. I applaud the underdog spirit however illogical. clap

Sadly for your argument, all evidence is to the contrary. Since rugby turned professional, each and every Lions tour has been very closely fought with the exception of 2005, when the Lions were a collective shambles against a very good AB team.

1997 - Lions won. One of the most memorable Test series I can recall.
2001 - Series went to the wire. The Lions were sensational in the 1st Test, winning it comfortably. Many believe, myself included, that Lions team should have won that series.
2005 - See above.
2009 - One of the hardest and most closely fought Test Series you are likely to see. Watch the 2nd Test again and tell me that it's naïve to suggest the Lions can compete.
2013 - Lions won with a thumping victory in the 3rd Test. Many fans have heavily criticised Warren Gatland for not winning the series by a greater margin (which I personally think is ridiculous).

So, when you consider the facts, your position is untenable.

Professionalism was still in it's infancy in 1997, so it's hard to know what impact that had, also the Saffers were suffering after their RWC triumph and lost a series to the ABs for the first time in their history the previous year.
I agree some tests have been close but at the cost of players putting their bodies on the line and ending up crocked. The Lions maybe should have won in 2001 but they had already lost half a dozen players to injury even before the first Test so were never going to have the depth to see out a series.
2005 was supposedly the most "professional" tour ever, the result was expected more than it was an exception and the trend of career threatening injuries continued.
2009 I agree the series was hard and kept close by heroic bodies on the line bravado - the Captain blamed defeat on the large amount of injuries (hmmm).
So if the closeness of the result is more important than who is victorious it's worth mentioning that the series win against arguably the worst Australian team in the last 20 years, was one kick away from a series loss.

At your request, I've considered the facts presented, and the contra-position remains tenable.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 1:18 pm

Cyril wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:I'd rather lose Ireland than the Lions.

So we are agreed, you can keep the Lions and lose Ireland.
The Lions should play Ireland. Whoever loses gives up rugby. That would be a tense affair.

Brilliant idea Cyril, I have every confidence the settled Test team will win every time. Can Ireland keep the pots of money the game would generate or do they have to give it to the SH big 3?

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Post by Welly on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 1:27 pm

would we get the northern born Irish players?
so Lions could use say
Best, Henderson, Marshall, Jackson, McCloskey, Olding, Trimble, etc

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 1:51 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Haven't seen you moaning about rugby like you do about the Lions though, its all professional now. The things you seemingly dislike are prevalent everywhere.

It's precisely because of professionalism that the Lions are an anachronism.

I suspect it's different for teams like England with huge player pools, but for a country like Ireland that has a very shallow pyramid of players, the good ones need to be looked after more than ever. The IRFU and provinces can only afford so much investment in academies and grass roots rugby, so losing a world class player has a big impact on Test/provincial performance as the quality of the understudies drop off very quickly. Flogging players at the end of a season on a tour where they play twice the games of a normal summer and against fresh opposition out to make individual reputations is a perfect storm. There are plenty of opportunities for players to get career threatening injuries without adding to them on a pointless tour that does nothing to help their country or province.

The concept of a group of players showing up and playing together is pure amateur era, and was fine in the... er... amateur era. Lining them out against a professional team is the most amateurish thing the Lions could do from a rugby perspective, irrespective of how much money rolls in.


It's the most profitable endeavour in world rugby. What could be more professional? From a rugby perspective I'd also point out that the Lions won the last tour and came mighty close in the tour before (thanks for that ROG), so I don't think it's fair to describe the current Lions as an amateur outfit. In fact there isn't anything amateur about it at all.

For some rugby is an anachronism, an essentially amateur sport completely ruined by professionalism. I'm wondering if you're one of those?

The concept of matching a scratch team against the world champions is naive. Occasionally upsets happen like beating Australia last time but one win in the professional era only proves the long odds of that happening.

Rugby isn't an anachronism, because teams were becoming more and more professional whilst others were languishing in the amateur era, the 1995 RWC basically heralded the professional era with everyone given the same ground rules and the sanction for change. Professionalism was inevitable, but the consequences of it were not fully considered by many. Whilst Test teams got paid to train full time together the Lions didn't change and still thought that they didn't have to prepare like their opponents and still stand a chance.

Whether professionalism has been good or bad for rugby is debatable, but it was inevitable. The Lions approach has remained rooted in the amateur era and it is increasingly falling behind. The only anachronism is the Lions concept that says a new team can compete against proven and settled Test outfits. I applaud the underdog spirit however illogical. clap

Sadly for your argument, all evidence is to the contrary. Since rugby turned professional, each and every Lions tour has been very closely fought with the exception of 2005, when the Lions were a collective shambles against a very good AB team.

1997 - Lions won. One of the most memorable Test series I can recall.
2001 - Series went to the wire. The Lions were sensational in the 1st Test, winning it comfortably. Many believe, myself included, that Lions team should have won that series.
2005 - See above.
2009 - One of the hardest and most closely fought Test Series you are likely to see. Watch the 2nd Test again and tell me that it's naïve to suggest the Lions can compete.
2013 - Lions won with a thumping victory in the 3rd Test. Many fans have heavily criticised Warren Gatland for not winning the series by a greater margin (which I personally think is ridiculous).

So, when you consider the facts, your position is untenable.

Professionalism was still in it's infancy in 1997, so it's hard to know what impact that had, also the Saffers were suffering after their RWC triumph and lost a series to the ABs for the first time in their history the previous year.
I agree some tests have been close but at the cost of players putting their bodies on the line and ending up crocked. The Lions maybe should have won in 2001 but they had already lost half a dozen players to injury even before the first Test so were never going to have the depth to see out a series.
2005 was supposedly the most "professional" tour ever, the result was expected more than it was an exception and the trend of career threatening injuries continued.
2009 I agree the series was hard and kept close by heroic bodies on the line bravado - the Captain blamed defeat on the large amount of injuries (hmmm).
So if the closeness of the result is more important than who is victorious it's worth mentioning that the series win against arguably the worst Australian team in the last 20 years, was one kick away from a series loss.

At your request, I've considered the facts presented, and the contra-position remains tenable.


No, what you've done is failed to address the point you initially made, and fallen back on the position that you don't like the Lions because of injuries. I'd freely accept that injuries are a big risk on Lions tours. No problem with that. It's a general issue in rugby, but no doubt the Lions placed a unique strain on players. It wouldn't be such a special achievement to win a series with the Lions if it was easy.

The position which is untenable is that "The only anachronism is the Lions concept that says a new team can compete against proven and settled Test outfits".

That is simply wrong. We know from history that the Lions can compete with settled Test outfits, as I have shown. That is simply undeniable.

Anyway, if it's the probability of success that concerns you, I'd suggest Ireland don't tour the SH ever again, and probably worth sitting out the World Cup as well. Same would apply to Wales and Scotland!

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Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 4:09 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Haven't seen you moaning about rugby like you do about the Lions though, its all professional now. The things you seemingly dislike are prevalent everywhere.

It's precisely because of professionalism that the Lions are an anachronism.

I suspect it's different for teams like England with huge player pools, but for a country like Ireland that has a very shallow pyramid of players, the good ones need to be looked after more than ever. The IRFU and provinces can only afford so much investment in academies and grass roots rugby, so losing a world class player has a big impact on Test/provincial performance as the quality of the understudies drop off very quickly. Flogging players at the end of a season on a tour where they play twice the games of a normal summer and against fresh opposition out to make individual reputations is a perfect storm. There are plenty of opportunities for players to get career threatening injuries without adding to them on a pointless tour that does nothing to help their country or province.

The concept of a group of players showing up and playing together is pure amateur era, and was fine in the... er... amateur era. Lining them out against a professional team is the most amateurish thing the Lions could do from a rugby perspective, irrespective of how much money rolls in.


It's the most profitable endeavour in world rugby. What could be more professional? From a rugby perspective I'd also point out that the Lions won the last tour and came mighty close in the tour before (thanks for that ROG), so I don't think it's fair to describe the current Lions as an amateur outfit. In fact there isn't anything amateur about it at all.

For some rugby is an anachronism, an essentially amateur sport completely ruined by professionalism. I'm wondering if you're one of those?

The concept of matching a scratch team against the world champions is naive. Occasionally upsets happen like beating Australia last time but one win in the professional era only proves the long odds of that happening.

Rugby isn't an anachronism, because teams were becoming more and more professional whilst others were languishing in the amateur era, the 1995 RWC basically heralded the professional era with everyone given the same ground rules and the sanction for change. Professionalism was inevitable, but the consequences of it were not fully considered by many. Whilst Test teams got paid to train full time together the Lions didn't change and still thought that they didn't have to prepare like their opponents and still stand a chance.

Whether professionalism has been good or bad for rugby is debatable, but it was inevitable. The Lions approach has remained rooted in the amateur era and it is increasingly falling behind. The only anachronism is the Lions concept that says a new team can compete against proven and settled Test outfits. I applaud the underdog spirit however illogical. clap

Sadly for your argument, all evidence is to the contrary. Since rugby turned professional, each and every Lions tour has been very closely fought with the exception of 2005, when the Lions were a collective shambles against a very good AB team.

1997 - Lions won. One of the most memorable Test series I can recall.
2001 - Series went to the wire. The Lions were sensational in the 1st Test, winning it comfortably. Many believe, myself included, that Lions team should have won that series.
2005 - See above.
2009 - One of the hardest and most closely fought Test Series you are likely to see. Watch the 2nd Test again and tell me that it's naïve to suggest the Lions can compete.
2013 - Lions won with a thumping victory in the 3rd Test. Many fans have heavily criticised Warren Gatland for not winning the series by a greater margin (which I personally think is ridiculous).

So, when you consider the facts, your position is untenable.

Professionalism was still in it's infancy in 1997, so it's hard to know what impact that had, also the Saffers were suffering after their RWC triumph and lost a series to the ABs for the first time in their history the previous year.
I agree some tests have been close but at the cost of players putting their bodies on the line and ending up crocked. The Lions maybe should have won in 2001 but they had already lost half a dozen players to injury even before the first Test so were never going to have the depth to see out a series.
2005 was supposedly the most "professional" tour ever, the result was expected more than it was an exception and the trend of career threatening injuries continued.
2009 I agree the series was hard and kept close by heroic bodies on the line bravado - the Captain blamed defeat on the large amount of injuries (hmmm).
So if the closeness of the result is more important than who is victorious it's worth mentioning that the series win against arguably the worst Australian team in the last 20 years, was one kick away from a series loss.

At your request, I've considered the facts presented, and the contra-position remains tenable.


No, what you've done is failed to address the point you initially made, and fallen back on the position that you don't like the Lions because of injuries. I'd freely accept that injuries are a big risk on Lions tours. No problem with that. It's a general issue in rugby, but no doubt the Lions placed a unique strain on players. It wouldn't be such a special achievement to win a series with the Lions if it was easy.

The position which is untenable is that "The only anachronism is the Lions concept that says a new team can compete against proven and settled Test outfits".

That is simply wrong. We know from history that the Lions can compete with settled Test outfits, as I have shown. That is simply undeniable.

Anyway, if it's the probability of success that concerns you, I'd suggest Ireland don't tour the SH ever again, and probably worth sitting out the World Cup as well. Same would apply to Wales and Scotland!

We know from history that the Lions have scraped one win in the last four since the game became truly professional, so that doesn't suggest "all evidence" supports their ability to compete. The point of the tour is a series victory and that is what they are competing for. Keeping the margin of defeat low is a hollow victory if that's what they can realistically achieve.

Injuries are not a fall back position if they are sustained in trying to overcome overwhelming odds against them because the team is inexperienced together, with players in the wrong positions and unsure of their roles. Why do teams bother with pre-season, warm-up games and coaches at all, if they can simply show up and be just as competitive with no practice? The term 'rustiness' is often mentioned at the start of the season for a team or a returning player, so the idea that a scratch team isn't at a significant disadvantage is illogical. The assertion is that in the professional era the gap between scratch and settled teams is now so great it has become unfair.

The probability of success is irrelevant (unless you're a gambler), it's the levelness of the playing field that matters.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 5:59 pm

Competing is different from winning, even though the 2 constantly are confused. The Lions is great, so many people enjoy it and it's a highlight of the game for many. Brilliant way to sell the game as well. Here to stay as everyone agrees. The people on here who don't like internationals tend not to watch or comment on internationals as they know it's here to stay.

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Post by Pot Hale on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 6:14 pm

Welly wrote: would we get the northern born Irish players?
so Lions could use say
Best, Henderson, Marshall, Jackson, McCloskey, Olding, Trimble, etc

Certainly not, splutter, splutter.....

The cheek of ya... Very Happy
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Post by Cyril on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 7:07 pm

Best? Not sure we would want him! His late call-up performance in 2013 must make him the worst Lion since Earls' shocking debut in 2009.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 9:14 pm

Cyril wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:I'd rather lose Ireland than the Lions.

So we are agreed, you can keep the Lions and lose Ireland.
The Lions should play Ireland. Whoever loses gives up rugby. That would be a tense affair.

Yeah fe*k 'em, well said 7.5. I'm tired of Wales players carrying their inferior Irish counterparts every 4 years and getting injured as a result. And on the last time out our players and coach received threats on top of the injuries.

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Post by miaow on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 9:23 pm

FES you have the patience of a Saint. If facts and opinions supported with well reasoned evidence aren't enough to convince posters to remove themselves from a rigid binary, self-constructed to chime with their own personal opinions and biases, you're just as well going to have a chat on an ostrich farm.

Rather than going over and over the same tired ground relating to whether or not the Lions should exist (as long as it does, and as long as enough fans want it to), can we get back to discussing how- if possible- the Lions can go down to New Zealand and compete? Specifically, but not constrained to, who coaches them?

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Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 03 Aug 2016, 10:56 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Competing is different from winning, even though the 2 constantly are confused. The Lions is great, so many people enjoy it and it's a highlight of the game for many. Brilliant way to sell the game as well. Here to stay as everyone agrees. The people on here who don't like internationals tend not to watch or comment on internationals as they know it's here to stay.
I agree the Lions are in no danger of disappearing - for now. There are enough well-heeled ex-rugby players who have the time and money to boost the SH economy every four years and reminisce about when they were fit over a pint or eight.
If the home nations actually start to improve against their SH counterparts despite the Lions millstone holding them back and the Lions go on a losing streak it will be interesting to see if there will be enough remnants from the current fan-base to generate the revenues required to keep the outdated concept going.

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Post by Pot Hale on Thu 04 Aug 2016, 4:20 am

miaow wrote:FES you have the patience of a Saint. If facts and opinions supported with well reasoned evidence aren't enough to convince posters to remove themselves from a rigid binary, self-constructed to chime with their own personal opinions and biases, you're just as well going to have a chat on an ostrich farm.

Rather than going over and over the same tired ground relating to whether or not the Lions should exist (as long as it does, and as long as enough fans want it to), can we get back to discussing how- if possible- the Lions can go down to New Zealand and compete? Specifically, but not constrained to, who coaches them?

The coach is already sorted. It's Gatland. No one else wants the job - they're too busy with family commitments, managing England for world domination, or err eh, managing stuff... Stuart Lancaster should get a role as he's got the time available.

Obviously, the squad should have a very strong component of English players, given their recent successes, plus Stuart Hogg, and a few players from the other unions. If that changes in the next six/seven months, we can look at it again then.


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Post by beshocked on Thu 04 Aug 2016, 10:20 am

miaow the only way I can see Lions competing is if someone like Schimdt is in charge. Seems like he's ruled himself out so that's that then.

Gatland is predictable and stale in terms of tactics, Wales have stagnated under his watch.

If Gatland is in charge then there's no point expecting the Lions to do well, just hope that not too many key England players get crocked.

Pot Hale if Gatland is in charge I'd rather the less England players the better.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Thu 04 Aug 2016, 10:52 am

If it is Gatland, I wonder about his choice of coaches. In Australia, he went for Farrell over Edwards because he wanted a fresh perspective. For all the criticism Farrell got in his last days with England, he impressed the Irish players enough in 2013 that they were happy to have him on board later with the national set-up.

The RFU have apparently indicated they will release Borthwick and Gustard if requested, and you'd think that Gatland might want to consider them as well as Farrell.

However, Edwards has just been told by the WRU that he can't coach Toulon part-time, so you'd imagine he'd take it badly if his gaffer left him out of another Lions tour. Gatland might prefer someone else but end up choosing his long-time associate just to keep everything sweet.

I suppose, in Edwards' favour, he's just seen NZ up close, and is still well-regarded.

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Post by Pot Hale on Thu 04 Aug 2016, 1:11 pm

beshocked wrote:miaow the only way I can see Lions competing is if someone like Schimdt is in charge. Seems like he's ruled himself out so that's that then.

Gatland is predictable and stale in terms of tactics, Wales have stagnated under his watch.

If Gatland is in charge then there's no point expecting the Lions to do well, just hope that not too many key England players get crocked.

Pot Hale if Gatland is in charge I'd rather the less England players the better.

Even if they're the best choice available?
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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu 04 Aug 2016, 2:54 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Haven't seen you moaning about rugby like you do about the Lions though, its all professional now. The things you seemingly dislike are prevalent everywhere.

It's precisely because of professionalism that the Lions are an anachronism.

I suspect it's different for teams like England with huge player pools, but for a country like Ireland that has a very shallow pyramid of players, the good ones need to be looked after more than ever. The IRFU and provinces can only afford so much investment in academies and grass roots rugby, so losing a world class player has a big impact on Test/provincial performance as the quality of the understudies drop off very quickly. Flogging players at the end of a season on a tour where they play twice the games of a normal summer and against fresh opposition out to make individual reputations is a perfect storm. There are plenty of opportunities for players to get career threatening injuries without adding to them on a pointless tour that does nothing to help their country or province.

The concept of a group of players showing up and playing together is pure amateur era, and was fine in the... er... amateur era. Lining them out against a professional team is the most amateurish thing the Lions could do from a rugby perspective, irrespective of how much money rolls in.


It's the most profitable endeavour in world rugby. What could be more professional? From a rugby perspective I'd also point out that the Lions won the last tour and came mighty close in the tour before (thanks for that ROG), so I don't think it's fair to describe the current Lions as an amateur outfit. In fact there isn't anything amateur about it at all.

For some rugby is an anachronism, an essentially amateur sport completely ruined by professionalism. I'm wondering if you're one of those?

The concept of matching a scratch team against the world champions is naive. Occasionally upsets happen like beating Australia last time but one win in the professional era only proves the long odds of that happening.

Rugby isn't an anachronism, because teams were becoming more and more professional whilst others were languishing in the amateur era, the 1995 RWC basically heralded the professional era with everyone given the same ground rules and the sanction for change. Professionalism was inevitable, but the consequences of it were not fully considered by many. Whilst Test teams got paid to train full time together the Lions didn't change and still thought that they didn't have to prepare like their opponents and still stand a chance.

Whether professionalism has been good or bad for rugby is debatable, but it was inevitable. The Lions approach has remained rooted in the amateur era and it is increasingly falling behind. The only anachronism is the Lions concept that says a new team can compete against proven and settled Test outfits. I applaud the underdog spirit however illogical. clap

Sadly for your argument, all evidence is to the contrary. Since rugby turned professional, each and every Lions tour has been very closely fought with the exception of 2005, when the Lions were a collective shambles against a very good AB team.

1997 - Lions won. One of the most memorable Test series I can recall.
2001 - Series went to the wire. The Lions were sensational in the 1st Test, winning it comfortably. Many believe, myself included, that Lions team should have won that series.
2005 - See above.
2009 - One of the hardest and most closely fought Test Series you are likely to see. Watch the 2nd Test again and tell me that it's naïve to suggest the Lions can compete.
2013 - Lions won with a thumping victory in the 3rd Test. Many fans have heavily criticised Warren Gatland for not winning the series by a greater margin (which I personally think is ridiculous).

So, when you consider the facts, your position is untenable.

Professionalism was still in it's infancy in 1997, so it's hard to know what impact that had, also the Saffers were suffering after their RWC triumph and lost a series to the ABs for the first time in their history the previous year.
I agree some tests have been close but at the cost of players putting their bodies on the line and ending up crocked. The Lions maybe should have won in 2001 but they had already lost half a dozen players to injury even before the first Test so were never going to have the depth to see out a series.
2005 was supposedly the most "professional" tour ever, the result was expected more than it was an exception and the trend of career threatening injuries continued.
2009 I agree the series was hard and kept close by heroic bodies on the line bravado - the Captain blamed defeat on the large amount of injuries (hmmm).
So if the closeness of the result is more important than who is victorious it's worth mentioning that the series win against arguably the worst Australian team in the last 20 years, was one kick away from a series loss.

At your request, I've considered the facts presented, and the contra-position remains tenable.


No, what you've done is failed to address the point you initially made, and fallen back on the position that you don't like the Lions because of injuries. I'd freely accept that injuries are a big risk on Lions tours. No problem with that. It's a general issue in rugby, but no doubt the Lions placed a unique strain on players. It wouldn't be such a special achievement to win a series with the Lions if it was easy.

The position which is untenable is that "The only anachronism is the Lions concept that says a new team can compete against proven and settled Test outfits".

That is simply wrong. We know from history that the Lions can compete with settled Test outfits, as I have shown. That is simply undeniable.

Anyway, if it's the probability of success that concerns you, I'd suggest Ireland don't tour the SH ever again, and probably worth sitting out the World Cup as well. Same would apply to Wales and Scotland!

We know from history that the Lions have scraped one win in the last four since the game became truly professional, so that doesn't suggest "all evidence" supports their ability to compete. The point of the tour is a series victory and that is what they are competing for. Keeping the margin of defeat low is a hollow victory if that's what they can realistically achieve.


Firstly, just because it doesn't fit your argument, doesn't mean you can pretend that the game wasn't professional in 1997. It was professional. Players got paid to be rugby players on a full time basis. You can make a false distinction between "professional" versus "truly professional" in your own mind, but the facts are clear: rugby was a professional sport in 1997.

Secondly, I like how you are trying to shift your position from "compete" to "win". You said that it was naïve to suggest the Lions could "compete", and now you are suggesting that the Lions are amateur if they don't win. Naturally I could point out that the Lions did in fact win the last Test series, so recent evidence would negate your new position, but sticking with your initial assertion for a minute, I'd make a very strong argument that the Lions did in fact "compete" in the previous tour to South Africa. In fact it was one of the most closely fought Test series I can recall. If you wish to look at the facts another way, focused solely on victories in the Test series (your amended position, having lost the last argument), I would also point our that the Test series scores since the game turned professional (in the factual sense rather than your own version of it) are as follows:

South Africa: 1-1
Australia: 1-1
New Zealand: 1-0 (with one to play next year)

So, in terms of pure series victories, the only SH country to better the Lions is NZ (played one won one), with the "decider" if you like taking place next year.

I also wonder whether your position that a concept is "naïve" if it doesn't involve a victory stands to reason vis a vis other rugby teams. Why is the Lions an anachronism, and the concept of Ireland (for example) touring the SH not? The Lions are and have been, historically, considerably more successful in terms of victories (despite your level playing field concerns). Do we scrap those tours? Scotland haven't won a World Cup and, I suspect, never will. Do you just not bother? Your "level playing field" position doesn't really work either, because there's no such thing ultimately. Some nations just have better and bigger pools of players than others, with much stronger financial resources. Does your world of contradictory positions require Japan to simply pack up its tent and forget about playing rugby against teams it's unlikely to beat? I personally thought their efforts against South Africa was one of the most thrilling rugby spectacles in World Cup history. Anyway, I digress....

So, to summarise, the Lions can and do "compete". That doesn't mean they win every game, but they do compete. That is obvious and clear. Whether injuries are sustained, or whether you believe it's a level playing field or not, doesn't alter that position. Do I think players could be better protected during Lions summers? Yes, I do. Do I think the scheduling needs to be revisited? Yes, I do. Do I think the Lions will beat New Zealand next year? No, I don't. Do I think the Lions can "compete"? Of course.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu 04 Aug 2016, 3:11 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Competing is different from winning, even though the 2 constantly are confused. The Lions is great, so many people enjoy it and it's a highlight of the game for many. Brilliant way to sell the game as well. Here to stay as everyone agrees. The people on here who don't like internationals tend not to watch or comment on internationals as they know it's here to stay.
I agree the Lions are in no danger of disappearing - for now. There are enough well-heeled ex-rugby players who have the time and money to boost the SH economy every four years and reminisce about when they were fit over a pint or eight.
If the home nations actually start to improve against their SH counterparts despite the Lions millstone holding them back and the Lions go on a losing streak it will be interesting to see if there will be enough remnants from the current fan-base to generate the revenues required to keep the outdated concept going.


You really believe all this stuff don't you??

Considerably more people turn out to support the Lions on tour than any of its constituent rugby nations. That support is only increasing. The numbers and facts support that. It's reflected on these boards as well. Compare the interest, for example, in the Lions tour next year vs the interest in Ireland's tour of SA this year, Wales' tour of NZ, England's tour of Australia or Scotland's tour of Japan.

The Lions does and will always thrive because once every four years we have something unique and different. You have the endlessly enjoyable selection debates for each and every game, a form of fantasy rugby for all fans, and the fact that each tour is necessarily different with players brought together who are ordinarily fierce rivals. For all the reasons we have discussed, it's also a unique challenge for the players and coaches. A full touring schedule in the most challenging and hostile rugby environments on the planet. I'm not an ex-rugby player, but booking myself on one of these fantastic tours is the first thing I'm going to do when I find myself with the luxury of time.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Thu 04 Aug 2016, 4:42 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:...The Lions does and will always thrive because once every four years we have something unique and different...
That seems like too strong a stance to me. You can support the Lions concept while still acknowledging that questions about its future do come up; most recently after the acrimony of the 2005 tour, which had followed on the heels of a fractious tour in 2001. One reason 2009 was so important, is that another tour like the previous two might well have dampened enthusiasm among players, fans and sponsors.

BOD is on record as saying that he didn't really enjoy the Lions, and get what it was about, until 2009. Certainly, he had a very high profile reason to be miserable about 2005, but when one of the best players among the Home Nations (arguably the best) wasn't entirely sold for a time, then it's fair to say that there's nothing inevitable about the Lions continuing. The concept has to prove itself every four years.

(Funnily enough, while BOD was loving the Lions, opposition captain John Smit was quite vocal afterwards saying he thought the Lions tradition was dead. He said the Lions squad turned down offers to socialize, even before there was bad blood between the sides, and tried to palm the Springboks off with replica shirts when the teams came to swap).

I have no doubt that the Lions makes a lot of money, and is currently regarded well by all. At the same time, I agree with Aukster that it is very disruptive for the World Cup planning of all home nations. There's a fair argument to make that it's a price worth paying for the entertainment value and tradition, but I'm sceptical of claims that the Lions develops players, or gives them any extra confidence against southern hemisphere opposition.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu 04 Aug 2016, 5:37 pm

I suppose time will ultimately tell. I never imagined we'd leave the EU, nor did I think my two-year old daughter would draw on the walls of my bedroom if I left my pen on the bedside table, which goes to show that I'm not always right.

I'm not going to sit here and say the Lions is perfect. I think the whole rugby calendar needs some work if the Lions are going to thrive to their potential, as well as the currently ridiculous schedule being served up by the Kiwis. I would also agree that Sir Clive "Winning" Woodward tested the concept to destruction with the tour in 2005, albeit that no rugby side in the world, regardless of preparation, would have beaten that NZ side on that sort of form. I also think England's 2003 success slightly dampened enthusiasm with the English (the largest group of supporters) for the Lions concept, as I'm sure they felt that the Lions were inferior to that World Cup winning side (and they'd be right).

Still, happy to bet a virtual pint that the Lions will continue to thrive in my lifetime at the very least!

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Post by Pot Hale on Thu 04 Aug 2016, 6:03 pm

Good comments FES.

Agree with some of what you say.

The scheduling of the Lions tour is what dilutes most from what it could be. And if any changes to global schedule occur, I'd hope that could be accommodated. The old SANZAR bloc want June tests to shift to July and RWCs to Oct/Nov.

The one change I'd like to see to Lions tours is for it to extend its reach into other territories. Why not have a Lions tour to Argentina in the next schedule with a game against US or Canada at the start? Or a series against France & Italy with matches held in places like Barcelona?

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Post by eirebilly on Thu 04 Aug 2016, 7:20 pm

beshocked wrote:miaow the only way I can see Lions competing is if someone like Schimdt is in charge. Seems like he's ruled himself out so that's that then.

Gatland is predictable and stale in terms of tactics, Wales have stagnated under his watch.

If Gatland is in charge then there's no point expecting the Lions to do well, just hope that not too many key England players get crocked.

Pot Hale if Gatland is in charge I'd rather the less England players the better.

Gatland, the man that won a Lions series in Australia?

I am not a Welsh fan but Gatland is/has more than proven his credentials as an International coach.

I would consider Lancaster to be a very good coach for the Lions myself.
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Post by eirebilly on Thu 04 Aug 2016, 7:37 pm

Oh and long may the Lions continue. Been fortunate enough to go on 2 tours. Met and mingled with some of the best rugby fans from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and formed friendships with them. Only a Lions tour afforded that opportunity.
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Post by funnyExiledScot on Fri 05 Aug 2016, 11:53 am

eirebilly wrote:Oh and long may the Lions continue. Been fortunate enough to go on 2 tours. Met and mingled with some of the best rugby fans from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and formed friendships with them. Only a Lions tour afforded that opportunity.

Absolutely.

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Post by ebop on Fri 05 Aug 2016, 1:38 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:2005 - See above.
Lol, sweeping under the carpet Hug
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Post by funnyExiledScot on Fri 05 Aug 2016, 1:44 pm

ebop wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:2005 - See above.
Lol, sweeping under the carpet Hug

Yep, I could bear to describe that debacle more than once. I still wake in a cold sweat with images of Sir Clive Woodward having photos taken with Gavin Henson, just to prove that they are friends, Alistair Campbell getting off the Lions bus and watching Wilkinson playing at 12, looking hopelessly out of his depth.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Fri 05 Aug 2016, 10:12 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Haven't seen you moaning about rugby like you do about the Lions though, its all professional now. The things you seemingly dislike are prevalent everywhere.

It's precisely because of professionalism that the Lions are an anachronism.

I suspect it's different for teams like England with huge player pools, but for a country like Ireland that has a very shallow pyramid of players, the good ones need to be looked after more than ever. The IRFU and provinces can only afford so much investment in academies and grass roots rugby, so losing a world class player has a big impact on Test/provincial performance as the quality of the understudies drop off very quickly. Flogging players at the end of a season on a tour where they play twice the games of a normal summer and against fresh opposition out to make individual reputations is a perfect storm. There are plenty of opportunities for players to get career threatening injuries without adding to them on a pointless tour that does nothing to help their country or province.

The concept of a group of players showing up and playing together is pure amateur era, and was fine in the... er... amateur era. Lining them out against a professional team is the most amateurish thing the Lions could do from a rugby perspective, irrespective of how much money rolls in.


It's the most profitable endeavour in world rugby. What could be more professional? From a rugby perspective I'd also point out that the Lions won the last tour and came mighty close in the tour before (thanks for that ROG), so I don't think it's fair to describe the current Lions as an amateur outfit. In fact there isn't anything amateur about it at all.

For some rugby is an anachronism, an essentially amateur sport completely ruined by professionalism. I'm wondering if you're one of those?

The concept of matching a scratch team against the world champions is naive. Occasionally upsets happen like beating Australia last time but one win in the professional era only proves the long odds of that happening.

Rugby isn't an anachronism, because teams were becoming more and more professional whilst others were languishing in the amateur era, the 1995 RWC basically heralded the professional era with everyone given the same ground rules and the sanction for change. Professionalism was inevitable, but the consequences of it were not fully considered by many. Whilst Test teams got paid to train full time together the Lions didn't change and still thought that they didn't have to prepare like their opponents and still stand a chance.

Whether professionalism has been good or bad for rugby is debatable, but it was inevitable. The Lions approach has remained rooted in the amateur era and it is increasingly falling behind. The only anachronism is the Lions concept that says a new team can compete against proven and settled Test outfits. I applaud the underdog spirit however illogical. clap

Sadly for your argument, all evidence is to the contrary. Since rugby turned professional, each and every Lions tour has been very closely fought with the exception of 2005, when the Lions were a collective shambles against a very good AB team.

1997 - Lions won. One of the most memorable Test series I can recall.
2001 - Series went to the wire. The Lions were sensational in the 1st Test, winning it comfortably. Many believe, myself included, that Lions team should have won that series.
2005 - See above.
2009 - One of the hardest and most closely fought Test Series you are likely to see. Watch the 2nd Test again and tell me that it's naïve to suggest the Lions can compete.
2013 - Lions won with a thumping victory in the 3rd Test. Many fans have heavily criticised Warren Gatland for not winning the series by a greater margin (which I personally think is ridiculous).

So, when you consider the facts, your position is untenable.

Professionalism was still in it's infancy in 1997, so it's hard to know what impact that had, also the Saffers were suffering after their RWC triumph and lost a series to the ABs for the first time in their history the previous year.
I agree some tests have been close but at the cost of players putting their bodies on the line and ending up crocked. The Lions maybe should have won in 2001 but they had already lost half a dozen players to injury even before the first Test so were never going to have the depth to see out a series.
2005 was supposedly the most "professional" tour ever, the result was expected more than it was an exception and the trend of career threatening injuries continued.
2009 I agree the series was hard and kept close by heroic bodies on the line bravado - the Captain blamed defeat on the large amount of injuries (hmmm).
So if the closeness of the result is more important than who is victorious it's worth mentioning that the series win against arguably the worst Australian team in the last 20 years, was one kick away from a series loss.

At your request, I've considered the facts presented, and the contra-position remains tenable.


No, what you've done is failed to address the point you initially made, and fallen back on the position that you don't like the Lions because of injuries. I'd freely accept that injuries are a big risk on Lions tours. No problem with that. It's a general issue in rugby, but no doubt the Lions placed a unique strain on players. It wouldn't be such a special achievement to win a series with the Lions if it was easy.

The position which is untenable is that "The only anachronism is the Lions concept that says a new team can compete against proven and settled Test outfits".

That is simply wrong. We know from history that the Lions can compete with settled Test outfits, as I have shown. That is simply undeniable.

Anyway, if it's the probability of success that concerns you, I'd suggest Ireland don't tour the SH ever again, and probably worth sitting out the World Cup as well. Same would apply to Wales and Scotland!

We know from history that the Lions have scraped one win in the last four since the game became truly professional, so that doesn't suggest "all evidence" supports their ability to compete. The point of the tour is a series victory and that is what they are competing for. Keeping the margin of defeat low is a hollow victory if that's what they can realistically achieve.


Firstly, just because it doesn't fit your argument, doesn't mean you can pretend that the game wasn't professional in 1997. It was professional. Players got paid to be rugby players on a full time basis. You can make a false distinction between "professional" versus "truly professional" in your own mind, but the facts are clear: rugby was a professional sport in 1997.

Secondly, I like how you are trying to shift your position from "compete" to "win". You said that it was naïve to suggest the Lions could "compete", and now you are suggesting that the Lions are amateur if they don't win. Naturally I could point out that the Lions did in fact win the last Test series, so recent evidence would negate your new position, but sticking with your initial assertion for a minute, I'd make a very strong argument that the Lions did in fact "compete" in the previous tour to South Africa. In fact it was one of the most closely fought Test series I can recall. If you wish to look at the facts another way, focused solely on victories in the Test series (your amended position, having lost the last argument), I would also point our that the Test series scores since the game turned professional (in the factual sense rather than your own version of it) are as follows:

South Africa: 1-1
Australia: 1-1
New Zealand: 1-0 (with one to play next year)

So, in terms of pure series victories, the only SH country to better the Lions is NZ (played one won one), with the "decider" if you like taking place next year.

I also wonder whether your position that a concept is "naïve" if it doesn't involve a victory stands to reason vis a vis other rugby teams. Why is the Lions an anachronism, and the concept of Ireland (for example) touring the SH not? The Lions are and have been, historically, considerably more successful in terms of victories (despite your level playing field concerns). Do we scrap those tours? Scotland haven't won a World Cup and, I suspect, never will. Do you just not bother? Your "level playing field" position doesn't really work either, because there's no such thing ultimately. Some nations just have better and bigger pools of players than others, with much stronger financial resources. Does your world of contradictory positions require Japan to simply pack up its tent and forget about playing rugby against teams it's unlikely to beat? I personally thought their efforts against South Africa was one of the most thrilling rugby spectacles in World Cup history. Anyway, I digress....

So, to summarise, the Lions can and do "compete". That doesn't mean they win every game, but they do compete. That is obvious and clear. Whether injuries are sustained, or whether you believe it's a level playing field or not, doesn't alter that position. Do I think players could be better protected during Lions summers? Yes, I do. Do I think the scheduling needs to be revisited? Yes, I do. Do I think the Lions will beat New Zealand next year? No, I don't. Do I think the Lions can "compete"? Of course.

FES - The Lions have won one of the last four series, it's on Google. Maybe people consider that as being competitive - I don't. BTW there were plenty of club sides that still had amateur players on their books up to 2000, and that is where the Lions were supplied from, so I don't concede that the game was totally professional in 1997.

I realise this is labouring the point but there is a fairly obvious difference between a Test team and the Lions in that the former has players practising together for a long time and the latter doesn't. It may be old fashioned to think that hard work through practice actually makes a difference, but the alternative is just to think it'll be all alright on the night? It actually undermines rugby as a team sport to suggest that time spent together as a team is irrelevant and paradoxically is against the original ethos of the Lions teams that lived together for months.

Naive means lacking experience or judgement - terms that are totally apposite for a group of scratch players who haven't learnt to trust each other. The irony is that the Lions tours stop teams like Scotland building the muscle memory to become great.

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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Fri 05 Aug 2016, 10:23 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:Naive means lacking experience or judgement - terms that are totally apposite for a group of scratch players who haven't learnt to trust each other. The irony is that the Lions tours stop teams like Scotland building the muscle memory to become great.

Nonsense, Scotland stop Scotland being great by being consistently rubbish, and I won't have anyone try and tell me different! Whistle

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Post by Poorfour on Fri 05 Aug 2016, 10:58 pm

Actually, Aukster, 3 of the last 4 Lions tours have been highly competitive.

The 2001 Tour came down to a botched lineout in the 3rd test (and the illegal and cynical taking out of Richard Hill in the second test).

The 2005 tour was an unmitigated disaster - though the lack of sanction for the horrifying off-the-ball spear tackle on O'Driscoll still rankles a decade later.

The 2009 tour looks one sided on paper but the Lions were hampered by an interpretation of the scrum that allowed Mtwarira to bore in quite blatantly all through the first two tests. Had that been refereed properly it would have made a huge difference to the series.

And the Lions won the 2013 one, though only courtesy of a loose bit of turf in the first test.

It's been close enough against Australia and SA to suggest that the Lions can still work as a concept - though I think they are still some way from being ready to challenge NZ with a realistic chance of winning.
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Post by nlpnlp on Sat 06 Aug 2016, 1:01 am

Lets have a bet then.  I bet there is a Lions tour to New Zealand next year and I bet there is a Lions tour every 4 years for as long as I live and beyond.  Why?  Because in the professional age of rugby, money talks and all the bull sh!t a lot of you talk walks.  All the home countries benefit massively from the Lions brand and will not contemplate giving it up.  I accept some of you may not like it - you put your country first before the Lions, or your club before your country, but for me fortunately those in charge still 'believe' in the Lions.  As a player I was never better than a county player, but playing for the Lions would always have been higher than playing for England.

I would dare any of you 'slagging off' the Lions to say this to Willie John McBride.  I doubt any of you would have the  cajones.  If you don't like the Lions fine, hide behind the sofa.  if any player doesn't believe in the Lions then they don't need to turn up, yet they all do.

Whether the Lions win or lose is not the end of the world.  More often than not they have been competitive.  But always rugby is the winner.  That is what is important. not England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sat 06 Aug 2016, 11:14 am

Poorfour wrote:Actually, Aukster, 3 of the last 4 Lions tours have been highly competitive.

The 2001 Tour came down to a botched lineout in the 3rd test (and the illegal and cynical taking out of Richard Hill in the second test).

The 2005 tour was an unmitigated disaster -  though the lack of sanction for the horrifying off-the-ball spear tackle on O'Driscoll still rankles a decade later.

The 2009 tour looks one sided on paper but the Lions were hampered by an interpretation of the scrum that allowed Mtwarira to bore in quite blatantly all through the first two tests. Had that been refereed properly it would have made a huge difference to the series.

And the Lions won the 2013 one, though only courtesy of a loose bit of turf in the first test.

It's been close enough against Australia and SA to suggest that the Lions can still work as a concept -  though I think they are still some way from being ready to challenge NZ with a realistic chance of winning.

That's a fair assessment Poorfour.

The debate has been centred around the postulation that winning or losing isn't a sign of being competitive yet close results are. As you say the difference between winning or losing can come down to a single incident - however that logic can equally be applied to the closeness of the result where a marginal decision keeps the result close in an otherwise cast iron victory.

This is just semantics in the big picture. My assertion is that the Lions are at a massive disadvantage because they are uncoached and unpracticed compared to the opposition who are the exact opposite. The gulf can only be narrowed by players digging so deep into their personal resources that they render themselves totally drained and vulnerable.

As professionalism has developed, players in their home teams have personal trainers and dieticians, their teams have some or all of backs/forwards/defence/scrum and kicking coaches as well as analysts and strategists etc. and this is all supposed to come together to create a coherent team. The SANZAR nations have all of this and had the time to reap the benefit of it, in marked contrast to the Lions.

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Post by Poorfour on Sat 06 Aug 2016, 11:49 am

Agreed, Aukster. The Lions are at a huge disadvantage in terms of experience in playing together, especially given that the professional game doesn't allow time for long tours.

Given we're only 4 tours into the professional era, it's probably too soon to say whether that's an insurmountable obstacle. It's possible that - much as I dislike it - Gatland's answer of taking one nation's template and augmenting it with players who fit the template well is the only viable route to success. It's also very likely that while Australia and South Africa will be beatable, New Zealand will be a step too far - at least until one of the home nations is strong enough to win a tour in NZ in its own right (which as history shows is not something any team has done with any regularity).
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