Lions win

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I won’t say too much about this. The tour is history now for 4 more years and I’m sure much has been said. I would have commented earlier but travel, or more precisely, a lost charger made it impossible. I will say this though.

I am glad they won. I repeat this obvious statement because in my view they had to win. This squad was far too talented to lose. Despite the difficulties of throwing together a squad of men over a 6 week tour, if this squad lost I’d have serious questions about the Northern Hemisphere’s ability to step up to challenges. Too often we’ve seen spirited performances, a phrase meaning worked hard but had no real chance from the North.

This squad looked the most professional I’ve seen. There appeared to be few wankers in the squad. They were young, skilled and dedicated with some exceptional talents. The pack also possessed the power to confront and dominate. The decision-makers generally got it there especially in the front row as well as the easy decision (from my point of view) to ignore Richie Gray and the tough decisions in the backrow.

Australia is of course the weakest of the Tri-Nations. Its players are drawn to many sports and the talent diluted. However all these sports are ball-handling games. The ability to cross-sport is easier there and evident on the field. Their front five, a part of the game not found in their other main sports remains underpowered. However the talent across the backline and in the back row was clear. How Deans used them remained the enigma.

This series might have been less fun than previous ones. The amateur era and the fun that went with it seems gone. Gatland should stay on should he wish. That Welsh team is clearly on a run and the toughest Lions series of all awaits.

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England 6 – 19 New Zealand

Far better performance. We looked…dare I say it… dynamic at times.

The backrow looked aggressive and scrambled well. Shaw brings a lot of power and nous. Does the hard yeards around the fringes too. Considering the front row is missing maybe 4 guys, the pack is looking up.

Hodgson looked game. Cipriani is an England Saxon for a while. Wilkinson not only controls the game well but makes his presence felt defensively positionally and in the tackle. The centres are waiting for Flutey’s guile to come back. Really not convinced by Gerathy. He makes bad distribution decisions, looks lightweight and constantly runs into brick walls. His job is to take the pressure off Wilkinson but right now he almost always puts the team under pressure. Cueto should always have been full back in present circumstances. Neither winger convinces me.
And the guys from the bench were important too. Fairly deep there considering the injuries.

It’s not a win and wins, no matter how, are all that matter. But it’s progress.