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The Lions Schedule is Up and it's Insane - Time to Get Rid?

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The Lions Schedule is Up and it's Insane - Time to Get Rid? - Page 3 Empty The Lions Schedule is Up and it's Insane - Time to Get Rid?

Post by yappysnap Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:55 am

First topic message reminder :

From The Rugby Paper


146049558DR066_Australia_v_by Nick Cain

The 2017 Lions should be history-makers, with a mission to become the first Lions side of the professional era to win a series against the All Blacks. That would make them only the third Lions side to emerge triumphant from New Zealand in the 127-year history of the world’s greatest touring team, following in the footsteps of their forebears in 1888 and 1971.

However, although the Lions deserve to be on an upward trajectory after the 2013 series triumph in Australia, with an even greater prize on offer in New Zealand two years from now, The Rugby Paper has learnt that they will again be handicapped massively. The 2017 Lions will embark on a far more difficult tour than they faced two years ago in Australia with virtually no preparation time and with many players leaving for New Zealand only 48-hours after playing in Premiership and Pro12 finals, where they will face the most brutal schedule the host nation has been able to put together.

Worse still, they will have been sabotaged from within, even more effectively than by the NZRFU’s unforgiving tour itinerary, which culminates in three Tests against the world champion All Blacks. We have learned that a Lions request that the tour should start a week later to enable the squad to have seven days of preparation before the opening match against a Provincial Union XV – with that game on June 10 rather than June 3, and the last Test on July 15 rather than July 8 – was torpedoed by Premiership Rugby (PRL).

PRL have said that the decision to oppose any changes to the tour dates has been taken in the interests of player welfare. A spokesman told us: “We felt it was a player welfare issue, and that the end of the tour would be too close to the start of the new season.” The Premiership Rugby decision is unbelievably myopic in its self-interest. It is not as if the Premiership is ignorant of the Lions landscape, or the landmark benefits of a successful Lions tour to Rugby Union throughout the Home Nations.

The schedule foisted on the Lions officials – and agreed to – has also been met with incredulity. In a five-week period it includes matches against all five Kiwi Super Rugby franchises, as well as the New Zealand Maori, going into the three Test series.

Triumph: Jamie Roberts holds the Tom Richards trophy aloft after success in Australia in 2013 (Picture: Getty Images)
Triumph: Jamie Roberts holds the Tom Richards trophy aloft after success in Australia in 2013 (Picture: Getty Images)

The victorious 2013 Lions head coach, Warren Gatland, spoke for many when he commented, “Whoever agreed to that schedule from the Lions point of view, it’s crazy”. Gatland, a New Zealander with inside knowledge of what confronts the tourists, added: “I don’t see how you could even win that. You’re playing five Super Rugby sides, the New Zealand Maori, and three Tests – and another game – all in a five-week period.”

It is also extraordinary that Gatland does not appear to have been consulted by the Lions officials who negotiated the unforgiving schedule.

The lack of communication, and co-operation between the Home Unions, and between club and country – especially in England – is nothing short of staggering given the enormous benefits to the game here should the Lions beat New Zealand again.

There seems to be no understanding, either, that the 1971 Lions tour (and its 1974 counterpart in South Africa) did more to promote, popularise and revolutionise Rugby Union in the UK and Ireland – and in New Zealand, where they rediscovered back play – than any single event before the advent of the World Cup in 1987.

The Lions magic has endured into the pro era with more than 30,000 fans making the trip Down Under in 2013, just as they did to South Africa (1997 and 2009). However, before the 2013 Lions departed for Australia, the tour manager, Andy Irvine, identified the need to modernise and recommended far-reaching changes to the side’s preparation. He called the concept of players setting off on the tour less than 48 hours after they had played in showpiece Premiership and Pro12 finals as “ridiculous”.

He flagged-up that the Home Unions committee agreement, drawn up to cover Lions tours from 2001 to 2017, was outmoded and detrimental to the touring side, and advocated strongly that no tour should depart after 2017 without all the players having at least two weeks preparation time together.

Given those recommendations, and the fact that the Lions tour is worth £150m to the host nation in tourist spend, including travel, tickets and accommodation – the Australian Union alone made £40m from the 2013 tour, enabling them to wipe out a £12.2m debt – you would think that it would not be beyond the wit of Lions officials, and those of the RFU and Premiership Rugby, to come up with a solution.

This would inevitably involve compensation to the English clubs – and their Welsh, Irish and Scots counterparts – for the extra week that they would have to wait before the players selected by the Lions were available to them at the start of the following season. However, given that the touring side made a profit estimated at £7m from the 2013 tour, on top of a £4m surplus in 2009, and that the Lions have the best-selling shirt brand in world rugby, an agreement should have been a formality.

The leverage the Lions financial clout gives them should also have been a winning hand in negotiations with New Zealand. Even if the Lions officials had their hands tied until the tour agreement ends after 2017, they should have made it clear to the New Zealand RFU chief executive, Steve Tew, that flexibility on the part of the host nation regarding the itinerary, and any scheduling changes, would put New Zealand in a favourable position regarding future tours of that country.

If push came to shove, and New Zealand did not budge, the Lions chief executive, John Feehan, should not have hesitated in telling them that Argentina and France would be looked at as favourable new destinations, meaning that their chances of hosting the Lions again might not come around for another 20 years.

The fact that the Lions officials have so far allowed this tour to be hamstrung (again) could be catastrophic for the touring side. The attitude appears to be that the Lions muddled through in Australia in 2013, and they can do it again, when, in reality, their chances of winning a series in New Zealand have been diminished massively by administrative bungling.

The tragedy is that, with a more level playing field, the Lions are capable of shaking the world order by beating the double world champions. It may seem like wishful-thinking following the gap that the All Blacks put between themselves and the chasing pack at this World Cup, but there are plenty of reasons for believing that New Zealand could be vulnerable given a level surface, especially in terms of preparation.

To start with, while New Zealand’s 2015 World Cup legacy is glowing, the Lions also have an impressive legacy to build from. The best building block is that as many as 12 of the Test side that beat the Wallabies are still likely to be available, including the Welsh talisman who led the 2013 campaign, Sam Warburton, and his outstanding team-mate Alun Wyn Jones. So too, is Gatland, the Wales coach who masterminded the victory that restored the pride in the Lions.

More importantly, the much-trumpeted demise of Northern Hemisphere rugby based on none of the Home Unions making the last four of the World Cup speaks more of headline hot-air than cold scrutiny. The reality is that Wales and Ireland went out because of a combination of depletion – as a result of savagely-timed injury culls – and a lack of deep enough reserves at Test level.

However, they did not go quietly, and with any luck the likes of Jonathan Davies, Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb will be restored to fitness well before the Lions selection process starts a year from now. By that time, England may be in a better place to contribute Lions-class backs, with George Ford, Henry Slade, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson stating their cases. Up-and-coming Scottish backs like Finn Russell and Mark Bennett, and forwards like Jonny Gray, will also have a say.

All over: Beauden Barrett scores the All Blacks third try in RWC final
All over: Beauden Barrett scores the All Blacks third try in RWC final

To pretend that there is no South-North gap after this World Cup would be blinkered, but it would also be a distortion to suggest that it is a yawning chasm. The small margins by which Wales failed against South Africa (a last-minute try), and Scotland were prevented from putting Australia out of the tournament (a controversial last minute refereeing decision) were a more accurate measure.

Ireland’s exit was more clear-cut against an inspired Argentina, but whether it would have happened by that margin – if at all – had Johnny Sexton, Sean O’Brien and Paul O’Connell been playing is debatable.

The point, as it always is with the Lions, is that the sum of the four Home Unions is far greater than their individual parts.

The quality of the players available to the Lions is proven, and while none as individual nations have beaten this generation of All Blacks – bar England in 2012 – the collective strength that Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland can muster is enough to make the All Blacks sit up and take notice.

In fact, they have already done so. The fanfare for the 2017 Lions began in earnest before Steve Hansen and his double world champion New Zealand side departed the shores. Their laconic head coach made it clear that he would not be standing down until after the Lions tour. And if it is to be Hansen’s ‘last post’ there is an outside chance that Richie McCaw could also attempt a Brad Thorn. The All Black lock was 36 when he was part of the 2011 World Cup-winning side, and McCaw would be the same age if he stayed on for the Lions.

South Africa fielded the 38-year-old Victor Matfield at this World Cup as a player-coach, and it could be that McCaw is used in the same way by New Zealand. It will depend on whether the man Hansen describes as the greatest player New Zealand have produced still has the appetite for Test rugby, and for the hair-shirt physical regime that goes with it.

What is not in doubt is that captain-elect Kieran Read has huge boots to fill if McCaw calls time on his career, and so, too, does his No.7 understudy, Sam Cane. Neither Read nor Cane played badly during the 2015 triumph, but nor were they luminaries in the back-to-back campaign.

With Hansen also mindful that Dan Carter, Colin Slade, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Tony Woodcock and Keven Mealamu are retiring from All Black duty, he will be keen that the Lions receive no favours.

Hansen is getting his way, with the NZRFU, the Lions administration, and Premiership Rugby all doing his bidding.

Tagged All Blacks, British & Irish Lions, Lions, Lions Tour 2017, New Zealand

So to summarise that's 5 weeks, 10 matches, and players finishing their respective league finals one week before the start. What a mess.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:52 am

I agree in part that player welfare with a quick turnaround is more at risk but given the context of why the game was called off he and the club should be doing all they can to accomodate the rescheduled fixture.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:42 am

I wonder if the Irish players share the same mindset as their fans. Considering how emotional BOD was at the end of the last tour and how Passionate POC, Heaslip and others have been about the tour tells you how much the tours mean to them. Also just ask Keith Wood what it meant to him too.

In my opinion the comments being made by some posters on here are actually quite selfish. Putting their own country and club teams before an important rugby tradition. A tradition that just about every pro player would aim for. If I was good enough to play pro rugby a call up for the Lions would be the ultimate personal achievement. Winning a tour would be the ultimate professional achievement.

As FES and Telfer said this is your Everest boys. It existed long before the RWC, PRO 12, and the Aviva and it's legacy is as endearing now as it has ever been.

Furthermore Stuart Hogg was just 20 on the last Lions tour, Richie Gray was 23.

They would have learned a lot playing alongside and rooming with the likes of Halfpenny, POC, AWJ etc.

Sure its hard work and sure injuries are inevitable. Ask the players though, do you want involved in the Lions tour or would you rather be fresh to help your club win the pro 12. I'd be staggered if the answer was the latter.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon Nov 16, 2015 11:00 am

Rory_Gallagher wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
Notch wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:In which case why bother?? No-one would support or follow that!

I think it's a better idea than what we have tbh. What we have isn't really working, it's delivering players back to their clubs fatigued and/or injured, so any suggestion is a good one.

It's about priorities isn't it, and we are coming from opposite view points. Lions comes before club rugby for me. Obviously not for you.

Player welfare must be the first priority and the reality is that the club and international games are integral obviously whereas a makeshift tour that happens every 4 years isn't.

Something has to give.

There's absolutely nothing obvious about your statement at all. I completely disagree with it. The Lions is the priority for me, and the rest can fit around it, including Scotland and it's international/club rugby commitments.

You either value it or you don't. Thank heavens the vast majority do.

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Post by Rory_Gallagher Mon Nov 16, 2015 11:52 am

It clearly isn't as black and white as whether or not you value the Lions tour. That is absurd thinking, and refuses to acknowledge the variables involved in having such a demanding tour placed on an already demanding schedule. This has little to do with sentimental reasoning. This has to do with player welfare and the realistic expectations placed upon them. It also has to do with promoting a competitive and healthy game that is sustainable.

Like I said something has to give, whether that be the demanding schedule or the bodies of the players. It is entirely obvious that the club and international game form the beating heart of rugby union for an entire host of reasons. Let us not be silly for the sake of sentiment; the club and international game cannot be removed and can only be altered to a small degree. On the other hand, the Lions tour can surely be altered in such a way that it is not detrimental to either the club or international game or to the health of the players involved. Tradition shouldn't really be a factor if it is damaging any of these things in any significant way.

I think everyone can surely agree that this tour is ludicrously big and it has no real need to be as demanding as it is. In fact the main factor behind this doesn't seem to be one steeped in tradition. Rather it seems to be driven by greed and numbers.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:04 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:It clearly isn't as black and white as whether or not you value the Lions tour. That is absurd thinking, and refuses to acknowledge the variables involved in having such a demanding tour placed on an already demanding schedule. This has little to do with sentimental reasoning. This has to do with player welfare and the realistic expectations placed upon them. It also has to do with promoting a competitive and healthy game that is sustainable.

Like I said something has to give, whether that be the demanding schedule or the bodies of the players. It is entirely obvious that the club and international game form the beating heart of rugby union for an entire host of reasons. Let us not be silly for the sake of sentiment; the club and international game cannot be removed and can only be altered to a small degree. On the other hand, the Lions tour can surely be altered in such a way that it is not detrimental to either the club or international game or to the health of the players involved. Tradition shouldn't really be a factor if it is damaging any of these things in any significant way.

I think everyone can surely agree that this tour is ludicrously big and it has no real need to be as demanding as it is. In fact the main factor behind this doesn't seem to be one steeped in tradition. Rather it seems to be driven by greed and numbers.

The argument that the Lions is somehow detrimental to Irish International rugby or club rugby is fairly crazy viewpoint. Had Ireland not been involved in the last 2 lions tours I don't think they would have fared any better in the RWC?

Recent Irish SH tours have ended in ignominy. The 60-0 hammering by NZ in 2012 immediately springs to mind.

Do tours that end like this better prepare you for SH opposition as opposed to a Lions tour? I somehow doubt it.

As for the development of lower tier nations I'm all in favour for it.

However It's unlikely the likes of Wales, Ireland, England or France will deviate from their tours of SH opposition to grow these areas of the game. What's the chances of any of these teams playing Georgia in a series of tests or touring the Pacific Islands?

Scotland on the otherhand are touring Japan in the summer, and have toured the pacific Islands a couple of years ago. Granted the SRU probably would have prefered one of the big SH teams but were no doubt snubbed on the basis of being a bit rubbish when the tours were arranged. In hindsight after Japan's superb world cup this will be a brilliant series of tests for Scotland. At least we can say we are doing our part! Wink
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Post by Rory_Gallagher Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:06 pm

Why are you focusing on Ireland?

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:14 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:It clearly isn't as black and white as whether or not you value the Lions tour. That is absurd thinking, and refuses to acknowledge the variables involved in having such a demanding tour placed on an already demanding schedule. This has little to do with sentimental reasoning. This has to do with player welfare and the realistic expectations placed upon them. It also has to do with promoting a competitive and healthy game that is sustainable.

Like I said something has to give, whether that be the demanding schedule or the bodies of the players. It is entirely obvious that the club and international game form the beating heart of rugby union for an entire host of reasons. Let us not be silly for the sake of sentiment; the club and international game cannot be removed and can only be altered to a small degree. On the other hand, the Lions tour can surely be altered in such a way that it is not detrimental to either the club or international game or to the health of the players involved. Tradition shouldn't really be a factor if it is damaging any of these things in any significant way.

I think everyone can surely agree that this tour is ludicrously big and it has no real need to be as demanding as it is. In fact the main factor behind this doesn't seem to be one steeped in tradition. Rather it seems to be driven by greed and numbers.

Again I think you have the tail wagging the dog. Every four years we have a Lions tour, which for me should be the pinnacle of the rugby calendar. Those scheduling club/international rugby matches know that it's coming, and for me should make adjustments to the calendar for this (i.e. mandatory rest periods for those players involved).

You see international/club rugby as the "beating heart of rugby union" and the Lions as a sentimental extra. For me the Lions is every bit a part of the "beating heart of rugby union", and the coming together of the four rugby nations each four years for the ultimate challenge as integral to our sport. Every four years, club rugby should make way for this and the players selected for the tour should be granted an appropriate leave from club rugby to recharge.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:47 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:Why are you focusing on Ireland?

Because you are Irish and I'm responding to your comments and Notch's comments?


For balance I also said the following :

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:

However It's unlikely the likes of Wales, Ireland, England or France will deviate from their tours of SH opposition to grow these areas of the game. What's the chances of any of these teams playing Georgia in a series of tests or touring the Pacific Islands?

Furthermore the Lions has it's detractors among Scottish, Welsh and English posters, no doubting that. However it seems to me that the majority of Irish posters that have posted on here (yourself, Notch and Rodders) hold this viewpoint when compared to the minority of other home nations posters who believe it should be abolished.

Furthermore Notch in particular seems to believe that abolishing the Lions will all of a sudden represent a turnaround in Irish world cup performances.

I totally disagree with this. I believe a fundamental restructuring of our season would yield better world cup performances. Since we play in atrocious winter and autumnal conditions in places like Scotstoun and Galway in January, can we really be surprised when teams like Argentina, NZ and Australia start to throw it about that we can't keep up? France against NZ, Ireland against Argentina and England against Australia are key examples.

Scotland actually tried to play some expansive stuff against all their opposition. Not just the lower tier teams.
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Post by Shifty Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:55 pm

I don't see whats wrong with the tour games to be honest, if the Lions stick 100 points on teams, people say it's a waste of time, and the NZ Maori game is always the unofficial 4th test. The Super teams won't have their players in the national squads anyway, they never do.

The Unions like the Lions tours because of the money they generate, but playing the World Cup every 2 years would generate much more, and grow the game as well.
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Post by Rory_Gallagher Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:59 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:It clearly isn't as black and white as whether or not you value the Lions tour. That is absurd thinking, and refuses to acknowledge the variables involved in having such a demanding tour placed on an already demanding schedule. This has little to do with sentimental reasoning. This has to do with player welfare and the realistic expectations placed upon them. It also has to do with promoting a competitive and healthy game that is sustainable.

Like I said something has to give, whether that be the demanding schedule or the bodies of the players. It is entirely obvious that the club and international game form the beating heart of rugby union for an entire host of reasons. Let us not be silly for the sake of sentiment; the club and international game cannot be removed and can only be altered to a small degree. On the other hand, the Lions tour can surely be altered in such a way that it is not detrimental to either the club or international game or to the health of the players involved. Tradition shouldn't really be a factor if it is damaging any of these things in any significant way.

I think everyone can surely agree that this tour is ludicrously big and it has no real need to be as demanding as it is. In fact the main factor behind this doesn't seem to be one steeped in tradition. Rather it seems to be driven by greed and numbers.

Again I think you have the tail wagging the dog. Every four years we have a Lions tour, which for me should be the pinnacle of the rugby calendar. Those scheduling club/international rugby matches know that it's coming, and for me should make adjustments to the calendar for this (i.e. mandatory rest periods for those players involved).

You see international/club rugby as the "beating heart of rugby union" and the Lions as a sentimental extra. For me the Lions is every bit a part of the "beating heart of rugby union", and the coming together of the four rugby nations each four years for the ultimate challenge as integral to our sport. Every four years, club rugby should make way for this and the players selected for the tour should be granted an appropriate leave from club rugby to recharge.

When did I say that I see the Lions as a sentimental extra? I said that we need to be careful not to ignore genuine concerns here and make this as black and white as "how much do you value the Lions tour". The reality is that the club and international game cannot be hugely altered. There are already attempts to further increase that schedule which are also rightly being met with criticism. However for something like the Lions tour, that can be altered and it is absolutely second fiddle to the club and international game for a large number of reasons. That is just the reality and it isn't really debatable even if we feel it ought to be considered just as important.

The Lions officials apparently have went ahead with this ridiculous schedule without informing anyone apparently. This isn't acceptable on any level and as I have already said this needs to be addressed if the club/international game does need to prepare for such a tour.

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Post by Rory_Gallagher Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:08 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:Why are you focusing on Ireland?

Because you are Irish and I'm responding to your comments and Notch's comments?


For balance I also said the following :

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:

However It's unlikely the likes of Wales, Ireland, England or France will deviate from their tours of SH opposition to grow these areas of the game. What's the chances of any of these teams playing Georgia in a series of tests or touring the Pacific Islands?

Furthermore the Lions has it's detractors among Scottish, Welsh and English posters, no doubting that. However it seems to me that the majority of Irish posters that have posted on here (yourself, Notch and Rodders) hold this viewpoint when compared to the minority of other home nations posters who believe it should be abolished.

Furthermore Notch in particular seems to believe that abolishing the Lions will all of a sudden represent a turnaround in Irish world cup performances.

I totally disagree with this. I believe a fundamental restructuring of our season would yield better world cup performances. Since we play in atrocious winter and autumnal conditions in places like Scotstoun and Galway in January, can we really be surprised when teams like Argentina, NZ and Australia start to throw it about that we can't keep up? France against NZ, Ireland against Argentina and England against Australia are key examples.

Scotland actually tried to play some expansive stuff against all their opposition. Not just the lower tier teams.

Yet again it looks as if you are trying to justify a flimsy conclusion that you already seem to have made up in your head. This seems to be a running theme with you. 3 posters from Ireland are expressing their concerns with this demanding tour and that makes the majority of Irish fans on here somehow not value the Lions tour? Read the thread again. There have been more posters from Wales and England already who have talked about how crazy this schedule is. Yet again you have come to a silly conclusion in your head and seem stuck on it, regardless of the evidence.

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Post by Sin é Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:19 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:I wonder if the Irish players share the same mindset as their fans. Considering how emotional BOD was at the end of the last tour and how Passionate POC, Heaslip and others have been about the tour tells you how much the tours mean to them. Also just ask Keith Wood what it meant to him too.

In my opinion the comments being made by some posters on here are actually quite selfish. Putting their own country and club teams before an important rugby tradition. A tradition that just about every pro player would aim for. If I was good enough to play pro rugby a call up for the Lions would be the ultimate personal achievement. Winning a tour would be the ultimate professional achievement.

As FES and Telfer said this is your Everest boys. It existed long before the RWC, PRO 12, and the Aviva and it's legacy is as endearing now as it has ever been.

Furthermore Stuart Hogg was just 20 on the last Lions tour, Richie Gray was 23.

They would have learned a lot playing alongside and rooming with the likes of Halfpenny, POC, AWJ etc.

Sure its hard work and sure injuries are inevitable. Ask the players though, do you want involved in the Lions tour or would you rather be fresh to help your club win the pro 12. I'd be staggered if the answer was the latter.


Keith Wood doesn't mention the Lions as a highlight of his career even though he had very little success with either Munster, Quins or Ireland and great success with the Lions. He always says his first Ireland cap is the highlight of his career. Heaslip (hardly surprising) is the only one of the Irish boys who rate the Lions as being better than playing for your country.

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Post by HammerofThunor Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:21 pm

Personally I have no interest in the Lions and would prefer it to be scrapped. Partly because it's a distraction, partly because (no matter what guff the doctors put out before the tour) they play injured players and return them worse. This seems to be worse for the Lions than international because they have rolling fixtures rather than one offs.

It'll stay because it makes money.

@shifty, the World Cup loses most unions money because they have to pay squad costs but don't get gate entry. SH don't get the summer tours and the NH don't get the autumn tours.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:22 pm

'Career highlight?

The Lions in 1997 when we beat the Springboks 2-1'

Forgive me for quoting the Daily Mail but here was Keith Woods answer.

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Post by Sin é Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:24 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:'Career highlight?

The Lions in 1997 when we beat the Springboks 2-1'

Forgive me for quoting the Daily Mail but here was Keith Woods answer.

Yea, tell them what they want to hear Wink

Its the Daily Mail for gawd sake
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Post by rodders Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:24 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:Why are you focusing on Ireland?

Because you are Irish and I'm responding to your comments and Notch's comments?


For balance I also said the following :

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:

However It's unlikely the likes of Wales, Ireland, England or France will deviate from their tours of SH opposition to grow these areas of the game. What's the chances of any of these teams playing Georgia in a series of tests or touring the Pacific Islands?

Furthermore the Lions has it's detractors among Scottish, Welsh and English posters, no doubting that. However it seems to me that the majority of Irish posters that have posted on here (yourself, Notch and Rodders) hold this viewpoint when compared to the minority of other home nations posters who believe it should be abolished.

Actually I didn't say that at all. In fact if you read back I have a totally different opinion to Notch - I believe the Lions is the pinnacle for players along with the RWC, especially SA and NZ tours but if its not going to be done right they may as well scrap it - players are playing too much that I agree but I blame the clubs for that not the Lions.
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Post by Rory_Gallagher Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:28 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:'Career highlight?

The Lions in 1997 when we beat the Springboks 2-1'

Forgive me for quoting the Daily Mail but here was Keith Woods answer.

kiss

Well done for out "Siné-ing" Sin é!

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:32 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:It clearly isn't as black and white as whether or not you value the Lions tour. That is absurd thinking, and refuses to acknowledge the variables involved in having such a demanding tour placed on an already demanding schedule. This has little to do with sentimental reasoning. This has to do with player welfare and the realistic expectations placed upon them. It also has to do with promoting a competitive and healthy game that is sustainable.

Like I said something has to give, whether that be the demanding schedule or the bodies of the players. It is entirely obvious that the club and international game form the beating heart of rugby union for an entire host of reasons. Let us not be silly for the sake of sentiment; the club and international game cannot be removed and can only be altered to a small degree. On the other hand, the Lions tour can surely be altered in such a way that it is not detrimental to either the club or international game or to the health of the players involved. Tradition shouldn't really be a factor if it is damaging any of these things in any significant way.

I think everyone can surely agree that this tour is ludicrously big and it has no real need to be as demanding as it is. In fact the main factor behind this doesn't seem to be one steeped in tradition. Rather it seems to be driven by greed and numbers.

Again I think you have the tail wagging the dog. Every four years we have a Lions tour, which for me should be the pinnacle of the rugby calendar. Those scheduling club/international rugby matches know that it's coming, and for me should make adjustments to the calendar for this (i.e. mandatory rest periods for those players involved).

You see international/club rugby as the "beating heart of rugby union" and the Lions as a sentimental extra. For me the Lions is every bit a part of the "beating heart of rugby union", and the coming together of the four rugby nations each four years for the ultimate challenge as integral to our sport. Every four years, club rugby should make way for this and the players selected for the tour should be granted an appropriate leave from club rugby to recharge.

When did I say that I see the Lions as a sentimental extra? I said that we need to be careful not to ignore genuine concerns here and make this as black and white as "how much do you value the Lions tour". The reality is that the club and international game cannot be hugely altered. There are already attempts to further increase that schedule which are also rightly being met with criticism. However for something like the Lions tour, that can be altered and it is absolutely second fiddle to the club and international game for a large number of reasons. That is just the reality and it isn't really debatable even if we feel it ought to be considered just as important.

I disagree. You can bang on about "reality" all you like, but you are simply stating your own opinion that club/international rugby is more important and the Lions should bend around them. That's just your opinion, however much you wish to state it as fact.

For me the solution is simple. Pick the Lions squad at the end of the 6 Nations (subject to injuries) and then those players go on a special schedule for the rest of the season and the start of the next to ensure that they are rested either side of the Lions tour. You could either pick your 38 players, or a wider pool to cover for injuries. It's once every four years, and the clubs/regions/provinces can suck it up. You could even come up with a compensation mechanism so that affected clubs etc. could have an element of compensation from the tour profits for each affected player.

Again, I'm not going to pretend this is "fact", "reality" or "not really debatable". This is my opinion. Clearly there are fans (from all 4 component rugby nations) who want it reshaped or scrapped and they are perfectly entitled to that view.

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Post by Rory_Gallagher Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:39 pm

It is a fact that the club and international game brings in more money, revenue, popularity, fans, sponsorships etc than the Lions tour ever will. If either the club or international game were to fail, rugby union would be in big, big trouble. The same couldn't be said for the Lions tour, no matter what the sentimental fans may think. I think we would lose out by not having it, but we are also going to lose out if we continue to agree to its crazy demands.

It isn't that difficult. The club game is a yearly competition that covers every major rugby nation and also includes both Leagues and Cups. The international competitions and tours are also yearly, with one major event hosting 20 rugby nations every 4 years. This is the bread and butter of rugby, covering a much wider spectrum of nations and fans. This isn't even debatable.

What is down to opinion is whether or not you value the Lions as much as club/international rugby.


Last edited by Rory_Gallagher on Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:46 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Rory_Gallagher Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:42 pm

Also to suggest the teams/players should just "suck it up" and obey such a totalitarian demand for the sake of upholding tradition is ludicrous. What if the teams/players involved would rather push their team for their own respective cup glories? What if they could actually look forward to the Lions tour instead of feeling forced to accommodate an extremely demanding schedule?

In fact if these are the questions that must be asked of the Lions tour then perhaps this would suggest it is starting to lose the qualities that made it so great in the first place.


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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:44 pm

It's a similar argument some of the clubs have the international games. Please see Bath.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:46 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:
Yet again it looks as if you are trying to justify a flimsy conclusion that you already seem to have made up in your head. This seems to be a running theme with you. 3 posters from Ireland are expressing their concerns with this demanding tour and that makes the majority of Irish fans on here somehow not value the Lions tour? Read the thread again. There have been more posters from Wales and England already who have talked about how crazy this schedule is. Yet again you have come to a silly conclusion in your head and seem stuck on it, regardless of the evidence.

Wow, you follow enough of my posts to draw conclusions about what goes on in my head! You are totally making me blush! heart

By all means tell my therapist you have succeeded where he has failed!

The schedule by in large however is immaterial for the bulk of the discussion taking place. The schedule isn't great, I do agree on that. However I have had discussions at length with Notch in particular about how he prioritizes Ulster and Ireland above a Lions tour. That's his opinion and I respect it. However I think he is wrong.

A lions tour is never going to be easy. It is always very crowded and history tells us that they tend to be very attritional, particularly for the dirt trackers who come up against some rather unsavory teams looking to rough them up a bit.

As Telfer says this is your "Everest" for a NH player. Nothing has changed since he made that speech apart from opinions of fans who in the pro era, rightly or wrongly believe that their country or club is more important.

For what it's worth a Lions team without Irish representation would be a team without a soul. WJ McBride, O'Connell, Sexton, Wood and O'Driscoll to name a few, Ireland has produced some of the Lions finest players so I'm grateful the IRFU doesn't share your sentiments. thumbsup
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Post by rodders Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:49 pm

Why don't we just can the RCC on a Lions year - its a load of boring rubbish anyway and would mean a few less trophies for Toulon?
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Post by Rory_Gallagher Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:51 pm

You are involved in some of the same threads as me so inevitably I have to read your posts. You can discuss this topic with Notch all you like obviously, but his opinions do not represent all of the Irish fans on here. I took exception to the fact you claimed this was some sort of predominantly Irish opinion on these boards, when already it has been revealed to you that this is not the case. You have made it up, and this is something you have done in the recent past.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon Nov 16, 2015 2:12 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:You are involved in some of the same threads as me so inevitably I have to read your posts. You can discuss this topic with Notch all you like obviously, but his opinions do not represent all of the Irish fans on here. I took exception to the fact you claimed this was some sort of predominantly Irish opinion on these boards, when already it has been revealed to you that this is not the case. You have made it up, and this is something you have done in the recent past.

What can I say? At least I'm consistent. Unlike Scotland or Ireland when it comes to international rugby!

It must be easy for Irish fans or residents from Glasgow or Edinburgh who feel a deep connection to their city or province. For someone like myself who's pro team (the Caledonia Reds) was disbanded by the SRU in their infinite wisdom it's hard to get overly excited about the fortunes of Edinburgh in the pro12. I say Edinburgh because by the very nature of living on the east coast of the country they have become my team by default. I like to see them to well but can't really describe myself as a die hard fan. I can get behind Scotland as a national team and ergo the Lions since they represent me better than Edinburgh.

I envy the fact that Irish posters like yourselves have a province you can fully get behind and prioritize over the Lions and in some cases your country.
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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon Nov 16, 2015 2:15 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:You are involved in some of the same threads as me so inevitably I have to read your posts. You can discuss this topic with Notch all you like obviously, but his opinions do not represent all of the Irish fans on here. I took exception to the fact you claimed this was some sort of predominantly Irish opinion on these boards, when already it has been revealed to you that this is not the case. You have made it up, and this is something you have done in the recent past.

What can I say? At least I'm consistent. Unlike Scotland or Ireland when it comes to international rugby!

It must be easy for Irish fans or residents from Glasgow or Edinburgh who feel a deep connection to their city or province. For someone like myself who's pro team (the Caledonia Reds) was disbanded by the SRU in their infinite wisdom it's hard to get overly excited about the fortunes of Edinburgh in the pro12. I say Edinburgh because by the very nature of living on the east coast of the country they have become my team by default. I like to see them to well but can't really describe myself as a die hard fan. I can get behind Scotland as a national team and ergo the Lions since they represent me better than Edinburgh.

I envy the fact that Irish posters like yourselves have a province you can fully get behind and prioritize over the Lions and in some cases your country.

I should also add that despite the Scottish token Lions representation I still can get behind them more than my pro 12 team. thumbsup
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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon Nov 16, 2015 2:42 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:It is a fact that the club and international game brings in more money, revenue, popularity, fans, sponsorships etc than the Lions tour ever will. If either the club or international game were to fail, rugby union would be in big, big trouble. The same couldn't be said for the Lions tour, no matter what the sentimental fans may think. I think we would lose out by not having it, but we are also going to lose out if we continue to agree to its crazy demands.

It isn't that difficult. The club game is a yearly competition that covers every major rugby nation and also includes both Leagues and Cups. The international competitions and tours are also yearly, with one major event hosting 20 rugby nations every 4 years. This is the bread and butter of rugby, covering a much wider spectrum of nations and fans. This isn't even debatable.

What is down to opinion is whether or not you value the Lions as much as club/international rugby.

Hang on. You've lost perspective. I am arguing that once every four years the clubs that happen to employ a member or members of the Lions touring party agree to reduced workloads for those players for a limited period of the season. That's all. Unlike a number of posters on here re: the Lions, I am not suggesting the abolition or complete restructuring of the club game or the international season. Simply that once every four years the Lions becomes the priority for those players involved, and to keep their workloads sensible, the clubs provide the slack.

Regarding numbers etc. you are of course failing to compare apples with apples. Name me a single club or nation that can command the same support for an overseas tour as the Lions? How many fans travel to see Ireland, Scotland, Wales or England tour? It's every 4 years and when the Lions is on, there's nothing in rugby that compares.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon Nov 16, 2015 2:47 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:Also to suggest the teams/players should just "suck it up" and obey such a totalitarian demand for the sake of upholding tradition is ludicrous. What if the teams/players involved would rather push their team for their own respective cup glories? What if they could actually look forward to the Lions tour instead of feeling forced to accommodate an extremely demanding schedule?

In fact if these are the questions that must be asked of the Lions tour then perhaps this would suggest it is starting to lose the qualities that made it so great in the first place.

Then the players can opt out of the Lions. There's precedent for that in Will Carling. If a player doesn't want the honour of playing for the Lions then they'll be a fat load of use anyway.

The clubs will of course rather have their best players available for all their games. We know that. They'd rather have them during international windows as well - look at the situation in France as an example of what happens when the clubs have all the power. As you have eloquently put it, something has to give. I think it should be club rugby for that window once every four years.

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Post by Rory_Gallagher Mon Nov 16, 2015 3:07 pm

Then inevitably you are asking for some form of restructure - in this case the club game. Imagine if we take your scenario and rest the players selected for the Lions team after the Six Nations. How could the provinces and regions especially compete in the Champions Cup? It isn't feasible. It would be complete disaster for a number of teams and I don't think any team should be punished for having the best players in British and Irish rugby.

Players are going to want to play for the Lions. They are also going to want to represent their club and their country. It is a proud moment for them. Players are always going to try and push themselves further than their bodies will allow, which is why they are professionals. This is also why it is necessary for others to provide restrictions.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon Nov 16, 2015 3:20 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:Then inevitably you are asking for some form of restructure - in this case the club game. Imagine if we take your scenario and rest the players selected for the Lions team after the Six Nations. How could the provinces and regions especially compete in the Champions Cup? It isn't feasible. It would be complete disaster for a number of teams and I don't think any team should be punished for having the best players in British and Irish rugby.

Players are going to want to play for the Lions. They are also going to want to represent their club and their country. It is a proud moment for them. Players are always going to try and push themselves further than their bodies will allow, which is why they are professionals. This is also why it is necessary for others to provide restrictions.

Fair enough, but where we disagree is where the slack should come from. You say the Lions, myself and other say clubs.

As FES points out empowering the clubs similar to France is bad for the international teams. From a personal point of view I'd be happier with Scotland players playing alongside the best players from the UK and Ireland and learning as they go as opposed to a meaningless set of tests in Austalia or NZ where we are likely to lose handsomely anyway and will have likely learned nothing.

Each to their own as I said but I feel as a nation who is now, hopefully on an upward trend that Scotland's lions representation can improve. If that happens at the expense of Irish players we'll both be happy!
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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon Nov 16, 2015 3:39 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:Then inevitably you are asking for some form of restructure - in this case the club game. Imagine if we take your scenario and rest the players selected for the Lions team after the Six Nations. How could the provinces and regions especially compete in the Champions Cup? It isn't feasible. It would be complete disaster for a number of teams and I don't think any team should be punished for having the best players in British and Irish rugby.

Players are going to want to play for the Lions. They are also going to want to represent their club and their country. It is a proud moment for them. Players are always going to try and push themselves further than their bodies will allow, which is why they are professionals. This is also why it is necessary for others to provide restrictions.

As you say, something has to give. I'm not advocating completely resting the players, just placing restrictions around their schedules.

Still, you're quite right. This will negatively impact teams in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland once every four years. I'm fine with that. There's no getting around it in my opinion without either scrapping the Lions or rendering it a shadow of its former self by gutting the tour and just throwing together three tests and one/two warm-ups. I personally see that as one and the same as scrapping the Lions.

If we care about player welfare, and clearly we both do, then I think a stark choice needs to be made once every four years. Club rugby or the Lions. I think we both agree that the current schedules are not tenable.

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Post by Rory_Gallagher Mon Nov 16, 2015 3:51 pm

Do you think the schedule for this Lions tour is reasonable?

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:02 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:Do you think the schedule for this Lions tour is reasonable?

No. Although it's the same schedule in terms of days/games as the previous two tours, the quality of each team being faced will be higher therefore making it much tougher for the tourists. In reality I think the Lions will probably lose a few more of the pre-Test games on this tour whilst the group comes together. Gatland is spot on in his criticisms of the schedule - it's too difficult. Some of the Super Rugby teams should have missed out in favour of provincial opposition, certainly early in the tour. The 2nd and 3rd games of the tour are against the Blues and the Crusaders only three days apart. That's silly.

As for the timing of the tour (being so close to the end of the club season), well that's where I think action needs to be taken, as discussed at length above. The players who will be getting on the plane to New Zealand cannot in my view be playing in club competition finals the weekend before, and semi-finals the weekend before that etc. etc.

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Post by HammerofThunor Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:27 pm

Is it not time to agree to disagree? Some people don't prioritise the Lions. Some do. that's all there is to it really.

As for money, I think the Lions generated something like £40M last time, which (assuming a four way split) is £10M each (I can see why the Scots are on board given their payout to player ratio Smile).  They get bugger all from other tours.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:35 pm

HammerofThunor wrote:Is it not time to agree to disagree? Some people don't prioritise the Lions. Some do. that's all there is to it really.

As for money, I think the Lions generated something like £40M last time, which (assuming a four way split) is £10M each (I can see why the Scots are on board given their payout to player ratio Smile).  They get bugger all from other tours.

Quality not quantity my good friend. I doubt the Lions would have won that 3rd Test without 20 mighty fine minutes from Richie Gray at the end.....

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Post by HammerofThunor Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:37 pm

Very true Smile

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:43 am

I enjoy watching Lions tours but, if they are too be a central part of the rugby calendar, then everything else must fit. Currently, nothing fits.

I don't like seeing bogus justifications for the enterprise. Going on a Lions tour patently doesn't help players perform better against Southern Hemisphere opposition when they return to their national sides.


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Post by George Carlin Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:35 am

Rugby Fan wrote:I enjoy watching Lions tours but, if they are too be a central part of the rugby calendar, then everything else must fit. Currently, nothing fits.

I don't like seeing bogus justifications for the enterprise. Going on a Lions tour patently doesn't help players perform better against Southern Hemisphere opposition when they return to their national sides.

Not sure I agree RF.

Gaving Hastings has spoken many times about his belief that it is no co-incidence that that last two Scotland Grand Slams (about 3 millenia ago now) came off the back of successful Lions tours. The rationale is that getting the players together removes any mystique and players for less fashionable or less successful clubs can see that the difference between them and the incumbents may be absolutely minimal.

You're right that some players seem to have regressed post-tour but I don't think you can say as a general rule that all of them do.
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Post by yappysnap Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:39 am

George Carlin wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:I enjoy watching Lions tours but, if they are too be a central part of the rugby calendar, then everything else must fit. Currently, nothing fits.

I don't like seeing bogus justifications for the enterprise. Going on a Lions tour patently doesn't help players perform better against Southern Hemisphere opposition when they return to their national sides.

Not sure I agree RF.

Gaving Hastings has spoken many times about his belief that it is no co-incidence that that last two Scotland Grand Slams (about 3 millenia ago now) came off the back of successful Lions tours. The rationale is that getting the players together removes any mystique and players for less fashionable or less successful clubs can see that the difference between them and the incumbents may be absolutely minimal.

You're right that some players seem to have regressed post-tour but I don't think you can say as a general rule that all of them do.

Grand Slams would be against NH teams no?

So he's still right when he say's it really doesn't help against SH sides, as we've seen all it does it injure some of the best players meaning teams get a wupping come the AI's.

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Post by George Carlin Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:46 am

yappysnap wrote:
George Carlin wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:I enjoy watching Lions tours but, if they are too be a central part of the rugby calendar, then everything else must fit. Currently, nothing fits.

I don't like seeing bogus justifications for the enterprise. Going on a Lions tour patently doesn't help players perform better against Southern Hemisphere opposition when they return to their national sides.

Not sure I agree RF.

Gaving Hastings has spoken many times about his belief that it is no co-incidence that that last two Scotland Grand Slams (about 3 millenia ago now) came off the back of successful Lions tours. The rationale is that getting the players together removes any mystique and players for less fashionable or less successful clubs can see that the difference between them and the incumbents may be absolutely minimal.

You're right that some players seem to have regressed post-tour but I don't think you can say as a general rule that all of them do.

Grand Slams would be against NH teams no?

So he's still right when he say's it really doesn't help against SH sides, as we've seen all it does it injure some of the best players meaning teams get a wupping come the AI's.
My argument is that Lions tours can make players better. It doesn't make sense to suggest that players improve against some teams and not others. I would sack any coach who tried to suggest that a recent Lions experience has led to a collective loss in form against SH opposition. I suppose that if you're desperately reaching for a reason for not beating SANZAR nations, then that is another you might as well throw into the mix.
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Post by aucklandlaurie Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:56 am

The All blacks did  a Grand Slam on the four home unions a couple of months after the 2005 Lions Tour. I think.

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Post by George Carlin Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:20 am

aucklandlaurie wrote:The All blacks did  a Grand Slam on the four home unions a couple of months after the  2005 Lions Tour. I think.
No need to rub it in Laurie. We know that we were sh!te. picard
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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:16 am

Whilst I believe the Lions experience does make players better (perhaps not in the short term due to fatigue but certainly longer term), again I think we're looking at this backwards. I personally don't care if the Lions "benefits" the home nations, that isn't what it's for. I think it's for the home nations to benefit the Lions by producing top class players.

I think all players who are involved in the Lions tour should be excused the AIs that year - that's the point at which they should be returning to club rugby, not internationals. 6 Nations and the Lions is enough international rugby for one year. You never know, some of the home nations might actually benefit from an enforced opportunity to develop some depth in certain areas.

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Post by lostinwales Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:30 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:Whilst I believe the Lions experience does make players better (perhaps not in the short term due to fatigue but certainly longer term), again I think we're looking at this backwards. I personally don't care if the Lions "benefits" the home nations, that isn't what it's for. I think it's for the home nations to benefit the Lions by producing top class players.

I think all players who are involved in the Lions tour should be excused the AIs that year - that's the point at which they should be returning to club rugby, not internationals. 6 Nations and the Lions is enough international rugby for one year. You never know, some of the home nations might actually benefit from an enforced opportunity to develop some depth in certain areas.

If you do raise the issue of development of the individual players then that might be a reason to bring in quotas. Lets share the pain and the benefits

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Post by SecretFly Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:41 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:Whilst I believe the Lions experience does make players better (perhaps not in the short term due to fatigue but certainly longer term), again I think we're looking at this backwards. I personally don't care if the Lions "benefits" the home nations, that isn't what it's for. I think it's for the home nations to benefit the Lions by producing top class players.



I think all players who are involved in the Lions tour should be excused the AIs that year - that's the point at which they should be returning to club rugby, not internationals. 6 Nations and the Lions is enough international rugby for one year. You never know, some of the home nations might actually benefit from an enforced opportunity to develop some depth in certain areas.

You make it sound like The Lions is a Nation onto itself, and that individual nations should cut themselves short (or mould themselves) merely to service the requirements of this stateless prince, the Lions?

Who decides all this excusing AIs for returning Lions players, returning to clubs rather than their Nations and devoting National development of players to the Lions cause?  Maybe a Lions director of Rugby to dictate International policy to all four participants?

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:52 am

lostinwales wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:Whilst I believe the Lions experience does make players better (perhaps not in the short term due to fatigue but certainly longer term), again I think we're looking at this backwards. I personally don't care if the Lions "benefits" the home nations, that isn't what it's for. I think it's for the home nations to benefit the Lions by producing top class players.

I think all players who are involved in the Lions tour should be excused the AIs that year - that's the point at which they should be returning to club rugby, not internationals. 6 Nations and the Lions is enough international rugby for one year. You never know, some of the home nations might actually benefit from an enforced opportunity to develop some depth in certain areas.

If you do raise the issue of development of the individual players then that might be a reason to bring in quotas. Lets share the pain and the benefits

Quotas brings with it the idea that players wouldn't be there on merit, which completely devalues the jersey. It's taken a while to do away with the issues of tokenism. We don't want to be bringing that back.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:59 am

SecretFly wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:Whilst I believe the Lions experience does make players better (perhaps not in the short term due to fatigue but certainly longer term), again I think we're looking at this backwards. I personally don't care if the Lions "benefits" the home nations, that isn't what it's for. I think it's for the home nations to benefit the Lions by producing top class players.



I think all players who are involved in the Lions tour should be excused the AIs that year - that's the point at which they should be returning to club rugby, not internationals. 6 Nations and the Lions is enough international rugby for one year. You never know, some of the home nations might actually benefit from an enforced opportunity to develop some depth in certain areas.

You make it sound like The Lions is a Nation onto itself, and that individual nations should cut themselves short (or mould themselves) merely to service the requirements of this stateless prince, the Lions?

Who decides all this excusing AIs for returning Lions players, returning to clubs rather than their Nations and devoting National development of players to the Lions cause?  Maybe a Lions director of Rugby to dictate International policy to all four participants?

I wouldn't describe the Lions as "stateless". It's the bringing together of four proud rugby nations. By it's very definition it's greater than the cause of any single constituent nation.

As for the who decides question. Happy to make the call myself, but I suspect each of the four unions will need to buy into the concept. It's once every four years. They'd cope, plus it would be good for the long term health of their players and enable them to blood some alternative players with the handy excuse of being able to blame the Lions even more. Win/win.

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Post by lostinwales Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:06 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:
lostinwales wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:Whilst I believe the Lions experience does make players better (perhaps not in the short term due to fatigue but certainly longer term), again I think we're looking at this backwards. I personally don't care if the Lions "benefits" the home nations, that isn't what it's for. I think it's for the home nations to benefit the Lions by producing top class players.

I think all players who are involved in the Lions tour should be excused the AIs that year - that's the point at which they should be returning to club rugby, not internationals. 6 Nations and the Lions is enough international rugby for one year. You never know, some of the home nations might actually benefit from an enforced opportunity to develop some depth in certain areas.

If you do raise the issue of development of the individual players then that might be a reason to bring in quotas. Lets share the pain and the benefits

Quotas brings with it the idea that players wouldn't be there on merit, which completely devalues the jersey. It's taken a while to do away with the issues of tokenism. We don't want to be bringing that back.

It is a difficult balance. If all the teams are playing at a decent level then it makes life easier, but that doesn't often happen. I don't think it does anyone any favours if the Lions just ends up as one nation plus guests either

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Post by Cyril Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:12 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:
SecretFly wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:Whilst I believe the Lions experience does make players better (perhaps not in the short term due to fatigue but certainly longer term), again I think we're looking at this backwards. I personally don't care if the Lions "benefits" the home nations, that isn't what it's for. I think it's for the home nations to benefit the Lions by producing top class players.



I think all players who are involved in the Lions tour should be excused the AIs that year - that's the point at which they should be returning to club rugby, not internationals. 6 Nations and the Lions is enough international rugby for one year. You never know, some of the home nations might actually benefit from an enforced opportunity to develop some depth in certain areas.

You make it sound like The Lions is a Nation onto itself, and that individual nations should cut themselves short (or mould themselves) merely to service the requirements of this stateless prince, the Lions?

Who decides all this excusing AIs for returning Lions players, returning to clubs rather than their Nations and devoting National development of players to the Lions cause?  Maybe a Lions director of Rugby to dictate International policy to all four participants?

I wouldn't describe the Lions as "stateless". It's the bringing together of four proud rugby nations. By it's very definition it's greater than the cause of any single constituent nation.

As for the who decides question. Happy to make the call myself, but I suspect each of the four unions will need to buy into the concept. It's once every four years. They'd cope, plus it would be good for the long term health of their players and enable them to blood some alternative players with the handy excuse of being able to blame the Lions even more. Win/win.
You can look at it two ways though. Bringing four nations together can make it four times as good or it dilutes any sort of 'national' bond you might have. I don't feel any affinity with Welsh, Scottish or Irish players and don't feel at all passionate about them representing me. A win over NZ (likes 2012) means a lot as an England fan. A Lions win over NZ would mean very, very little to me. I can see that some people still enjoy it but you could bin it tomorrow as far as I'm concerned. If it does remain the Lions should try and fit into the professional structures, not the other way around.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:19 pm

lostinwales wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
lostinwales wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:Whilst I believe the Lions experience does make players better (perhaps not in the short term due to fatigue but certainly longer term), again I think we're looking at this backwards. I personally don't care if the Lions "benefits" the home nations, that isn't what it's for. I think it's for the home nations to benefit the Lions by producing top class players.

I think all players who are involved in the Lions tour should be excused the AIs that year - that's the point at which they should be returning to club rugby, not internationals. 6 Nations and the Lions is enough international rugby for one year. You never know, some of the home nations might actually benefit from an enforced opportunity to develop some depth in certain areas.

If you do raise the issue of development of the individual players then that might be a reason to bring in quotas. Lets share the pain and the benefits

Quotas brings with it the idea that players wouldn't be there on merit, which completely devalues the jersey. It's taken a while to do away with the issues of tokenism. We don't want to be bringing that back.

It is a difficult balance. If all the teams are playing at a decent level then it makes life easier, but that doesn't often happen. I don't think it does anyone any favours if the Lions just ends up as one nation plus guests either

You should just pick the best players and leave it at that. Obviously that's a subjective judgment and will be debated endlessly by fans (nothing in rugby attracts the same level of interest as a Lions selection) but it's important for the players to know that the man who picked them believes they are the best.

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