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Post by abarnbrook on Sun 04 Dec 2016, 7:08 pm

First topic message reminder :

Looking at the recent internationals and to beat allblack you need pace and vision so this is my team so far! 1.m.vunipola 2.hartley 3.furlong 4.itoje 5.kruis 6.faletau 7.stander 8. B.vunipola 9. Youngs 10.ford 11.watson 12.farrell 13.joseph 14.l.williams 15. Hogg 16.best 17.mcgrath 18.lee 19 .henderson 20.o'brien 21.murray 22.henshaw 23.north

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Post by Sin é on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 12:31 pm

Clive misquoted Paul O'Connell there. And Ireland has a decent record against SH teams (and England for that matter in recent years).

This is what POC said:

The Six Nations will pay a price next season, club owners will pay a price. Guys will be worn out and injured. To me as a player, the Lions was the ultimate. I loved it. And I just think it should be looked after a little better in the calendar.

I think they’re playing their first game six days after the end of the domestic season. I’m tempted to say – what chance do they have? What chance do they have to spend a bit of time together to become a team, which is really, really important.

I think Clive missed the bit as a 'player' (i.e., competitive sport mans getting picked from a selection of 4 nations).
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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 12:43 pm

Sin é wrote:Clive misquoted Paul O'Connell there. And Ireland has a decent record against SH teams (and England for that matter in recent years)...
I think Irish fans and press are right to pick him up on that. I've said myself that I was so focused on England's performances that I was oblivious to how bad our record against Ireland got in the years following the 2003 World Cup.


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Post by eirebilly on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 1:12 pm

I really pay no heed to what Woodward say's. He was the worst Lions coach ever and I would argue that he was a lucky coach to have had so many onfield leaders in 2003 to win the RWC.

He simply spends too much of his time trying to wind up the Celtic nations.
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Post by nlpnlp on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 8:35 pm

Sorry but I think there is a bit of sour grapes there.  Woodward was a great 'coach' - but a great English coach not a great Irish, Welsh or Scottish coach.  To say England were so good in 2003 because of the players is true, but it takes a good coach to pick them and get them to play the way they did.
I don't think he wastes his time trying to wind up anyone, he is what he is a very tunnelled visioned individual who thinks his way is right.  I think the same attributes could be said to apply to Gatland and plenty of other top coaches.
By all means you are welcome to your views, but it does smack of 'anti English' chip on the shoulder.  I am just waiting to see what abuse is levelled at Eddie Jones when England continue to dominate the 6 Nations - can he be accused of being arrogant, a wind up merchant, anti celt as an Australian?

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Post by eirebilly on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 8:47 pm

I assure you nlpnlp, I am very much not anti English. Check my posting history if you wish.

I simply do feel that SCW was a very average coach in the right place at the right time with the right players, it happens. You do have a point about him picking the correct players but every pundit in the world could see what was the best England squad then as they were all stars.

Accuse me for having a chip on my shoulder if you will but it really isn't, kind of says more about you than me thumbsup
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Post by The Great Aukster on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 9:18 pm

Woodward is still the only NH coach to have produced a RWC winning team - so it is interesting that he highlights the damage the Lions did in achieving that. It is also interesting that Jones counters with making the best of the hand he has been dealt, rather than address the issues raised.
Which England player considered the Lions important - could it have been Robshaw or Hartley?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 9:26 pm

Jones actually said he wants as many England players as possible to go and taste victory with the Lions as well as publicly backing his coaches prior to Borthwick being the sole rep. You don't like the Lions or see the benefit or just the plain old fact it's our team.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 9:45 pm

Which England player considered the Lions important - could it have been Robshaw or Hartley?

It might of been Haskel.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 10:22 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Jones actually said he wants as many England players as possible to go and taste victory with the Lions as well as publicly backing his coaches prior to Borthwick being the sole rep. You don't like the Lions or see the benefit or just the plain old fact it's our team.

He would say that wouldn't he! Seriously, he's hardly going to say he wants as many England players to go and come back beaten and bruised.

It's interesting you describe the Lions as 'our team'. Considering they have no time to develop together they aren't really a team at all especially compared to their opponents. Neither are they 'ours' as they are chosen by an appointed coach with his own bias and agendae. You only have to look at the discussion on Gatland to see how many fans of the Lions do not consider him a suitable candidate to represent them.

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Post by lostinwales on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 10:48 pm

CW was right about Balshaw though. What happened to him was the thing that made me really start to question the whole Lions thing

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Post by Sin é on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 1:10 am

nlpnlp wrote:Sorry but I think there is a bit of sour grapes there.  Woodward was a great 'coach' - but a great English coach not a great Irish, Welsh or Scottish coach.  To say England were so good in 2003 because of the players is true, but it takes a good coach to pick them and get them to play the way they did.
I don't think he wastes his time trying to wind up anyone, he is what he is a very tunnelled visioned individual who thinks his way is right.  I think the same attributes could be said to apply to Gatland and plenty of other top coaches.
By all means you are welcome to your views, but it does smack of 'anti English' chip on the shoulder.  I am just waiting to see what abuse is levelled at Eddie Jones when England continue to dominate the 6 Nations - can he be accused of being arrogant, a wind up merchant, anti celt as an Australian?

First of all, there were about 20 England players on the Lions 1997 to SA - so I'd imagine that would have helped towards their development - i.e., Johnson was captain without much experience as a captain.

I think maybe Clive has missed that since his tour of 2005 to NZ, there has been a very small contingent of England players making the Lions. This might explain why it doesn't mean that much to them nowadays as they have very little experience of it, though winning a world cup would probably have meant more to the likes of Dallagio, Johnson etc.


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Post by 123456789 on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 1:31 am

This discussion on the whether the Lions or national teams are bigger ignores the very context of the Lions.

If you asked 100 random players from the home unions squads if they'd be up for a full time British and Irish team to represent these four nations on the international scene then I'd guess 95% would refuse without a moment's thought.

But the Lions are undoubtedly special; to be selected you have to be amongst the best players from four of the top 10 rugby teams in the world. To win a series you have to become a team capable of taking on the world's best within 8-10 weeks. No matter how good these players are this is an enormous challenge, how many club sides do we see sign large numbers of stars and fail to gel?

As a Scotsman whose spent more than 90 percent of his life in England and lived predominantly with Irish people at uni the Lions is one of those rare events when I could sit and enjoy a beer and get behind the same team as them (and also drink in the morning without judgement thanks to the wonder of time zones).

I think that is the same for the players but multiplied by 100, I think the Lions tours are entirely different to playing for a country, not above and not below. They seem more about the bonds between the players, most of them won't have toured for that long before and about the history of the shirt and what it represents. I don't think it should be viewed as distinct from playing for one's nation but rather as an extension of it.

As for the allegation that it is not "our" team but rather the coach's team because it is influenced heavily by individual bias and agenda that argument could be levelled at any team, if you'd supported Scotland between 2004 and 2014 you'd understand better than anyone.

The one theory against it is that it strikes of a lack of ambition on behalf of the constituent nations, but I think professional era has removed that element. It's now about overcoming the logistical challenge as much as the playing one and I'm but a rugby championship team would encounter similar difficulties touring in the NH.

I'd love to see a kind of uber tour one year in which a test is played in say South Africa, NZ, Australia in June and then in Wales, England and Ireland before a decider either in one of the unused countries or a neutral venue such as in the USA between a Lions team and a rugby championship one. But that is pie in the sky, and probably for very good reasons.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 9:54 am

So don't watch it aukster. You don't like it just watch your own teams tour.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 12:16 pm

123456789 wrote:This discussion on the whether the Lions or national teams are bigger ignores the very context of the Lions.

If you asked 100 random players from the home unions squads if they'd be up for a full time British and Irish team to represent these four nations on the international scene then I'd guess 95% would refuse without a moment's thought.

But the Lions are undoubtedly special; to be selected you have to be amongst the best players from four of the top 10 rugby teams in the world. To win a series you have to become  a team capable of taking on the world's best within 8-10 weeks. No matter how good these players are this is an enormous challenge, how many club sides do we see sign large numbers of stars and fail to gel?

As a Scotsman whose spent more than 90 percent of his life in England and lived predominantly with Irish people at uni the Lions is one of those rare events when I could sit and enjoy a beer and get behind the same team as them (and also drink in the morning without judgement thanks to the wonder of time zones).

I think that is the same for the players but multiplied by 100, I think the Lions tours are entirely different to playing for a country, not above and not below. They seem more about the bonds between the players, most of them won't have toured for that long before and about the history of the shirt and what it represents. I don't think it should be viewed as distinct from playing for one's nation but rather as an extension of it.

As for the allegation that it is not "our" team but rather the coach's team because it is influenced heavily by individual bias and agenda that argument could be levelled at any team, if you'd supported Scotland between 2004 and 2014 you'd understand better than anyone.

The one theory against it is that it strikes of a lack of ambition on behalf of the constituent nations, but I think professional era has removed that element. It's now about overcoming the logistical challenge as much as the playing one and I'm but a rugby championship team would encounter similar difficulties touring in the NH.

I'd love to see a kind of uber tour one year in which a test is played in say South Africa, NZ, Australia in June and then in Wales, England and Ireland before a decider either in one of the unused countries or a neutral venue such as in the USA between a Lions team and a rugby championship one. But that is pie in the sky, and probably for very good reasons.

Good point about the fans getting behind one team, although the 6N fans join together before and after games anyway so it's not that big a difference. Since the game went professional and the Irish/Welsh/Scots play each other regularly there is far less liklihood of players 'bonding', because they are competing against each other more regularly at Test and Club level. The players are fans too (or at least one English player is) but porbably love it as much for the £80k they'll get in their hand and their increased contractual value to their agent.

I agree every coach will have their bias but the big difference is they are dealing with players day in and out over years and know implicitly their strengths and weaknesses. The Lions coach doesn't care about managing players only results and so could easily wreck a player programme for his home nation. At least all the Scots tried under different coaches advanced Scotland's knowledge about them, and their knowledge of each other. Knowing Billy V is a big lump who can carry, doesn't help Scotland in the Calcutta Cup.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 12:20 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:So don't watch it aukster. You don't like it just watch your own teams tour.

Thanks for the advice... again Broken Record

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 12:29 pm

You still seem to be complaining about a team you don't follow or care about though. Very much a broken record yourself.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 3:09 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:You still seem to be complaining about a team you don't follow or care about though.  Very much a broken record yourself.

Broken Record This type of broken record doesn't play does it! Wink

Highlighting the damage caused by the Lions is a sign of caring about them.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 3:14 pm

Lions is here to stay. Much easier to campaign for fewer club club games. Or AIS. Or reduce to 5Ns. Or even 4Ns.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 4:03 pm

I agree there's too much money in it for the SANZAR nations for it ever to be scrapped. That doesn't mean it should continue unchanged and unchecked while the rugby world around it has totally changed.

Reducing club games would ease the pressure on the International players involved in the Lions and would be exactly the sort of amelioration that responsible Lions followers should indeed care about and be campaigning for.

Why would I campaign to reduce the current Test rota, when it is the meaningless Lions games that are overloading the players and overcrowding the schedule?

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Post by SecretFly on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 4:25 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Lions is here to stay. Much easier to campaign for fewer club club games. Or AIS.  Or reduce to 5Ns. Or even 4Ns.

So was Britain's membership of the EU. Time loves tricks.

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Post by 123456789 on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 5:14 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
123456789 wrote:This discussion on the whether the Lions or national teams are bigger ignores the very context of the Lions.

If you asked 100 random players from the home unions squads if they'd be up for a full time British and Irish team to represent these four nations on the international scene then I'd guess 95% would refuse without a moment's thought.

But the Lions are undoubtedly special; to be selected you have to be amongst the best players from four of the top 10 rugby teams in the world. To win a series you have to become  a team capable of taking on the world's best within 8-10 weeks. No matter how good these players are this is an enormous challenge, how many club sides do we see sign large numbers of stars and fail to gel?

As a Scotsman whose spent more than 90 percent of his life in England and lived predominantly with Irish people at uni the Lions is one of those rare events when I could sit and enjoy a beer and get behind the same team as them (and also drink in the morning without judgement thanks to the wonder of time zones).

I think that is the same for the players but multiplied by 100, I think the Lions tours are entirely different to playing for a country, not above and not below. They seem more about the bonds between the players, most of them won't have toured for that long before and about the history of the shirt and what it represents. I don't think it should be viewed as distinct from playing for one's nation but rather as an extension of it.

As for the allegation that it is not "our" team but rather the coach's team because it is influenced heavily by individual bias and agenda that argument could be levelled at any team, if you'd supported Scotland between 2004 and 2014 you'd understand better than anyone.

The one theory against it is that it strikes of a lack of ambition on behalf of the constituent nations, but I think professional era has removed that element. It's now about overcoming the logistical challenge as much as the playing one and I'm but a rugby championship team would encounter similar difficulties touring in the NH.

I'd love to see a kind of uber tour one year in which a test is played in say South Africa, NZ, Australia in June and then in Wales, England and Ireland before a decider either in one of the unused countries or a neutral venue such as in the USA between a Lions team and a rugby championship one. But that is pie in the sky, and probably for very good reasons.

Good point about the fans getting behind one team, although the 6N fans join together before and after games anyway so it's not that big a difference. Since the game went professional and the Irish/Welsh/Scots play each other regularly there is far less liklihood of players 'bonding', because they are competing against each other more regularly at Test and Club level. The players are fans too (or at least one English player is) but porbably love it as much for the £80k they'll get in their hand and their increased contractual value to their agent.

I agree every coach will have their bias but the big difference is they are dealing with players day in and out over years and know implicitly their strengths and weaknesses. The Lions coach doesn't care about managing players only results and so could easily wreck a player programme for his home nation. At least all the Scots tried under different coaches advanced Scotland's knowledge about them, and their knowledge of each other. Knowing Billy V is a big lump who can carry, doesn't help Scotland in the Calcutta Cup.

In terms of the benefits for those involved. I think Scottish players who toured in 1997 and 2001 saw that these much vaunted players from the other countries were in reality no better than those who they played with for their country. Whilst their best players are off playing with the best from other nations and using that experience to better themselves the countries go and tour elsewhere and in doings so forces new players to take on leadership roles.

Say 5 Scotland players are selected to tour; for argument's sake Nel, Gray Laidlaw, Russell and Hogg go then Scotland's scrummaging lynchpin, lineout caller, captain, playmaker and star player are unavailable. The drop off from these players is significant in quality and so by bringing in players to replace them then the depth improves and the other players there have to step up in terms of responsibility.

Of course it is different for the other three countries who will expect the number of representatives to reach double figures as they will be finding almost entirely new teams but Eddie Jones' take on it seemed a fairly positive one.

In terms of what it means for rugby, New Zealand have been head and shoulders above the rest of rugby in all bar one game, if the Lions get it right, and I respect that it is a big if, then it will be a titanic battle. The Lions comprises the 2, 4,5 and 7th best teams in the world and New Zealand are arguably the most dominant rugby team in history. It could be up there with the greatest test series of all time.


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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 5:50 pm

True fly. You can always count on morons to mess things up.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 9:12 pm

123456789 wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
123456789 wrote:This discussion on the whether the Lions or national teams are bigger ignores the very context of the Lions.

If you asked 100 random players from the home unions squads if they'd be up for a full time British and Irish team to represent these four nations on the international scene then I'd guess 95% would refuse without a moment's thought.

But the Lions are undoubtedly special; to be selected you have to be amongst the best players from four of the top 10 rugby teams in the world. To win a series you have to become  a team capable of taking on the world's best within 8-10 weeks. No matter how good these players are this is an enormous challenge, how many club sides do we see sign large numbers of stars and fail to gel?

As a Scotsman whose spent more than 90 percent of his life in England and lived predominantly with Irish people at uni the Lions is one of those rare events when I could sit and enjoy a beer and get behind the same team as them (and also drink in the morning without judgement thanks to the wonder of time zones).

I think that is the same for the players but multiplied by 100, I think the Lions tours are entirely different to playing for a country, not above and not below. They seem more about the bonds between the players, most of them won't have toured for that long before and about the history of the shirt and what it represents. I don't think it should be viewed as distinct from playing for one's nation but rather as an extension of it.

As for the allegation that it is not "our" team but rather the coach's team because it is influenced heavily by individual bias and agenda that argument could be levelled at any team, if you'd supported Scotland between 2004 and 2014 you'd understand better than anyone.

The one theory against it is that it strikes of a lack of ambition on behalf of the constituent nations, but I think professional era has removed that element. It's now about overcoming the logistical challenge as much as the playing one and I'm but a rugby championship team would encounter similar difficulties touring in the NH.

I'd love to see a kind of uber tour one year in which a test is played in say South Africa, NZ, Australia in June and then in Wales, England and Ireland before a decider either in one of the unused countries or a neutral venue such as in the USA between a Lions team and a rugby championship one. But that is pie in the sky, and probably for very good reasons.

Good point about the fans getting behind one team, although the 6N fans join together before and after games anyway so it's not that big a difference. Since the game went professional and the Irish/Welsh/Scots play each other regularly there is far less liklihood of players 'bonding', because they are competing against each other more regularly at Test and Club level. The players are fans too (or at least one English player is) but porbably love it as much for the £80k they'll get in their hand and their increased contractual value to their agent.

I agree every coach will have their bias but the big difference is they are dealing with players day in and out over years and know implicitly their strengths and weaknesses. The Lions coach doesn't care about managing players only results and so could easily wreck a player programme for his home nation. At least all the Scots tried under different coaches advanced Scotland's knowledge about them, and their knowledge of each other. Knowing Billy V is a big lump who can carry, doesn't help Scotland in the Calcutta Cup.

In terms of the benefits for those involved. I think Scottish players who toured in 1997 and 2001 saw that these much vaunted players from the other countries were in reality no better than those who they played with for their country. Whilst their best players are off playing with the best from other nations and using that experience to better themselves the countries go and tour elsewhere and in doings so forces new players to take on leadership roles.

Say 5 Scotland players are selected to tour; for argument's sake Nel, Gray Laidlaw, Russell and Hogg go then Scotland's scrummaging lynchpin, lineout caller, captain, playmaker and star player are unavailable. The drop off from these players is significant in quality and so by bringing in players to replace them then the depth improves and the other players there have to step up in terms of responsibility.

Of course it is different for the other three countries who will expect the number of representatives to reach double figures as they will be finding almost entirely new teams but Eddie Jones' take on it seemed a fairly positive one.

In terms of what it means for rugby, New Zealand have been head and shoulders above the rest of rugby in all bar one game, if the Lions get it right, and I respect that it is a big if, then it will be a titanic battle. The Lions comprises the 2, 4,5 and 7th best teams in the world and New Zealand are arguably the most dominant rugby team in history. It could be up there with the greatest test series of all time.


The Scotland coach can rotate his players whenever he wishes to build depth and if he needs the excuse of the Lions to do so then it is lihely he either isn't strong enough or isn't able to plan well enough. Taking the spine of decision makers out of Scotland is an artificial situation unlikely to be ever repeated except during a Lions year and so not only are those key players fish out of water in an alien Lions squad but their replacements know they are makeweights in a team with a totally different dynamic to the normal Test side. You make a good point that the problem worsens with increased selection numbers.

Regarding the best test series of all time, that seems a tad fanciful given recent history. The All Blacks for all their professionalism and depth suffered in Chicago because their second row was inexperienced with the team - the whiole Lions team is in that position so a close contest isn't in the offing. Any of the four home nations against the Lions would be closer than the All Blacks, but even those may not be especially close.

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Post by 123456789 on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 9:39 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
123456789 wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
123456789 wrote:This discussion on the whether the Lions or national teams are bigger ignores the very context of the Lions.

If you asked 100 random players from the home unions squads if they'd be up for a full time British and Irish team to represent these four nations on the international scene then I'd guess 95% would refuse without a moment's thought.

But the Lions are undoubtedly special; to be selected you have to be amongst the best players from four of the top 10 rugby teams in the world. To win a series you have to become  a team capable of taking on the world's best within 8-10 weeks. No matter how good these players are this is an enormous challenge, how many club sides do we see sign large numbers of stars and fail to gel?

As a Scotsman whose spent more than 90 percent of his life in England and lived predominantly with Irish people at uni the Lions is one of those rare events when I could sit and enjoy a beer and get behind the same team as them (and also drink in the morning without judgement thanks to the wonder of time zones).

I think that is the same for the players but multiplied by 100, I think the Lions tours are entirely different to playing for a country, not above and not below. They seem more about the bonds between the players, most of them won't have toured for that long before and about the history of the shirt and what it represents. I don't think it should be viewed as distinct from playing for one's nation but rather as an extension of it.

As for the allegation that it is not "our" team but rather the coach's team because it is influenced heavily by individual bias and agenda that argument could be levelled at any team, if you'd supported Scotland between 2004 and 2014 you'd understand better than anyone.

The one theory against it is that it strikes of a lack of ambition on behalf of the constituent nations, but I think professional era has removed that element. It's now about overcoming the logistical challenge as much as the playing one and I'm but a rugby championship team would encounter similar difficulties touring in the NH.

I'd love to see a kind of uber tour one year in which a test is played in say South Africa, NZ, Australia in June and then in Wales, England and Ireland before a decider either in one of the unused countries or a neutral venue such as in the USA between a Lions team and a rugby championship one. But that is pie in the sky, and probably for very good reasons.

Good point about the fans getting behind one team, although the 6N fans join together before and after games anyway so it's not that big a difference. Since the game went professional and the Irish/Welsh/Scots play each other regularly there is far less liklihood of players 'bonding', because they are competing against each other more regularly at Test and Club level. The players are fans too (or at least one English player is) but porbably love it as much for the £80k they'll get in their hand and their increased contractual value to their agent.

I agree every coach will have their bias but the big difference is they are dealing with players day in and out over years and know implicitly their strengths and weaknesses. The Lions coach doesn't care about managing players only results and so could easily wreck a player programme for his home nation. At least all the Scots tried under different coaches advanced Scotland's knowledge about them, and their knowledge of each other. Knowing Billy V is a big lump who can carry, doesn't help Scotland in the Calcutta Cup.

In terms of the benefits for those involved. I think Scottish players who toured in 1997 and 2001 saw that these much vaunted players from the other countries were in reality no better than those who they played with for their country. Whilst their best players are off playing with the best from other nations and using that experience to better themselves the countries go and tour elsewhere and in doings so forces new players to take on leadership roles.

Say 5 Scotland players are selected to tour; for argument's sake Nel, Gray Laidlaw, Russell and Hogg go then Scotland's scrummaging lynchpin, lineout caller, captain, playmaker and star player are unavailable. The drop off from these players is significant in quality and so by bringing in players to replace them then the depth improves and the other players there have to step up in terms of responsibility.

Of course it is different for the other three countries who will expect the number of representatives to reach double figures as they will be finding almost entirely new teams but Eddie Jones' take on it seemed a fairly positive one.

In terms of what it means for rugby, New Zealand have been head and shoulders above the rest of rugby in all bar one game, if the Lions get it right, and I respect that it is a big if, then it will be a titanic battle. The Lions comprises the 2, 4,5 and 7th best teams in the world and New Zealand are arguably the most dominant rugby team in history. It could be up there with the greatest test series of all time.


The Scotland coach can rotate his players whenever he wishes to build depth and if he needs the excuse of the Lions to do so then it is lihely he either isn't strong enough or isn't able to plan well enough. Taking the spine of decision makers out of Scotland is an artificial situation unlikely to be ever repeated except during a Lions year and so not only are those key players fish out of water in an alien Lions squad but their replacements know they are makeweights in a team with a totally different dynamic to the normal Test side. You make a good point that the problem worsens with increased selection numbers.

Regarding the best test series of all time, that seems a tad fanciful given recent history. The All Blacks for all their professionalism and depth suffered in Chicago because their second row was inexperienced with the team - the whiole Lions team is in that position so a close contest isn't in the offing. Any of the four home nations against the Lions would be closer than the All Blacks, but even those may not be especially close.

Those second Rows weren't just inexperienced within a team but rather they were not as good as their opposite numbers, if you want to talk about artificial situations then the one in which you suggest the Lions team to be in is not artificial but purely fanciful. If the Lions were put together on the Monday of test week then they would be defeated with ease. The thing is if the Lions achieve a level of unity comparable to the 97 Lions and Gatland gets a team of our best players playing to the best of their ability/ in the best way conceivable to defeat New Zealand then there is little doubt that this will be a titanic test series.





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Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 09 Jan 2017, 1:37 pm

123456789 wrote:Those second Rows weren't just inexperienced within a team but rather they were not as good as their opposite numbers, if you want to talk about artificial situations then the one in which you suggest the Lions team to be in is not artificial but purely fanciful. If the Lions were put together on the Monday of test week then they would be defeated with ease. The thing is if the Lions achieve a level of unity comparable to the 97 Lions and Gatland gets a team of our best players playing to the best of their ability/ in the best way conceivable to defeat New Zealand then there is little doubt that this will be a titanic test series.

It usually takes months for new players to reach their potential when joining a new club because they are not only learning the strengths and weaknesses of those around them but the settled elements of the team are also learning about the new players. The Lions will have three games before the first test for the Saturday players. During this time there will also be injuries and failed combinations, so some players in the Test could easily have never played together. If that happens to be in technical areas such as the set piece the Lions will not be able to secure ball.

The Boks in 97 were in a major decline, yet the Lions were only just able to overhaul them despite McGeechan's and Telfer's motivational and unifying influence. Those days are gone now and in the past they must remain, for the 2017 All Blacks are far from decline and professionalism is far further down the road. Modern coaching seems to be about practise, practise, practise, and that is the one thing where the Lions are at a massive disadvantage.

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Post by George Carlin on Mon 09 Jan 2017, 1:48 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
123456789 wrote:Those second Rows weren't just inexperienced within a team but rather they were not as good as their opposite numbers, if you want to talk about artificial situations then the one in which you suggest the Lions team to be in is not artificial but purely fanciful. If the Lions were put together on the Monday of test week then they would be defeated with ease. The thing is if the Lions achieve a level of unity comparable to the 97 Lions and Gatland gets a team of our best players playing to the best of their ability/ in the best way conceivable to defeat New Zealand then there is little doubt that this will be a titanic test series.

The Boks in 97 were in a major decline, yet the Lions were only just able to overhaul them despite McGeechan's and Telfer's motivational and unifying influence. Those days are gone now and in the past they must remain, for the 2017 All Blacks are far from decline and professionalism is far further down the road. Modern coaching seems to be about practise, practise, practise, and that is the one thing where the Lions are at a massive disadvantage.
Er, not really Aukster. They had a duff 96 Tri-Nations but had a quite a few injuries for that tournament and they had decided to replace Pienaar which shocked everyone and peed off the players. 

The fact remains that the were World Cup holders at the time of the Lions tour.
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Post by Guest on Mon 09 Jan 2017, 2:06 pm

It's being reported that Sam Warburton is intending to stand down as Wales captain to focus on his game, and is distancing himself from the Lions (not sure if that means as a player or potential captain, or both). Rory Best is now being touted as favourite to captain the side. That would certainly set tongues wagging as there's an opinion that Gat's hates best!

For Warburton, I think it's a good move and something that can't be easy for a player to admit to and to carry out. However, if he does then I think it's for the best as he's not been playing well for quite a long time. Some rumours are circulating that he's stepping down as he's been informed privately by Howley that he's likely to be dropped anyway, so maybe stepping down saves him from that embarrassment. Not sure I'd even take him to NZ on the Lions tour as there's a number of better 7s in B&I at the moment.

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Post by Gwlad on Mon 09 Jan 2017, 2:49 pm

Warburton is going before he's pushed, this is a tactic to manage the inevitable fall out that occurs when howler picks AWJ as Capt and in all likelihood drops Warbs to the bench. That said i think he will probably slip into the 6 shirt, for now, until Faletau is back. Lydiate may well find it very hard to come back into the squad now with youngsters coming up.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 09 Jan 2017, 3:01 pm

Griff wrote:It's being reported that Sam Warburton is intending to stand down as Wales captain to focus on his game, and is distancing himself from the Lions (not sure if that means as a player or potential captain, or both).  Rory Best is now being touted as favourite to captain the side.  That would certainly set tongues wagging as there's an opinion that Gat's hates best!

For Warburton, I think it's a good move and something that can't be easy for a player to admit to and to carry out.  However, if he does then I think it's for the best as he's not been playing well for quite a long time.  Some rumours are circulating that he's stepping down as he's been informed privately by Howley that he's likely to be dropped anyway, so maybe stepping down saves him from that embarrassment.  Not sure I'd even take him to NZ on the Lions tour as there's a number of better 7s in B&I at the moment.  

Howley and Gats - the silent assassins strike again. Wink

On Warburton....... there is no way he should be talked about in the past tense. He's only 28. If his career is assumed to be on the way out at the highest level then it's because of mismanagement of him as a player.

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Post by 123456789 on Mon 09 Jan 2017, 4:26 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
123456789 wrote:Those second Rows weren't just inexperienced within a team but rather they were not as good as their opposite numbers, if you want to talk about artificial situations then the one in which you suggest the Lions team to be in is not artificial but purely fanciful. If the Lions were put together on the Monday of test week then they would be defeated with ease. The thing is if the Lions achieve a level of unity comparable to the 97 Lions and Gatland gets a team of our best players playing to the best of their ability/ in the best way conceivable to defeat New Zealand then there is little doubt that this will be a titanic test series.

It usually takes months for new players to reach their potential when joining a new club because they are not only learning the strengths and weaknesses of those around them but the settled elements of the team are also learning about the new players. The Lions will have three games before the first test for the Saturday players. During this time there will also be injuries and failed combinations, so some players in the Test could easily have never played together. If that happens to be in technical areas such as the set piece the Lions will not be able to secure ball.

The Boks in 97 were in a major decline, yet the Lions were only just able to overhaul them despite McGeechan's and Telfer's motivational and unifying influence. Those days are gone now and in the past they must remain, for the 2017 All Blacks are far from decline and professionalism is far further down the road. Modern coaching seems to be about practise, practise, practise, and that is the one thing where the Lions are at a massive disadvantage.

That's why the Lions is difficult though and that is why it is special. All your criticisms of the logistical difficulties of the Lions are valid but they to me are what makes a series win extra special. I suppose this is in many respects a moot argument, the Lions are a fairly marmite thing; to some they are a relic and an obstruction the now settled four year international cycle to others they are an incredibly special aspect of rugby.

The obvious way to select the spine of the side (hooker, lineout caller, 8,9, 10 and 12/13/15) from the in form side and from established club/ past Lions set ups and build on that by selecting them frequently in the warm up.

If that means Best at hooker, Itoje calling the lineout, Vunipola at 8, Murray and Youngs starting and on the bench at scrum half, Sexton at 10 and Farrell at 12 I don't think that's by any means a weak spine to have in a team.

If I were picking the team tomorrow I'd probably go with:

1. McGrath
2. Best
3. Nel
4. Itoje
5. Gray
6. Faletau
7. Stander
8. Vunipola
9. Murray
10. Sexton
11. Watson
12. Farrell
13. Henshaw
14. Williams
15. Hogg

16. Vunipola
17. Hartley
18. Furlong
19. AWJ
20. Haskell
21. Youngs
22. Russell
23. Halfpenny

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Post by Guest on Mon 09 Jan 2017, 5:08 pm

SecretFly wrote:
Griff wrote:It's being reported that Sam Warburton is intending to stand down as Wales captain to focus on his game, and is distancing himself from the Lions (not sure if that means as a player or potential captain, or both).  Rory Best is now being touted as favourite to captain the side.  That would certainly set tongues wagging as there's an opinion that Gat's hates best!

For Warburton, I think it's a good move and something that can't be easy for a player to admit to and to carry out.  However, if he does then I think it's for the best as he's not been playing well for quite a long time.  Some rumours are circulating that he's stepping down as he's been informed privately by Howley that he's likely to be dropped anyway, so maybe stepping down saves him from that embarrassment.  Not sure I'd even take him to NZ on the Lions tour as there's a number of better 7s in B&I at the moment.  

Howley and Gats - the silent assassins strike again. Wink

On Warburton.......  there is no way he should be talked about in the past tense.  He's only 28.  If his career is assumed to be on the way out at the highest level then it's because of mismanagement of him as a player.

Not sure that anyone is talking about him in the past tense? Unfortunately for him the captain needs to be on the pitch, not the bench. I'm sure he can force his way back in to the team, but at the moment there are better back row and captain options available. No player should be captain if they are not good enough to start, IMO

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 09 Jan 2017, 5:56 pm

Griff, my point was it seems he's always in for a day and out for two. A bit like a few of the Irish boys in recent years - O'Brien to name one. Sometimes I'd put that down to mismanagement and allowing a player to take too much onto themselves when they do actually play.


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Post by Guest on Mon 09 Jan 2017, 6:06 pm

I think a lot of players are mismanaged. Especially in the really abrasive positions in the forwards and perhaps centres. The game is so high impact these days yet they play even more than yesteryear! I think with Warbs he's an abrasive player in an abrasive position, who trains hard (perhaps too hard. I remember an interview with him where he said he trains on Christmas Day to get the edge on players that don't train that day!), has had injuries and not enough rest and recovery. So yes probably mismanagement but unfortunately that's probably more the norm in the pro era. Not good. But then we demand to see our stars for growth of the league, the paying punters, to appease sponsors, etc.

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Post by 123456789 on Mon 09 Jan 2017, 6:16 pm

In terms of Lions years maybe it would be worth the coach naming provisional squads following the Autumn internationals and following the six nations.

The Lions could use a certain amount of their significant profit to pay these players wages and compensate these players for 3-4 two week periods within the year in which these players come together and train. Obviously these squads would change frequently throughout the year but in the main it would have the benefit of these players taking matches out to rest and obviously allow them to become a more cohesive unit.

The issue is that owners will point to the number of injuries suffered during and following a Lions series that keep players out the season after and then add in the fact that world cup years have a similar effect. If the players took time out the year before then that would be three out of four years when players were affected negatively. Of course one could argue that time out the season before would reduce the risk of injury but it's probably a risk owners would rather take than accept a certainty.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 09 Jan 2017, 8:16 pm

123456789 wrote:That's why the Lions is difficult though and that is why it is special. All your criticisms of the logistical difficulties of the Lions are valid but they to me are what makes a series win extra special. I suppose this is in many respects a moot argument, the Lions are a fairly marmite thing; to some they are a relic and an obstruction the now settled four year international cycle to others they are an incredibly special aspect of rugby.

The obvious way to select the spine of the side (hooker, lineout caller, 8,9, 10 and 12/13/15) from the in form side and from established club/ past Lions set ups and build on that by selecting them frequently in the warm up.

If that means Best at hooker, Itoje calling the lineout, Vunipola at 8, Murray and Youngs starting and on the bench at scrum half, Sexton at 10 and Farrell at 12 I don't think that's by any means a weak spine to have in a team.

If I were picking the team tomorrow I'd probably go with:

1. McGrath
2. Best
3. Nel
4. Itoje
5. Gray
6. Faletau
7. Stander
8. Vunipola
9. Murray
10. Sexton
11. Watson
12. Farrell
13. Henshaw
14. Williams
15. Hogg

16. Vunipola
17. Hartley
18. Furlong
19. AWJ
20. Haskell
21. Youngs
22. Russell
23. Halfpenny

The Lions were an incredibly special aspect of rugby - in the amateur era. They used to fill stadia against full strength sides for months before the Tests even started. They popularised the game at both ends of the radio broadcast and provided much needed funds for those SH sides that couldn't rely on the 5N to support grass roots rugby. They were the closest thing to a professional team in the sport because they played, partied, slept and ate together under the rugby banner until they knew each other inside out, on and off the pitch. That advantage evened up some of the disadvantages and made the tours competitive.

Professionalism changed everything. The RWC is now rightly the biggest rugby event in the world and the Lions has become little more than a money making exercise. The Lions tours have also become far too biased in favour of the home nations, because the schedule is too short to gel and too punishing to be at peak performance against settled professional units. Competition is fine but when it becomes unfair that is an entirely different matter.

The Rugby World Cup has taken over the mantle of being the incredibly special aspect of rugby, and something every rugby nation can aspire to, not just the historical few. The old king should be allowed to die before it is too late - sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 09 Jan 2017, 8:27 pm

But its a great money making event so perfect for the professional era. Maybe you should campaign for teams like Scotland to be disbanded as you don't think they're good enough. Or just don't watch the Lions.

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Post by 123456789 on Mon 09 Jan 2017, 9:45 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
123456789 wrote:That's why the Lions is difficult though and that is why it is special. All your criticisms of the logistical difficulties of the Lions are valid but they to me are what makes a series win extra special. I suppose this is in many respects a moot argument, the Lions are a fairly marmite thing; to some they are a relic and an obstruction the now settled four year international cycle to others they are an incredibly special aspect of rugby.

The obvious way to select the spine of the side (hooker, lineout caller, 8,9, 10 and 12/13/15) from the in form side and from established club/ past Lions set ups and build on that by selecting them frequently in the warm up.

If that means Best at hooker, Itoje calling the lineout, Vunipola at 8, Murray and Youngs starting and on the bench at scrum half, Sexton at 10 and Farrell at 12 I don't think that's by any means a weak spine to have in a team.

If I were picking the team tomorrow I'd probably go with:

1. McGrath
2. Best
3. Nel
4. Itoje
5. Gray
6. Faletau
7. Stander
8. Vunipola
9. Murray
10. Sexton
11. Watson
12. Farrell
13. Henshaw
14. Williams
15. Hogg

16. Vunipola
17. Hartley
18. Furlong
19. AWJ
20. Haskell
21. Youngs
22. Russell
23. Halfpenny

The Lions were an incredibly special aspect of rugby - in the amateur era. They used to fill stadia against full strength sides for months before the Tests even started. They popularised the game at both ends of the radio broadcast and provided much needed funds for those SH sides that couldn't rely on the 5N to support grass roots rugby. They were the closest thing to a professional team in the sport because they played, partied, slept and ate together under the rugby banner until they knew each other inside out, on and off the pitch. That advantage evened up some of the disadvantages and made the tours competitive.

Professionalism changed everything. The RWC is now rightly the biggest rugby event in the world and the Lions has become little more than a money making exercise. The Lions tours have also become far too biased in favour of the home nations, because the schedule is too short to gel and too punishing to be at peak performance against settled professional units. Competition is fine but when it becomes unfair that is an entirely different matter.

The Rugby World Cup has taken over the mantle of being the incredibly special aspect of rugby, and something every rugby nation can aspire to, not just the historical few. The old king should be allowed to die before it is too late - sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

The rugby world cup is the biggest part of rugby but in terms of money making and in terms of professionalism one "big" event that transcends the sports usual supporters every four years is simply not enough. Of course the six nations gets a larger audience than club games and than June/ Autumn fixtures but the Lions transcend the usual supporters.

My non-rugby friends are talking about it, albeit in frustratingly ignorant terms, my mum even mentioned it. No one has suggested to me that I should go to Japan for the 2019 world cup, my friends have already stated a desire to go to South Africa in 2021. I don't pretend that my friends are a suitable sample size but the point remains the Lions series is the only thing comparable in size and audience to the world cup.

Football has the world cup and the European championships, Sevens has the world cup and the olympics. If you want to use professionalism as the excuse against it, it does not really wash.

It is a flawed concept there's no doubt about that; the players need more time together but in an age of increasing owner power in rugby that's hard to envisage.

Ideally in a Lions year I'd like to see:

  • The LV= Cup cancelled a la 2015-16, the Champions cup group stage halved and one of the Six Nations rest weekends cancelled (the players play for their clubs anyway
  • Fixtures added to the series to raise the standard; matches against teams like Fiji, Samoa and Tonga and developing rugby nations like the USA would be valuable to all even if they were played in the host nation
  • A longer tour and provisional squad meet ups throughout the year, which coupled with the above alterations could even up the playing fields a wee bit

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Post by Cyril on Mon 09 Jan 2017, 10:58 pm

The Lions should be put to rest. It worked in the amateur era but gets in the way of proper rugby now.

We also need to reduce the international calendar.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 8:14 am

Need to reduce rugby across the board. Removing Lions would have no effect.

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Post by GunsGermsV2 on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 8:54 am

Cyril wrote:The Lions should be put to rest. It worked in the amateur era but gets in the way of proper rugby now.

We also need to reduce the international calendar.

Why reduce the international calendar? It seems about right to me.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 9:31 am

Cyril wrote:The Lions should be put to rest. It worked in the amateur era but gets in the way of proper rugby now.

We also need to reduce the international calendar.

Why not scrap England? They worked better in the amateur era and we also need to reduce the international calendar.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 9:47 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:
Cyril wrote:The Lions should be put to rest. It worked in the amateur era but gets in the way of proper rugby now.

We also need to reduce the international calendar.

Why not scrap England? They worked better in the amateur era and we also need to reduce the international calendar.


Maybe if they do scrap England, Scotland may have a chance of a Grand Slam. Whistle Run

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Post by Sgt_Pooly on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 9:59 am

majesticimperialman wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
Cyril wrote:The Lions should be put to rest. It worked in the amateur era but gets in the way of proper rugby now.

We also need to reduce the international calendar.

Why not scrap England? They worked better in the amateur era and we also need to reduce the international calendar.


Maybe if they do scrap England, Scotland may have a chance of a Grand Slam. Whistle Run

You think?

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Post by George Carlin on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 10:30 am

majesticimperialman wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
Cyril wrote:The Lions should be put to rest. It worked in the amateur era but gets in the way of proper rugby now.

We also need to reduce the international calendar.

Why not scrap England? They worked better in the amateur era and we also need to reduce the international calendar.


Maybe if they do scrap England, Scotland may have a chance of a Grand Slam. Whistle Run
No, that would only work if they scrap one of the good teams like Ireland.
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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 10:32 am

George Carlin wrote:
majesticimperialman wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
Cyril wrote:The Lions should be put to rest. It worked in the amateur era but gets in the way of proper rugby now.

We also need to reduce the international calendar.

Why not scrap England? They worked better in the amateur era and we also need to reduce the international calendar.


Maybe if they do scrap England, Scotland may have a chance of a Grand Slam. Whistle Run
No, that would only work if they scrap one of the good teams like Ireland.

....and the World Class mediocre teams like Wales.

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Post by munkian on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 11:41 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:
George Carlin wrote:
majesticimperialman wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
Cyril wrote:The Lions should be put to rest. It worked in the amateur era but gets in the way of proper rugby now.

We also need to reduce the international calendar.

Why not scrap England? They worked better in the amateur era and we also need to reduce the international calendar.


Maybe if they do scrap England, Scotland may have a chance of a Grand Slam. Whistle Run
No, that would only work if they scrap one of the good teams like Ireland.

....and the World Class mediocre teams like Wales.

Christ, when was your last win against us ? What does that make yourselves kiss
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Post by George Carlin on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 11:48 am

munkian wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
George Carlin wrote:
majesticimperialman wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
Cyril wrote:The Lions should be put to rest. It worked in the amateur era but gets in the way of proper rugby now.

We also need to reduce the international calendar.

Why not scrap England? They worked better in the amateur era and we also need to reduce the international calendar.


Maybe if they do scrap England, Scotland may have a chance of a Grand Slam. Whistle Run
No, that would only work if they scrap one of the good teams like Ireland.

....and the World Class mediocre teams like Wales.

Christ, when was your last win against us ? What does that make yourselves kiss
Current 5 Nations champions, no less. We've held that title for ages too.
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Post by munkian on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 11:51 am

George Carlin wrote:
munkian wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
George Carlin wrote:
majesticimperialman wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
Cyril wrote:The Lions should be put to rest. It worked in the amateur era but gets in the way of proper rugby now.

We also need to reduce the international calendar.

Why not scrap England? They worked better in the amateur era and we also need to reduce the international calendar.


Maybe if they do scrap England, Scotland may have a chance of a Grand Slam. Whistle Run
No, that would only work if they scrap one of the good teams like Ireland.

....and the World Class mediocre teams like Wales.

Christ, when was your last win against us ? What does that make yourselves kiss
Current 5 Nations champions, no less. We've held that title for ages too.

Undisputed 5 Nations Champions no less ! I reckon this will be your to beat us to be honest, you seem to have cut out the brainfarts that have cost you many a game.
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munkian

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Lions 2017 - Page 19 Empty Re: Lions 2017

Post by R!skysports on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 11:53 am

munkian wrote:
George Carlin wrote:
munkian wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
George Carlin wrote:
majesticimperialman wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
Cyril wrote:The Lions should be put to rest. It worked in the amateur era but gets in the way of proper rugby now.

We also need to reduce the international calendar.

Why not scrap England? They worked better in the amateur era and we also need to reduce the international calendar.


Maybe if they do scrap England, Scotland may have a chance of a Grand Slam. Whistle Run
No, that would only work if they scrap one of the good teams like Ireland.

....and the World Class mediocre teams like Wales.

Christ, when was your last win against us ? What does that make yourselves kiss
Current 5 Nations champions, no less. We've held that title for ages too.

Undisputed 5 Nations Champions no less ! I reckon this will be your to beat us to be honest, you seem to have cut out the brainfarts that have cost you many a game.

Just don't mention re-starts


R!skysports

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Lions 2017 - Page 19 Empty Re: Lions 2017

Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 2:37 pm

123456789 wrote:The rugby world cup is the biggest part of rugby but in terms of money making and in terms of professionalism one "big" event that transcends the sports usual supporters every four years is simply not enough. Of course the six nations gets a larger audience than club games and than June/ Autumn fixtures but the Lions transcend the usual supporters.

My non-rugby friends are talking about it, albeit in frustratingly ignorant terms, my mum even mentioned it. No one has suggested to me that I should go to Japan for the 2019 world cup, my friends have already stated a desire to go to South Africa in 2021. I don't pretend that my friends are a suitable sample size but the point remains the Lions series is the only thing comparable in size and audience to the world cup.

Football has the world cup and the European championships, Sevens has the world cup and the olympics. If you want to use professionalism as the excuse against it, it does not really wash.

It is a flawed concept there's no doubt about that; the players need more time together but in an age of increasing owner power in rugby that's hard to envisage.

Ideally in a Lions year I'd like to see:

  • The LV= Cup cancelled a la 2015-16, the Champions cup group stage halved and one of the Six Nations rest weekends cancelled (the players play for their clubs anyway
  • Fixtures added to the series to raise the standard; matches against teams like Fiji, Samoa and Tonga and developing rugby nations like the USA would be valuable to all even if they were played in the host nation
  • A longer tour and provisional squad meet ups throughout the year, which coupled with the above alterations could even up the playing fields a wee bit


Football is a bad comparison as it is a global game and has masses of teams wanting to participate - their World Cup and European championships are really two year events with group qualifying - otherwise soccer 'friendlies' are disrespected by clubs and poorly attended by fans.

Rugby OTOH has annual championships in the 6N and the RC that football doesn't have (at least any longer). There are also the Autumn Internationals and summer tours that are purely 'friendlies'. All these fixtures are to provide income for the maintenance of the Unions, but in truth they are the same teams playing the same teams year after year. Granted the Lions are bits of the same teams playing the same teams and only every four years so there is a minor twist but essentially the goal is to fill the SH Union coffers.

I applaud your suggestions to make the Lions more competitive in a sporting sense, yet there seems no stomach for this among most Lions supporters who want their club rugby to be unaffected and still flog their Internationals on a Lions tour. The tours in the amateur days had a significant cost, not least to the individuals who had to forego wages, but also to their clubs losing them from games. That tradition is conveniently forgotten about when it is mentioned that players should be rested in the interests of their longer term welfare.

Another suggestion is to scrap the host club/regional games and just have the three Tests. These games have become a joke anyway with home test players rested and thugs imported to soften the tourists up, so it's a Test scratch team against a club scratch team - often a big mismatch and hardly anyone wanting to watch it. In place of these games the Lions could play the four B&I nations in turn as their warm ups. This at least gives each nation a major game to aid their development, helps the home Unions revenue and tests the Lions under more friendly conditions.

The Great Aukster

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Lions 2017 - Page 19 Empty Re: Lions 2017

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