13 4 mins 8 yrs

Alex-Corbisiero-British-Lions-try-2013_2969115

WALLABIES 16 : 41 LIONS

Can I come out from behind the sofa yet? Strewth, that was getting on for being a bit tense. But what a match. What a great game of rugby. It’s painful being a Lions fan. It’s a litany of heartbreak and what-ifs, but today the Lions were sublime. For those not in the know, The British and Irish Lions is an invitational rugby team. Every four years players from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland come together to tour either Australia, New Zealand or South Africa for a three-test series against their national team. For a British or Irish rugby player, there’s no higher accolade than to be chosen, than to be able to say that you’re a Lion. For a few weeks every four years, nationality is forgotten because the Lions are touring.

2013 was Australia’s turn (we were last there 12 years ago), and today was was the deciding test of three after the Lions squeaked the first test and the Wallabies (the Aussie national rugby team) took the second to square it.

I actually had a fancy that the Wallabies would sneak this one. They had momentum and improving form after last week and the Lions had the brouhaha of dealing with Irish legend Brian O’Driscoll being left out for the Welsh truck Jamie Roberts. The Lions would have it though if we dominated up front (did someone call that one?!), and we smashed the Wallabies up front alright. We smashed them in the scrum, forcing them to concede penalty after penalty, we dominated the gainline, and we dominated the breakdown. For a top scrummaging performance: Alex Corbisiero (probably the best prop born in New York), Richard Hibbard and Adam Jones, take a bow.

I thought we then went and blew it when we let the Wallabies back in either side of half time, but the final half hour was punishing rugby for the Green and Gold. The Lions backs clicked and were suddenly doing everything right, Halfpenny hit the line sweetly, and we ran in the tries to blow them away. Highlights then, highlights (even if only with the Aussie commentary yet), and let’s see that glorious Geoff Parling tap tackle on Jesse Mogg again …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-urPEoe9FY&feature=c4-overview&list=UUpqdSLHXz6u9QPWflAbhyPw

One of the precious things about rugby is that whining is extremely bad form. No matter what happens on the pitch, the losers man up and congratulate their opponents. Fair play then to the Wallabies, who observed the tradition in fine form. The Lions went on the slowest lap of honour in history after the game, and quite right too because half of the 84,000 crowd in Sydney’s ANZ stadium were in Lions shirts (including my brother, the jammy, troughing sod). The Wallabies stayed out on the pitch and sucked it up, and ages after the match ended they formed a guard of honour for the Lions as they came off the pitch. Top stuff.

Chris Froome’s just bagged the yellow jersey in the Tour de France today too. Happy days!

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13 thoughts on “THE LION ROARS!

  1. Yes, great result and proper rugby too from the Lions, unlike last week’s negative rubbish.

  2. I have to make a confession. While I am delighted with the win today a small part of me wanted the Lions to lose simply to show Warren Gatland made the wrong decision. I still think he made the wrong decision over O’Driscoll, though not in terms of putting in Roberts but in putting in Davies (who has been terrible in the tests [was at fault for the Aussie try in the 2nd Test]). I also think he was wrong in terms of Murray vs Phillips and I think Murray proved that when he came on.

    So while a small part of me wanted them to lose and big part of me is happy to say they won despite Warren Gatland making wrong choices.

  3. Seamus –

    Murray vs Phillips? I think you’ll find that Ben Youngs was inexplicably dropped for Phillips.

    I’d have had Murray ahead of Phillips anyway, who almost let a duel with the vastly superior Genia sink us in the first test, and whose box kicking magically puts the ball in the hands of the oposition full back every time. That’s not to mention his need to stand up and take two steps before passing the ball, allowing the opposition backline to move five yards up.

    But then, as someone said in these here parts the other day, Gatland was reverting to what he knew. Every Lion came out of today with credit except Phillips.

  4. I thought Ben Youngs was very poor in the 2nd test and Murray came on and was much better. He came on tackled well, got turnovers, passed well, good darting runs, was passing well. Murray then came on in the 3rd test and was again massively improved on who he was replacing.

    In terms of Phillips his play has annoyed me for years. He is one of the most overrated scrum halfs in world rugby. Take away his size and he is a relatively not noteworthy player player. His kicking is poor, his game managing is poor. I thought some of the problems with the getting tackled before his pass was poor rucking. They simply weren’t sealing off the edge properly. But yeah at other times he held onto the ball way to long.

  5. Maybe it’s a taster for the Ashes? England will be encouraged but the underdog Aussies with new manager Darren Lehmann will be motivated. I have a feeling that there could be a shock in store for the home side.

  6. Seamus –

    It wasn’t that Youngs was poor in the second test. The problem was that we were in retreat up front. Every Scrum Half will struggle when his forwards go back, but I thought Youngs made a decent fist of a bad job. Still, we won the series. Job done and beers all round.

    Peter –

    It was a shame that the Aussies got shot of Mickey Arthur. I thought he was doing a great job. Lehmann’s a proper Digger, so England will win the Ashes but not quite as comfortably as they would have done.

  7. Soccer really brings out the worst in people.

    May it never become popular here.

  8. love rugby…the camaraderie is second to none. Thanks Pete…will have to watch the replay with my rambling friends from Oz when they return from a trip down South.

  9. Soccer bores me to tears.

    Although a stabbing, stoning & quartering followed by the ref’s head stuck on a pike might have made for lively viewing.

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