Lions in SA

salarchaser

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Oh dear once again so near and so far. I thought Russell played well when he came on, pleased Wyn Jones did OK. The Lions had their chances but did not take them. Injuries have played their part, would the squad have been different with Tipuric & North?? Still can't understand what the ref saw when the Lions had a scrum on the SA 5 yard line??? Did anybody see anything wrong? Disappointed Liam Williams missed that tackle. Ah well a load of 6 Nations and a World Cup before the next Lions tour. A more enjoyable game this week than last week!

PS: I was rather chuffed to see the Lions fanzone pictures on Sky TV with Scott Quinell from Llandaff RFC, Cardiff a club i played for 2 seasons when i lived in Cardiff. Llandaff RFC (llandaffrugby.com) "The Llandaff boys are on the p*ss again"
As you say, what might have been.
Not enough points scored when on top in the 1st half ( Adams ouside Williams 😖 ). Couldnt get the tempo back in the 2nd.

Fair play to SA for sticking at it.
A few refs decisions that could have gone either way, but no glaring biggies. Though I thought some scrum decisions were a bit harsh especially as he had reset a few.

vdMs best game. He came off his wing looking for work. Where was that in the first 2?

Russell did well, especially not having played for 5 weeks.

Think most of the lions issues came in selection rather than in the games.

Ah well, only 4 years to go.
 

ozzyian

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As you say, what might have been.
Not enough points scored when on top in the 1st half ( Adams ouside Williams 😖 ). Couldnt get the tempo back in the 2nd.

Fair play to SA for sticking at it.
A few refs decisions that could have gone either way, but no glaring biggies. Though I thought some scrum decisions were a bit harsh especially as he had reset a few.

vdMs best game. He came off his wing looking for work. Where was that in the first 2?

Russell did well, especially not having played for 5 weeks.

Think most of the lions issues came in selection rather than in the games.

Ah well, only 4 years to go.

There are no miracles with VDM, very much what you see is what you get, yet another rather obvious case of Gatland not understanding a players strengths and weaknesses. He was actually rather good in the warm ups, what changed was not in his sphere of influence. Actually I have always found him a better player when he has the ball in his hands:)

I think the Lions issues came at the precise moment the coach was chosen. Lets hope that after having been outplayed and outthought in 2 series now that we don't see him back with his dull rubbish.
 

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Only saw the highlights but looked a very close game, much closer than I was expecting after last week.

Looked like the Lions could have won it with a bit more composure at crucial times.

A draw would probably have been fair to both sides.
 

ozzyian

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A draw would have just allowed Gatland to continue his dreamland world of never having lost a series. Technically the statement would have been correct but the truth is the Bokke were a better rugby team (they missed 3 or 4 kicks) as were the ABs 4 years ago and both deserved to beat the Lions.

It's a great shame for the players and a great shame for the institution but the fact is not only did the Lions underperform but also that Gatland is singlehandedly killing Lions rugby with this way of approaching it. If we get another series like that the Lions will have lost the magic that those great touring sides are remembered for. It's already in a parlous state after 2 Gatland goes at it.
 

salarchaser

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A draw would have just allowed Gatland to continue his dreamland world of never having lost a series. Technically the statement would have been correct but the truth is the Bokke were a better rugby team (they missed 3 or 4 kicks) as were the ABs 4 years ago and both deserved to beat the Lions.

It's a great shame for the players and a great shame for the institution but the fact is not only did the Lions underperform but also that Gatland is singlehandedly killing Lions rugby with this way of approaching it. If we get another series like that the Lions will have lost the magic that those great touring sides are remembered for. It's already in a parlous state after 2 Gatland goes at it.
Far more rugby played in the 13 and 17 tours.

I feel that in the professional era the challenge for the lions is the world rugby calendar and the compressed tours.
Also, for the first time there was no game between the first and second tests.
Players were turning up in the second week of preparations, even after the warm up game.
No time time to build the squad and engendre an ethos, no time to try combinations and develop a style.
No doubt Gatlands game plan doesnt help but he's also playing the cards he's dealt.
More joined up than Woodwards disastrous campaign.

Rugby world wide needs to be looked at, including the calendar.
Club rugby is becoming increasingly cash driven.
The premiership playoffs is about money, not who is the best team in England. The league positions have already decided that.
Autumn tours, cash. Summer tours, cash.
In, play internationals, out.
Gone are the tours where the australians played club sides, regional sides then internationals with a game against the baa baas containing the creme of international rugby.

I'm not sure that was the best and I may be viewing history through rose tinted specs but as a lad I thoroughly enjoyed it. And it spawned a keen interest at all levels of the game.

It'll go the way of football. The power base is with the clubs and chasing the money.

The Lions is an institution that is losing its way in the modern game.

I love my rugby, man and boy, but the authorities are focussing on the wrong things in my opinion....
 

Aled

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I get where you are coming from salarchaser, watched a film on YouTube recently about the Schweppes Cup (remember that?) boy that final weekend in May was after the 5 Nations (no Italy then) one of the highlights of the rugby calendar, rugby needed to go professional but i kind of miss those fun amateur days!
 

salarchaser

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I get where you are coming from salarchaser, watched a film on YouTube recently about the Schweppes Cup (remember that?) boy that final weekend in May was after the 5 Nations (no Italy then) one of the highlights of the rugby calendar, rugby needed to go professional but i kind of miss those fun amateur days!
The Schweppes Cup was a big thing with huge crowds (50k plus) for the final.
As were vising tours, again with big crowds often on a midweek afternoon.

In 72 / 73 NZ toured north America, GB and Europe.
32 games of which 5 were test matches.
Gareth Edwards played them 4 times. Cardiff, East Glamorgan, Wales and some run around when he scored THAT try.

Club matches against touring sides, regional (multi-club) matches and the BaaBaas full of current internationals, with the traditional appearance of one uncapped player, are things of the past.
The BaaBaas exist only in name. How long til the lions go the same way?

Had the pleasure of watching the preparation of the SW division for their game against NZ in 93 up close. They trained at our club just outside bristol and we ended up doing semi opposed stuff against them (quickly realised why I played at the level I did :ROFLMAO: ). A team full of internationals and lions. No keeping the internationals back for the England game.
A real buzz and a tough tour for the visitors.
 

Aled

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When i was at Uni in Plymouth in the early 90's there were quite a few Cornishmen (not a surprise really!) anyway they always talked about the County rugby championship as a big part of their rugby year.
 
D

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Far more rugby played in the 13 and 17 tours.

I feel that in the professional era the challenge for the lions is the world rugby calendar and the compressed tours.
Also, for the first time there was no game between the first and second tests.
Players were turning up in the second week of preparations, even after the warm up game.
No time time to build the squad and engendre an ethos, no time to try combinations and develop a style.
No doubt Gatlands game plan doesnt help but he's also playing the cards he's dealt.
More joined up than Woodwards disastrous campaign.

Rugby world wide needs to be looked at, including the calendar.
Club rugby is becoming increasingly cash driven.
The premiership playoffs is about money, not who is the best team in England. The league positions have already decided that.
Autumn tours, cash. Summer tours, cash.
In, play internationals, out.
Gone are the tours where the australians played club sides, regional sides then internationals with a game against the baa baas containing the creme of international rugby.

I'm not sure that was the best and I may be viewing history through rose tinted specs but as a lad I thoroughly enjoyed it. And it spawned a keen interest at all levels of the game.

It'll go the way of football. The power base is with the clubs and chasing the money.

The Lions is an institution that is losing its way in the modern game.

I love my rugby, man and boy, but the authorities are focussing on the wrong things in my opinion....
So many excuses. Most knew what was coming with Gatland.

It is definitely possible to put invitation only teams together at the drop of a hat, play attractive entertaining rugby and win games.....
 

salarchaser

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So many excuses. Most knew what was coming with Gatland.

It is definitely possible to put invitation only teams together at the drop of a hat, play attractive entertaining rugby and win games.....
Dont know about excuses.
Gatland has a particular approach to the game. Seen it work, seen it not work. It gave Wales some very successful times on limited resources.

As for invitation sides, we'll have to agree to disagree. I believe it is very difficult to assemble a squad from disparate groups to compete at the highest levels in a couple weeks.
 

salarchaser

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It is definitely possible to put invitation only teams together at the drop of a hat, play attractive entertaining rugby and win games.....
At a loose end with no rugby or olympics to watch so done a bit of digging.

Lions have been on 37 tours, winning 15 of them. 3 wins were against the pumas pre- second world war.
They've one once in 13 in NZ and 4 in 13 in SA with 7 in 9 against Australia. Fortunately we're going there next.

In the professional era we've won 2 of 7. A far worse ratio than in the amateur era.

As for the Barbarians, they have a 53% win rate with 52 wins from 98 matches.
Against the big 3 (so excluding the likes of Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Spain, Russia, Portugal, Belgium and a raft of other teir 2, tier 3 countries), they've played 33 games, won 9 for 27%.

The two biggest invitational sides have quite a poor success rate.
Their coaches will have forgotten more about rugby than I will ever know, but couldn't succeed.

So, it might be possible to put an invitational team together to play attractive rugby, but attractive or not, its far from easy to put a winning side together. Many, including a WC winning coach, have tried and failed.
 
D

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At a loose end with no rugby or olympics to watch so done a bit of digging.

Lions have been on 37 tours, winning 15 of them. 3 wins were against the pumas pre- second world war.
They've one once in 13 in NZ and 4 in 13 in SA with 7 in 9 against Australia. Fortunately we're going there next.

In the professional era we've won 2 of 7. A far worse ratio than in the amateur era.

As for the Barbarians, they have a 53% win rate with 52 wins from 98 matches.
Against the big 3 (so excluding the likes of Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Spain, Russia, Portugal, Belgium and a raft of other teir 2, tier 3 countries), they've played 33 games, won 9 for 27%.

The two biggest invitational sides have quite a poor success rate.
Their coaches will have forgotten more about rugby than I will ever know, but couldn't succeed.

So, it might be possible to put an invitational team together to play attractive rugby, but attractive or not, its far from easy to put a winning side together. Many, including a WC winning coach, have tried and failed.
I didn't say it was easy, just that it's definitely possible.
Barbarians do it without picking the best players Britain and Ireland have to offer.
Half the problem is the NH players belief that they can go away to the SH countries and win. Only England and France have demonstrated that belief in recent decades.

South Africa may be world champions but if we can't smash them after they hadn't played an international in 15 months then there are big problems.
 

salarchaser

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I didn't say it was easy, just that it's definitely possible.
You said it was possible at the drop of a hat. Even with the preparation they get they struggle.
Barbarians do it without picking the best players Britain and Ireland have to offer.
No they dont. 27% win rate against the southern hemisphere big 3.
Drop of a hat, largely.
Entertaining, yes.
Winning, no.
Gallant losers more often than not.
 
D

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You said it was possible at the drop of a hat. Even with the preparation they get they struggle.

No they dont. 27% win rate against the southern hemisphere big 3.
Drop of a hat, largely.
Entertaining, yes.
Winning, no.
Gallant losers more often than not.
That's my point. They don't even pick the best players and the team gets together at the drop of a hat, plays attractive rugby and still win almost a third of their games.
Gatland is a great coach if you like winning rugby, but not a great coach if you like great rugby.

Anyway, what does everyone think about the new rules re kicks into the 22 and drop outs under the post? There need to be some rule changes to take the game away from endless box kicking and playing for penalties or the game will slowly run down as a spectator sport.
 

ozzyian

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Dont know about excuses.
Gatland has a particular approach to the game. Seen it work, seen it not work. It gave Wales some very successful times on limited resources.

As for invitation sides, we'll have to agree to disagree. I believe it is very difficult to assemble a squad from disparate groups to compete at the highest levels in a couple weeks.

Disagree with you here!!! :)

I've been thinking about this for the last 2 months so a few minutes ago I actually went and did a count up.

The British and Irish Lions squad have players playing in the 4 home nations plus France. Those playing in England and France obviously don't see anything much of players in other leagues (except at the Intls) but of course the English guys are all from 4 or 5 sides and know each other very well. Those playing in Wales, Scotland and Ireland see each other routinely through the season and I'm sure monitor the performances of teams in the league. Bottom line, sure they are drawn in from a few places but it's not that disparate.

Compare this to the SA squad. They also have players playing in 5 different countries, but in their case 5 different leagues as well. Those playing in France (4) and Japan (4) UK (7) and Ireland (2) never play with each other (except intls) and very rarely against each other - thats half the squad. Out of the rest of them (who do play in the same country) well, they haven't played competitive rugby in 2 years!!!!!

Now, tell me again how it's so much more difficult for the Lions:) In this instance I would say that it is actually the opposite. I agree with your point in another post about knowing what Gatland is going to serve up, so really the Lions senior management are to blame for engaging a coach who blew the chance to beat SA by playing even shyter rugby then they did:). AFAIC they (SA) at least had an excuse - they were appallingly underprepared for this tour, all their plans and coaching camps badly covid affected and warm up games called off.

The Lions were a better and more cohesive group of players imho and it took a couple of spectacularly dumb decisions and some terrible game plans to cock that tour up. Take a bow Gatland you goose!
 
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salarchaser

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Disagree with you here!!! :)

I've been thinking about this for the last 2 months so a few minutes ago I actually went and did a count up.

The British and Irish Lions squad have players playing in the 4 home nations plus France. Those playing in England and France obviously don't see anything much of players in other leagues (except at the Intls) but of course the English guys are all from 4 or 5 sides and know each other very well. Those playing in Wales, Scotland and Ireland see each other routinely through the season and I'm sure monitor the performances of teams in the league. Bottom line, sure they are drawn in from a few places but it's not that disparate.

Compare this to the SA squad. They also have players playing in 5 different counties, but in their case 5 different leagues as well. Those playing in France (4) and Japan (4) UK (7) and Ireland (2) never play with each other (except intls) and very rarely against each other. Out of the rest of them who play (in the same country well, they haven't played competitive rugby in 2 years!!!!!

Now, tell me again how it's so much more difficult for the Lions:) In this instance I would say that it is actually the opposite. I agree with your point in another post about knowing what Gatland is going to serve up, so really the Lions senior management are to blame for engaging a coach who blew the chance to beat SA by playing even shyter rugby then they did:). AFAIC they at leat had an excuse - they were appallingly underprepared for this tour, all their plans and coaching camps badly covid affected and warm up games called off.

The Lions were a better and more cohesive group of players imho and it took a couple of spectacularly dumb decisions and some terrible game plans to cock that tour up. Take a bow Gatland you goose!
:ROFLMAO:

I suppose the difference is that the home side would come together in training camps several times a year each time focussing on a single game plan and having played in a way that has evolved over years. Each camp re-enforcing the message.

The Lions players will have been in 4 different camps on different journeys. Then in a matter of weeks they come together, unlearn what they've been doing for 4 years and re-learn something different.

I read an interview with a club coach from England a few years back. He said that after the 6 nations he didn't play his England internationals for a few weeks as he got them back playing they way the club played not the way england play.

I wonder if it was a coincidence that when o'driscoll was dropped against Aus the lions hit their straps.
O'driscoll was a World class player who I admired and would grace any team.
The point being, there were 10 welsh men in the side who knew the game plan as they'd been playing that way for years. The intuitive stuff happened. It was engrained.

The interesting thing in the last game is the lions ended the game with 7 forwards on the field, most of who had been beaten up by SA in the WC final.

As I said upthread, its not just a case of picking the best induviduals.

On the subject of the next tour, if you've got the backs, I'll take the forwards. Im fluent in grunt. Grunted for most of my years playing.:ROFLMAO:

Aled will need to arbitrate though as we'll be having plenty of disagreements over tactics.;)
 

Handel

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There are a few unrealistic comments on here which don't bear much examination. But they can probably be boiled down to one question which is who is this head coach who should have had the job instead of Gatland?
Perhaps more interesting is do we think the four home nations would individually have done any worse than the Lions? Which leads on to do we think there should be another Lions tour? If we do should they change the format so that all the early games are played against other countries because the southern hemisphere host countries won't provide serious opposition prior to the test series?
 

ozzyian

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:ROFLMAO:

I suppose the difference is that the home side would come together in training camps several times a year each time focussing on a single game plan and having played in a way that has evolved over years. Each camp re-enforcing the message.

The Lions players will have been in 4 different camps on different journeys. Then in a matter of weeks they come together, unlearn what they've been doing for 4 years and re-learn something different.

I read an interview with a club coach from England a few years back. He said that after the 6 nations he didn't play his England internationals for a few weeks as he got them back playing they way the club played not the way england play.

I wonder if it was a coincidence that when o'driscoll was dropped against Aus the lions hit their straps.
O'driscoll was a World class player who I admired and would grace any team.
The point being, there were 10 welsh men in the side who knew the game plan as they'd been playing that way for years. The intuitive stuff happened. It was engrained.

The interesting thing in the last game is the lions ended the game with 7 forwards on the field, most of who had been beaten up by SA in the WC final.

As I said upthread, its not just a case of picking the best induviduals.

On the subject of the next tour, if you've got the backs, I'll take the forwards. Im fluent in grunt. Grunted for most of my years playing.:ROFLMAO:

Aled will need to arbitrate though as we'll be having plenty of disagreements over tactics.;)

Yeah, well, perhaps!! But if that's true it's going to take a lot longer then a few weeks after that display :)

This year was an odd one of course - everything disrupted, I just think that the way SA came at this was 'we're not going to be that great here, our only chance is hope that the Lions are tempted to play us at our own game' Gatland duly obliged.

I don't accept that we would have to disagree so long as you can accept the backs game plan is 'Finn, play what you see' and no one is to kick anything. Think an especially loose version of Fijian 7s:)

In all seriousness that SA side was there to be beaten. I believe that Bokke pack could have been run around and maneuvered out of the game, all it needed was a bit of variation and wit - and I think we had the players. I'm pretty sure about that and in fact I actually think Scotland will put them away this autumn at Murrayfield;)
 

salarchaser

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Yeah, well, perhaps!! But if that's true it's going to take a lot longer then a few weeks after that display :)

This year was an odd one of course - everything disrupted, I just think that the way SA came at this was 'we're not going to be that great here, our only chance is hope that the Lions are tempted to play us at our own game' Gatland duly obliged.

I don't accept that we would have to disagree so long as you can accept the backs game plan is 'Finn, play what you see' and no one is to kick anything. Think an especially loose version of Fijian 7s:)

In all seriousness that SA side was there to be beaten. I believe that Bokke pack could have been run around and maneuvered out of the game, all it needed was a bit of variation and wit - and I think we had the players. I'm pretty sure about that and in fact I actually think Scotland will put them away this autumn at Murrayfield;)
Its why I maintain that you're two options are to pick the best players available and build a style to exploit their strengths or pick a gameplan and select players to best execute the game plan. Not sure we ended with either.

You're right that SA were there to be taken and the lions failed to exploit that, which must lie at the coaches door.

I accept the 'loose fijian 7s' game plan is an option. Not sure what pack you play to support that though.

As always the balance is how you want to attack and what you have to defend.
Finn and an attacking backline would need a mobile pack.
Great when we have the ball but we'd be going backward at scrum and at lineout time.

Where's Aled when you need him?
Conflict in the coaching team already. You want to run everything and I want to stand up to their pack. :ROFLMAO:
 
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