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What is everyone's opinion...rugby tradition that should be kept...or an outdated concept in the modern professional era?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 123456789. on Thu 13 Feb 2020, 2:39 pm

Rugby players aren't just players they're entertainers. Ludlam will say that he hates Scotland to enhance the theatrical element of it. It is also to psyche himself up and build pressure on his team mates. To create a specific mindset on the way to a hostile environment. It's a fairly effective siege mentality to develop for England, the idea that every other team is completely obsessed with them and wants to beat them at all costs.
I think it's more likely that the enmity develops for about 8 days every year and probably shouldn't be looked into all that much. Of course there's exceptions, I do think there's some issues between some of the English and Scottish players but I think that's a natural consequence of the thrashings that England and Saracens dealt out in 2017 and the impacts that had on the Scottish Lions chances. With the atmosphere and matches between Glasgow and Sarries, Scotland and England in 2018 and 2019. Eddie Jones is a professional wind up merchant and likes to raise the heat for these occasions. But even then there are Scottish players at Sarries. I don't think there's any chance that Ludlam will be shunning Hutchinson when he gets back to Northampton.

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Post by lostinwales on Thu 13 Feb 2020, 3:08 pm

123456789. wrote:Rugby players aren't just players they're entertainers. Ludlam will say that he hates Scotland to enhance the theatrical element of it. It is also to psyche himself up and build pressure on his team mates. To create a specific mindset on the way to a hostile environment. It's a fairly effective siege mentality to develop for England, the idea that every other team is completely obsessed with them and wants to beat them at all costs.
I think it's more likely that the enmity develops for about 8 days every year and probably shouldn't be looked into all that much. Of course there's exceptions, I do think there's some issues between some of the English and Scottish players but I think that's a natural consequence of the thrashings that England and Saracens dealt out in 2017 and the impacts that had on the Scottish Lions chances. With the atmosphere and matches between Glasgow and Sarries, Scotland and England in 2018 and 2019. Eddie Jones is a professional wind up merchant and likes to raise the heat for these occasions. But even then there are Scottish players at Sarries. I don't think there's any chance that Ludlam will be shunning Hutchinson when he gets back to Northampton.

There was apparently a 'thing' a few weeks back prior to a Leicester - Exeter game where Genge was winding up Harry Williams on social media prior to the game. In the fuss afterwards Harry Williams was very prominent in effectively saying they were just having some fun.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sat 15 Feb 2020, 8:03 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:For clubs. Ludlam plays on the same side as a Scot.

Did he go public and say he hated him?
If so I couldn't find it.

Do you really think Ludlam would be so naïve to say the same thing about his club or country teammates?

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sat 15 Feb 2020, 8:43 am

guestalt_physicality wrote: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.

On the last tour 26 of the 41 squad were newbies.

For the first game against the NZ Barbarians three days after arrival only nine of the match squad had played for the Lions before.

Of the nine that had toured before some had hardly played together such as Rory Best and Mako Vunipola who had only managed 22 minutes on the pitch together for the massacre of the Western Force.

Even the most experienced Lions will only share a handful of games with each other - a far cry from all other forms of rugby.
Are the facts nonsense?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat 15 Feb 2020, 9:01 am

Well ludlam said this: We are emotionally there. They hate us and we hate them. There is no difference.

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Post by Guest on Sat 15 Feb 2020, 9:39 am

The Great Aukster wrote:
guestalt_physicality wrote: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.

On the last tour 26 of the 41 squad were newbies.

For the first game against the NZ Barbarians three days after arrival only nine of the match squad had played for the Lions before.

Of the nine that had toured before some had hardly played together such as Rory Best and Mako Vunipola who had only managed 22 minutes on the pitch together for the massacre of the Western Force.

Even the most experienced Lions will only share a handful of games with each other - a far cry from all other forms of rugby.
Are the facts nonsense?

Focus on the test team.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sat 15 Feb 2020, 8:08 pm

Agree GP, the focus on the Test team means there is even less time for the Lions players to gel and become a team. They have hardly any time together in the modern Lions unlike their traditional fixture list. The modern Lions has become a caricature of the past with neither the interest nor the money to support the non-test matches.

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Post by Taylorman on Sat 15 Feb 2020, 8:22 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:Agree GP, the focus on the Test team means there is even less time for the Lions players to gel and become a team. They have hardly any time together in the modern Lions unlike their traditional fixture list. The modern Lions has become a caricature of the past with neither the interest nor the money to support the non-test matches.

Interesting. The non test matches are there to give the side a chance to gel. These days that can only require two or three matches. Otherwise the tests themselves could become a farce. So it’s at worst a necessary evil. And as far as popularity, we get far more travellers here than from any other visiting team so I don’t think you’re representing the numbers, given your seemingly obsessive need to rid of this concept. Many of the fans here were touting a ‘trip of a lifetime’.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sat 15 Feb 2020, 10:25 pm

Taylorman wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:Agree GP, the focus on the Test team means there is even less time for the Lions players to gel and become a team. They have hardly any time together in the modern Lions unlike their traditional fixture list. The modern Lions has become a caricature of the past with neither the interest nor the money to support the non-test matches.

Interesting. The non test matches are there to give the side a chance to gel. These days that can only require two or three matches. Otherwise the tests themselves could become a farce. So it’s at worst a necessary evil. And as far as popularity, we get far more travellers here than from any other visiting team so I don’t think you’re representing the numbers, given your seemingly obsessive need to rid of this concept. Many of the fans here were touting a ‘trip of a lifetime’.

So if two or three games are enough for a team to gel these days (to avoid a farce), why is there any need for a Coach? You know the guy who supposedly makes the difference between success and failure and generally takes years to make that difference (like Henry who took 7/8 years).

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Post by Taylorman on Sun 16 Feb 2020, 1:15 am

7/8 years to do what? He took one to wop the Lions. Point being these guys are professionals now. All they are conditioned for is key club or test matches. The ABs hadn’t played together for a good 8 months before meeting the Lions first up so at least the Lions has some time together. The longer tours never suggested they got better as the tour went on. 74 they drew the last match after winning all the others. 71 similar. Oz under Gatland might be a case for it but I’ve certainly never seen a trend of the Lions getting better as the tour progresses. Getting worse is actually more the case.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 16 Feb 2020, 5:11 am

Taylorman wrote:...The longer tours never suggested they got better as the tour went on....

Don't think you can draw many conclusions from the result of the last game of a 22 match, two and half month tour.

In the amateur era, the Lions did get better, because it was largely the first time the players had been able to focus on training for an extended period. Scottish supporters used to rue that Gordon Brown played much better for the Lions than Scotland, because he was usually much fitter, having played a full domestic season, and then trained on with the Lions.

Now, the professional season in the North is so long, that the intensity of a Lions tour added on to the end, has broken more than a few players.  From that perspective, fewer games is a more desirable state of affairs.

And yet, one of the obvious attractions to supporters is the competition for places. If you have fewer matches, then the coach pretty much has to decide his starting 15, or even his 23, as he is selecting the squad. He's not going to have enough information to change his mind, so any alterations will be down to injury, or if the wheel falls off in the first Test. That's less interesting for supporters, and players on the tour.  Previously, you could be called-up mid-tour and still make the Test side on performance alone. That's unlikely now, unless injuries make you the next cab off the rank from a pecking-order the coach already determined.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 16 Feb 2020, 8:38 am

Taylorman wrote:7/8 years to do what? He took one to wop the Lions. Point being these guys are professionals now. All they are conditioned for is key club or test matches. The ABs hadn’t played together for a good 8 months before meeting the Lions first up so at least the Lions has some time together. The longer tours never suggested they got better as the tour went on. 74 they drew the last match after winning all the others. 71 similar. Oz under Gatland might be a case for it but I’ve certainly never seen a trend of the Lions getting better as the tour progresses. Getting worse is actually more the case.

Apologies my terminology for 'gel' seems to be different to yours. By gel I mean understanding, where players know each other's game. When players gain this understanding they play as a team rather than running around like headless chickens. Don't know if you've ever been involved with mini rugby but without the understanding that they need to rely on each other, the players chase the ball like a swarm of flies. Each player has their strengths and preferences but also has to cover up for the weaknesses of others. That trust and understanding can take years as Clive Woodward rapidly realised in 2005. Graham Henry had a headstart with players who hadn't just met the week before but it still took him years to take get the best players on the planet to form a World Cup winning 'team'.

I agree the Lions generally get worse as the tour progresses because another week or two makes no difference to understanding, it does however increase the injury rate. Willie John said the team they put out for the final test was all the players they had left and even some of them shouldn't have played. The biggest problem with the Lions is the number of players who come back broken. This happens because they are trying to make up for their lack of understanding with flat-out effort. Putting their bodies on the line repeatedly with no recovery time means they get injured and it is their clubs and Nations that suffer long term.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 16 Feb 2020, 9:00 am

You could leave country out completely out of your argument aukster and make the same case for the clubs. Why dont you?

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 16 Feb 2020, 6:08 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:You could leave country out completely out of your argument aukster and make the same case for the clubs. Why dont you?
The Lions is more damaging to Countries than Clubs - does that explain it?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 16 Feb 2020, 6:46 pm

Wrong comparison. It's the clubs who are hard done by. You could apply all your arguments to that. You just prefer the national team dont you? It's just your personal preference and tour argument on player welfare etc seems disingenuous.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety on Mon 17 Feb 2020, 12:17 pm

I like the Lions tour. But I like it as an Irishman for what it does for the Irish players first and foremost. We have a fairly small pool of potential players that we do a good job cultivating from but then are limited to 4 provinces for professional experience and 1 Test side, meaning at most players get 2 differing coaching styles, but they also get used being best in an average pool. The Lions as a concept takes those best Irish players at that point in a four year cycle and puts them into a truly elite environment, they no longer look around being the ceiling of where they can get to. They get to see in practice, in training where the ceiling truly can be. I can think of many players that go off on Lions tours and come back better players, better professionals, better leaders. They see what the standard should be and they come back into the Irish setup setting that standard to the other players in the squad.

If it was an elite training retreat for your best players for one month in four years, people would bite your hand off for the opportunity. And the fact it not only achieves this but also makes money for unions involved to use back in their game and the economy of the Test side they visit makes it truly special.

All this talk about players hating each other and how things should be? Utter rubbish. If you said to young Itoje, hey lad do you want to train, play and learn from AWJ for a month to understanding what an elite level lock looks like up close, a players jumps at that opportunity. Hey flankers do you want to be around POM or Tips and learn how to be a tackling, jackling, turnover machine, a player jumps at that opportunity.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 17 Feb 2020, 1:35 pm

thebandwagonsociety wrote:I like the Lions tour. But I like it as an Irishman for what it does for the Irish players first and foremost. We have a fairly small pool of potential players that we do a good job cultivating from but then are limited to 4 provinces for professional experience and 1 Test side, meaning at most players get 2 differing coaching styles, but they also get used being best in an average pool.  The Lions as a concept takes those best Irish players at that point in a four year cycle and puts them into a truly elite environment, they no longer look around being the ceiling of where they can get to.  They get to see in practice, in training where the ceiling truly can be.  I can think of many players that go off on Lions tours and come back better players, better professionals, better leaders.  They see what the standard should be and they come back into the Irish setup setting that standard to the other players in the squad.

If it was an elite training retreat for your best players for one month in four years, people would bite your hand off for the opportunity. And the fact it not only achieves this but also makes money for unions involved to use back in their game and the economy of the Test side they visit makes it truly special.

All this talk about players hating each other and how things should be? Utter rubbish. If you said to young Itoje, hey lad do you want to train, play and learn from AWJ for a month to understanding what an elite level lock looks like up close, a players jumps at that opportunity. Hey flankers do you want to be around POM or Tips and learn how to be a tackling, jackling, turnover machine, a player jumps at that opportunity.

Australia have a fairly small pool of players with a few pro teams, never had to be part of any elite group to smash a ceiling and won the RWC twice. It's interesting that Ireland have been consistently in the top eight teams in the World, but you do not consider them to be in "a truly elite environment"?
Unlike you I can't think of many or even any Lions that come back better players in the professional era. In fact the opposite is usually true.
Sean O'Brien thought the Lions coaching was poor and it is questionable whether being selected while still injured did him any favours. The same could be said for Tommy Bowe who played again less than three weeks after breaking a bone in his hand. That simply wouldn't have happened with Ulster or Ireland because they have his long term interest to consider. Bowe never really regained his form after that Lions tour.
Cian Healy took about three seasons to get back to where he was pre-Lions injury, BOD a couple, Ferris never really got back and neither did Jared Payne. The problem is they have too many games in too short a time and no time to build understanding as a team. If you still think the Lions is good for Player welfare, here's an interesting article:
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/news-comment/british-and-irish-lions-tour-vs-new-zealand-injury-list-breaking-point-a8120136.html

Ireland does have a small player pool, and they can't afford to make that smaller by losing their very best players on a meaningless tour where player welfare is an afterthought.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 17 Feb 2020, 1:48 pm

Swap Ireland for leicester and lions for internationals and hey presto.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety on Mon 17 Feb 2020, 1:58 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
thebandwagonsociety wrote:I like the Lions tour. But I like it as an Irishman for what it does for the Irish players first and foremost. We have a fairly small pool of potential players that we do a good job cultivating from but then are limited to 4 provinces for professional experience and 1 Test side, meaning at most players get 2 differing coaching styles, but they also get used being best in an average pool.  The Lions as a concept takes those best Irish players at that point in a four year cycle and puts them into a truly elite environment, they no longer look around being the ceiling of where they can get to.  They get to see in practice, in training where the ceiling truly can be.  I can think of many players that go off on Lions tours and come back better players, better professionals, better leaders.  They see what the standard should be and they come back into the Irish setup setting that standard to the other players in the squad.

If it was an elite training retreat for your best players for one month in four years, people would bite your hand off for the opportunity. And the fact it not only achieves this but also makes money for unions involved to use back in their game and the economy of the Test side they visit makes it truly special.

All this talk about players hating each other and how things should be? Utter rubbish. If you said to young Itoje, hey lad do you want to train, play and learn from AWJ for a month to understanding what an elite level lock looks like up close, a players jumps at that opportunity. Hey flankers do you want to be around POM or Tips and learn how to be a tackling, jackling, turnover machine, a player jumps at that opportunity.

Australia have a fairly small pool of players with a few pro teams, never had to be part of any elite group to smash a ceiling and won the RWC twice. It's interesting that Ireland have been consistently in the top eight teams in the World, but you do not consider them to be in "a truly elite environment"?
Unlike you I can't think of many or even any Lions that come back better players in the professional era. In fact the opposite is usually true.
Sean O'Brien thought the Lions coaching was poor and it is questionable whether being selected while still injured did him any favours. The same could be said for Tommy Bowe who played again less than three weeks after breaking a bone in his hand. That simply wouldn't have happened with Ulster or Ireland because they have his long term interest to consider. Bowe never really regained his form after that Lions tour.
Cian Healy took about three seasons to get back to where he was pre-Lions injury, BOD a couple, Ferris never really got back and neither did Jared Payne. The problem is they have too many games in too short a time and no time to build understanding as a team. If you still think the Lions is good for Player welfare, here's an interesting article:
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/news-comment/british-and-irish-lions-tour-vs-new-zealand-injury-list-breaking-point-a8120136.html

Ireland does have a small player pool, and they can't afford to make that smaller by losing their very best players on a meaningless tour where player welfare is an afterthought.

"never had to be part of any elite group to smash a ceiling" - should something unique be discarded because nothing else is the same as it.
I don't consider the entire Irish setup to be a truly elite environment, not in it's entirety, not coaching at every level, not player quality from 1 through 35. Will any side ever truly reach that? Probably not, but the quality of who you train with does have an impact on awareness of a player and the bar they set themselves against.
Henderson matured plenty on the lions tour, Murray and POC kicked on to even more consistent heights after lions tours, farrell really saw what he could become after lions tours. Young BOD after the Oz tour in his early years really changed for the better.
Too short a time impacts on turnaround time and cohesion, I'd argue that tour should be 6-10 days longer rather than scrapped to go 'towards' remediating this somewhat.

Interesting article. Are there any stats available out there on injuries? It would be a great area of research.

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Post by Guest on Mon 17 Feb 2020, 5:25 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
thebandwagonsociety wrote:I like the Lions tour. But I like it as an Irishman for what it does for the Irish players first and foremost. We have a fairly small pool of potential players that we do a good job cultivating from but then are limited to 4 provinces for professional experience and 1 Test side, meaning at most players get 2 differing coaching styles, but they also get used being best in an average pool.  The Lions as a concept takes those best Irish players at that point in a four year cycle and puts them into a truly elite environment, they no longer look around being the ceiling of where they can get to.  They get to see in practice, in training where the ceiling truly can be.  I can think of many players that go off on Lions tours and come back better players, better professionals, better leaders.  They see what the standard should be and they come back into the Irish setup setting that standard to the other players in the squad.

If it was an elite training retreat for your best players for one month in four years, people would bite your hand off for the opportunity. And the fact it not only achieves this but also makes money for unions involved to use back in their game and the economy of the Test side they visit makes it truly special.

All this talk about players hating each other and how things should be? Utter rubbish. If you said to young Itoje, hey lad do you want to train, play and learn from AWJ for a month to understanding what an elite level lock looks like up close, a players jumps at that opportunity. Hey flankers do you want to be around POM or Tips and learn how to be a tackling, jackling, turnover machine, a player jumps at that opportunity.

Australia have a fairly small pool of players with a few pro teams, never had to be part of any elite group to smash a ceiling and won the RWC twice. It's interesting that Ireland have been consistently in the top eight teams in the World, but you do not consider them to be in "a truly elite environment"?
Unlike you I can't think of many or even any Lions that come back better players in the professional era. In fact the opposite is usually true.
Sean O'Brien thought the Lions coaching was poor and it is questionable whether being selected while still injured did him any favours. The same could be said for Tommy Bowe who played again less than three weeks after breaking a bone in his hand. That simply wouldn't have happened with Ulster or Ireland because they have his long term interest to consider. Bowe never really regained his form after that Lions tour.
Cian Healy took about three seasons to get back to where he was pre-Lions injury, BOD a couple, Ferris never really got back and neither did Jared Payne. The problem is they have too many games in too short a time and no time to build understanding as a team. If you still think the Lions is good for Player welfare, here's an interesting article:
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/news-comment/british-and-irish-lions-tour-vs-new-zealand-injury-list-breaking-point-a8120136.html

Ireland does have a small player pool, and they can't afford to make that smaller by losing their very best players on a meaningless tour where player welfare is an afterthought.

Sean O'Brien is very overrated and as good as he was also failed to deliver on the big stage when his body started breaking down. In hindsight Gatland is the one who has come out of that looking good, not Shaun Obrien. I would assume that BOD gained a lot from the Lions tours not just as a player but also as a captain. Australia were arguably the best team in the world in the late 90s and early 2000s and are clearly the world leaders in rugby league. Ireland have never been close to that. I think a lot of your point is investment in Tommy Bowe and the way his career quickly declined after the Lions tour but really not too many other players have suffered anything similar. I think for Irish players they do very well in Ireland but when they are asked to show their skills in a different environment some of them like ROG come up short and are maybe made the scapegoat. Which will also frustrate Irish fans. But you seem to take a few examples and then apply a huge brushstroke over the whole thing. Really I have to say there is no substance to your argument at all and at the end of the day it seems to rely on some anti-British sentiment not even pro-Irish as I suspected.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 17 Feb 2020, 9:18 pm

The Lions should be banned forthwith because it creates great consternation, angst, distrust, disquiet and discord within the harmonious, close-knit realm of 606v2.

.........

vomit Cool

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Post by Pot Hale on Mon 17 Feb 2020, 10:58 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
thebandwagonsociety wrote:I like the Lions tour. But I like it as an Irishman for what it does for the Irish players first and foremost. We have a fairly small pool of potential players that we do a good job cultivating from but then are limited to 4 provinces for professional experience and 1 Test side, meaning at most players get 2 differing coaching styles, but they also get used being best in an average pool.  The Lions as a concept takes those best Irish players at that point in a four year cycle and puts them into a truly elite environment, they no longer look around being the ceiling of where they can get to.  They get to see in practice, in training where the ceiling truly can be.  I can think of many players that go off on Lions tours and come back better players, better professionals, better leaders.  They see what the standard should be and they come back into the Irish setup setting that standard to the other players in the squad.

If it was an elite training retreat for your best players for one month in four years, people would bite your hand off for the opportunity. And the fact it not only achieves this but also makes money for unions involved to use back in their game and the economy of the Test side they visit makes it truly special.

All this talk about players hating each other and how things should be? Utter rubbish. If you said to young Itoje, hey lad do you want to train, play and learn from AWJ for a month to understanding what an elite level lock looks like up close, a players jumps at that opportunity. Hey flankers do you want to be around POM or Tips and learn how to be a tackling, jackling, turnover machine, a player jumps at that opportunity.

Australia have a fairly small pool of players with a few pro teams, never had to be part of any elite group to smash a ceiling and won the RWC twice. It's interesting that Ireland have been consistently in the top eight teams in the World, but you do not consider them to be in "a truly elite environment"?
Unlike you I can't think of many or even any Lions that come back better players in the professional era. In fact the opposite is usually true.
Sean O'Brien thought the Lions coaching was poor and it is questionable whether being selected while still injured did him any favours. The same could be said for Tommy Bowe who played again less than three weeks after breaking a bone in his hand. That simply wouldn't have happened with Ulster or Ireland because they have his long term interest to consider. Bowe never really regained his form after that Lions tour.
Cian Healy took about three seasons to get back to where he was pre-Lions injury, BOD a couple, Ferris never really got back and neither did Jared Payne. The problem is they have too many games in too short a time and no time to build understanding as a team. If you still think the Lions is good for Player welfare, here's an interesting article:
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/news-comment/british-and-irish-lions-tour-vs-new-zealand-injury-list-breaking-point-a8120136.html

Ireland does have a small player pool, and they can't afford to make that smaller by losing their very best players on a meaningless tour where player welfare is an afterthought.

Sean O'Brien is very overrated and as good as he was also failed to deliver on the big stage when his body started breaking down. In hindsight Gatland is the one who has come out of that looking good, not Shaun Obrien. I would assume that BOD gained a lot from the Lions tours not just as a player but also as a captain. Australia were arguably the best team in the world in the late 90s and early 2000s and are clearly the world leaders in rugby league. Ireland have never been close to that. I think a lot of your point is investment in Tommy Bowe and the way his career quickly declined after the Lions tour but really not too many other players have suffered anything similar. I think for Irish players they do very well in Ireland but when they are asked to show their skills in a different environment some of them like ROG come up short and are maybe made the scapegoat. Which will also frustrate Irish fans. But you seem to take a few examples and then apply a huge brushstroke over the whole thing. Really I have to say there is no substance to your argument at all and at the end of the day it seems to rely on some anti-British sentiment not even pro-Irish as I suspected.

Sean O’Brien is very overrated.
I would assume that BOD gained a lot.

There is no substance to any of your “arguments” at all, and at the end of the day, you seem to rely on some anti-Irish “anti-British” schtick as a response.
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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 18 Feb 2020, 1:48 pm

thebandwagonsociety wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
thebandwagonsociety wrote:I like the Lions tour. But I like it as an Irishman for what it does for the Irish players first and foremost. We have a fairly small pool of potential players that we do a good job cultivating from but then are limited to 4 provinces for professional experience and 1 Test side, meaning at most players get 2 differing coaching styles, but they also get used being best in an average pool.  The Lions as a concept takes those best Irish players at that point in a four year cycle and puts them into a truly elite environment, they no longer look around being the ceiling of where they can get to.  They get to see in practice, in training where the ceiling truly can be.  I can think of many players that go off on Lions tours and come back better players, better professionals, better leaders.  They see what the standard should be and they come back into the Irish setup setting that standard to the other players in the squad.

If it was an elite training retreat for your best players for one month in four years, people would bite your hand off for the opportunity. And the fact it not only achieves this but also makes money for unions involved to use back in their game and the economy of the Test side they visit makes it truly special.

All this talk about players hating each other and how things should be? Utter rubbish. If you said to young Itoje, hey lad do you want to train, play and learn from AWJ for a month to understanding what an elite level lock looks like up close, a players jumps at that opportunity. Hey flankers do you want to be around POM or Tips and learn how to be a tackling, jackling, turnover machine, a player jumps at that opportunity.

Australia have a fairly small pool of players with a few pro teams, never had to be part of any elite group to smash a ceiling and won the RWC twice. It's interesting that Ireland have been consistently in the top eight teams in the World, but you do not consider them to be in "a truly elite environment"?
Unlike you I can't think of many or even any Lions that come back better players in the professional era. In fact the opposite is usually true.
Sean O'Brien thought the Lions coaching was poor and it is questionable whether being selected while still injured did him any favours. The same could be said for Tommy Bowe who played again less than three weeks after breaking a bone in his hand. That simply wouldn't have happened with Ulster or Ireland because they have his long term interest to consider. Bowe never really regained his form after that Lions tour.
Cian Healy took about three seasons to get back to where he was pre-Lions injury, BOD a couple, Ferris never really got back and neither did Jared Payne. The problem is they have too many games in too short a time and no time to build understanding as a team. If you still think the Lions is good for Player welfare, here's an interesting article:
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/news-comment/british-and-irish-lions-tour-vs-new-zealand-injury-list-breaking-point-a8120136.html

Ireland does have a small player pool, and they can't afford to make that smaller by losing their very best players on a meaningless tour where player welfare is an afterthought.

"never had to be part of any elite group to smash a ceiling" - should something unique be discarded because nothing else is the same as it.
I don't consider the entire Irish setup to be a truly elite environment, not in it's entirety, not coaching at every level, not player quality from 1 through 35. Will any side ever truly reach that? Probably not, but the quality of who you train with does have an impact on awareness of a player and the bar they set themselves against.
Henderson matured plenty on the lions tour, Murray and POC kicked on to even more consistent heights after lions tours, farrell really saw what he could become after lions tours. Young BOD after the Oz tour in his early years really changed for the better.
Too short a time impacts on turnaround time and cohesion, I'd argue that tour should be 6-10 days longer rather than scrapped to go 'towards' remediating this somewhat.

Interesting article.  Are there any stats available out there on injuries? It would be a great area of research.

thebandwagonsociety wrote:should something unique be discarded because nothing else is the same as it
The point was that the Lions aren't like every other rugby team, and because they are so unique, they are far more likely to have a detrimental effect on the players selected for them. The damage caused to participant teams' players is the argument for cessation rather than because the entity is unique.

The Lions certainly helped player development in the amateur days, but the question is why and does it still apply?
The first difference is that players are actually coached these days. They don't have to rely on long tours overseas to watch and learn from their peers.
The coaches are specialists seeking wisdom and knowledge from other sports as well as rugby and tailoring that to the individual - unheard of in Willie John's day.
Now professional players are full-time devotees to the game, so can learn as much as they want - not just once every four years for the lucky ones.
Technology is all pervasive and can break down play forensically far more than a quick chat in the locker room. However back in the day it was only on Lions tours that players were training far more and so could learn more. The modern argument for short tours is that players can't learn anything they don't already know, and the limited time they do have should be to develop understanding between unfamiliar players.
There is far more analysis being done than ever and it is tailored to the individual, but that takes more time than the Lions now have, so technically it is unlikely players improve.

If Henderson did mature with the Lions, what was the reason? The most likely answer is that he got a boost to his self esteem. Being selected for an exclusive club would certainly help the ego of a relatively young player, but of course this is a double-edged sword in that he wasn't selected for the Tests, so swings and roundabouts for his psyche? His improved maturity could just as readily have come from his marriage and settling down as a family man.

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Post by Guest on Tue 18 Feb 2020, 4:19 pm

Pot Hale wrote:
guestalt_physicality wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
thebandwagonsociety wrote:I like the Lions tour. But I like it as an Irishman for what it does for the Irish players first and foremost. We have a fairly small pool of potential players that we do a good job cultivating from but then are limited to 4 provinces for professional experience and 1 Test side, meaning at most players get 2 differing coaching styles, but they also get used being best in an average pool.  The Lions as a concept takes those best Irish players at that point in a four year cycle and puts them into a truly elite environment, they no longer look around being the ceiling of where they can get to.  They get to see in practice, in training where the ceiling truly can be.  I can think of many players that go off on Lions tours and come back better players, better professionals, better leaders.  They see what the standard should be and they come back into the Irish setup setting that standard to the other players in the squad.

If it was an elite training retreat for your best players for one month in four years, people would bite your hand off for the opportunity. And the fact it not only achieves this but also makes money for unions involved to use back in their game and the economy of the Test side they visit makes it truly special.

All this talk about players hating each other and how things should be? Utter rubbish. If you said to young Itoje, hey lad do you want to train, play and learn from AWJ for a month to understanding what an elite level lock looks like up close, a players jumps at that opportunity. Hey flankers do you want to be around POM or Tips and learn how to be a tackling, jackling, turnover machine, a player jumps at that opportunity.

Australia have a fairly small pool of players with a few pro teams, never had to be part of any elite group to smash a ceiling and won the RWC twice. It's interesting that Ireland have been consistently in the top eight teams in the World, but you do not consider them to be in "a truly elite environment"?
Unlike you I can't think of many or even any Lions that come back better players in the professional era. In fact the opposite is usually true.
Sean O'Brien thought the Lions coaching was poor and it is questionable whether being selected while still injured did him any favours. The same could be said for Tommy Bowe who played again less than three weeks after breaking a bone in his hand. That simply wouldn't have happened with Ulster or Ireland because they have his long term interest to consider. Bowe never really regained his form after that Lions tour.
Cian Healy took about three seasons to get back to where he was pre-Lions injury, BOD a couple, Ferris never really got back and neither did Jared Payne. The problem is they have too many games in too short a time and no time to build understanding as a team. If you still think the Lions is good for Player welfare, here's an interesting article:
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/news-comment/british-and-irish-lions-tour-vs-new-zealand-injury-list-breaking-point-a8120136.html

Ireland does have a small player pool, and they can't afford to make that smaller by losing their very best players on a meaningless tour where player welfare is an afterthought.

Sean O'Brien is very overrated and as good as he was also failed to deliver on the big stage when his body started breaking down. In hindsight Gatland is the one who has come out of that looking good, not Shaun Obrien. I would assume that BOD gained a lot from the Lions tours not just as a player but also as a captain. Australia were arguably the best team in the world in the late 90s and early 2000s and are clearly the world leaders in rugby league. Ireland have never been close to that. I think a lot of your point is investment in Tommy Bowe and the way his career quickly declined after the Lions tour but really not too many other players have suffered anything similar. I think for Irish players they do very well in Ireland but when they are asked to show their skills in a different environment some of them like ROG come up short and are maybe made the scapegoat. Which will also frustrate Irish fans. But you seem to take a few examples and then apply a huge brushstroke over the whole thing. Really I have to say there is no substance to your argument at all and at the end of the day it seems to rely on some anti-British sentiment not even pro-Irish as I suspected.

Sean O’Brien is very overrated.  
I would assume that BOD gained a lot.

There is no substance to any of your “arguments” at all, and at the end of the day, you seem to rely on some anti-Irish “anti-British” schtick as a response.    

The humour's a bit too try for its own good here. Too much drought, not enough humour.

It's really simple. The players love the Lions (apart from those who miss out when they think should be playing like O'Brien behind Warburton). It is the pinnacle of the sport as a professional as it is the best of the best. Only winning a world cup can top a Lions tour, but even being a losing finalist is clearly seen as second fiddle to the Lions. It is here to stay...

...unless a good case can be made for why it shouldn't. So far that amounts to 'I'd prefer rugby to be national and Ireland to be Irish' despite the Irish team relying on overseas coaches and players for the last 10 years that has led to their most successful period in rugby. So it's not really about Ireland or Irish rugby as tied to an Irish identity - unless you also think the Euro is a big part of that and how the IRFU-Leinster-Ireland trinity works in drawing players to Dublin from New Zealand and South Africa. All that seems to be left is anti-British sentiment which is irrelevant as part of the Ireland rugby team is also British so it's just urinating in to the wind.

The only two suggestions for its replacement far have been about player welfare and developing the game.

1. If you remove the Lions tours, international teams will just fill up the space with tours and exhibition games because of the free time but ALSO to try to replace the vast amounts of money lost to rugby due to killing the Lions (the money doesn't come from fans, as mentioned, it comes from multinational businesses). Also clubs will likewise look to push their market share with seasons running later and later, more games etc.

2. One suggestion has been to replace the Lions with a tier 2 European tournament which no-one will watch (we already complain about Italy losing by 30-50 points). No one wants to see Germany lose to the England 3rds by a cricket score. It doesn't develop rugby in those nations and it would not be something the casual viewing public (i.e. the money from outside the traditional rugby audience) will want to watch, so therefore the aforementioned capital from media and sponsors won't arrive.

Two suggestions which are practically non starters which no-one wants.

The onus is on the (so far only Irish) fans to justify why the Lions should end. I think we're all still waiting for a serious suggestion that doesn't amount to 'Tommy Bowe got injured and Irish for the Irish (as long as they do their 3 years)'.

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 18 Feb 2020, 6:26 pm

?

Has this become a 'Know your place' thread? An anti-British thread? Or an anti-Irish thread?

Let's talk rugby?


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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 18 Feb 2020, 9:35 pm

SecretFly wrote:?

Has this become a 'Know your place' thread?  An anti-British thread?  Or an anti-Irish thread?

Let's talk rugby?


Isn't it ironic that a supporter of a 'united' British and Irish Lions would rather push an Irish v British agenda than talk rugby?

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Post by Rugby Fan on Tue 18 Feb 2020, 10:46 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:The onus is on the (so far only Irish) fans to justify why the Lions should end. I think we're all still waiting for a serious suggestion that doesn't amount to 'Tommy Bowe got injured and Irish for the Irish (as long as they do their 3 years)'.
I'm English, not Irish, but I've been shouting about the negative influence of Lions tours on northern hemisphere players and national teams since 2001.

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Post by Guest on Tue 18 Feb 2020, 11:06 pm

it's not just this forum everybody there is a life outside it and yes many people are anti Lions for reasons relating to not wanting Ireland to be part of the 'British Lions'. which is fine to a point if that's what you think but just say it. too often it seems masked behind other, more socially acceptable reasons. is this happening here? it's hard to say but from a few posters it seems to be.

ive said my part. yet to hear anything of substance about disbanding the lions to be totally honest.

and the point above about henderson gaining 'self esteem' from the lions is just oblivious. all players benefit from beating and being competitive against the all blacks in 2017. can you measure how important the lions tour was for getting an edge for the irish and english wins that came 1 and 2 years later? no, but it's ridiculous to say it won't have helped. all these negatives, none of the positives being thought about for the national teams. until the time the lions are putting cricket scores on their opposition or england are regularly beating new zealand and south africa there will always be a rugby reason for keeping the lions tours that also helps the national teams.

anyway as a long term fan of the lions and someone who went down to new zealand for a great trip but rubbish rugby in 2005 i am very happy it has bounced back after the debacle that was woodward. killing the lions prematurely (because there will be a time when it needs to change fundamentally but not yet) is just short sighted and mean spirited and something armchair fans with their tv subscriptions might want. lions tours are better than anything else in rugby as a fan for me. thats not a reason to keep it but its a reason to defend it and all the other practical and rugby reasons like the players views and the rest of it support why it matters. i've said my part anyway there we go. good night everyone.

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Post by BamBam on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 9:56 am

What an unfortunate autocorrect Laugh

But highly accurate none the less

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Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 1:58 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:can you measure how important the lions tour was for getting an edge for the irish and english wins that came 1 and 2 years later? no, but it's ridiculous to say it won't have helped.

Don't know if Lions influence can be measured, but here is some data.

Ireland beat the ABs the year before the Lions as well.
Wales have lost their first match against the ABs on the last seven occasions following a Lions tour. They usually have a higher representation than Ireland yet the "edge" they gain from the Lions doesn't seem to work for them.
England in their first game v the ABs after the last seven Lions tours have won 2 and lost 5.

The data would indicate that the Lions has zero effect on making constituent teams more competitive.

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Post by Guest on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 2:42 pm

That's some awful 'data' though and it's not made in good faith. It's strange you're willing to judge Henderson's self esteem from the Lions but nothing technical.

On the point of Wales in any case it has been more like Wales and Gatland doing the prep work for the Lions. 2008 South Africa, 2012 Australia, 2016 New Zealand. Faletau's try for the Lions was identical to one scored by AWJ 12 months previously. Did it make the Wales players more battle hardened and understand what was needed to 'get the job done'. Well their records in world cups suggest maybe it did. But the two teams that suffered the most with the Lions - the Irish players who apparently don't value it, and the Scots who don't make it - showed their national qualities in Japan. The Lions tour maybe teaches players about winning games back to back away from the comfort of the six nations that Leinster, Munster, and Ireland players, and Glasgow and Scotland players, didn't learn when in their insular and successful set ups. The English and Welsh players have learnt those lessons it seems and the Lions surely played a part in that because you didn't hear any Welsh or English players come out with the guff that SOB did post-tour. And history hasn't been kind to him either personally or to Schmidt's Ireland. Tours and titles are more than just one off games and in the end NZ made sure they showed Ireland a one off game to remember in Japan. I can't believe I have to spell that out but it does feel like you're deliberately missing the point to justify 'Lions are bad' for the reasons I have stated.


Last edited by guestalt_physicality on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 2:46 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by lostinwales on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 2:44 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
guestalt_physicality wrote:can you measure how important the lions tour was for getting an edge for the irish and english wins that came 1 and 2 years later? no, but it's ridiculous to say it won't have helped.

Don't know if Lions influence can be measured, but here is some data.

Ireland beat the ABs the year before the Lions as well.
Wales have lost their first match against the ABs on the last seven occasions following a Lions tour. They usually have a higher representation than Ireland yet the "edge" they gain from the Lions doesn't seem to work for them.
England in their first game v the ABs after the last seven Lions tours have won 2 and lost 5.

The data would indicate that the Lions has zero effect on making constituent teams more competitive.

Too many variables and not enough data points. How long between the tour and the AB games? Was the 'edge' that Ireland and England got down to the players who went on the Lions tour or the ones who stayed behind and didn't break?

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Post by SecretFly on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 5:20 pm

The edge was that Ireland International and England International had the ability to beat the ABs on their own. Period.

The ABs aren't invincible - just a very very good rugby playing Nation.  They've been the best for long long periods, operating in their own little space, with their little population, stuck out in the Great Pacific.  An International side. A Nation, not a conglomerate. Nothing comes higher in their minds than that Black shirt.
Nation v Nation - the passion, the heat, the rivalry, the biz.  

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 6:48 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:
guestalt_physicality wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
thebandwagonsociety wrote:I like the Lions tour. But I like it as an Irishman for what it does for the Irish players first and foremost. We have a fairly small pool of potential players that we do a good job cultivating from but then are limited to 4 provinces for professional experience and 1 Test side, meaning at most players get 2 differing coaching styles, but they also get used being best in an average pool.  The Lions as a concept takes those best Irish players at that point in a four year cycle and puts them into a truly elite environment, they no longer look around being the ceiling of where they can get to.  They get to see in practice, in training where the ceiling truly can be.  I can think of many players that go off on Lions tours and come back better players, better professionals, better leaders.  They see what the standard should be and they come back into the Irish setup setting that standard to the other players in the squad.

If it was an elite training retreat for your best players for one month in four years, people would bite your hand off for the opportunity. And the fact it not only achieves this but also makes money for unions involved to use back in their game and the economy of the Test side they visit makes it truly special.

All this talk about players hating each other and how things should be? Utter rubbish. If you said to young Itoje, hey lad do you want to train, play and learn from AWJ for a month to understanding what an elite level lock looks like up close, a players jumps at that opportunity. Hey flankers do you want to be around POM or Tips and learn how to be a tackling, jackling, turnover machine, a player jumps at that opportunity.

Australia have a fairly small pool of players with a few pro teams, never had to be part of any elite group to smash a ceiling and won the RWC twice. It's interesting that Ireland have been consistently in the top eight teams in the World, but you do not consider them to be in "a truly elite environment"?
Unlike you I can't think of many or even any Lions that come back better players in the professional era. In fact the opposite is usually true.
Sean O'Brien thought the Lions coaching was poor and it is questionable whether being selected while still injured did him any favours. The same could be said for Tommy Bowe who played again less than three weeks after breaking a bone in his hand. That simply wouldn't have happened with Ulster or Ireland because they have his long term interest to consider. Bowe never really regained his form after that Lions tour.
Cian Healy took about three seasons to get back to where he was pre-Lions injury, BOD a couple, Ferris never really got back and neither did Jared Payne. The problem is they have too many games in too short a time and no time to build understanding as a team. If you still think the Lions is good for Player welfare, here's an interesting article:
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/news-comment/british-and-irish-lions-tour-vs-new-zealand-injury-list-breaking-point-a8120136.html

Ireland does have a small player pool, and they can't afford to make that smaller by losing their very best players on a meaningless tour where player welfare is an afterthought.

Sean O'Brien is very overrated and as good as he was also failed to deliver on the big stage when his body started breaking down. In hindsight Gatland is the one who has come out of that looking good, not Shaun Obrien. I would assume that BOD gained a lot from the Lions tours not just as a player but also as a captain. Australia were arguably the best team in the world in the late 90s and early 2000s and are clearly the world leaders in rugby league. Ireland have never been close to that. I think a lot of your point is investment in Tommy Bowe and the way his career quickly declined after the Lions tour but really not too many other players have suffered anything similar. I think for Irish players they do very well in Ireland but when they are asked to show their skills in a different environment some of them like ROG come up short and are maybe made the scapegoat. Which will also frustrate Irish fans. But you seem to take a few examples and then apply a huge brushstroke over the whole thing. Really I have to say there is no substance to your argument at all and at the end of the day it seems to rely on some anti-British sentiment not even pro-Irish as I suspected.

Sean O’Brien is very overrated.  
I would assume that BOD gained a lot.

There is no substance to any of your “arguments” at all, and at the end of the day, you seem to rely on some anti-Irish “anti-British” schtick as a response.    

The humour's a bit too try for its own good here. Too much drought, not enough humour.

It's really simple. The players love the Lions (apart from those who miss out when they think should be playing like O'Brien behind Warburton). It is the pinnacle of the sport as a professional as it is the best of the best. Only winning a world cup can top a Lions tour, but even being a losing finalist is clearly seen as second fiddle to the Lions. It is here to stay...

...unless a good case can be made for why it shouldn't. So far that amounts to 'I'd prefer rugby to be national and Ireland to be Irish' despite the Irish team relying on overseas coaches and players for the last 10 years that has led to their most successful period in rugby. So it's not really about Ireland or Irish rugby as tied to an Irish identity - unless you also think the Euro is a big part of that and how the IRFU-Leinster-Ireland trinity works in drawing players to Dublin from New Zealand and South Africa. All that seems to be left is anti-British sentiment which is irrelevant as part of the Ireland rugby team is also British so it's just urinating in to the wind.

The only two suggestions for its replacement far have been about player welfare and developing the game.

1. If you remove the Lions tours, international teams will just fill up the space with tours and exhibition games because of the free time but ALSO to try to replace the vast amounts of money lost to rugby due to killing the Lions (the money doesn't come from fans, as mentioned, it comes from multinational businesses). Also clubs will likewise look to push their market share with seasons running later and later, more games etc.

2. One suggestion has been to replace the Lions with a tier 2 European tournament which no-one will watch (we already complain about Italy losing by 30-50 points). No one wants to see Germany lose to the England 3rds by a cricket score. It doesn't develop rugby in those nations and it would not be something the casual viewing public (i.e. the money from outside the traditional rugby audience) will want to watch, so therefore the aforementioned capital from media and sponsors won't arrive.

Two suggestions which are practically non starters which no-one wants.

The onus is on the (so far only Irish) fans to justify why the Lions should end. I think we're all still waiting for a serious suggestion that doesn't amount to 'Tommy Bowe got injured and Irish for the Irish (as long as they do their 3 years)'.
Calling SOB over rated is very humorous to be fair to you. Well done. OK

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Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 1:22 pm

lostinwales wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
guestalt_physicality wrote:can you measure how important the lions tour was for getting an edge for the irish and english wins that came 1 and 2 years later? no, but it's ridiculous to say it won't have helped.

Don't know if Lions influence can be measured, but here is some data.

Ireland beat the ABs the year before the Lions as well.
Wales have lost their first match against the ABs on the last seven occasions following a Lions tour. They usually have a higher representation than Ireland yet the "edge" they gain from the Lions doesn't seem to work for them.
England in their first game v the ABs after the last seven Lions tours have won 2 and lost 5.

The data would indicate that the Lions has zero effect on making constituent teams more competitive.

Too many variables and not enough data points. How long between the tour and the AB games? Was the 'edge' that Ireland and England got down to the players who went on the Lions tour or the ones who stayed behind and didn't break?

Totally agree LiW, there are no facts to support the notion that Lions players return better or worse, technically, emotionally or mentally.
The fact that 46% of the last Lions squad came back injured indicates they do come back far worse physically.

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Post by Guest on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 1:38 pm

Would player testimony count as fact? I suppose not if you're arguing from a position of such bad faith. Either way I think this has now gone in circles and I've stated my full reasons for supporting the Lions honestly. Shame others cannot do the same for the inverse opinion.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 2:26 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:Sean O'Brien is very overrated and as good as he was also failed to deliver on the big stage when his body started breaking down. In hindsight Gatland is the one who has come out of that looking good, not Shaun Obrien.

guestalt_physicality wrote:It's really simple. The players love the Lions (apart from those who miss out when they think should be playing like O'Brien behind Warburton).

guestalt_physicality wrote:Would player testimony count as fact? I suppose not if you're arguing from a position of such bad faith. Either way I think this has now gone in circles and I've stated my full reasons for supporting the Lions honestly. Shame others cannot do the same for the inverse opinion.

Faith is belief based on conviction rather than proof.
From the posts above it doesn't seem you count player testimony (SOB's) as fact.
However Sean O'Brien's comments must be at the very least faithful, so other player's testimonies should be treated the same.

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Post by lostinwales on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 2:44 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:Sean O'Brien is very overrated and as good as he was also failed to deliver on the big stage when his body started breaking down. In hindsight Gatland is the one who has come out of that looking good, not Shaun Obrien.

SOB's USP was his physicality so he was always likely to be less effective with wear and tear, but who does 'continue to deliver' in such circumstances?

At his best an awesome player though.

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Post by Guest on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 2:56 pm

SOB has a point in what he said but that doesn't mean everything he said is correct not that even speaking to the press was the right thing to do. SOB ultimately came from a team environment that was adept at squeezing teams and winning big one off games or the odd six nations (very different to world cups and lions tours) and the lack of detail gatland will have given him and his Irish teammates would have been infuriating because he was not used to it. Leinster and Ireland and Saracens and England often suffer from the same problems: they're not used to not being dominant. He did not come from an environment used to just 'getting the job done' game after game at club level and that translated to the national team more often than not when consistency was required, which bore fruit again in 2019. Rob Howley was clearly a limited attack coach in some ways yet his attacking moves led to some key scores for the Lions. Consistency wins Lions tours. After Gatland I think we might see just how hard it is to replicate what he achieved. But he'll always have his detractors, SOB and a lot of the Irish media included.

Ultimately it is one player's frustrations about what is clearly a deluded assessment of the task at hand v. years and years of positivity from the very best professional rugby players from the four nations that you're talking about. SOB might not value the Lions and you can understand why given his relationship in Gatland's eyes compared to Warburton. That, and Ireland were peaking, had beaten NZ 8 months before, and he completely lost perspective both professionally and personally, which was made stark in the quarter final in Japan.

It's really very simple. The narrative in two countries is negative towards the Lions for different reasons. The narrative in the other two/three countries is overwhelmingly positive. This is then the tone taken up by fans who often just repeat what their local media feeds them over time.

Everything else seems to be justification after the fact, moving the argument around and around in to side issues in an attempt to avoid the obvious. The Lions doesn't need to prove itself to you with facts, unfortunately, if you're not willing to consider it fairly. Dropping the Lions to arrange test matches against Romania and Germany and Spain is just nonsense. The case for bring France and Italy in to the Lions is also ridiculous. The argument that it hurts the clubs and national teams is flimsy at best given the positive playing and commercial benefits the players and rugby as a whole gains.

What more is there to say?

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 3:09 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:What more is there to say?

Plenty, I'm sure....  Whistle

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Post by Guest on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 3:55 pm

I believe the kids call this 'getting hooked'.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 5:46 pm

Surprisingly enjoyable listen was one of those rugby podcasts the other week with Haskell and O'Brien on it. At one point it came around to the Lions and Gatland. I was curious that SOB stressed that he didn't think the coaching or Gatland was rubbish, but more that even though they drew the series against NZ (a series they were expected to lose), they had an opportunity to win the series, it didn't come across so much as he should have been playing instead of.

Also, if the debriefs are all tame responses and he was the only one to throw out anything contentious its usual media to spin and explode for column inches.

But feck him, he's off at London Oirish now. Sounded like another month and he'll be playing.

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Post by Guest on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 7:15 pm

Given the Lions' only win against New Zealand came with a red card in the first half, that they were fortunate with Ken Owens not getting pinged/a late penalty to draw level/the final whistle blew with New Zealand 2m from the Lions' tryline, and given that they got thumped by 20 points minus a consolation in the first test...I fail to see how they 'had an opportunity to win the series' outside of 'they also had a lot of opportunties to lose', but NZ failed to grasp them, luck came their way, and they held on with gritted teeth.

I think the case in point about what I said earlier about what it takes to back it up is how Ireland last toured NZ, in 2012. They pushed them unbelievably close in the second test but got thumped in the other two. Ireland have jumped up a level under Schmidt but they've still not done what even Wales have shown in back to back games away from home (i.e. world cups) let alone England, so I'm not sure on what basis the tour could have been better? Make Gatland 'better'? Or bring Schmidt in and play a more Irish style? 2017 was a masterclass of 'doing just enough' and given Gatland had to overhaul the team after the first test, dropping Farrell from 10 and bringing an unfit Warburton - key to Wales and the Lions in the big games - back in to the side, yes they *could* have won the third test and nicked the series, but had they tried to win it sooner, it seems much more likely they would have just been whitewashed.

I personally much prefer hearing more detailed 'gossip' in biographies 5, 10, 15 years after the fact as you get a bit of a more measured and honest approach. Few ulterior motives other than a dash of sensationalism to sell books. But that can go either way. I'm not sure anyone wants a return to the 2001 tour either, do they, in terms of media disruption?

Is that the house of rugby podcast he was speaking on? I sometimes listen but Haskell does grow tiring very quickly, doesnt he?

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 7:19 pm

thebandwagonsociety wrote:Surprisingly enjoyable listen was one of those rugby podcasts the other week with Haskell and O'Brien on it.  At one point it came around to the Lions and Gatland. I was curious that SOB stressed that he didn't think the coaching or Gatland was rubbish, but more that even though they drew the series against NZ (a series they were expected to lose), they had an opportunity to win the series, it didn't come across so much as he should have been playing instead of.

Also, if the debriefs are all tame responses and he was the only one to throw out anything contentious its usual media to spin and explode for column inches.

But feck him, he's off at London Oirish now. Sounded like another month and he'll be playing.

...or drinking. Drinking is much easier over there it seems. Not so many folks with cameras wanting to catch players in the act. Tetchy. But of course, the drinking wasn't the issue.... it was his choice of urinal.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 27 Feb 2020, 1:43 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:Given the Lions' only win against New Zealand came with a red card in the first half, that they were fortunate with Ken Owens not getting pinged/a late penalty to draw level/the final whistle blew with New Zealand 2m from the Lions' tryline, and given that they got thumped by 20 points minus a consolation in the first test...I fail to see how they 'had an opportunity to win the series' outside of 'they also had a lot of opportunties to lose', but NZ failed to grasp them, luck came their way, and they held on with gritted teeth.

I agree. The Lions got the result through luck. O'Brien is just as confused as the rest of the players, in thinking that the normal routine of his rugby is in any way, shape of form replicated on a Lions tour.
Coaching doesn't matter because the coaches have no time to 'coach' players, nor any time to practice anything but the most rudimentary moves - the Lions could have got as much attacking direction from Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth as Rob Howley's playbook.
Pitting a scratch collection of players who have never played together before against the World Champions (at home) is a mismatch more suited to the Colosseum rather than a rugby pitch. Even so and however high the odds against, once in a while the underdog gets lucky.

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Post by The Oracle on Thu 27 Feb 2020, 2:11 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
guestalt_physicality wrote:Given the Lions' only win against New Zealand came with a red card in the first half, that they were fortunate with Ken Owens not getting pinged/a late penalty to draw level/the final whistle blew with New Zealand 2m from the Lions' tryline, and given that they got thumped by 20 points minus a consolation in the first test...I fail to see how they 'had an opportunity to win the series' outside of 'they also had a lot of opportunties to lose', but NZ failed to grasp them, luck came their way, and they held on with gritted teeth.

I agree. The Lions got the result through luck. O'Brien is just as confused as the rest of the players, in thinking that the normal routine of his rugby is in any way, shape of form replicated on a Lions tour.
Coaching doesn't matter because the coaches have no time to 'coach' players, nor any time to practice anything but the most rudimentary moves - the Lions could have got as much attacking direction from Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth as Rob Howley's playbook.
Pitting a scratch collection of players who have never played together before against the World Champions (at home) is a mismatch more suited to the Colosseum rather than a rugby pitch. Even so and however high the odds against, once in a while the underdog gets lucky.


But 40% of the time overall, apparently (test wins AND tour wins).  Not far off half.  Bit more than once in a while! Whistle
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Post by Rugby Fan on Thu 27 Feb 2020, 2:34 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:...Even so and however high the odds against, once in a while the underdog gets lucky...
The Lions aren't always underdogs. After '71 and '74, hopes were high for 1977, and we probably should have done better. We often look at the 1989 tour as the great comeback but we weren't underdogs until we lost the first Test. In the professional era, we were fancied in 2001, because the England team had the beating of Australia, and memories of 1997 meant we fancied the idea of a Lions collective. Not sure what the bookies had us as in 2013, but I'd have been upset if we'd lost again in Australia, as I had us as favourites.

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Post by The Oracle on Thu 27 Feb 2020, 2:41 pm

Our (Lions) test match win against Aus % is 74%, and tour win % is 78%.  All away from home, obviously.  Much better than all of the Lions nations' individual away records vs Aus.  Not bad for a scratch side!


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Post by 123456789. on Thu 27 Feb 2020, 4:23 pm

I'm not really sure why this is an ongoing debate. The fans generally love it, the toured nation loves it and the players clearly love it. There's no obligation on the fans to travel to the other side of the world, there's no obligation of countries' to host it and there's no obligation on the players' part to go on the tour.

I terms of its long term effects there's no denying that some players are negatively impacted and some are positively impacted. Balshaw is the case in point, Woodward said that Balshaw was his best player before the Lions tour and never quite got it again. Stuart Hogg seemed to go off the boil after his first tour and it took him a year to get his head straight, after his second one he reached his best from I've seen from him. I've never seen a back put in as individually impressive performance against the All Blacks as he did in 2017.

As with all things it depends how a player reacts to individual circumstance. Some players come back from a World Cup a shadow of the player they were. Some players reach the Lions at a certain age and never are able to make it again just through the natural ageing process.

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Post by Cyril on Thu 27 Feb 2020, 10:13 pm

In terms of backs, Tuilagi’s performance against NZ in 2012 was a few steps ups (and some) over Hogg’s against NZ. Hogg played well in that loss but was typically greedy and passed up a few opportunities.

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