And so the Lions tour to Australia is finally over. I have been ordered to recap the tour in my usual grumpy way.
This tour was ruined for me by 2 things. The first being sky sports and the other being the mad coach Warren Gatland. Sky sports went so overboard in the hyperbolic nonsense that it made me angry. It got to the point where I wasn’t pushed about watching the games. They made it sound like things like team spirit, fighting for the jersey and fighting for your team mates are things only reserved for the Lions. As opposed to national and provincial teams. That nonsense added to Stuart ‘this reminds me of when England played’ Barnes had me pulling out the last of my hair.
Then there was Warren G to deal with. Before the tests it was the Wallabies (I refuse to bow to their sponsors) who appeared to be in disarray. Robbie Deans looked to have had a little too much (or not enough) medication. Cooper was looking like the best bet for 10, but Deans was having none of it. That aside, Deans had his team together and ready to rumble against the Lions.
Gatland on the other hand, looked to be feeling the pressure. He flew in Shane Williams for one game. He flew out Tom Court for no games. And he did that thing you may have read about to one of the greatest rugby players of all time. The only plan he had was to try and batter the Wallabies. In the first test it just did not work. It was a moment of genius from George North that opened up the opposition for the only time in the game. Watch that try back and you will see the number 13 being involved in the buildup. Australia had a very makeable kick to win the game, but Kurtley Beale slipped on his arse and handed a reprieve to Gatland.
The second test was more of the same. It was an awful display from the Lions. No ideas, nothing was working. The score line was closer than it should have been. Australia where the less worse team on the pitch….barely.
Then it happened. Gatland started crumbling under the pressure and dropped the only player that missed zero (ZERO) tackles in the second test. Alun Wynne Jones said after the last test that the Tuesday and Wednesday training sessions where the toughest of the tour. This was because Gatland had nearly ruined everything. His selection affected morale in a big way.
Then it happened. The Lions looked like Lions. They where ferocious and absolutely battered the Aussies. The first half was close enough, but it looked like the home side where holding on by their finger nails. The Lions scored 2 tries in 10 minutes which sunk the Wallabies. They were good, well worked tries. In this match they where more than just the preds on Halfpenny’s feet.
But I wasn’t happy. Even though the tour ended in a spectacular way, are you happy to be in a world where mad Warren is looked at as one of the best coaches in the last 20 years? I certainly am not. It took him 12 attempts to beat the Wallabies using this style of play. It took him flying in players who should have been left at home; it took bad decision after bad decision. He had a year to come up with something exciting and all he did was change the date on his notes from the last time he coached Wales. The Lions relied far too much on power, which didn’t work for them in the first two tests, which wouldn’t work against any other southern hemisphere team and and a pair of boots attached to the full back, which worked amazingly throughout.
This is NOT genius! This is blind luck!
I am off to kick a few kittens..
Until next time.