LionsBadgeAustralia215_rdax_665x353Saturday 6th July 2013… the day that will forever be remembered as one of the greatest days in Lions history. It was 15 years, 11 months and 1 day since Martin Johnson captained the Lions to victory in South Africa and boy was it was worth every single minute of waiting to see the Wallabies smashed in their own back garden. Rightly so our Lions have been celebrating hard ever since the final whistle blew; Stuart Hogg was spotted at 8am on Sunday morning wandering around Sydney in a deliciously small pair of red budgie smugglers and yesterday Ben and Tom Youngs showed just how much stamina they have still going strong at 4.14am with no sign of slowing down. The celebrations are more than justified and I only wish that I was out there in Sydney to join in!!!

The Third Test result screams class; Lions 41 – Australia 16. Let’s be honest here that isn’t just winning, that is picking up your opponents and throwing them off the pitch, sadly George North didn’t actually do this again during the match but I think that you all understand my meaning. Genia’s first touch knock on set the writing on the wall for the Wallabies and the Lions never ever looked back. We could be here until the next Lions tour if I tried to list all of the outstanding performances on Saturday because every single player played out of their skin, ran themselves silly and showed just how much it means to be a Lion. The intensity and physicality that the Lions showed was stronger than anything I’ve ever seen before on a rugby pitch. Their focus on the basics, their desire to be the first man to every single ball and their clinical finishing all combined together to produce one of the most outstanding games ever in Lions history. The camaraderie and togetherness that the squad showed was stronger than many club teams, so much so that you do forget that these guys actively try to smash each other to pieces during the 6 Nations.

Already the backlash Down Under has started, Robbie Deans has been sacked/resigned (depends on which report you read) as Head Coach, something I’m pretty sure that he knew would happen if they lost. The Australian’s don’t like losing and it hurts even more when they can’t rectify it for another 12 years! Shame!!!

Whilst the Lions Squad are well into the stride of their celebrations Warren Gatland I hope is about to start his. Having made the most controversial selection decision of recent years on Wednesday morning to leave out BOD Warren spent the week as public enemy number one, receiving huge amounts of criticism from every angle. For all of his tough exterior he did take this personally and admitted following the win that it has massively tainted his enjoyment of Saturday’s sweet, sweet victory. Let’s hope after a number of apologies have been given and made their way onto Twitter that he is starting to enjoy this momentous time.

A short word on BOD; he is and always be one of the greatest rugby players we have seen and this was shown in the way that he handled being dropped. It is not easy to take being dropped for the first time for the game that would have been the absolute pinnacle of his career but for anyone who wants a true insight in what it is to be a Lion you just have to look at how he handled it. He went straight back into training, hugged and congratulated Jamie Roberts and told him he would do everything in his power to help him get ready for Saturday’s game. He then proceeded to help Jamie finish off his training sprints together.  That is the behaviour of a true Lion and all around legend and his article yesterday in the Telegraph it is a must read for everyone (Enjoy it here)

With the Lions now over and the domestic season not quite starting yet we have a short lull in proceedings… do I know what to do with myself?? Not really if I’m honest! A weekend without any form of rugby, Lions or Premiership, hasn’t happened since September last year. Thank goodness that the sun is shining so that I can at least work on my tan before the JP Morgan 7s come to town in a few weeks.

The Lions 2013 Tour has been one of the most emotional rugby experiences that I’ve witnessed in a long time; the twists and turns, the injuries, the near misses and ultimately the tour win. It has provided us with some outrageously good rugby and some extremely special moments; so much so that New Zealand in 4 years time has a lot to live up to. 4 years….it seems a long way off but the planning starts now… will Warren Gatland take the Lions back home, we will have to wait as see! One thing is for sure and that is that I will be there in 2017, updating you all from the forefront of the action. One final thought…. just throwing it out there very, very early on…. consecutive tour wins!?!

Lions 2017 Diary Dates:

Date  Lions Test Match  Venue
Saturday 24 June All Blacks v Lions, 1st Test  Christchurch
Saturday 1 July All Blacks v Lions, 2nd Test  Wellington
Saturday 8 July All Blacks v Lions, 3rd Test  Auckland