Saturday 2 May 2009

British and Irish Lions - The Squad


Not being interested in rugby at the time of the last Lions tour to Afrique du Sud has left me and undoubtedly a considerable amount of my friends with somewhat jaded views on this exhibition outfit. I caught snippets of the 2-1 series loss in Australia back in 2001 and watched every single game played by Woddward's doomed party in New Zealand in 2005 (no doubt to the detriment of my final exams). So whilst I do enjoy the legacy and prestige associated with the Lions I'm still not convinced such an enterprise can be successful in the professional era.

Which is a shame, the concept of taking the best players from the four home unions on tour is the last remaining throwback to the great touring tradition. Anyone that watched the Munster - All Blacks game back in Autumn can attest to the spectacle of provincial sides tackling international opposition.

Coming together every four years makes Lions selection special for the players but considering that the tour alternates every time between SA, Oz and the Blackness means that the locals only get to see (or more importantly play against) the Lions every 12 years. So on the flipside, a chance to play against the Lions is potentially a once in a lifetime opportunity.

On the back of an arguably below par six nations tings aren't looking particularly hopeful for the tourists this year with the Boks newly crowned world champions. Pundits already have the Boks beating the Lions for talent at nearly every position; bigger, faster, stronger, more skillful, better coached, organised and better team spirit.

Though apparently they were saying something similar in '97...

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