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Lions Moans, Groans and Negativity

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 07 May 2021, 8:17 am

First topic message reminder :

Despite the fact that I'll argue my point til the cows come home I do always try to remain positive and at least try to argue the merits of 1 player or tactic vs the other but the Lions is really dragging me down. I'll continue to argue the selection of players I think are better in the main thread but I just want to post all my negativity on this to get it a little bit out of my system.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/57007554

First up Matt Dawson; shut up no he doesn't Gatland is a terrible selector. 'I can understand what Gatland and the selectors are thinking with all their choices. It makes sense to me. There is not any player that I think is a risk.' You can tell why he doesn't get very many tv jobs bar larking around with Sue Barker. Ideally from a piece like Dawson's you may think that it's going to be heavy on analysis, suspected game plans etc, no simply I've played for him, he picked me and so I like him and back him without question. I go back to picking Mako Vunipola in Australia and basically allow him to learn on the job. Then watch him walk around knackered as your replacement loosehead looks on from the bench. As a selector surely you can't applaud a guy that could well have been 2 0 down in tests but for a John Terry style slip by Beale before guys left out from the below par pack of the first 2 games come flying to the rescue, take a bow Corbisiero and O'Brien.

I know we're lacking in some areas and that there are a number of areas within the England team for example which are about to swept aside but bloody hell, we're picking players like Jonny Hill, Elliot Daly, Bundee Aki for the Lions. We're plucking Courtney Lawes from no where seemingly to put him on the flank where England have suffered time and time again. They're made a conscious decision to leave out Navidi and Underhill for Lawes; it's madness. Lawes who apparently wasn't in that list of 50 odd players. He wasn't one of the names put forward initially by any Lions coach including Gatland. WTF does that say about his secondment away from his club who he managed to place bottom of the table until he stepped away and they recovered. Lawes himself again via the Beeb: 'I've played no rugby, so I was hoping my previous form would carry me over, so I'm very excited to go in and prove why I've been named in the squad," he told BBC Radio Northampton.

"I didn't get the email that apparently some people got. I had no idea.'

Hang on didn't Gatland say that players have missed out due to fitness and lack of form, give a wave Billy V, get some durability Jonny S. Except when it doesn't matter and you suddenly remember a player you missed while laying about having a beer for the last few months.

Daly, Jesus H. Christ. The proof positive that form has not been considered whatsoever. A terrible full back who makes me pine for Ugo Monye back there. A centre who even at Wasps when defending was optional looked woeful. A winger who may be considered better than Jonny May by a selector who 'tends to get things right'. Argghh.

I shudder to think to the ramshackle way we're going to play. Sounds like try to not give penalties away at the scrum and pressure their lineout. It's going to be messy and some people think England kick the leather off it (badly this year).

I didn't want to bring a positive note into this but I suppose as with previous tours there may be one or two drop outs and a replacement who rectifies the initial mistake. Or he could just ruin Marcus Smith's England integration to ask him to hold some tackle bags.

Keep it down beat guys.

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Post by Collapse2005 Fri 07 May 2021, 10:52 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:Curry has to be on the bench as back-row cover, he’s good at the breakdown.

Collapse - Pat Lam will be the next Wales coach, and if he’s good enough (probably) the next Lions coach, so we’ll probably keep seeing a Welsh captain Smile.

Mikey, Wales love ex connacht coaches alright but I think Lam might be next Ireland coach first. Hope so anyway.

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Post by westisbest Sat 08 May 2021, 8:09 am

Yes. I’d like to see Lam as next Ireland coach to.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sat 08 May 2021, 8:32 am

I think Lam is the highest paid coach in rugby currently.

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Post by Collapse2005 Sat 08 May 2021, 10:16 am

I assumed Eddie Jones was

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Post by The Oracle Sat 08 May 2021, 10:37 am

Isn’t Lam on like £800,000? Something like double what Gatland was on with Wales! And that’s at a club (Lam). Crazy money.
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Post by flyhalffactory Sat 08 May 2021, 11:08 am

mikey_dragon wrote:To quote a certain Scot on here... strewth, it beggars belief.... how some are still whinging about 2013, a tour we WON laughing.

censored
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Post by Collapse2005 Sat 08 May 2021, 11:12 am

What does strewth mean?

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Post by The Oracle Sat 08 May 2021, 11:48 am

It’s Australian for ‘what the f***?’
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Post by flyhalffactory Sat 08 May 2021, 11:59 am

It's almost impossible to select a 41 man squad let alone a 37 man squad. I was shocked to see 8 Scots selected but even more so to see 11 English after their performance the last time v SA, the ANC (even though they won the bleeding thing, the papered over cracks were apparent even then) and the 2021 6Ns, but overall I'm fairly happy.

Couple of pointers from me

1. Eddie Jones - The selection of Simmonds and Daly, emails to Smith/Care and the comments on Farrell "lacking of confidence" all seem to indicate that Gats & Co don't consider Jones to be a good man-management coach. That's a worry, if the Lions coaching team think they have to "rewire" players minds then we have only 7 weeks to the warm up match v Japan and Gats only has 10 days before the game to achieve that surgery.
 
2. The continuing "Saracens Effect" - Mako, George or Farrell haven't had a good 2021, especially Farrell & Mako, but astoundingly they have been selected

3. Banked credits v current form v potential - If you look at the 2021 performances / stats be-it at club or international level then it's clear quite a number of players are in on "banked credits" and there's the rub

4. Kicking Kicking Kicking - Points win games. Whilst Biggar I think is on 96% accuracy, if we are talking Finn to create opportunities then "we're doomed" as he is pretty inconsistent off the dead ball. I am assuming that's the reason Farrell is on the plane and one of the reasons Daly is in, he is accurate with the boot especially long distance. I can see Gat's mindset here.

5. Specialists v Hybrids - The slimmed down squad has forced Gats arm here but I am not a big fan of hybrids, unfortunately Gats has made a poor call here especially on the Lock/BSF role.....Itoje, Beirne and Lawes have been selected with that in mind and I think that's one too many especially as we have the BR who are all hybrids as well.

6. Those that have been left behind - As I said the 37 players all deserve to be there for one reason or another but if I have to be picky I would have changed the following

Hkr -  George out - Cherry in (bit of a curve ball but I think he is on awesome form)
BRF - Lawes out - Navidi in (Navidi specialist BR, in form whilst Lawes is a hybrid and only just back from injury)
SH - Price out - Care in (you just can't ignore Care's form)
FH - Farrell out - Smith in (form alone but also after Farrells horror (should have been a red) tackle v Doncaster, after only just coming back from another indiscretion was enough to suggest he cannot adapt to the modified laws)
Finally I would have loved to have found a place for May but impossible to have removed anyone


Last edited by flyhalffactory on Sat 08 May 2021, 1:57 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Post by flyhalffactory Sat 08 May 2021, 12:08 pm

The Oracle wrote:It’s Australian for ‘what the f***?’

Compadre don't say that or I'll be having a one day ban for swearing  Wink

I'd like to think it's more like this
What does Struth mean in Australia?
God's truth
alternate spelling of "strewth". An exclamation from late 19th century Australia. "God's truth".  Whistle

or if I'll get a one day ban for "walk like an Australian" then it's
strewth in British English
(struːθ ) exclamation. an expression of surprise or dismay.
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Post by Soul Requiem Sat 08 May 2021, 12:13 pm

I highly doubt Itoje has been selected for the hybrid role, he will more than likely play every minute of every test in the second row.

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Post by flyhalffactory Sat 08 May 2021, 12:23 pm

Soul Requiem wrote:I highly doubt Itoje has been selected for the hybrid role, he will more than likely play every minute of every test in the second row.

Well there have been quite a few rugby pundits selections having Itoje as 6 with Beirne at 4, so whilst I agree with you that Itoje has been selected for the 4 role, I am not as blindly confident as you that he will even start, let alone play every minute of every test.

If Beirne, Watson and Tipuric perform as well in training and in the warm up matches as they did in the 6Ns and if Itoje doesn't crank it up a notch from his 6Ns performances and modify his play to stop the pens then it could well be all academic

Don't you agree?
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Post by doctor_grey Sat 08 May 2021, 12:24 pm

My only real complaint is the best Prop was the one making the squad announcements!

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Post by Rugby Fan Sat 08 May 2021, 2:57 pm

flyhalffactory wrote:...Well there have been quite a few rugby pundits selections having Itoje as 6 with Beirne at 4, so whilst I agree with you that Itoje has been selected for the 4 role, I am not as blindly confident as you that he will even start, let alone play every minute of every test...
I've mostly seen people selecting AWJ and Itoje as the locks, with Beirne at 6. Probably because AWJ and Itoje went well in NZ.

Worth remembering that, when Itoje has worn six for England, he has frequently played lock in the scrum, with the lock, usually Lawes, on the side of the scrum. Lawes would then do more ruck clearance than Itoje, who would spend his time looking for chances to pilfer or pester.

We may find its more important to look at the role people end up playing, rather than the number on their back.

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Post by flyhalffactory Sat 08 May 2021, 3:20 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
flyhalffactory wrote:...Well there have been quite a few rugby pundits selections having Itoje as 6 with Beirne at 4, so whilst I agree with you that Itoje has been selected for the 4 role, I am not as blindly confident as you that he will even start, let alone play every minute of every test...
I've mostly seen people selecting AWJ and Itoje as the locks, with Beirne at 6. Probably because AWJ and Itoje went well in NZ.

Worth remembering that, when Itoje has worn six for England, he has frequently played lock in the scrum, with the lock, usually Lawes, on the side of the scrum. Lawes would then do more ruck clearance than Itoje, who would spend his time looking for chances to pilfer or pester.

We may find its more important to look at the role people end up playing, rather than the number on their back.

Agree 100%.
Most selections have AWJ/Itoje as the engine room and I agree he will be picked at 4, however Gats is aware that Eddie has picked him at BSF as well, so I am sure he will be looking at Beirne 6/4, Lawes 4/6 and to a lesser degree Itoje a 4/6
All three have the sublime skills to operate in either position
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Post by TJ Wed 12 May 2021, 9:59 am

I find all this talk about Russell not being a kicker utter nonsense. His kicking stats are fine and although I am not certain its true now a couple of years ago his % was higher than Farrell. farrell of course does not miss pressure kicks but he misses enough.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 12 May 2021, 10:03 am

When a game is comfortable ive seen Farrell have terrible games off the tee.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Wed 12 May 2021, 11:45 am

Rugby Fan wrote:
flyhalffactory wrote:...Well there have been quite a few rugby pundits selections having Itoje as 6 with Beirne at 4, so whilst I agree with you that Itoje has been selected for the 4 role, I am not as blindly confident as you that he will even start, let alone play every minute of every test...
I've mostly seen people selecting AWJ and Itoje as the locks, with Beirne at 6. Probably because AWJ and Itoje went well in NZ.

Worth remembering that, when Itoje has worn six for England, he has frequently played lock in the scrum, with the lock, usually Lawes, on the side of the scrum. Lawes would then do more ruck clearance than Itoje, who would spend his time looking for chances to pilfer or pester.

We may find its more important to look at the role people end up playing, rather than the number on their back.

Itoje will start the 1st test at least. Nobody is exempt being dropped, not even Itoje...

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Post by jimbopip Wed 12 May 2021, 12:28 pm

TJ wrote:I find all this talk about Russell not being a kicker utter nonsense.  His kicking stats are fine and although I am not certain its true now a couple of years ago his % was higher than Farrell.  farrell of course does not miss pressure kicks but he misses enough.

If you want a definition of a pressure kick look on You tube for the Glasgow v Ulster Pro14 semi at Scotstoun. Ulster had been in the lead until the 77th minute when DTH went over in the corner to level the scores, after Russell caught a pass inches from the floor drew the defender and threw a long miss pass taking out two defenders, and Russell kicked the winning conversion from the touchline. Sublime.

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Post by doctor_grey Wed 12 May 2021, 6:21 pm

Well, that gets to the point where stats are directional but the ‘eye test’ is what tells you what you need to know. Sometimes good is good. And that’s fine. I’m not worried about any kicker in the Lions squad.

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Post by TJ Wed 12 May 2021, 6:44 pm

doctor_grey wrote:Well, that gets to the point where stats are directional but the ‘eye test’ is what tells you what you need to know.  Sometimes good is good.  And that’s fine.  I’m not worried about any kicker in the Lions squad.

I agree. We do not need Farrell as a kicker - Bigger or Russell are more than adequate

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Post by nlpnlp Thu 13 May 2021, 6:45 pm

If you look at the '97 tour, Neil Jenkins played all 3 tests at fullback. Not for his silky smooth running, but his ability to kick points. Ultimately the Lions won the series thanks to Jenkins. So going into the test matches with 'adquate' kickers doesn't fill me with confidence, as I think our best chance to win this series will be by kicking our points and snatching the odd brilliant try from one of our wingers. With 2 of the tests being at altitude, kicking is going to be ultra important.

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Post by jimbopip Thu 13 May 2021, 7:32 pm

I think you're missing the point(twice) TJ says Biggar and Russell are "more than adequate " kickers.
Also, Neil Jenkins playedc15 because the coaches knew that if they played him at 10 we had no chance of winning the series. If the Lions hadn't played a style of rugby that put the Boks under pressure, resulting in the penalties Jenkins kicked, then the Boks would have won the series. Townsend was seen as a risk at 10 because he was mercurial and unpredictable but he was crucial to the style of rugby the coaches had decided was needed to win the series. Similarly, there is a style of play where Farrell would be the best 10: I just don't think that would beat the Boks. Russell's kicking from hand is excellent and would ask questions of any defence. Biggar had a very good 6 Nations.
I think it'll be whoever fits best into the style Gats wants. If that's Farrell then get to the nearest bookies and put it all on a 3-0 series win for the Boks.

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 13 May 2021, 8:51 pm

I think the expression “more than adequate“ was a turn of phrase. Farrell is a very good kicker. Biggar is a very good kicker. I haven’t seen Russell as much, but other people say he’s good too. So no worries there. I do agree these will be tight hard fought games and kicks at goal will be important. But I think we have the horses and will do fine. As I said, I haven’t seen Russell so much but he makes me nervous because of the trip (yellow) and the forearm to the chops (red) in the Six Nations. And those kinds of things could cost the Lions. Hopefully I am wrong

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Post by Old Man Thu 13 May 2021, 9:54 pm

jimbopip wrote:I think you're missing the point(twice) TJ says Biggar and Russell are "more than adequate " kickers.
Also, Neil Jenkins playedc15 because the coaches knew that if they played him at 10 we had no chance of winning the series.   If the Lions hadn't played a style of rugby that put the Boks under pressure, resulting in the penalties Jenkins kicked, then the Boks would have won the series.  Townsend was seen as a risk at 10 because he was mercurial and unpredictable but he was crucial to the style of rugby the coaches had decided was needed to win the series. Similarly, there is a style of play where Farrell would be the best 10: I just don't think that would beat the Boks. Russell's kicking from hand is excellent and would ask questions of any defence.  Biggar had a very good 6 Nations.  
I think it'll be whoever fits best into the style Gats wants. If that's Farrell then get to the nearest bookies and put it all on a 3-0 series win for the Boks.

If the Boks kicked their goals in 97 they would have won the series, they lost the second test by scoring three tries to nil, but didn’t kick one goal the whole match.

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Post by Collapse2005 Fri 14 May 2021, 11:55 am

Thought the 97 Boks were a better side than the Lions alright but I actually thought the last Lions side to tour SA shaded the Boks even though they lost.

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Post by Old Man Fri 14 May 2021, 12:10 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:Thought the 97 Boks were a better side than the Lions alright but I actually thought the last Lions side to tour SA shaded the Boks even though they lost.

The 97 Boks had Carel du Plessis as their coach, he wanted to play exciting rugby, the precurser to what Mallet achieved out of the Boks, I would think Du Plessis would have been more successful had he been coach for longer, he only coached 7 test matches then got fired.

The Piet de Villiers Boks had a 5 win 6 loss record vs the AB’s, much more successful than any other coach since the professional era. Hence lots of conspiracy theories regarding the qf vs Australia, and the performance of Bryce Lawrence (the theory being the AB’s didn’t want to face the Boks in the final.

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Post by Collapse2005 Fri 14 May 2021, 12:16 pm

Well Bryce well and truly made up for it by whistling the Lions off the part in the first test v SA the last time around.

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Post by MichaelT Fri 14 May 2021, 12:34 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:Thought the 97 Boks were a better side than the Lions alright but I actually thought the last Lions side to tour SA shaded the Boks even though they lost.

Think the team that started the second test in 2009 was probably better than any Lions team since too. The injuries really knacked them that day. Went to uncontested scrums, finishing with O'Gara at 12 (not a knock on O'Gara but he is not a 12).

Even so, if I was to point to one match that shows how good rugby union could be, it would be that second test. Had everything you could ask for in a team sports contest.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 14 May 2021, 12:59 pm

The missed red contributed too. The TMO's much more involved now so thats one less groan.

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Post by nlpnlp Fri 14 May 2021, 4:41 pm

I think you are being generous when you say it was a missed red, as the touch judge clearly saw it.  I think it was a case of the referee simply bottling it because it was Schalk Burger and the game was only 1 minute old.  As you say though, TMOs are much more involved so hopefully this shouldn't reoccur.  There does though seem to be some bad blood between the Lions and the Boks, so I am expecting this to be quite a feisty series.

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Post by Sharkey06 Fri 14 May 2021, 10:21 pm

I expect the Lions to go after Faf - he has become even more of a prima donna since South Africa won the world cup. He quite often throws his toys out of the pram and stamps his little feet if he doesn't get the protection from the referee he thinks he deserves when playing for Sale. I think Gareth Davies has been picked in the Rob Jones 'enforcer' role to step on Faf's feet and mess his hair up, to put him off his game. I don't think we will get the full outbreak of fisticuffs that we saw with the '89 Lions, but I think Gatland has picked a squad that can stand up for itself and not be bullied by the Boks.

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Post by The Oracle Fri 14 May 2021, 10:28 pm

I like the idea Sharkey, but Gareth Davies has never struck me as an enforcer type! Certainly not a tough guy or a scrapper from memory?! He’s no Mike Phillips. Davies did once punch someone in Aberystwyth though I think. Made the papers. I think he was defending someone’s honour or something!
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Post by Old Man Fri 14 May 2021, 10:34 pm

Sharkey06 wrote:I expect the Lions to go after Faf - he has become even more of a prima donna since South Africa won the world cup.  He quite often throws his toys out of the pram and stamps his little feet if he doesn't get the protection from the referee he thinks he deserves when playing for Sale.  I think Gareth Davies has been picked in the Rob Jones 'enforcer' role to step on Faf's feet and mess his hair up, to put him off his game.  I don't think we will get the full outbreak of fisticuffs that we saw with the '89 Lions, but I think Gatland has picked a squad that can stand up for itself and not be bullied by the Boks.

If Rassie picks up the wrong attitude from any Bok, let alone Faf, they will either be squared away quickly or not be selected.

Erasmus was very clear during the RWC campaign and building up to it, bumholes won’t play a role in his team

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Post by The Oracle Fri 14 May 2021, 10:39 pm

The Oracle wrote:I like the idea Sharkey, but Gareth Davies has never struck me as an enforcer type!  Certainly not a tough guy or a scrapper from memory?!  He’s no Mike Phillips.  Davies did once punch someone in Aberystwyth though I think.  Made the papers.  I think he was defending someone’s honour or something!

Saying that, I’m not sure Rob Jones was really an enforcer either! He’s one of the most softly spoken and mild mannered ex players around! Not sure why he started that famous brawl but he was no ‘hard man’ as far as I know. Lovely chap.
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Post by doctor_grey Fri 14 May 2021, 10:48 pm

Sharkey06 wrote:I expect the Lions to go after Faf - he has become even more of a prima donna since South Africa won the world cup.  He quite often throws his toys out of the pram and stamps his little feet if he doesn't get the protection from the referee he thinks he deserves when playing for Sale.  I think Gareth Davies has been picked in the Rob Jones 'enforcer' role to step on Faf's feet and mess his hair up, to put him off his game.  I don't think we will get the full outbreak of fisticuffs that we saw with the '89 Lions, but I think Gatland has picked a squad that can stand up for itself and not be bullied by the Boks.
It seems like a good idea to go after Faf, but people have been doing that for years and I haven't seen anyone really throw him off his game for very long.  He just acts like a scrum half (OK scrum half x2).   Pound for pound one of the toughest players I have seen.

Again, I know this ship has sailed, but thinking about it, Danny Care is just the scrum-half to get under Faf's skin with just the right amount of niggle. Back in his day, Austin Healey would have been perfect for this. Faf usually dodges or offloads when the big boys come at him.

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Post by Sharkey06 Fri 14 May 2021, 11:05 pm

When I referred to Rob Jones as an 'enforcer' I was being slightly ironic, as he was defintiely one of the nicest players in rugby.  All credit to him though he carried out his instruction to get in Nick Farr-Jones's face and upset him.

I am not sure Danny Care has the niggle in him to get to Faf. There is no question on Faf's skills or commitment for Sale, but his box kicking can be very indiferent and he throws a lot of forward passes as he is constantly trying to force things. It will be interesting to see if Curry can get to him - playing with him week in and week out he will know his game.

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Post by George Carlin Thu 20 May 2021, 5:50 am

Has anyone ordered any of the Lions kit from Canterbury. Is it any good?
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Post by doctor_grey Thu 20 May 2021, 5:42 pm

George Carlin wrote:Has anyone ordered any of the Lions kit from Canterbury. Is it any good?
If I buy any more rugby kit, my wife will have me gelded.  
Slowly.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Fri 21 May 2021, 11:10 am

George Carlin wrote:Has anyone ordered any of the Lions kit from Canterbury. Is it any good?

I have got the shirt, very good. Even makes it look like I could play rugby again.
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Post by Oakdene Fri 21 May 2021, 12:16 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
flyhalffactory wrote:...Well there have been quite a few rugby pundits selections having Itoje as 6 with Beirne at 4, so whilst I agree with you that Itoje has been selected for the 4 role, I am not as blindly confident as you that he will even start, let alone play every minute of every test...
I've mostly seen people selecting AWJ and Itoje as the locks, with Beirne at 6. Probably because AWJ and Itoje went well in NZ.

Worth remembering that, when Itoje has worn six for England, he has frequently played lock in the scrum, with the lock, usually Lawes, on the side of the scrum. Lawes would then do more ruck clearance than Itoje, who would spend his time looking for chances to pilfer or pester.

We may find its more important to look at the role people end up playing, rather than the number on their back.

Agreed though surely no one on here will disagree that Beirne is one of the best in the world over the ball & should start at & play as a 6.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 21 May 2021, 1:50 pm

Gatland hasn't picked any other blindsides has he? Would much prefer Beirne there than Lawes. The only other real option is moving Curry over to accommodate Watson or Tipuric.

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Post by Pie Tue 25 May 2021, 5:33 pm

Simple fact is WJM is right....a tour with no fans is no tour. Selection issues aside - Ringrose? JD2? Aki? Daly? - having toured in 09 and 17 there is no Lions without th Lions Zone and the sea of red shirts in the stands. Big mistake which sadly is motivated by money and Gatland knows its his last hurrah.

I suspect a 2-1 SA win probably like in 09 - AWJ not a guaranteed starter, underpowered back row, and there is very little leadership in the backs aside from Biggar and Farrell (both of whom don't have a clue how to manage a ref) I just cant see where the power is to overcome a hungry Bokke side

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Post by Pie Tue 25 May 2021, 5:35 pm

R!skysports wrote:Price.............

What Price this?

(Movie?)


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Post by Collapse2005 Wed 26 May 2021, 9:54 am

Pie wrote:Simple fact is WJM is right....a tour with no fans is no tour. Selection issues aside - Ringrose? JD2? Aki? Daly? - having toured in 09 and 17 there is no Lions without th Lions Zone and the sea of red shirts in the stands. Big mistake which sadly is motivated by money and Gatland knows its his last hurrah.

I suspect a 2-1 SA win probably like in 09 - AWJ not a guaranteed starter, underpowered back row, and there is very little leadership in the backs aside from Biggar and Farrell (both of whom don't have a clue how to manage a ref) I just cant see where the power is to overcome a hungry Bokke side

I would say AWJ is as much of or more a guaranteed starter than anyone else.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Wed 26 May 2021, 10:07 am

Pie wrote:Simple fact is WJM is right....a tour with no fans is no tour. Selection issues aside - Ringrose? JD2? Aki? Daly? - having toured in 09 and 17 there is no Lions without th Lions Zone and the sea of red shirts in the stands. Big mistake which sadly is motivated by money and Gatland knows its his last hurrah.

I suspect a 2-1 SA win probably like in 09 - AWJ not a guaranteed starter, underpowered back row, and there is very little leadership in the backs aside from Biggar and Farrell (both of whom don't have a clue how to manage a ref) I just cant see where the power is to overcome a hungry Bokke side

Hard to argue with most of that.....I'm still excited though.

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Post by lostinwales Wed 26 May 2021, 10:22 am

Potentially also a very undercooked Bok side given they haven't played since the RWC.

There is an expectation that they can play like they did in the RWC final, in which case they will be very tough to beat, but there is no reason to think that they will achieve that.

What is more the team will be picked from players spread out over Europe and at home. There will be brilliant individuals but they won't have time to generate good cohesion, and in that respect have similar problems to the Lions.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 26 May 2021, 10:28 am

That's the silver lining along with the first match being at sea level. It will probably get more difficult in tests 2 and 3.

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Post by Old Man Wed 26 May 2021, 11:15 am

Nobody knows how the Boks will go, regardless of preparation and gelling the team, the biggest challenge for Nienaber is whether he can get the Boks to believe in the same vision and cause, Rassie had a stretch of five months with his World Cup Squad, Nienaber has mere weeks.

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Post by Collapse2005 Wed 26 May 2021, 2:12 pm

Old Man wrote:Nobody knows how the Boks will go, regardless of preparation and gelling the team, the biggest challenge for Nienaber is whether he can get the Boks to believe in the same vision and cause, Rassie had a stretch of five months with his World Cup Squad, Nienaber has mere weeks.

That has to be a factor alright (Nienaber).

Also how big a factor is altitude really? Most South African players do not live or play at altitude either. Is it really that big an advantage? Maybe 10 squad members play in Durban, Pretoria and Joberg, the rest of the 40 or so extended squad play in Cape Town or around the world. Edit: Is Durban at altitude? Maybe not, cant remember.

Reminds me of the story of the Aussie prop on tour in SA in a training camp in Port Elizabeth. When his coach was barking at him for being too slow he replied sincerely I'm really sorry it must be the altitude to which everyone obviously laughed.

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