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Should we continue British & Irish Lions Tours?

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Post by Steffan on Fri 03 Jan 2020, 8:28 pm

First topic message reminder :

This discussion came up the other day so I thought I would put it out there on here. I am impartial on the subject as I don't really follow Lions tours that much

They make money so I guess they will never be scrapped although I did read the other day after the disastrous tour of New Zealand under Clive Woodward and Alastair Campbell the future of the Lions did look in jeopardy

What is everyone's opinion...rugby tradition that should be kept...or an outdated concept in the modern professional era?


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Post by The Oracle on Fri 07 Feb 2020, 1:38 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Just as Formula 1 goes to UAE, Soccer to Qatar etc due to money, the Lions will continue to exist so long as there is money to be made (irrespective of whether we think it is right or wrong). however the 2025 tour could easily kill this particular golden goose.

My personal belief is that in the modern era the Lions are an anachronism that really should no longer exist. If it did not exist then no-one would create it.


I often think the same about England to be honest!

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Fri 07 Feb 2020, 9:49 pm

Isn't it only a matter of time before we have a European competition in place of the lions? I think the Lions has reached saturation point for the home unions in terms of revenue.
The 7's circuit has really brought on the interest in nations like Spain and Germany, the former should have qualified for the RWC if it were not for a corrupt ref and Germany only just missed out in the last round of the repercharge to Samoa. Then you have the likes of Romania and Georgia. Having a big comp to aim for every 2 years could bring on these nations without even having to open up the 6n.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 5:51 am

Ticks a lot of boxes Lf4l.
The problem is the Lions are stopping that growth in the game.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 6:45 am

Nothing stopping the unions from running a comp like that this year. Bar the fact its actually the clubs which block moves like that rather than the lions. If you removed the lions I doubt a 2nd 6 (or 7 nations now!) Plus a few others would spring up: it would be the clubs which look to fill that space first. A world club cup has been mentioned before.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 8:04 am

Why would the clubs block a European Competition if it took place instead of the Lions? Growth in the game would be good for them.

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Post by Guest on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 9:37 am

Germany's team was full of non-Germans. I think the game can and will grow and I know several Romanian people who say it is really growing back home. But that doesn't really cross over to the professional stage of rugby. If anything the gap is growing and even us in the Lions countries have had to resort to using SANZAR players and coaches just to bridge the gap and stay competitive.

I like the idea of it but the 7s circuit is very different to the 15 man game. It's still a long way off being feasible, unless we want a tournament of grandparents' heritage.

The Lions is here to stay for at least a little while. I like the idea of expanding it though. Not to include France. Again, I think that's a certain kind of Irish outlook on Britain and some in the UK who like to see themselves as more European than British, even if Ireland is a rugby team comprising of both the Republic and a part of the UK. If the Irish team was just the Republic then I don't think there would be much argument for changing it. But as long as Ireland includes the north then there is a clear modern day link to the UK and the union and what combines the other 3 teams. It makes zero sense to include France as well, to destroy 100+ years of history just because some Irish people feel uncomfortable withthe Lions branding and how there is a 'higher' tier than Ireland for Irish players that includes 'Britain'. If that's how it goes then it should be case of in or out - either a Lions team, or nothing at all.

It's not about defending the politics or defending Empire or anything like that. It's just history and I do think sport transcends politics and should reflect the culture which is based on history of the rugby team. That's it. There is history and tradition to the Lions, it meant a lot to everyone involved in the amateur days, and means a lot now in the professional era, maybe for very different reasons. If you change the Lions fundamentally, you end the team, you can't mess about with it to be some federalist European side that tries to represent everyone and ends up representing nothing and no one. I just think the Lions should play more than one team on a tour and it would make sense after the New Zealand tour in 2029 to move to something different, maybe something less insular within one country and not involving the club teams, but more of a knockout tournament. I don't really know but I think there is room there to change it but maybe don't ask me exactly how!

We like to pretend nationalism is over and that we've all become citizens of the world again. Or Europe, in some cases. Or disconnected from any landmass and our identity is based on race, religion, sex, gender. But it's not over just yet. We're fortunately not going to have fully franchised international rugby in our lifetimes I don't think, even if the idea of nationhood is seen as ugly and shameful, which spits on the graves of many people. It's not an easy combination for any of the teams and there are some opponents within every country, this isn't just as UK v ROI issue, obviously, but Ireland doesn't seem to buy in with its players and fans like the others. Scotland only seem to be critical because they have so few players. With that in mind what is the answer? New Zealand like playing as the All Blacks when they play the Lions. I don't think the answer is to split everyone else up as well. As long as there is still some sense of competition between the Lions and the teams they play, then that's fine, it's still worthy. If the Lions started getting taken apart like in 2005, or if they dominated like they maybe should have done in 2013, then the argument to change it raises its head.

My worry would bethat any change would be done solely for money and nothing more, nothing less. The people responsible for organising rugby have one thing in mind now and things like history and culture are in the distance as concerns. Even player welfare is secondary.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 9:49 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Nothing stopping the unions from running a comp like that this year. Bar the fact its actually the clubs which block moves like that rather than the lions. If you removed the lions I doubt a 2nd 6 (or 7 nations now!) Plus a few others would spring up: it would be the clubs which look to fill that space first. A world club cup has been mentioned before.
The current international calendar is blocking the comp this year. We can't just expect the Sanzaar nations to travel up here in the autumn and then they get left with nothing in the summer.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 9:56 am

guestalt_physicality wrote:Germany's team was full of non-Germans. I think the game can and will grow and I know several Romanian people who say it is really growing back home. But that doesn't really cross over to the professional stage of rugby. If anything the gap is growing and even us in the Lions countries have had to resort to using SANZAR players and coaches just to bridge the gap and stay competitive.

I like the idea of it but the 7s circuit is very different to the 15 man game. It's still a long way off being feasible, unless we want a tournament of grandparents' heritage.

The Lions is here to stay for at least a little while. I like the idea of expanding it though. Not to include France. Again, I think that's a certain kind of Irish outlook on Britain and some in the UK who like to see themselves as more European than British, even if Ireland is a rugby team comprising of both the Republic and a part of the UK. If the Irish team was just the Republic then I don't think there would be much argument for changing it. But as long as Ireland includes the north then there is a clear modern day link to the UK and the union and what combines the other 3 teams. It makes zero sense to include France as well, to destroy 100+ years of history just because some Irish people feel uncomfortable withthe Lions branding and how there is a 'higher' tier than Ireland for Irish players that includes 'Britain'. If that's how it goes then it should be case of in or out - either a Lions team, or nothing at all.

It's not about defending the politics or defending Empire or anything like that. It's just history and I do think sport transcends politics and should reflect the culture which is based on history of the rugby team. That's it. There is history and tradition to the Lions, it meant a lot to everyone involved in the amateur days, and means a lot now in the professional era, maybe for very different reasons. If you change the Lions fundamentally, you end the team, you can't mess about with it to be some federalist European side that tries to represent everyone and ends up representing nothing and no one. I just think the Lions should play more than one team on a tour and it would make sense after the New Zealand tour in 2029 to move to something different, maybe something less insular within one country and not involving the club teams, but more of a knockout tournament. I don't really know but I think there is room there to change it but maybe don't ask me exactly how!

We like to pretend nationalism is over and that we've all become citizens of the world again. Or Europe, in some cases. Or disconnected from any landmass and our identity is based on race, religion, sex, gender. But it's not over just yet. We're fortunately not going to have fully franchised international rugby in our lifetimes I don't think, even if the idea of nationhood is seen as ugly and shameful, which spits on the graves of many people. It's not an easy combination for any of the teams and there are some opponents within every country, this isn't just as UK v ROI issue, obviously, but Ireland doesn't seem to buy in with its players and fans like the others. Scotland only seem to be critical because they have so few players. With that in mind what is the answer? New Zealand like playing as the All Blacks when they play the Lions. I don't think the answer is to split everyone else up as well. As long as there is still some sense of competition between the Lions and the teams they play, then that's fine, it's still worthy. If the Lions started getting taken apart like in 2005, or if they dominated like they maybe should have done in 2013, then the argument to change it raises its head.

My worry would bethat any change would be done solely for money and nothing more, nothing less. The people responsible for organising rugby have one thing in mind now and things like history and culture are in the distance as concerns. Even player welfare is secondary.
I love watching the lions but I care far more about the development of the game across the world and I can see huge potential with the nations I mentioned above. They just need more things to aim for, rather than just having a world cup every 4 years. We can't just expect nations like Spain (who have apparently sold 40k tickets for their game against the classic All Blacks!) to keep investing and growing the sport if there is nothing to aim for. This closed shop nature of rugby was absolutely necessary to protect the core nations at the start of professionalism but it's time to open up now.

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Post by Guest on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 12:00 pm

I don't think rugby is a closed shop in the slightest. I also think these two ideas aren't in contradiction with each other. No one wants to return to 100 point thrashings in rugby. Artificially promoting any team or nation, even Georgia, will have this effect. More importantly for the commercial side rugby isn't a big sport in the countries mentioned and it is more popular in the less affluent parts of Europe to the east. The key to growing the game is through the capital of the world: London. Nothing grows the game like its popularity in the Anglosphere because of the USA, China, and the commonwealth's historic links to it. Look at the rise of soccer in the last 15 years alone in the US. A lot of that is to do with social media and broadcasting the English league, not just the growing population from migration south of the border.

There will also be the kind of showpiece events we saw with the Lions in Hong Kong by pushing rugby in England where it is still a fringe sport of sorts. Given the UK's links to the middle east I imagine it won't be long until we see rugby over there (which is a point made earlier about politics in sport) in an air conditioned indoor stadium. It makes no sense trying to grow the game in very wealthy, developed nations that show little desire to play it at the top level. They have the resources, if they want to grow, they can. Instead, Brazil, parts of Africa, north america, Japan and East Asia, eastern europe, and of course the Pacific Islands are the ones in need of help long before western europe. It's not an either:or but if it's a case of time and resources there would be more benefit felt by extending the game in latin america via Argentina and Uruguay (already there have been big improvements in both americas at club level and we saw that at the world cup with uruguay) and east asia. Some islamic parts of africa and asia are hard to tap in to for political and cultural reasons. But the money and population that would be open to it is not in europe but in south america (particularly Brazil where rugby is growing), asia (where Japan have shown growth) and africa (where kenyan 7s and the links to south africa can help).

These things take time. You want a balance between stopping the wealthiest teams like Ireland, England, New Zealand attracting all the talent from the Pacific Islands, while also not denying those players who deserve to earn good money from their talents a living. So you have a residency law that is strict but not too strict and it keeps everyone sort of unhappy but it's better than pleasing one party and ruining it for everyone else. There is little point trying to grow too fast and I worry rugby has done that with contracts and we're seeing one consequence which is Saracens, but another is the grassroots game in Wales for instance. Much of Europe has got used to consuming with only a small % producing which is another reason why Spain and Germany are not about to start playing rugby in their millions. If you try to grow too fast it will hurt rugby in the long term whether that's Kenya, Brazil, or Samoa.

But what does that have to do with the Lions? I would advocate having more tier 2 teams play the Lions as warm up games either pre tour or as part of it. That would do more good in the short term in terms of exposure and money. More importantly is we need to have a good quality development system beneath the top level which apart from in England, New Zealand, and South Africa doesn't really exist. Maybe Australia as well but they have their problems. If you take the best layer away from even some tier 1 countries what is left? The reality is that top layer props up the rest of the game so building slowly and seeing that next layer, whatever it may be whether that's the Premiership in Wales, the Super 6 in Scotland, or the MLR in america, grow will be key to the longevity and strength of the sport.

If you want to grow the game then your concern shouldn't be the Lions. Instead it seems like a backdoor way of getting rid of the Lions while saying it's for a more noble cause. Doesn't make sense.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 12:28 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:I don't think rugby is a closed shop in the slightest. I also think these two ideas aren't in contradiction with each other. No one wants to return to 100 point thrashings in rugby. Artificially promoting any team or nation, even Georgia, will have this effect. More importantly for the commercial side rugby isn't a big sport in the countries mentioned and it is more popular in the less affluent parts of Europe to the east. The key to growing the game is through the capital of the world: London. Nothing grows the game like its popularity in the Anglosphere because of the USA, China, and the commonwealth's historic links to it. Look at the rise of soccer in the last 15 years alone in the US. A lot of that is to do with social media and broadcasting the English league, not just the growing population from migration south of the border.

There will also be the kind of showpiece events we saw with the Lions in Hong Kong by pushing rugby in England where it is still a fringe sport of sorts. Given the UK's links to the middle east I imagine it won't be long until we see rugby over there (which is a point made earlier about politics in sport) in an air conditioned indoor stadium. It makes no sense trying to grow the game in very wealthy, developed nations that show little desire to play it at the top level. They have the resources, if they want to grow, they can. Instead, Brazil, parts of Africa, north america, Japan and East Asia, eastern europe, and of course the Pacific Islands are the ones in need of help long before western europe. It's not an either:or but if it's a case of time and resources there would be more benefit felt by extending the game in latin america via Argentina and Uruguay (already there have been big improvements in both americas at club level and we saw that at the world cup with uruguay) and east asia. Some islamic parts of africa and asia are hard to tap in to for political and cultural reasons. But the money and population that would be open to it is not in europe but in south america (particularly Brazil where rugby is growing), asia (where Japan have shown growth) and africa (where kenyan 7s and the links to south africa can help).

These things take time. You want a balance between stopping the wealthiest teams like Ireland, England, New Zealand attracting all the talent from the Pacific Islands, while also not denying those players who deserve to earn good money from their talents a living. So you have a residency law that is strict but not too strict and it keeps everyone sort of unhappy but it's better than pleasing one party and ruining it for everyone else. There is little point trying to grow too fast and I worry rugby has done that with contracts and we're seeing one consequence which is Saracens, but another is the grassroots game in Wales for instance. Much of Europe has got used to consuming with only a small % producing which is another reason why Spain and Germany are not about to start playing rugby in their millions. If you try to grow too fast it will hurt rugby in the long term whether that's Kenya, Brazil, or Samoa.

But what does that have to do with the Lions? I would advocate having more tier 2 teams play the Lions as warm up games either pre tour or as part of it. That would do more good in the short term in terms of exposure and money. More importantly is we need to have a good quality development system beneath the top level which apart from in England, New Zealand, and South Africa doesn't really exist. Maybe Australia as well but they have their problems. If you take the best layer away from even some tier 1 countries what is left? The reality is that top layer props up the rest of the game so building slowly and seeing that next layer, whatever it may be whether that's the Premiership in Wales, the Super 6 in Scotland, or the MLR in america, grow will be key to the longevity and strength of the sport.

If you want to grow the game then your concern shouldn't be the Lions. Instead it seems like a backdoor way of getting rid of the Lions while saying it's for a more noble cause. Doesn't make sense.
Rugby is absolutely a closed shop, hence the tiered system and the suggestion of the "World League" by World rugby. I mean you're basically getting world rugby admitting this themselves, that it is a closed shop. The top 10 nations don't even have to go through qualifiers to get to the RWC. Football has it's problems but in the international scene, everyone gets their fair chance, that is what a open shop sport looks like. I'm not saying rugby will ever be at that level but we must try better.

Even now looking through the November internationals for 2020, I can see Japan taking up 4 fixtures already that were once occupied by the PI's, Canada, USA etc. which is great for Japan and they certainly need to be given opportunities but there is now even less opportunities for tier 2 teams in these small windows. The point on the Lions is that, that spot in the calendar could be used to create a European league, something that is talked about on forums every 4 years when the Lions tour. You can't deny the potential impact that could have for tier 2 nations in Europe.

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Post by Guest on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 12:42 pm

It's not a closed shop. It's just a small sport when you compare it to other sports that have a world cup. It's not as bad as cricket that's for sure. I don't think any of your points about rugby can't be explained by it being amateur not long ago, so having to develop from a bad starting point while balancing needs. And one of those needs is keeping the tier 1 countries strong and competitive. Like Italy who are struggling, for instance, to keep up.

There can easily be a European league v tier 2. Just play the A teams of the Lions countries just before or after the Lions tours. They would still beat the likes of Georgia in all likelihood but if they didn't, then great, it makes it better all round while having another tournament for fans/viewers/sponsors. But what is the issue to this? Countries don't want to lose players to qualifying for their A teams so they don't field them. That's the issue it's the unions wanting to stay strong by pinching the fourth and fifth choice players from New Zealand if you're Ireland or England or Wales.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 1:06 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:It's not a closed shop. It's just a small sport when you compare it to other sports that have a world cup. It's not as bad as cricket that's for sure. I don't think any of your points about rugby can't be explained by it being amateur not long ago, so having to develop from a bad starting point while balancing needs. And one of those needs is keeping the tier 1 countries strong and competitive. Like Italy who are struggling, for instance, to keep up.

There can easily be a European league v tier 2. Just play the A teams of the Lions countries just before or after the Lions tours. They would still beat the likes of Georgia in all likelihood but if they didn't, then great, it makes it better all round while having another tournament for fans/viewers/sponsors. But what is the issue to this? Countries don't want to lose players to qualifying for their A teams so they don't field them. That's the issue it's the unions wanting to stay strong by pinching the fourth and fifth choice players from New Zealand if you're Ireland or England or Wales.
It's a small close shop sport yes. Again the Top nations don't have to qualify for the world cup, just like in cricket and all the big tournament's out side of that are closed shop. Just because it's slightly better than cricket doesn't make it not closed shop. I would seriously emplore you to ask a tier 2 rugby fan what they think, I can promise you they won't talk kindly on world rugby.

A tier 2 tournament vs A teams is not commercially viable, come on you know this. The interest won't be there and rightly so, that would be a huge insult to tier 2 nations and the whole point of the European cup is to drum up interest from the casual fan not to give tier 2 nations a run out.

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Post by Guest on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 1:44 pm

Are you aware that qualification for the world cup is based on where teams finish in the group in the world cup? And then, from there, there is a qualifying tournament for the rest? Fiji and Japan have been rewarded for their performances in Japan so they are already qualified for France 2023? If you are I'm not sure what point you're making about a closed shop based on qualification as everyone now has equal opportunity to finish 3rd in the world cup group now.

Being totally honest, would you get rid of the six nations and autumn internationals and turn international rugby in to a 3 year qualifying and seeding campaign for the rugby world cup? I'm not sure what you're arguing for, or against, other than the Lions.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 5:38 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:Are you aware that qualification for the world cup is based on where teams finish in the group in the world cup? And then, from there, there is a qualifying tournament for the rest? Fiji and Japan have been rewarded for their performances in Japan so they are already qualified for France 2023? If you are I'm not sure what point you're making about a closed shop based on qualification as everyone now has equal opportunity to finish 3rd in the world cup group now.

Being totally honest, would you get rid of the six nations and autumn internationals and turn international rugby in to a 3 year qualifying and seeding campaign for the rugby world cup? I'm not sure what you're arguing for, or against, other than the Lions.
oh yeah i am aware of the convenient top 3 in each group qualify automatically for the world cup in FOUR YEARS TIME. If you can't see anything wrong with that, I can't help you.

Where have I said to get rid of the 6n? I'm making the point that if there was a euro comp then there is no reason to open up the 6n thus protesting the core nations.

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Post by Pot Hale on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 6:16 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:I don't think

These things take time. You want a balance between stopping the wealthiest teams like Ireland, England, New Zealand attracting all the talent from the Pacific Islands, while also not denying those players who deserve to earn good money from their talents a living..

But what does that have to do with the Lions? I would advocate having more tier 2 teams play the Lions as warm up gamesoble cause. Doesn't make sense.

What Pacific Islands players are playing in Ireland? None - as far as I’m aware.
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Post by Guest on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 6:51 pm

Ok you are suggesting, but not explaining, some wholesale changes to the rugby calendar.

I think it's better if you spell out how you think international rugby should look in total, in the 4 year cycle etc., rather than just dealing with each thing indiviually. At the moment you're just saying everything is bad and will be better when it becomes more inclusive without too many details. I honestly can't see what's wrong with automatically qualifying the top 3 teams in each group considering the disparity in ability between the teams in rugby while also giving a chance to the Fijis of this world some freedom and reward for making that step up at the showpiece event. It would be pointless having England or New Zealand or France play Barbados or Hong Kong or Portugal in a qualifier. So maybe you can help me (and maybe other posters) out by saying how you want rugby to look, and what you're exactly suggesting should replace the Lions etc.

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Post by Guest on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 6:54 pm

Pot Hale wrote:
guestalt_physicality wrote:I don't think

These things take time. You want a balance between stopping the wealthiest teams like Ireland, England, New Zealand attracting all the talent from the Pacific Islands, while also not denying those players who deserve to earn good money from their talents a living..

But what does that have to do with the Lions? I would advocate having more tier 2 teams play the Lions as warm up gamesoble cause. Doesn't make sense.

What Pacific Islands players are playing in Ireland?  None - as far as I’m aware.

Fualaofi Bundaloo Aki who is dual qualified by blood and birth to New Zealand and Samoa. Not good enough for NZ, he should by rights be playing for Samoa. Perhaps France would have been a better example though, but hopefully you get the point re: evolution not revolution.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 6:56 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:Ok you are suggesting, but not explaining, some wholesale changes to the rugby calendar.

I think it's better if you spell out how you think international rugby should look in total, in the 4 year cycle etc., rather than just dealing with each thing indiviually. At the moment you're just saying everything is bad and will be better when it becomes more inclusive without too many details. I honestly can't see what's wrong with automatically qualifying the top 3 teams in each group considering the disparity in ability between the teams in rugby while also giving a chance to the Fijis of this world some freedom and reward for making that step up at the showpiece event. It would be pointless having England or New Zealand or France play Barbados or Hong Kong or Portugal in a qualifier. So maybe you can help me (and maybe other posters) out by saying how you want rugby to look, and what you're exactly suggesting should replace the Lions etc.
I'm really not sure what is so confusing? All I've suggested so far is a European competition instead of the lions tour... It's not going to happen, it's all hypothetical. The Lions are here to stay for the time being. I would like to see the Top nations qualify for the rwc however like Ireland had to do back in 03

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Post by Guest on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 7:45 pm

Why would you replace it though? With what kind of competition? And from the lost revenue, can you say it would benefit rugby as a whole, including the likes of Germany and Spain, to be worth it in the long term? Because to me it sounds like you just don't like the Lions rather than have really thought this through.

Everyone has to qualify for the world cup, including the top teams, apart from the host. Some of them qualify at the world cup, some have to play qualifiers. This system has worked really well during a time where rugby has grown quicker for all countries than at any point. Why would you change it, and what would this new way of qualifying look like?

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Post by RiscaGame on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 10:47 pm

I’ve missed Miaow’s essays.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 10 Feb 2020, 2:58 pm

The Lions is a marketing tool to extract money from NH fans and put it into the economy of three SH countries. Since each of NZ, SA and Oz only gets this revenue once every dozen years, do they really need it? Smaller rugby nations would benefit much more from a multi-team tournament every four years instead.

A European competition could consist of four pools of four. Each pool could be held in a different European country with the top two from each pool going to the knock out stages. The Quarters could be held in the "pool" countries and the Semis and Final held in which ever one was the the "host" country. More nations not capable of staging a full RWC could bid for the cut-down version in their country and that may be the only chance their own population could get a real tournament experience.
So that would be a minimum of three games each for the non qualifying pool teams and a maximum of six games for the medallists. For the participants it would be giving them experience of playing in a tournament not dissimilar to the RWC and a useful testing ground two years out.

If the Rest of the World wanted they could hold a mirror competition for their teams to grow the game there too.

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Post by Guest on Mon 10 Feb 2020, 4:14 pm

I don't think you understand how modern sport works. How many NH fans and how much money is funding the Lions directly? And how much is from private sponsorship and media? And how much is to generate interest in these countries and boost local economies and actually comes from the home fans and businesses as well in terms of making it viable? It's not a one way street and much of the wealth is in fact multinational and from Asia and the USA as well. Isn't Microsoft a sponsor of the Lions? Does that really mean that Hamish and his amateur rugby team from West Lothian are funding the Lions and a company from Redwood, California are not?

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 10 Feb 2020, 6:53 pm

Who cares who is funding it!  Should it go on, is the kweskin!!!!

In a calmer mood.  Everybody probably admits that ye Lions makes money.  It still seems rather a vacuous argument as it certainly don't make money for me.  
So why should I particularly care that it makes money or who gives the money?

But ''tis possible that perhaps the rest of you all have hefty shares in rugby linked corporations etc etc.  So be it, if so - carry on with the spreadsheet lingo. OK

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Post by Guest on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 9:56 am

It matters who is funding it if one of the principle points raised by the detractors is that NH fans are 'funding' the Lions. The implication is 'we' are paying for the Lions, and that time and money would be better spent within the individual unions, particularly when there is opposition to the Lions: for quite a few Irish fans, this is based on what has been discussed, and more recently for Scots due to lack of representation. If that point isn't true, which it isn't because NH fans aren't simply funding the Lions and the tri nations, then it seems important to address as it's not a valid reason for disbanding the Lions. So there needs to be a better reason for opposing it.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 10:17 am

Funding is more than just money - though the monies raised from tourism and TV rights are massive.

Clubs and Unions are providing the players who are often returned broken.

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Post by Guest on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 12:00 pm

The point that has been raised is that the Lions are now just a marketing tool for NH fans to fund. But that's not even close to being true and it misunderstands many things. The Lions attracts casual fans and therefore TV audiences and therefore sponsors, media, money etc. Britain and Ireland is still one of maybe 3 or 4 rugby hotspots and is still the heartland of rugby as a commercial sport. The suggestion that you remove the Lions and replace it with a tournament that is of less value than autumn internationals and summer tours is nonsensical. That doesn't grow the game and it is clearly motivated/suggested to destroy the Lions first and foremost and justify it after the fact by trying to present the Lions as 'taking' the money from NH fans. It's just not true. It's not true in the slightest and ignores the fundamental reality which is fans are choosing to keep the Lions alive commercially because they value it as practically equal to the world cup and the six nations. The suggestion that a tier 2 tournament should replace the Lions sounds a lot like the discussion on the 7 nations thread. You don't take what is strong and good about the game and tear it down because it is strong and good. Northwestern European money and interest in rugby is not infinite and it is not deep. It is intense for things like the six nations and the world cup and even the lions and big club games but it does not have the loyalty or spread football does and destroying one of the three pillars of the international game that generates interest and money and is a global competition (and can be made more global in future) is insanity. Plain and simple. I know we live in a world which is very used to justifying tearing down wealth, power, and institutions from the inside and who cares about the consequences but I there is nothing on this thread which is neither short sighted or partisan in its reasons for wanting the Lions ended.

If player injuries are an issue then that is a matter of insurance which has only just been addressed between clubs and countries and does not really exist outside the Lions countries. Try asking Fiji for instance.

Commercialism is what has kept rugby union alive as all sport has gone corporate. It is what makes players millionaires, what makes rugby in its present state the biggest code, and what will lead to the growth of the game as there is the monetary incentive to create and develop rugby cultures in countries that are not that competitive at the moment. The present day fans have a minor say in that. The fans who built rugby up over 150 years are the ones who built the companies that make those who own clubs and other businesses assocaited with the sport very lucky and wealthy men. Same with football and other traditional sports. But it's not just the Lions which suffers and benefits and that's why I still don't see the dividing line here. Yes international rugby has a greater imperative but not by much and certainly not to the point of saying 'let's kill one of our 3 (maybe 4) major cash cows in the sport'. Crazy.

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Post by tigertattie on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 12:24 pm

With Underhill's comments last week of "we hate them and they hate us", does this pour some doubt on the Lions going forward?

How can you get a team of players who "hate" each other to gel and play as a team to take on NZ or SA?
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Post by The Oracle on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 12:32 pm

tigertattie wrote:With Underhill's comments last week of "we hate them and they hate us", does this pour some doubt on the Lions going forward?

How can you get a team of players who "hate" each other to gel and play as a team to take on NZ or SA?

I'd argue the 'hate' was worse in the old days than it is now. Back in the 80s when you had players lamping each other and stamping on each other. Now in the pro days the 'hate' is all artificial, if you ask me.
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Post by lostinwales on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 12:32 pm

tigertattie wrote:With Underhill's comments last week of "we hate them and they hate us", does this pour some doubt on the Lions going forward?

How can you get a team of players who "hate" each other to gel and play as a team to take on NZ or SA?

That was Ludlam. I don't think you'd get that kind of language out of Underhill.

A statement like that is also a product of the occasion. Plenty of Scots playing for English clubs.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 1:36 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:I don't think you understand how modern sport works. How many NH fans and how much money is funding the Lions directly? And how much is from private sponsorship and media? And how much is to generate interest in these countries and boost local economies and actually comes from the home fans and businesses as well in terms of making it viable? It's not a one way street and much of the wealth is in fact multinational and from Asia and the USA as well. Isn't Microsoft a sponsor of the Lions? Does that really mean that Hamish and his amateur rugby team from West Lothian are funding the Lions and a company from Redwood, California are not?

You are correct I had asked further up the thread if there were any figures to show how much money the Lions made, because I don't know. Can you enlighten us all please?

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 1:42 pm

maestegmafia wrote:
Khouli Khan wrote:"The reasons why the concept is damaging to club and (pick your) country, is that everything the players have known and worked for is thrown out the window. The selection for the Lions is made at the whim of a selector picking players most have never played for. They are expected to gel with sworn enemies for a few weeks and then resume hostilities when the circus is over. They are trying to understand players whom they have never played with before nor will play with after the tour, and likewise coaches.
When the Lions was only picking amateur players on Five Nations form the players didn't have clubs that paid them to be back in high pressure games in a couple of weeks and they rightly saw the experience as one that wouldn't be surpassed. Now there's the RWC and club glory to fight for, the Lions is not just irrelevant in rugby terms but damaging to everything their usual teams have been building for."
____


Nailed it.

There are many people who say that if someone is against the Lions, or the concept of it, then they're against rugby. I tend to think its the other way round.

Stop living in the past and move on.

No one has sworn enemies in rugby, that football parlance, rugby is about making friends that share your love of the game.that is the ethos behind the lions tours.

We lose that and it’s just another sport with “Sworn enemies” promoted by whoever the latest media a r s e h o l e is that televises the matches.

The Oracle wrote:
tigertattie wrote:With Underhill's comments last week of "we hate them and they hate us", does this pour some doubt on the Lions going forward?

How can you get a team of players who "hate" each other to gel and play as a team to take on NZ or SA?

I'd argue the 'hate' was worse in the old days than it is now.  Back in the 80s when you had players lamping each other and stamping on each other.  Now in the pro days the 'hate' is all artificial, if you ask me.

So are there enemies in the game after all?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 1:45 pm

Ludlam hates his teammate then.

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Post by The Oracle on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 1:58 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:
Khouli Khan wrote:"The reasons why the concept is damaging to club and (pick your) country, is that everything the players have known and worked for is thrown out the window. The selection for the Lions is made at the whim of a selector picking players most have never played for. They are expected to gel with sworn enemies for a few weeks and then resume hostilities when the circus is over. They are trying to understand players whom they have never played with before nor will play with after the tour, and likewise coaches.
When the Lions was only picking amateur players on Five Nations form the players didn't have clubs that paid them to be back in high pressure games in a couple of weeks and they rightly saw the experience as one that wouldn't be surpassed. Now there's the RWC and club glory to fight for, the Lions is not just irrelevant in rugby terms but damaging to everything their usual teams have been building for."
____


Nailed it.

There are many people who say that if someone is against the Lions, or the concept of it, then they're against rugby. I tend to think its the other way round.

Stop living in the past and move on.

No one has sworn enemies in rugby, that football parlance, rugby is about making friends that share your love of the game.that is the ethos behind the lions tours.

We lose that and it’s just another sport with “Sworn enemies” promoted by whoever the latest media a r s e h o l e is that televises the matches.

The Oracle wrote:
tigertattie wrote:With Underhill's comments last week of "we hate them and they hate us", does this pour some doubt on the Lions going forward?

How can you get a team of players who "hate" each other to gel and play as a team to take on NZ or SA?

I'd argue the 'hate' was worse in the old days than it is now.  Back in the 80s when you had players lamping each other and stamping on each other.  Now in the pro days the 'hate' is all artificial, if you ask me.

So are there enemies in the game after all?


No, not based on the two people you quoted. They're all good chums off the pitch, by and large, these days. Hate seems to be a lazy term for a rivalry. One that sells newspapers, etc.
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Post by tigertattie on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 2:19 pm

lostinwales wrote:
tigertattie wrote:With Underhill's comments last week of "we hate them and they hate us", does this pour some doubt on the Lions going forward?

How can you get a team of players who "hate" each other to gel and play as a team to take on NZ or SA?

That was Ludlam. I don't think you'd get that kind of language out of Underhill.

A statement like that is also a product of the occasion. Plenty of Scots playing for English clubs.

My apologies to Mr Underhill (I apologise coz I think he could take me in a fight)

I could take Ludlam though! Just saying
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Post by 123456789. on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 4:42 pm

My school was at the sort of crossover point between three club teams. All were big rivals. As were the schools in the area. I'd quite regularly play with my schoolmates against the guys from club on the Saturday, the team talks were all about hate and I bought into them. Then on the Sunday I'd play against my team mates from the day before and hate them in turn. Then we'd all laugh about it on the Monday at school. It's not the people they hate but the idea of them. It did bring about some awkward incidents. I punched my best friend in a ruck once, my Gran was on the side talking to his mother at the time. On another occasion I fell out with my opposite number, who I didn't know. Next thing two of my closest friends were squaring up at each other. The next day they were training together in the second-row. I think it's a mindset thing, trying to build up the occasion. That said there is real niggle between the Sarries and Glasgow players that's run through the Scotland and England games too. I can't see Ryan Wilson and Maro Itoje holidaying together anytime soon. But then Maitland, and to a lesser extent Taylor, straddle that divide. I can't see that it would be an issue come Lions time.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 9:32 pm

The Oracle wrote:No, not based on the two people you quoted.  They're all good chums off the pitch, by and large, these days.  Hate seems to be a lazy term for a rivalry.  One that sells newspapers, etc.

It was Lewis Ludlam who was quoted using the word 'hate' - has he limited vocabulary or is he trying to sell newspapers?

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Post by The Oracle on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 9:45 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
The Oracle wrote:No, not based on the two people you quoted.  They're all good chums off the pitch, by and large, these days.  Hate seems to be a lazy term for a rivalry.  One that sells newspapers, etc.

It was Lewis Ludlam who was quoted using the word 'hate' - has he limited vocabulary or is he trying to sell newspapers?

Lazy terminology I'd say. Bet he had a beer with some of the opposition after the game. Doubt he hates anyone really.
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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 9:51 pm

What about losing - is it OK to 'hate' losing in Rugby?

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Post by The Oracle on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 10:06 pm

Of course.

Still don't think the players hate each other. Doubt they know each other well enough. There are probably more within their own club/national side that they dislike more than those in 'foreign' teams.
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Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 12 Feb 2020, 2:59 pm

Think that's an even more important point O - they don't know each other well enough to have developed an understanding of whether they like or loathe someone. In team-building there is a sequence that every team member must go through called: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing - usually over months/years not days. Most teams provide ample time for that process to mutually adjust, allowing the team to reach its potential. The 1974 Invincibles had a 32 man squad and 22 matches to become a team, and it was the only opportunity they had as amateur individuals to play, practice, eat, breath, and sleep rugby daily. Little wonder it was the pinnacle of the rugby calendar because such rugby intensity was alien to their normal Saturday game.

Paradoxically the Lions remain an alien concept to 'normal' rugby but in the opposite sense to above. Now the players already have 'wall to wall' rugby, but instead of having weeks/months together to develop they only have hours and minutes with the Lions. Knowing they could be better but now don't have the time must be closer to the nadir than the pinnacle of their rugby aspiration.

Even if it were true that (say) Ludlum secretly hates some of his Saints or England team mates more than the Scots, he is never going to say so in public because it would put both his club and Test career in jeopardy. So whether he means what he says to the core of his being, the word 'hate' exists in Rugby - and he used it against potential Lions team mates proving the Lions is an aberration where normal rugby protocol doesn't apply.

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Post by The Oracle on Wed 12 Feb 2020, 5:09 pm

Well, I'd still argue that 'hate' is being used incorrectly here. But if you insist that players 'hate' potential Lions squad members from other countries then it must exist in normal international squads too where there must be examples of players who 'hate' people from other clubs (e.g. Scarlets and Ospreys; Dragons and Blues). So I can't see how the Lions is any different from International on that front. You talk about time together to gel as a squad. I'd argue that the players had just as much time to get to know one another in the last Lions tour (a few weeks together before going) as, say, Nick Tompkins had to get to know his international team mates before Wales' first game against Italy in 2019, or Jonny McNicholl did before the BaaBaas game in Nov.

On a related note, I've heard Newport and Cardiff players talking about hate between them (although again I'm sure they're using colourful language again to emphasize a point); and the same ones talking about hate between them and valleys sides. Yet they come together to form a squad for the Welsh national team. If this hate you refer to really exists then shouldn't we disband international rugby too? Is international rugby not an aberration also if potential international team mates use that sort of language towards each other?
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Post by lostinwales on Wed 12 Feb 2020, 5:37 pm

The Oracle wrote:Well, I'd still argue that 'hate' is being used incorrectly here.  But if you insist that players 'hate' potential Lions squad members from other countries then it must exist in normal international squads too where there must be examples of players who 'hate' people from other clubs (e.g. Scarlets and Ospreys; Dragons and Blues).  So I can't see how the Lions is any different from International on that front.  You talk about time together to gel as a squad.  I'd argue that the players had just as much time to get to know one another in the last Lions tour (a few weeks together before going) as, say, Nick Tompkins had to get to know his international team mates before Wales' first game against Italy in 2019, or Jonny McNicholl did before the BaaBaas game in Nov.  

On a related note, I've heard Newport and Cardiff players talking about hate between them (although again I'm sure they're using colourful language again to emphasize a point); and the same ones talking about hate between them and valleys sides.  Yet they come together to form a squad for the Welsh national team.  If this hate you refer to really exists then shouldn't we disband international rugby too?  Is international rugby not an aberration also if potential international team mates use that sort of language towards each other?

Much easier to hate people you don't know than people you do (person dependent of course). Especially if you can apply a label.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety on Wed 12 Feb 2020, 6:08 pm

123456789. wrote:My school was at the sort of crossover point between three club teams. All were big rivals. As were the schools in the area. I'd quite regularly play with my schoolmates against the guys from club on the Saturday, the team talks were all about hate and I bought into them. Then on the Sunday I'd play against my team mates from the day before and hate them in turn. Then we'd all laugh about it on the Monday at school. It's not the people they hate but the idea of them. It did bring about some awkward incidents. I punched my best friend in a ruck once, my Gran was on the side talking to his mother at the time. On another occasion I fell out with my opposite number, who I didn't know. Next thing two of my closest friends were squaring up at each other. The next day they were training together in the second-row. I think it's a mindset thing, trying to build up the occasion. That said there is real niggle between the Sarries and Glasgow players that's run through the Scotland and England games too. I can't see Ryan Wilson and Maro Itoje holidaying together anytime soon. But then Maitland, and to a lesser extent Taylor, straddle that divide. I can't see that it would be an issue come Lions time.

Just want to say, that's an excellent post. Contributes to this thread, personal examples, relatable, widens the thoughts and considerations. Made me think and consider my position.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 12 Feb 2020, 9:21 pm

The Oracle wrote:Well, I'd still argue that 'hate' is being used incorrectly here.  But if you insist that players 'hate' potential Lions squad members from other countries then it must exist in normal international squads too where there must be examples of players who 'hate' people from other clubs (e.g. Scarlets and Ospreys; Dragons and Blues).  So I can't see how the Lions is any different from International on that front.  You talk about time together to gel as a squad.  I'd argue that the players had just as much time to get to know one another in the last Lions tour (a few weeks together before going) as, say, Nick Tompkins had to get to know his international team mates before Wales' first game against Italy in 2019, or Jonny McNicholl did before the BaaBaas game in Nov.  

On a related note, I've heard Newport and Cardiff players talking about hate between them (although again I'm sure they're using colourful language again to emphasize a point); and the same ones talking about hate between them and valleys sides.  Yet they come together to form a squad for the Welsh national team.  If this hate you refer to really exists then shouldn't we disband international rugby too?  Is international rugby not an aberration also if potential international team mates use that sort of language towards each other?

I honestly don't know what Lewis Ludlam means when he speaks. It was him who used the word "hate" against the Scots so that can only be taken at face value.
Lewis Ludlam quoted as wrote:"I disagree actually. We are emotionally there. They hate us and we hate them. There is no difference," the Northampton flanker said.
"It's just another place to go. It's a battle. It's going to be a war and it's something we're excited for and we'll be ready for.
"We are going out to get stuck into them and they are going to do the same to us. I don't think there is any difference in the passion between the two sides.

The fact is that a potential Lion used those words about rivals who could also be Lion's teammates, and he believed those rivals thought exactly the same about him. Maybe he didn't know what he was saying, or he had a few too many drinks or maybe he was sober and meant every word. Whatever his motivation do you think he would have used that terminology about Saints or England players? Maybe he has this on record somewhere, but if not that shows there is a clear distinction between the Lions and every other team in Ludlam's eyes.

Neither is he the only one who views his Test team differently to the Lions.
Matt Dawson:
"You cannot lose sight of what it is like to be an England rugby player. Everybody hates you. It is not a normal existence as a sportsperson.
"It does not matter who you play against. They all hate England and want to beat England so they will welcome any minute motivation.
Telegraph:
Eddie Jones has claimed that England are "hated", saying that "because of the history that is involved with England and the surrounding countries there’s that long-seated hatred. You can feel that.”
So to summarise, in Ludlam, Dawson and Jones' words they are hated, but Lions fans believe this normal animosity is suspended for a few weeks every four years. Other than the Lions where else in rugby does this dichotomy exist?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 12 Feb 2020, 9:32 pm

For clubs. Ludlam plays on the same side as a Scot.

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Post by The Oracle on Wed 12 Feb 2020, 9:45 pm

Where else does this exist in rugby? Yeah, club rugby. As I've said above.

Elsewhere in sport - football. Club vs international. Some real 'hatred' in Celtic v Rangers but then they come together for the Scottish national team

Athletics - rivals at individual nation level/commonwealth then expected to come together as one for Team GB.

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Post by Guest on Thu 13 Feb 2020, 9:01 am

I think treating media soundbites like philosophies is a pointless road to go down.

The players clearly don't hate each other. There is a mutual respect that comes from teaming up with their equals for the Lions and a recognition that, more than with their national teams, this is the best of the best.

It's also nonsense that these players only play together for 'minutes and days'. There are generations of Lions who go through 3 tours together. Listen to the captains at the pre tournament launch a few weeks ago talking about catching up with their Lions teammates and now rival captains in the six nations.

Fans shouldn't project feelings that just aren't there between players on to them. They are professional sportspeople and I can guarantee AWJ preferred playing with Itoje than Bradley Davies, BOD with Tuilagi instead of D'Arcy, Laidlaw with Sexton instead of Weir, and Tom Youngs with Adam Jones instead of Dan Cole.

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 13 Feb 2020, 10:03 am

Wrong.

Just tune into a recent Joe.ie with lickle Shane Williams and Ronan O'Gara on the same couch. The Hatred between the two men was palpable............

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Post by The Oracle on Thu 13 Feb 2020, 10:16 am

SecretFly wrote:Wrong.

Just tune into a recent Joe.ie with lickle Shane Williams and Ronan O'Gara on the same couch.  The Hatred between the two men was palpable............


Watched a nice interview with Mike Phillips the other day. He was talking about his bitter onfield rivalry with Ronan O'Gara, among others. Seems they really disliked each other and there was a lot of sledging going on when they played against each other. Got to the point where the captains were telling them to shut it as it was getting on everyone's nerves. So, they both get selected for the Lions and.......... ended up rooming together! Phillips says it was all a bit apprehensive, not sure what would happen, they both walked into the room they were sharing, saw each other and burst out laughing! All the on-field 'hatred' and niggle instantly evaporated and they got on really well, and have met up outside of rugby on a number of occasions since. True story.
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Post by SecretFly on Thu 13 Feb 2020, 10:29 am

Yep....

.... and I hope some folks didn't rush to that Shane v Ronan standoff I was referring to.  I was playacting of course.  They was as relaxed with each other as two well fed Lions........

Oh see wot I done there?  Meant it......... Whistle

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