Jebb Sinclair red card for leading elbow


George Pisi hit makes Shane Geraghty ill


Toulon do the double with Top 14 win


Jason Rutledge's great tryline defence


The Top 5 'Big Boppers' in World Rugby


Dafydd Howells scores quickest try ever?


Bloody Florian Fritz returns to play


Closing montage from Heineken Cup final


Catch up with Sam Warburton

Friday, May 08, 2009

Lions Memories - The Captain

Lions Memories - The Captain

The British & Irish Lions set sail for South Africa later this month as they take on the World Champions for the first time since winning the series there in 1997.

Munster's powerful leader Paul O'Connell is the man who has been handed the task of bringing together the four countries as they look to improve on their disastrous last tour in 2005.

While O'Connell was most people's choice, many others have said that the inspirational Brian O'Driscoll should have been given the honour of being at the helm.

Both are undisputed leaders, but each have different leadership styles that on any given day can bring the best out of even an average side.

Taking on the Springboks in South Africa though requires a physical presence that must come from the forwards, which is why O'Connell would have gotten the nod.

As we see in this great video, a captain doesn't need to be the loud and brash type though. Some of the greatest leaders have had the quietness and calmness required to fulfil the job.

Are you happy with O'Connell as your Lions leader? Or do many still feel that BOD should have been bestowed with the honour? Either way, the Lions are in good hands when they're so spoilt for choice.


Time: 02:40

Posted at 1:21 pm | 31 comments

Viewing 31 comments

jirwin May 08, 2009 12:56 pm

O'Connell all the way!

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Anonymous May 08, 2009 1:06 pm

wooooop 2nd comment

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Anonymous May 08, 2009 1:22 pm

I hope O Connell can inspire the Lions more than he did Munster in their HEC semi.

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JJM May 08, 2009 2:05 pm

POC Will step up, no doubt about it.

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Kerivoula May 08, 2009 2:32 pm

As a Welshman talking about an Englishmen, I thought Quinnell's comments were the most revealing of the way the Lions unite competing nations.

Who gives a crap about who might be better/worse. It's O'Connell.

P.S. I have 4 tickets to the 3rd Test. Any other Dumpers there?

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It's unfair May 08, 2009 2:44 pm

I think O'Connell is being very unfairly treated. Drico was crap since the World Cup up until the Six Nations this year where he found his form, but nobody said he should step down and let O'Connell be captain. But now Munster have one bad match and everyone is saying that it's a travesty to have O'Connell as captain? It's an outrage.

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KingCarlos May 08, 2009 2:59 pm

I hope henson/hook get a shock call up and form a lethal midfield with BOD. I've always wanted to see henson and drico playing together.

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Colly May 08, 2009 3:55 pm

Lads if you are going to pick a centre due to Shanklins injury on current form you would have to go with D'arcy. Henson hasn't had enough game time and is too flaky at the moment as is James Hook. I think we are going to need a very physical midfield against the Boks.

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Cheesekiwi May 08, 2009 4:14 pm

POC is (in my opinion) just not the right choice for this Lions team. Yes, the bloke is immense and I do not doubt his qualities but how about the fact he is playing against the two most established and best locks in the current game (Botha-Matfield) who form a lethal pair. He will be in a makeshift lock pairing, most likely Wyn-Jones(who is a good footballer but they may not gel, who knows) plus he needs to outplay Botha and Matfield, who are key to SA's success. I also think that the current Lions squad lacks leadership, the only good captain I recognize is BOD, who I also wouldn't have picked. I would've picked Mike Blair as Lions captain because scrumhalf is one of SA's weaker positions, and Blair (being a scrumhalf) is a very good commander (in my opinion)! Though, if 3 of the four home nations' captains haven't made the Lions squad surely you are going to lack leaders!

p.s. Will be interesting to see how many people will dislike what I said

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Anonymous May 08, 2009 4:18 pm

henson hasnt got enough time to get his hair done before the plane departs. the lions have to take another fly half though after watching o gara against leinster last weekend. take sam vesty centre and fly half never happen but has been awesome for tigers
ben foden as replacement for o'leary go on give them boks a something to think about

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win May 08, 2009 4:43 pm

I hope Henson gets called up.It would be good if Wilko was wasn't injured too.
imagine a backline with wilko, henson & BOD

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MCB May 08, 2009 6:18 pm

Henson hasnt had enough game time this season or been anyway consistent. Wilko hasnt played since september. Its stupid saying these players should go based on their form years ago. Thats like saying they should bring willie john macbride or neil jenkins cuz they used to be good in the past. On current form D'arcy should go in place of shanklin

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Huh!! the 3rd May 08, 2009 6:46 pm

Scrum Half is SA's weaker position???? Am... What? Du Preez (although he might still be injured), Ricky Janurie, and Ruan Pienear would walk into any team in the world.
Fly half is where they might be weak, no stand out N0. 10, both Steyns (Franois is injured aswell) or Earl Rose, though they aren't out and out 10s. O'Connell is right choice, no question. Firstly, Munster have been sensational this season, lost 5 out of 24 games, not many rugby teams have that record, only 1 non irish team beat them (Clermont) and O'Connell's skills and decision making have vastly improved, HCup 1/2 aside.
Finally, from this clip, as someone has pointed out, each captain has been different, McBride rarely spoke, Calder very vocal, Johnson strenght and passion, O'Connell has all this and also the experience from 4 years ago, whereas Mike Blair wouldn't.

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Anonymous May 08, 2009 7:52 pm

well said mr. huh!!

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Posty May 08, 2009 9:34 pm

Its good to see a lot of Irishmen on the team, though I would've loved to see D'Arcy in the line up myself.
Though I would not at all have been opposed to seeing BOD given another chance at captain, there is no doubt in my mind that Paul O'Connell can captain the lions.

-Manic agression

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Anonymous May 08, 2009 10:48 pm

I'd be very surprised if Darcy doesn't get the call to replace Shanklin. The debate on the captaincy is pointless really, both BOD and POC lead by example, both great ball carriers and defenders, and will both lead from the front. POC has a nack of getting the boyz rilled up for a game, which will be priceless. Can't see Jamie Robinson being left out of the team, very physical player, and is getting better with games. Still can't get over what a f*cking idiot Quinlan is, although should bode well for the Lions with Croft/Jones/Haskell to come in, all more talented players.

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Kember May 08, 2009 11:35 pm

Huh!! the 3rd said...

Mate you have hit the nail on the head with those comments and summed it up perfectly.
On a more passionate note..
C'mon the Lions, let's show these peaked too early S.H.itters what we are capable of.

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LIONSMANN May 09, 2009 12:54 am

We have no long range goal kickers. Halfpenny has the biggest boot but i feel Henson should go to give us that option. The man can also play 10,12,15... If he doesn't perform in the midweek games then dont start him for the tests. As much as you all hate him hes easily one of the best players in the world......... If hes fit ;)

D'arcy would be the logical option though.

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win May 09, 2009 7:11 am

MCB you idiot, i didn't say all of those players should go, i said "imagine a backline with wilko, henson & BOD" read things a little more carefully next time you fool

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Anonymous May 09, 2009 12:19 pm

The only two options were either BOD or POC...

In my opinion its POC is a better motivstional leader which is what the LIons need for this tour I think...Not only this but with BOD not being the captain it will allow him to focus full on his own game which is when he's at his very best...

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themull May 09, 2009 12:21 pm

posted previous comment by mistake ha.

The only two options were either BOD or POC...

In my opinion its POC is a better motivstional leader which is what the LIons need for this tour I think...Not only this but with BOD not being the captain it will allow him to focus full on his own game which is when he's at his very best...

And finally Darcy should defo go in place of Shanklin...Henson doesnt deserve a sniff of a Lions jersey...He hasnt been anywhere near on form this season and to be honest...

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Anonymous May 09, 2009 12:26 pm

"imagine a backline with wilko, henson & BOD"

Without question that would be the most over rated backline to have ever played together.

Doesn't sound too impressive to me.

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Where's Ian Keately? May 09, 2009 3:49 pm

What the fuck has gavin henson ever done to warrant all this glowing praise? one good season and he's been living off that ever since....give up on him, if he goes on the tour its a travesty...and as for the notion that he can cover the 10 position....are you forgetting what happened when ireland destroyed him a few years ago?

not lions material...

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Dune May 09, 2009 4:41 pm

Ian Keately, I think you forgot what happened BEFORE Henson was 'destroyed' by Ireland in 2006; he had only recently come back from injury, was a good few kgs of his ideal playing weight, and was part of a team falling apart - nobody would have played well in those circumstances.
I do agree that Henson shouldn't tour now, but if he was fit and had some form he would definitely be Lions material.

As for captain, I was definitely in the BOD camp, but give O'Connell my full support.

As for the replacements for injured players, I would like to see Mike Blair in for O'Leary, but I suspect that McGeechan has his eye more on scrumhalves in the Guiness Premiership.
As Shanklin is an outside centre and was in competition with BOD, he has to find someone to fill that role. To do this McGeechan can either think of Roberts as BOD's new competition, or get another outside centre from outside the squad. I would go for either D'arcy or Armitage for his versatility and goal-kicking.

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Anonymous May 09, 2009 5:44 pm

When henson is fit hes one of the best players in the world.
Thats why hes so highly regarded.

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Anonymous May 09, 2009 5:44 pm

When henson is fit hes one of the best players in the world.
Thats why hes so highly regarded.

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themull May 09, 2009 7:28 pm

So by that logic, anonymous above, Henson hasn not been fit since he kicked that penalty against england all they back under Mike Ruddock....

Even on form Henson is only top 10 in his position in the world at the vry most...Anytime a game gets too inyour face he seems to disapear..

He should not be mentioned in a chat regarding this Lions tour...Maybe come the next tour he might have improved some..

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Anonymous May 09, 2009 9:12 pm

It has to be O'Connell
Willie John McBride wqas the greatest captain the lions ever had
Johno second
O'Connell will be third after they play.
Matfield and Botha arent the best second rows in the world.

YES they have the best partnership.
Matfield in lineout
Botha in open play
But O'Connell is the best in the world in open play because he just will nevfer stop working, takes on so much ball and gains yards everytime, clears ruck like nobodies business.
Also IF he has Hayes and only if he has John "The Bull" Hayes lifting in the lineout he is the finest linout jumper in the world by a country mile.
But Hayes has to get called up if the lions ant any set piece play to work

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MCB May 09, 2009 9:44 pm

Response to win; I was directing those comments at everyone who is says that wilko and henson shud go. Neither are fit and havnt proved themselves in recent seasons. Picking players based on their form years ago is pointless.

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Brennie May 10, 2009 5:46 pm

Hah - well said Quinnell
WJM for lions captain!!

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Paul Gormley May 28, 2009 12:48 pm

Ok my predictions! bare with me!
Im a limerick man and a diehard munster supporter. While obviously Paulie was the man to captin the team, he IS the best second row in europe, handsdown. what makes him this? his determination to be the best he can be. anyone who knows about forward play in the game must surely admire him.
The key to beating the springboks is in the front 5. they have the best secondrow partnership in the world and surely paulie must be on top of his game along with jones(i reckon) to get the better of them. to do this, they need a) a good lineout thrower, and b) good lifters. this is where the lions are lacking. the injury to fla is a disaster, no point beating around the bush he was going to start at hooker. his lineouts were like BULLETS. the pace, the precision gave o connel and donnacha for munster and indeed ireland that extra protection. if you look at props, murray and jenkins are the two form props and are odds on to start, while i agree with this, i cannot believe that john hayes hasn been picked to tour. like all props the mature with old age. im not sayin hayes is a good scrummager-far from it- but they are playin a south africa team that reportedly want to recall both van der lind and botha from leinster and ulster. this means their scrum is worrying for them. i do not think hayes would have hindered the scrum. the reason i suggest hayes and he is widely regarded as the BEST one man lifter in europe. at 6"4 and 20 odd stone, being able to FLING o connell into the air would make it easier to disrupt lineout ball.
now onto the backs, the injury to tomas was a disaster, no more for o gara. the feeling around some parts of limerick for last 7/8 months or so, is that o gara hasnt been putting in the same type of performances he has done and i cannot see him being partnered by philips. also is tackling is more than suspect and surely will be targeted.
I am sure people do not agree with the above but its my opinion, but this is where it gets more creative. Hands up who knows keith Earls? people in munster and ireland surely do. but who else? this BOY has been ripping up the heineken cup and magners league all season. now people point out the leinster game in the semi which was terribly disappointing for a munster supporter. what back do you know at 20 years of age can perform well when he doesnt have the ball? he touched the ball less than 5 times such was the measure of performance of the leinster players and he made a few good breaks. you can be rest assured the people of south africa dont know the man from young munster. I would put him up against habana, it wont faze him one bit and i think he could do more damage than bowe or halfpenney.
As you know the second and third tests are being played at altitude and the legend that is rocky elsom says that the altitude does NOT affect your rugby. he says people who are not used to it, will come down with flu like syndroms. it does affext your fitness an hour into the game. this is something the lions should be wary of.
here is my team:
1.Euan murray
2.lee mears
3.gethin jenkins
4.alun-wyn jones
5.paul o Connell
6.Tom Croft
7.David Wallace
8.Jamie Heaslip
9.Mike Philips
10.Stephen Jones
11.Shane Williams
12.Jamie Roberts
13.Brian o Driscoll
14.Keith Earls
15.Lee Byrne

What do you think, i know the majority are irish and welsh but what can i say scotland and england havent done anything in years?

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