( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by PeterCS on Fri 23 Jun 2017, 15:36

Well, he doesn't say much - not as fluent as O'Connell - but O'Mahony gives a similar impression as a determined, driving force and leader material. Bull's eyes.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/40364482

Incidentally, non-Irish people sometimes talk of "an Irish accent" as if it were one thing:

If you listen to the two video clips on the linked page above, you'll hear four rather different Irish accents. Interviewer (Nial Foster) has a bit granite-y, very Northern accent (Belfast?). O'Mahony a slightly singsong lilt typical of Cork (from a distance it may sound like South Wales valleys). Furlong has a no-nonsense "flat" intonation and dropped "t"s characteristic of Wexford (South-East corner). And CJ Stander is from County Western Cape, a little bit different in the vowels.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Fri 23 Jun 2017, 17:30

It's the same as an English accent. South African accents, both English and Afrikaans have regional differences
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 08:25

About to kick off
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Big Dog on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 08:35

I think the old Haka was better.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 08:37

Big Dog wrote:I think the old Haka was better.

IMHO the Haka has become a cliche. Even the super rugby teams were doing it against the Lions.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 08:56

First try to ABs. Looking tactically superior at this stage.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Big Dog on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 08:57

Writing is on the wall already for the Lions.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Big Dog on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 09:17

Great running try to the Lions
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 09:18

Possibly the try of the season.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 09:22

So the ABs the better team in the first half but the wonder try keeps the Lions in touch.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Big Dog on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 09:28

I would'nt write the Lions off just yet although a win seems improbable. After all, Fiji just beat Scotland.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 09:41

Lions not taking opportunities
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Big Dog on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 09:56

Yeah...fair try to AB's
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 10:06

The slow poison of punching up the middle is strangling the Lions
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 10:14

And that is the final nail.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Big Dog on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 10:15

taipan wrote:And that is the final nail.

Yep.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Growler on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 10:20

taipan wrote:Lions not taking opportunities

Sadly, the story of the tour from the start.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 10:28

Strange game. The lions were threatening for the first 5 and the last 10 of each half. In between the ABs dominated them tactically.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Big Dog on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 10:31

Great tussle. Next game should be a blinder.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by PeterCS on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 10:48

A consolation try removes the look of a monstering, when in fact it was more a case of the gradual effects of a fast steamroller. It would have been a second-half shutout but for those last 7 points.

New Zealand too good, their well-known customary strengths and their expected stars to the fore. (Didn't help that Daly couldn't quite get it down after 2 mins!)

But putting it another way, Lions repeatedly too slow on the uptake (e.g. first AB try), and it seemed, under a mixture of fatigue from pressure by the home team and lack of assurance as a team and individuals, making way too many mistakes, technical errors in the ruck, and not least what seemed a record number of knocked-on passes and plain dropping the ball - rainy, slithery conditions, but New Zealand handling seemed generally fine.

Not sure if it was poor preparation - some basic reflex training would not go amiss, "falling asleep" against the All-Blacks is never a great idea - or just nerves (the tense, shit-scared staring look in some eyes before the start reminded me of England under Lancaster - that's the look of individualised atoms, not a winning team). Or again, not enough training in collective will - a New Zealand speciality. Perhaps all of the above. ...

I still think the Lions have the skills. But they have to use them better. And be more "collectively awake", so to speak. With it, on the ball.

Whether the visitors are now damaged, or come back stronger for the experience (the butterflies in the stomach being cleared, and now very firmly underdogs, which is usually a good thing for "Home Nations" teams & players), we'll see.

I'd have Itoje on from the start.

Some good individual performances, at least in defence.

There may be injuries ... not to pride (lions pun), but to bodies.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Growler on Sat 24 Jun 2017, 11:10

Admittedly, I'm going on radio commentary rather than telly, but it seems to me that the score is more a reflection of the ABs clinically punishing our (too many)errors, and not necessarily how competitive the match was as a whole.

We were under the cosh for a fair while, and the ABs took their chances - but we created some of our own but didn't manage to nail them. Sounded like a great game considering the conditions, all the same.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by PeterCS on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 03:31

Uh-oh ....

L Williams;
A Watson, J Davies, O Farrell, E Daly;
J Sexton, C Murray;
M Vunipola, J George, T Furlong,
AW Jones, M Itoje,
S Warburton (capt), S O’Brien, T Faletau.

Replacements: K Owens, J McGrath, K Sinckler, C Lawes, CJ Stander; R Webb, B Te’o, J Nowell



Hmmm, I really don't know about this. Gatland and Co seem to be in panic mode, throwing Sexton and Farrell (at 12) together as a starting half-back unit at this late stage. Sexton is sure to get targeted, and hit - and Te'o was one of the Lions' most important players in the First Test, not least for his impact in neutralising SB Williams. When he was taken off, the latter cut loose.

Also not sure about starting with Warburton. Yes, battling spirit, yes, wise head. But you can expect the ABs to begin with a bang, again), and you need fast energetic younger players in and out of the pack (see again Itoje) to match and counter that. I'd have prepared to bring on the wise head later, when the predictable early storms had settled. ~ I see O'Mahony & Kruis are suddenly not only out of the starting lineup, but out of the 23 altogether. Gatland is pretty decisive in such respects. Maybe vindictive is the better word. Or else, possibly all at sea as regards who to go with.

I may easily be wrong, but I'm concluding the head coach is just gambling now. Which is fine if it happens to come off, but seems more hazardous than judicious.

FWIW (yes, I know - not much), 1) I'd certainly have had Itoje in from the start - Lawes or Henderson both on the bench (until Henderson blotted his copy book). Even though MI can be hotheaded (so a card risk) he is both physically fierce and technically excellent, and really fast, esp for his height.

2) I'm not sure about Murray, after the First Test. If he was instructed to be dead slow with the pass, then the Coach should be the one to take the rap (it always seems a weakness of Gatland that he distrusts the anarchy of broken play and fast movement of the ball generally), and Murray to receive better instructions. If he was NOT told to slow it down, and did so of his own volition, thus playing right into All-Black hands - who love to have all their men back behind the ball, in full formation, eagerly ready to tackle/scrag/maul - then he should be out in favour of Webb or the unfancied Laidlaw (playing the whole 80 mins in midweek put paid to his chances). Maybe bringing in Sexton saved Murray - the Irish 9-10 understanding I mentioned above? I don't know.

3) If Halfpenny is in any sort of form, I'd also have shifted Liam Williams to the left wing and put him in at full-back. Better balance. Yes, LW had a good game in the last Test. But LH anchors the back, it's his full-time role. He can also take the long kicks Daly should have taken last Test. Daly of course would be almost first up as replacement - he can cover any of the back five positions at a pinch. Well, four.

I'm glad Nowell's on the bench, despite big qualifications I've made. For an injection of pace and determined try-hunting guile later on - assuming NZ are not out of sight by then, of course. Or even then. I wouldn't have him on when the priority is to defend and tackle - hence not to start Wink

Tipuric I think is unfortunate not to be on the bench. Stander? Hmm.


I like this:

"Waisake Naholo has come in on the right wing, so Israel Dagg can replace Ben Smith at full-back, and Anton Lienert‑Brown has taken over from Ryan Crotty at outside centre. The uncapped Ngani Laumape, who played so well for the Hurricanes in their draw against the Lions on Tuesday, takes Lienert-Brown’s spot on the bench. Even though Smith and Crotty are out, the team does not look any weaker than the one that played last week. If anything, the backline now looks a little more dangerous."

Well, when I say I like it, .... ...
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 04:13

If the Lions lose this one, this will go down as the worst Lions tour of the professional era.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Growler on Fri 30 Jun 2017, 02:30

Peter, I personally don't think Warren Gatland & Co are in panic mode as such.

However, I'm not sure that he's much other option than to bet the farm, which he has well and truly done. That said, I'm not really sure I follow the reasoning for the two changes in the pack. Yes, Itoje had to start, I agree. I understand the reasoning behind last weeks starting XV - Kruis to run the line-out with his club hooker (George) and L/H prop (Mako V), with Tadhg Furlong at T/H. They have a total of 95 caps between them. When you consider that Mako has almost half of them, and Jamie George's 17 have all been from the bench, there was ample justification for making use of AWJ's 110 Welsh & 6 Lions matches experience. However, it looked to me at least that age is catching up with him. Whilst last week may have been Kruis' worst match since his senior debut, he would surely play better on Saturday. I'd have kept him in, as he can go the full 80 - I'm not sure Alun Wyn can, and replacement Lawes gave his all on Tuesday. If he has to come on early, we're in serious bother. Kruis on the bench would at least be fresher than Lawes, if needed, so that makes no sense. Likewise, there's no obvious gain in completely ditching POM either, but selection is nothing if not a brutal process.

Ben Te'o hardly put a foot wrong, apart from cutting inside and slipping rather than passing outside (likely try went begging), but name a player who's never taken the wrong option. Yes, he did keep SBW in his box - but we won't win just by shackling a hard running centre. Te'o can run and make yards, but he can't pass. He's predictable, and if he gets the ball, AB's defence won't be stretched out wide.

It's true that when he went off, SBW had more freedom - but he's not quite the late, great Jonah - and whilst Farrell/sexton won't contain him as Te'o did, he won't walk all over them either. As an aside, a few Kiwis on the Graun comments were saying as SBW would be licking his lips at the thought of charging through the 10/12 channel. You can imagine the outrage when some wag suggested that NZ were going to adopt a new strategy, to be known as "Hansenball" Very Happy .

So - two playmakers ...... last week Farrell was pretty average by his own standards, but even so, created 4 or 5 clear chances. Bear in mind also, he was behind a pack mostly in reverse. He can hardly be held at fault for others not nailing them. If we can generate even slightly better ball, Having JS and OF together gives us far more chance of the ball reaching 11,13,14 and 15 - which is where our line breaks will come from. Tell Murray to be more judicious with the use of the box kick, but use grubbers into space to turn the big men, and a few cross field kicks. Their wingers are outstanding in attack - but young and relatively inexperienced, and an unknown quantity in defence. Is it a slight weakness? There's only one way to find out. If the 10/12 axis is plainly not working early doors, the one playing worst can be hooked, with BT coming on to bolster the midfield.

Finally, Halfpenny. Still a fine player, without question. Steady as they come - but bugger all threat in attack. We created over a dozen line breaks last week, and on another day wouls maybe got three, even 4 tries from them. That was from an essentially defensive gameplan, normally our strength. Warren Gatland has been bold/stupid (delete as needed) and gone for attack this time. With Farrell and Sexton both playing, IMO Williams is the FB much more likely to take advantage of any chances that are created.

Will it work? We'll know one way or t'other in about 36 hours won't we?
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by PeterCS on Fri 30 Jun 2017, 19:10

Interesting thoughts. Growls.

FWIW, I'd have started with Farrell with a view probably to replacing him at some point with Sexton.

Re: Wyn Jones: not sure I'd start with him. But either way, you don't absolutely need an 80-minuter nowadays, do you? An effective 40, 60, as an "impact player" even 30 minutes can be effective enough, if your other selections are right.

Is Te'o congenitally a bad passer, or is it the situation, the system (and his wearing down by a preponderance of other duties just as you indicate was a drag on Farrell's performance in the First Test)? This is not a rhetorical question.

Halfpenny. Maybe he has lost speed (and reliability?) with injuries and confidence knocks as a result of a substandard 6N, but the two images that would first come to mind "by free association" if you mention his name to me are: a) accurate long kicks, for goal especially; b) catching the garryowens safely and bombing upfield in his cap, with that odd, head-stooped close-to-the-ground express-rate bug-scuttle he perfected. And both of those attributes would be perfect vs the ABs. However, if Gatland and team don't see such strengths in him at the moment (any longer?), fair enough he doesn't get the nod.


A thought on condemnations of the Lions as the worst since ....

Whatever the statistics of previous tours, this NZ side looks bloody frighteningly good. (Of course the Allblacks are never poor, but this lot pack a particular punch. No pun intended.)

So, if the Lions get annihilated, fair enough (again), take them to task. If they lose the Second (and indeed, Third) Test by similar margins to the First, however, rather than suggesting "what a load of second-raters", my conclusion would be: a) What an opposition! And then, b) Where was the thinking, where was the team and individual selections, the strategies to counter that more effectively? (Also as previously mentioned, not enough warm-up, sifting-and-sorting, team-finding and -binding, matches in NZ.) I wouldn't write off the players.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

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