Just the ramblings of yet another armchair fan but am I alone in feeling despondent about the lions’ result last Saturday? I am only able to comment on the first half as a family commitment reduced my torture to only 40 minutes. In that first half there was precious little rugby played, it was a game pock marked with stoppages and the predictable Australian Counter attacks, oh and the Green and Gold Stuart Barnes telling me how wonderful Will Genia was.
The cause of my despondency?
- When the Lions put together their first meaningful series of assaults on the Aussie defence they established a physical superiority in every collision. It was rare to see such dominance established so early in a game. Where was the determination to really smash this home. The Lions matched the S African brutality in all three tests last tour, it was and remains the most physical rugby I have ever seen. Had the lions brought that to the party and really hit it home then Australia would have capitulated, they cannot match the physicality.
- When you have such dominance then you have a platform to play rugby from, did they really play much rugby? I’m hoping somebody will come back and tell me they did. I’m guessing by the closeness of the scoreline that they didn’t though.
- The first scrummage that didn’t end in the award of a free kick/penalty saw the Lions drive Aussie back at least 5 m maybe more. It was embarrassing. So what did the Lions do when they had the opportunity to really press this home? Take a kick for goal to bring the scores closer. I am not criticising the decision, but in the grander scheme could it not have been possible to totally destroy the Aussie psych like Sheridan did in the RWC a few years ago.
- When a team has such physical dominance they need to play a game according to that dominance. The scrum count should have been so high in that game that the Kiwi in charge actually learned something about the skills of the game, a lesson delivered by the British and Irish lions to make Bod smile. Every tackle should have been about keeping Aussie on his feet and taking the scrum. The Australian forwards need to quake at the prospect of another scrum.
- Rugby is a psychological game like no other, the will of these people is there for the taking. As a coach I have been on the wrong end of some hidings. The opportunity exists for the British and Irish Lions to deliver a similar embarrassing defeat on Australia but only if they smash them mentally first. I bet Geech would’ve done it. Hurt them physically til they shy away from the tackles then the gaps will burst wide open. Sadly the only defence that looked leaky was The Lions against a team that is founded on running rugby. Australia are great at running with the ball, it is the foundation of their game, just as attrition is the foundation of the English game. (I’m not calling The lions English here by the way!)
- We kicked way possession disgracefully. Subject of another rant at a later date!!
- We defended very poorly. I like Andy Farrell, but Shaun Edwards must have had a wry grin on his face.
- The Lions are 30 points better than Australia, they are nowhere near making that reality at the moment, lets hope things improve this week, there is nothing better than beating Australia except for smashing them into oblivion!