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Alipate Fatafehi huge hit vs USA Eagles

Rayno Benjamin's sneaky trip gets yellow

Josh Kronfeld & Highlanders celebrate!

World XV convincingly beat Japan

Saturday, July 06, 2013

The British and Irish Lions win the series 2-1 after third Test rout

The British and Irish Lions have beaten the Wallabies 2-1 after a convincing 41-16 victory in Sydney. Leigh Halfpenny, who was named Man of the Series, set up two tries and kicked brilliantly yet again. It was the first Lions series victory since 1997.

The Lions shot out to an early lead and maintained their momentum, at one stage leading 19-3 before the Wallabies fought back before halftime with a try to James O'Connor.

They picked up the tempo in the second half and brought the scores even closer with the boot, trailing just 19-16 before the Lions ran away with it and ultimately came away convincing winners.

While all the prematch talk had been about midfield selections, it was up front where one could say that game was won, as the Lions dominated and gained valuable momentum through powerful performances from Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard and Alex Corbisiero.

"I thought Alex Corbisiero was Man of the Match. We said all along he was unlucky with selection," said coach Warren Gatland in the post match press conference.

Gatland also spoke of the manner in which his side played, and the physical toll of the tour, and tonights game. "We spoke about being prepared to go to a place where most players don't put their bodies, to the limit. I think we've played some great rugby on this tour. We were able to put it together tonight in that second half.

"These guys have done themselves proud, they've done the jersey proud. I hope the next 48hrs doesn't get out of hand!" he added.

We'll have more reaction, highlights and clips over the course of the next few days. Until then, congratulations to the Lions and their fans, and commiserations to the Wallabies and the whole of Australia, who clearly embraced the tour and were great hosts.

Posted by Rugbydump at 12:56 pm | View Comments (102)

Posted in British & Irish Lions 2013

Viewing 102 comments

brawnybalboa July 06, 2013 1:17 pm

You cannot win without BOD the pundits said, you cannot win with 10 Welsh players the media said, you cannot win with Warren Gatlands tactics the fans said.

23 British and Irish Lions went onto the pitch and slaughtered the Aussies to prove them all wrong. What a game!

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DanKnapp July 06, 2013 7:33 pm

I thought it was a huge mistake not to include BOD. I was completely wrong. Fair play to Gats, he called it.

Awesome win. A good display of powerful, Northern hemisphere rugby. Scrum-time! HEAVE!

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Road to Escondido July 06, 2013 2:42 pm

Warren Gatland is vindicated for selecting 10 Welshmen to start and for leaving Brian O'Driscoll off the squad for the match. New Zealand must be wondering if they let their best coach get away.

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joeythelemur July 07, 2013 5:24 am

Vindication for Gatland, yes. Kiwis wondering if he's their best coach, unlikely. Tough to argue with the results of the current and former.

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UpTheLowEnd July 06, 2013 3:37 pm

...well that was unexpected. Must say had my doubts about the 10 welshmen but fair play, they all held their own. However I must say the two standout players in my eyes were amongst the remaining five, in the forms of Sexton and Corbisiero (even Adam Jones was saying after about how much of an influence he had on the scrum). But all in all, awesome display, one to remember.

On a side note, although Halfpenny was well deserving of player of the tour, my vote would go to both T. Youngs and Parling, who'd have thought those two would be amongst the regular starters for the tests and hold their positions so well. Consequently, Parling's trip tackle was a particular highlight for me!

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DrG July 06, 2013 4:29 pm

I have to agree, although I have been well and truly proven wrong with the Lions winning (..sort of proven I was not entirely sure they would lose) I have to say that the people that made the biggest impact for me were the expected players, SOB, Sexton, and Corbs. Actually I had to include Faletau there as I felt Heaslip has been quite quiet the last few matches...

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Rob July 06, 2013 3:39 pm

The problem with the Welsh teams over the last few years was that, whilst they were always confident in the 6nations, there always seemed to be a lack of it against southerm hemisphere teams, never better highlighted than the 3 or 4 last minutes losses against Aus last year where they always seemed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Hopefully this win will banish that and they'll push on from this.

From an Englishman. From an English perspective it was nice to see Corbs playing so well and a front row of Mako, Youngs and Cole on at the end.

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dave July 06, 2013 4:20 pm

awesome win boys!
I picked the aussies to win this game but deep down I was hoping the Aussies would get smashed because I knew the Lions were good enough!
man, when was the last time aussies had 40 points blasted at them!
way to go corbisiero man of the match imo, as an English fan i'll settle for that as revenge for them beating us at Twickenham in the autumn take that ben alexander!

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DrG July 06, 2013 4:39 pm

Firstly I'll have to say I watched the game from 0:00-40:00 and then about 51:00-53:00. So my comment is only really going to be relevant to that period of play. Apologies if out of those times I am proven wrong.

Some may say I'm still a naysayer, but I do somewhat stand by my comments regarding my feelings against the dropping of BOD. I felt the first half was won by Corbisiero. I saw no attacking from Jamie Roberts (who was brought into the game instead of BOD because of the LACK of attacking play???) Corbisiero scored the first try after some brilliant work, and then he destroyed the Aussies in the scrums. Halfpenny (an automatic natural selection) was there to snap up the points around the park with the boot, and I felt SOB was a machine out there with his work rate. Unsurprisingly to me, he was a bit of a penalty machine in terms of giving them away, whether that is just to do with the fact that he was doing more out there than anyone else so was more likely to get pinged is another matter.

Faletau; an inclusion I was happy with (due to Heaslips playing of late), I felt did very well, made some good carries, thought he was harshly penalised when he caught a kick off, harshly, but not unjustified so I wouldn't have argued it.

Hibbard I wasn't too sure about (regarding selection) but I felt all the hookers on tour were fairly dodgy, so I was neither for or against his inclusion. However I felt he worked well around the park.

Phillips played better than the first test (but with a supposed knee injury it wouldn't be surprising). I think his delivery was definitely faster.

So all in all, I had no real problems with Gatlands team, other than the inclusion of Roberts, and the omission of BOD. I hear Roberts scored, haven't seen it yet, but as stated before, I felt he had little impact in terms of attacking in the parts of the game I saw.

Felt bad for Smith (?) the headclash Aussie, he looked terrible going off, looked like a lost man. Glad he was ok!

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BenjaJ July 06, 2013 4:53 pm

I agree, I still think that dropping BOD was a mistake. Roberts played as he always did, not awesome but he scored a nice try. Davies played very decently for what I saw, but BOD could have do more.

Impressive win anyway. I'm a bit disapointed, I was waiting for another thrilling game but the Aussies weren't enough good for this. Too many mistakes.

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brawnybalboa July 06, 2013 5:30 pm

Guys stop quibbling over selection. The 23 players Gatland picked beat the Aussies and the Lions won the series!

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DrG July 06, 2013 6:30 pm

Oh I'm sorry, are we no longer allowed to comment on anything on here? Last time I checked this website wasn't run by the Democratic Peoples Republic of North Korea and we were actually allowed and encouraged to offer our views and thoughts...

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brawnybalboa July 06, 2013 9:51 pm

I'm saying lighten up! Enjoy the fact that the 2013 Lions finished off with an record breaking emphatic victory that that puts the tour up there with 1997 & 1974. It has been 12 years after all!

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DrG July 06, 2013 10:11 pm

I do agree the focus should be on the victory of the series overall, however I don't believe anything should ever be a case of "we won, lets not bother going into details"...

You see it every international competition, after a game the teams will still talk about what they did wrong, or need to work on, even though they won.. So I personally feel the selections this tour have been "odd" at best. I already said (granted it's a long post) that I saw the first half and about 5 minutes of the second half, so I can't comment on the entirety of it, but I didn't see the spark or power that Roberts offered over BOD...

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brawnybalboa July 06, 2013 11:00 pm

I agree with you that usually in international competition that after the game the teams will talk about that they did right and wrong. However it is 4 years until the next Lions tour. The squad and coaching staff will be significantly different, so I cannot see Gatland, Rowntree, Irvine etc spending too much time looking at what they did wrong as they delivered what they promised. Sure they will have learned stuff for the future, but there won't be all this micro-analysing as with other internationals.

I agree that some of the selections on tour have been odd, but then they often are with the Lions. In 2009 Geech chose Monye over Shane Williams for the first two tests despite Shane being IRB player of the year (and undoubtedly the better player). In 2005 Woodward chose an injured Wilkinson at 12 for the first test over D'Arcy & Henson. In 1997 Geech selected Neil Jenkins a 15, despite the fact he had never really played there internationally.

The Scottish haven't had much love the last couple of tours (no starters in 2005, 2009 or 2013).

In the end, at least status quo was achieved in regards to the squad as some of the players labelled unlucky to miss out were called up (Best, Grant, Corbisiero & Twelvetrees).

Oh and in regards to your comment of spark or power that Roberts offered over BOD. Roberts wasn't a replacement for BOD, Jon Davies was. Roberts was always going to start at 12 as he was the only specialist 12 on tour. I agree that Roberts doesn't offer as much in attack, but don't forget that it wasn't Roberts playing at 13 today.

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DrG July 07, 2013 12:37 pm

Well I'm not going to argue over the Lions management aspect as you said it is over and many who were on this tour will not be on another, so it's done.

Regarding Roberts, BOD, Davies. Roberts was brought in, due to a lack of attacking in midfield, which as BOD was dropped suggests that it was his fault. I thought Davies played well, but I didn't really see anything that a BOD Davies partnership wouldn't have offered on the back of a strong pack (which wasn't the case in the second test).... The inclusion of Roberts was Gatlands decision, one cannot know what is in his mind, I just think it was a mad call to bring in someone who had not played a single test.

12 Manu
13 Davies

Would be a far deadlier partnership.

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brawnybalboa July 07, 2013 6:22 pm

I think Gatland chose Roberts and Davies as he knew it was a tried and tested partnership. Although that being said it isn't as if BOD and Roberts haven't played together. It is a shame that both Manu and Jamie picked up knocks, limited selection a bit.

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afanofrugby July 07, 2013 12:27 pm

I'm amazed at how blinkered and stupid some people are.

The team won by a massive margin. And to still insist that BOD was a better selection is ridiculous. He was only dropped because of his poor form. Look at his second test performance. Poor kicks, wayward passes and you still think he should have been chosen instead of Roberts or Davies? He is no longer the player he once was.
EVERY one of Gatland's selections was on FORM. And he was totally vindicated.

And as for Man of the Match - there were so many candidates. Falatau, Alun Wyn Jones, Halfpenny, Corbisiero, ....strong cases for every one of them.

And I would not consider O Brien or Sexton as candidates because they both missed O Connor to allow the Aussie try.

And from some comments on here, it is patently obvious that they watched the game with an anti Welsh bias and only looked for good play from non-Welsh players.

The right players, right approach and right selections resulted in a big win. It rarely happens. Just enjoy it!

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DrG July 07, 2013 12:50 pm

Well you're terribly incorrect "afanofrugby"...

Let me show you the teamsheet:

15 Leigh Halfpenny, - Always going to be the first selection in MY team.
14 Tommy Bowe, - Unsure, felt he was poor in 2nd test and semi-injured.
13 Jonathan Davies, - Good player, cannot argue with his inclusion
12 Jamie Roberts, - Disappointed that someone who has not played a single test has walked into a starting shirt!
11 George North, - Playing very well, had to be there.
10 Jonathan Sexton, - Guaranteed start, always going to be 10.
9 Mike Phillips, - Played badly in first test, not sure if I'd have picked him.
1 Alex Corbisiero, - Guaranteed pick!!!
2 Richard Hibbard, - Not sure, all hookers I felt played badly on tour.
3 Adam Jones, - One of the best props there is in the world...
4 Alun Wyn Jones - Excellent in the lineout, excellent work rate etc..
5 Geoff Parling, - Not seen much, but apparently brilliant.
6 Dan Lydiate, - Might have picked Tipuric over Lydiate, but 50/50
7 Sean O’Brien, - Strong candidate, 90% happy with this. (Penalty risk)
8 Toby Faletau - Playing better than Heaslip has done...

Now forgive me if I've gone wrong, but it seems to me that this team consists of:

10 Welshmen
3 Irishmen
2 Englishmen

Out of those numbers I was not happy with 1 Welsh selection, and partially unsure of 2 others (Phillips, and maybe Tipuric for Lydiate), so 1 out of 10 for the Welsh.
For the Irish, I was unsure of Tommy Bowe due to his injury, but no one better to replace him really.. so 0/3 complaints.
Haven't seen much of Parling, but Gray hasn't been on great form (as an alternative) so 0/2 complaints with the English contingent..

Hardly moaning about Gatlands selections am I? And Hardly an anti-Welsh bias...

With regards to the big win, that, imo was down to Corbisiero...

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Ospreylian July 07, 2013 1:34 pm

Win was down solely to Corbs??? What drugs are you on?

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DrG July 09, 2013 1:43 am

I take it you didn't see any scrums then?

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DrG July 09, 2013 1:19 pm


Apparently I am not the only one:

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I_bleed_green_and_go July 07, 2013 8:05 pm

I think the Welsh team is a very good one who who really only need a real quality 10 to distribute to the rest of the team. What Gatland did was highlight which positions Wales need some quality players to fill.

Granted BOD could have been as effective if not more so than Davis at 13. It would have been a sentiment call rather than one players skill over another. I would have like to have seen BOD lift the trophy in his playing gear rather than a blazer. Sam even looked undeserving up there receiving the trophy next to AWJ.

Regardless, great tour.
So Im pretty sure there will be another lions drought for at least the next 8 years.

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Razor July 06, 2013 4:52 pm

Aussies didnt really seem to be in the game. They made a go of it just before half time but were basically out muscled up front, didnt show a lot of structure or threat in attack and were not able to apply any real, sustained pressure. The Lions regained momentum after a brief sway and I think realised that they just needed to go about their game plan and play their own game, and indeed they did.

I think Lions would've also won if BOD was playing and I feel a bit bad for the bloke, I would've at least had him on the bench, they could've put him on with 20 to go at least. Anyway, he played in the series and was a part of it, good on him, he looked like he handled it all bloody well too.

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UpTheLowEnd July 06, 2013 4:56 pm

On that same note, did anyone else catch Barnes at the end, in another of his well informed comments, exclaimed with no sense of irony, "its good to see a lions series won without relying on dominance in the forwards" or words to that effect. I don't know which games he watches but they sure aint the games that Sky broadcast.

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EatMyRugbyShorts July 06, 2013 7:08 pm

Regrettably I find the Sky commentators to be colossal tw4ts so I had the pictures from Sky and the (very impressive) audio from TalkSport. I'll listen out for that though when I watch my recording back during the week (after a stiff drink to prepare me for the Sky commentary).

TalkSport did mention something though that might be of interest & I've since tied it up with the pictures (at 74:02 on the match clock - score 16-41): Leigh Halfpenny clears to touch late in the game towards the Lions bench and an Aussie player is positioned, in touch, underneath the ball ready to catch it - obviously an opportunity for a quick throw. One of the Lions coaches (Paul Stridgeon) decides to put his hand up to interfere with the catch and then palms the ball away when it goes to ground stopping any quick throw. It wasn't in the TV coverage but apparently an extended & heated discussion between the Lions bench and the 4th official followed. 6 minutes to go - 25 point lead - what was he doing?

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UpTheLowEnd July 06, 2013 9:19 pm

Actually I did catch that on the TV, granted bit cynical and unsportsmanlike, but i've seen it happen stacks of times and no doubt it'll happen again (granted not much of a justification, but the 25 point lead thing works both ways i.e. if they'd have taken it quick, there's no good chance anything will have come from it and nowhere near enough time for them to turn it around.)

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hamsandwhich July 06, 2013 4:54 pm

What I feel this really shows is how good the welsh team could be if they had a decent 10 to guide their monster backline, Priestland and Biggar don't play the right way (or well enough in my opinion) and Gatland doesn't seem to like James Hook as a 10 (or at all at the moment)

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EatMyRugbyShorts July 06, 2013 6:18 pm

Didn't expect that at all. Thought we'd get a nervy, mistake ridden, low scoring affair decided by kicks in the last 10 minutes. Lions got their tactics spot on and it came off.

Real pity BOD wasn't on the pitch though - I guess Warren Gatland can now cancel his order for a suit of armour to be worn whenever he visits Ireland. Although he still might need some chain mail for a few years....

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O*N July 08, 2013 9:50 am

No, no, we were well shut of him years ago and he hasn't ever really managed to endear himself to the Irish public with his snide remarks about Ireland nearly every year. I dare say he'll be reminded of his decision again in February next year - hopefully by a few O'Driscoll tries.

Davis gave very little from 13. The Aussies had no scrum, no lineout and a bunch of haircuts in the backline. A team of nuns could have beaten this Aussie team. A lion's victory is so rare because it's so rare for a Southern Hemisphere team to be in such a dissarray as this Aussie team right now.

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Cardiff Blues Fan July 06, 2013 7:10 pm

Brian O'Driscoll on today's win:
"I'm delighted, it’s been a rollercoaster week for me but it’s all about being a part of it… I will always have it on my CV and the negatives will be forgotten. Huge credit goes to the players, the management and staff."

Respect is due to a great player, great man and great servant to the Lions over the years. On this occasion he didn't suit the game plan, which involved a dominant scrum and as many of the biggest, hardest ball-carriers as possible - hence Roberts, Davies and then Tuilagi in midfield. The close selections were decided not by nationality but by this plan bar one exception (Bowe for Cuthbert).

The plan worked. Some commentators are still patronising BOD as if he should have been carried in the side somehow to avoid hurting his feelings. With 15min left I'd have liked to have brought him on to rapturous applause, but when the selection was made no one could know we'd be 18 pts in front by then. Part of greatness is putting the team ahead of personal ambition. Brian gets that and is truly great.

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kadova July 06, 2013 10:14 pm

IMHO, this is the best comment that i have read so far.
Gatland wanted the biggest players on the pitch to win the game up front, and it worked greatly.
When was the last time a Lions team scored 40+ points against their opponents?

Great words by BOD too, especially "I will always have it on my CV ";)

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Swing July 06, 2013 7:15 pm

Phenomenal performance but I can't help but have a bitter taste in my mouth... after all the slating this team got from the 'experts' can you imagine how many more points they could've scored if there'd been less Welshman and BOD was playing? ;)

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Gabby July 09, 2013 8:29 pm

Do I detect a little bit of sour grapes????? Who would you suggest didn`t play (Other than one of the centres = I seem to be seeing a bit of a trend from certain individuals across the Irish sea or over the river Severn!!!) Maybe Adam Jones?? who along with Corbisiero did a superb job at scrum time, The Hibbard - Youhg call was always going to be tight (although I felt Hibbard fronted up well and Young came on at the right time), Alun Wyn Played with a massive heart and led from the front Lydiate and Falatau (with O`Brian) did a great job and completely outclassed the Australian back row (But I felt you could have included Tip`s before the game), Phillips? not sure, I think Murrey would have been the better call, Then there are the centres!!!! (I know BOD is regarded as a national treasure in Ireland , but his form during the second test???? ) I accept that Roberts was coming back from injury, but Davies was (and proved) that he was the form 13 On tour, You could object to North and Halfpenny!!!, but I think the most Anti Welsh individuals could not argue with their selections. Gatlands job was coach AND Select a side to win a Lions test series!! Job done I think. There is no room for sentiment in modern professional sport

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teambombersports July 06, 2013 7:37 pm

Wow. Well I had my doubts like many people but this was an epic performance.

What I will say firstly is that the issue made about 10 Welsh players - most of these selections were justifiable on tour form. Five (A Jones, Lydiate, JD, North, Halfpenny) were dead certs, 3 more (AWJ, Faletau and Hibbard) 50/50s that came off and IMO only Phillips and Roberts were incorrect calls. Well Phillips did his usual Phillips thing and was rightly subbed off after another under par game, but Roberts had one of his better games and proved me wrong nicely.

What I will say is - why did it take us 2 and a 1/2 tests to stop with the ineffective Warrenball and start playing some good rugby? Not that it matters at all now!

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thisisgreatstuff July 08, 2013 12:52 pm

Alun wyn Jones only 50/50?! What tour were you watching mate?! Thank God Gatland was the one doing the selecting. Some shockingly partisan comments on here - clearly some people don't get the idea of the lions. The reaction of the squad as a whole at the end of the last Test is vindication of every decision the coaches made on the tour. Proud of all four nations. Lions!!!

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jente July 06, 2013 8:30 pm

Didn't Alun Wynn Jones score that first try? Don't the rules state that grounding the ball against the posts is a try?

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UpTheLowEnd July 06, 2013 9:39 pm

Ahh but from my view he didn't get as far as grounding it against the posts, did the right thing recycling just in case the officials were a bit hazy with the particular rules, as they so often appear to be.

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ConorL July 06, 2013 9:21 pm

Let's cut the crap here. For all the talk of BOD, Davies and Roberts in the lead up to the game (and I was one of those who felt it was the wrong decision to drop BOD), none of them had any impact in deciding the outcome of the Test series. They still would have won had BOD been playing. It's like the old saying goes "Forwards win games, backs decide by how many."

Make no mistake about it, this game was won and lost up front. Corbisiero was undeniably the Man of the Match (he tormented Ben Alexander all game long), although Halfpenny ran him close and SOB showed why he should have been in the team from the start.

Regardless of the result, I still feel Gatland may have done irreparable damage to the Lions concept/brand. I'm just glad Gray got on the field for a bit so the Scots had at least SOME representation on this tour!

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brawnybalboa July 06, 2013 10:41 pm

How has Gatland caused irreparable damage to the Lions concept?

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ConorL July 07, 2013 1:30 am

I said he MAY have done so. I'm talking about the disillusionment a lot of fans felt prior to this game. Not just the BOD fiasco, but the whole "10 Welshmen" thing as well has left quite a number of people disenfranchised from the whole idea of the B & I Lions, which is an enormous shame IMO.

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running rugby July 07, 2013 10:41 am

May have done irreparable damage? He won BI tour for the first time in 16 years. Win a series and complain about what MAY be a problem....

Welsh = 6 nations title holders, that "10 Welshman thing" makes sense.

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brawnybalboa July 07, 2013 11:21 am

Yeah, I didn't hear Irish fans complain about how only 13 of 15 players in the 2009 Grand Slam finale were from Leinster or Munster.

I didn't hear Welsh fans complain that there were 11 Ospreys in the 2008 Grand Slam decider with France.

So why is it when 10 Welshmen are picked for a Lions everyone goes mental?

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brawnybalboa July 07, 2013 11:08 am

But then that being said Woodward brought 20 English players with him in 2005 and chose an injured Wilkinson at 12 over D'Arcy or Henson for the first test. Even McGeechan was a bit controversial in picking Monye over then IRB player of the year Shane Williams for the first two tests in 2009, and neither coach picked a Scot in the starting lineup.

People have been complaining about a Welsh bias all tour. Seeing as Wales have won the last 2 Six Nations, it was realistic that there would be a lot of Welsh players, especially after the 30-3 drubbing on March 16th. When it came to the tests he chose the best players for the job. But did any of them really not deserve to be there?

I think people have totally forgotten that Gatland left Wales in the lurch when he signed up to be Lions coach. Wales's world cup seeding was massively affected by losing 8 on the trot, hence why Wales is in the pool of death with England and Australia in 2 years time.

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DrG July 07, 2013 12:56 pm

I can't complain about the sheer numbers of Welshman on tour, especially when you consider who should have gone instead of them?

The only questionable calls were initially bringing an injured Warburton, and then the fiasco of Shane Williams. But I feel there was a fair spread and I was 99% happy with the final line up, even though it was a large Welsh contingent. Especially when you consider that Adam Jones is guaranteed, Halfpenny, North, either Tipuric, Warburton or Lydiate, and AWJ, all of which would be in (or strong contenders for) my personal "Lions XV"...

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brawnybalboa July 07, 2013 1:45 pm

I wouldn't quite call the Shane Williams call up a fiasco, in the same manner of the Barritt, Wade, Zebo and Twelvetrees it was one of necessity and practicality. We were having an injury crisis at in the backs so needed some bodies to fill in whilst the test contenders were recovering. It was all down to jet lag issues really.

I was very happy with the make up of the squad, with the exception of Matt Stevens as 3rd string loosehead and tighthead cover. But then both Gatland and Rowntree were international front rowers so know more than me!

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Reality July 07, 2013 9:23 pm

Brawnybalboa, I'm glad the Lions won, but there was most definitely a Welsh bias. Hibbard was picked at hooker in spite of the fact that Youngs was playing out of his skin; Lydiate was brought on tour even though he hadn't played rugby in God knows how long; Warburton was picked as captain and openside even though he shouldn't have been in the starting 15; Phillips was played even though Murray and Youngs were in far better form; Roberts was brought in even though he hadn't played rugby all tour; Davies was picked at outside centre even though he had been exposed terribly in the previous test and in doing so a huge amount of fans and players were left with a sour taste in their mouths; Gatland's old, retired mate Shane Williams was brought in for a match and made the whole tour seem farcical. If you put that all together, I don't see how you don't think the decisions were biased. Granted, there was some England bias as well in the forwards thanks to Rowntree (Stevens and Vunipola), but it was mainly Welsh. Thankfully it all worked out for the best in the end and they didn't lose the tour, but I'd say that we should be very thankful that the coaches didn't screw up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Lions to win.

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brawnybalboa July 07, 2013 10:22 pm

Hibbard was picked as he was the best scrummager out of the three, and none of the hookers on tour had proven that they were terrifically accurate at lineout time.

Lydiate was a surprise selection, but his form in the second and third tests justified his selection.

Warburton may not have been the most popular choice of captain, but that being said he had a stormer in the second test, and were he not injured would have started the final test.

Phillips has a history of performing well on the big stage, if you look at the last Lions Tour, Grand Slam deciders and RWC2011 he played well. Youngs didn't exactly cover himself in glory in the second test so it was a straight up selection between Murray and Phillips. Gatland obvious thought that Phillips would bounce back, but he didn't.

Roberts and Davies were picked as Gatland wanted a tried and tested combination at 12 and 13 as the Davies-BOD partnership was not working. Roberts was also the only specialist 12 on tour as Tuilagi is a 13, so he was always very likely to start.

Shane Williams was called up as Gatland needed an international standard Lions eligible player who could play at less than 48 hours notice. Due to jet lag issues he needed someone who was within the same time zone, hence why he also called up Tom Court as he was visiting family in Australia. It was logistics not politics.

If Gatland was truly biased towards Wales he would not have dropped Cuthbert for Bowe for the 2nd test, he would have started Tipuric not O'Brien at 7 for the final test, he would also have promoted Ian Evans to the bench over Richie Grey when POC got injured and would have started Faletau for all 3 tests over Heaslip.

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Reality July 08, 2013 8:06 pm

Yeah, but you're essentially saying, "Yes, these players were all picked even though they were in bad form or weren't match fit, but Gatland knew them all and wanted to pick the players he knew best because he believed in them". That's being biased though. One odd decision is strange, but when a third of the starting team picked aren't in form or aren't match fit, and are Welsh, including the captain of the tour, there's a trend.

Anyway, Bowe was picked because he's simply better than Alex run-in-a-straight-line Cuthbert. O'Brien was picked because the back row desperately needed somebody who could actually get over the gainline. If Warburton hadn't been injured O'Brien probably wouldn't have even started a test. I remember someone saying that O'Brien was the best backrower in the squad, but he wasn't even on the teamsheet, which was madness. Faletau wouldn't stop dropping the ball in the provincial matches, and Evans shouldn't have been in the squad - that's why they weren't picked. Obviously Gatland made some correct choices too, but just because he didn't pick 15 Welsh players doesn't mean he isn't biased.

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brawnybalboa July 09, 2013 6:29 am

"One odd decision is strange, but when a third of the starting team picked aren't in form or aren't match fit, and are Welsh, including the captain of the tour, there's a trend"

Care to elaborate?

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Jimothy July 10, 2013 12:19 pm

How was Roberts 'inform'? Warburton had lost his starting 7 shirt and Phillips was gash 1st test and then 'injured' for the 2nd.

IMO inform means having had game time and proved you are ready. Roberts should have been on the bench for the final test and come on to replace Davis IMO. So should 'jog on' Phillips! No doubt about the quality of any of these players but they were not 'inform' at the time of selection IMO!

IMO used a lot as it is my opinion and does not reflect that of my nation or any of it's members!

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DrG July 12, 2013 2:21 pm

I share your opinion...

How you can justify a player is "inform" after they've been injured the entire tour is beyond me...

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Scot July 06, 2013 10:26 pm

im a scot, and I think people need to start realising that the 10 welshmen that were chosen were not because of gatlands favouritism, but because they were the best choice. HP, North, Davies, AW Jones, Faletau, Lydiate, A Jones and Hibbard were all brilliant. Don't underestimate Roberts work either, he's been dubbed by his own teammates as the defensive leader of the backs. phillips was probably the worst of the selection but he still wasn't that bad, although Murray did a fantastic job when he came on. BOD is a wonderful player, but it was time to get rid of sentiment. Captaincy isn't just about one man leading, its about a whole team working together, knowing what they have to do. I had no doubt that Gatland made the right choice to drop O'Driscoll, compared to Davies he wasn't playing as well. Davies was playing out of position at times during the tour leading to some mistakes, but hes been the form centre of the tour. also, would you risk playing weaker players just to have fair representation of the four nations? Scotland doesn't have great talent at the moment bar Hogg Maitland and Gray, but there are better players in the other nations. Gray deserved to be on the bench, but nor Maitland nor Hogg are as good as Roberts Davies or Tuilagi. I think it was completely fair, and Gatland worked his magic again. Also, O'Brien, sexton and the others were brilliant.

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Adam July 06, 2013 11:11 pm

Blimey people are STILL complaining about the selections! A 41-16 scoreline not good enough?

Loving the fact that even the Welsh, Scottish and Irish fans were singing 'Swing Low'!

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Hendogo July 07, 2013 2:03 am

To be honest, and not taking away from a amazing lions team. Australia has been going down the last few years. There not one really strong star among them except maybe James O'Conner. Halfpenny really showed the level of fullback he is, and exposed Beale for what he is: an avg fullback that needs to be replaced. He missed the game winner in test one, and shanked a kick that led to a try in the three test.

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paimoe July 07, 2013 2:15 am

A couple of years back, I was concerned for Australia (as a NZ fan) in that they seemed to definitely be on the up, with O'Connor, Beale, Genia, Pocock. Seemed that they'd mature and start to win a lot more around this time, so I figured they'd take this series handily.

But they seem to have dropped, both O'Connor and Beale aren't as good as they seemed, Pocock was out unfortunately, and Genia is the one of the few who even showed up.

I'm betting (or mainly hoping) that Australia get trashed later this year by NZ

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joeythelemur July 07, 2013 5:32 am

Not to mention Quade Cooper looked a giant-killer a couple years ago. Now he can't get a sniff of a Wallabies jersey, at least while Deans is at the helm.

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dave July 07, 2013 6:27 am

no one puts up 40 points on the aussies without being great

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Kiwi In Germany July 07, 2013 10:54 am

I have to agree with you a bit paimoe. Whilst Aussie have never really created dominating forward packs. Their forwards could normally do enough to get the ball to their backs. Where the power lay with Oz were their amazing backs. Slippery evasive strong destructive flair ridden backs that could cut open a defensive line from nothing. They had good kickers once too. They have seemed on a bit of a down ward trend of late. The Lions made them look pretty ordinary. (And full credit to them.) SA on the other hand look to be the ones to beat this year in the 4N.

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Razor July 07, 2013 11:03 pm

"They have seemed on a bit of a down ward trend of late."

And by 'of late' do you mean about 10 years?

Australia hasn't been able to put a consistently competitive team on the pitch since the jon eales era.

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DrG July 07, 2013 1:06 pm

Lol, you guys are already receiving some hate from Dave, but I do agree.

Firstly we have to introduce a fail safe so that those with Lions shaped glasses won't go insane: "The Lions beat Australia, 2-1, they won the series and are victors, nothing can detract from that" So if you think you're a red tinted glasses wearing fan, then read no further.

Now for the rest of us, I agree with the Wallabies team being weakened by either injury or not wonderful selections. Now the fullest strength Aussie team may still not have won the series. But I think results could have been different if Pocock had been playing. Cooper is a brilliant player and I think Deans is a moron not playing him.

As Kiwi in Germany said, the Aussies have never been renowned for a brute strength pack, but they do get the ball back.

O'Connor and Beale, just seem like they need a kick up the bum or something. Beale looks shaky for some reason. O'Connor was dangerous on his own, but didn't look comfortable (although he was out of position yes?).

Genia is a strong player, but as the Lions found out in the second test, when the pack is moving backwards, EVERYTHING gets stuffed up, and Genia was under pressure all the time.

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matt July 07, 2013 2:45 pm

I think this tour almost has to go down with an * next to it, the lions won, but they were playing an almost 2nd string Australia. The number of players they were missing was incredible. Add to that the fact that the only reason the first two tests were competitive was some bizarre scrum officiating, and this test series should have been 3 games like the last. I think at that stage everyone would have considered this the hollow victory that I unfortunately think it is.

It was a series win, which I am hugely excited about, but it is not near the success story that I think it is being drummed up to be.

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jog1986 July 07, 2013 5:06 pm

I think that saying the win should go down with an asterisk next to it is a bit silly, and even more so claiming that the Aussies were almost second string. Granted, they were missing a few players and that Pocock in particular was a big miss for them, however, the Lions were missing a number of players too don't forget.

If you put an asterisk next to this win then why not put one against the RWC 2011 win for NZ after the officiating of Joubert in the final, or Japan beating Wales recently on tour with Wales having 23 players missing, the list could go on.

At the end of the day it was a series win for the Lions and that is what will appear in the record books.

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matt July 07, 2013 9:26 pm

That Japanese win over Japan will always be followed by the phrase, 'but Wales had a lot of players away with the Lions', where as in a year or so no one will remember the circumstances that all but won this series for the lions before it had even begun.
And just out of interest, who do you think the lions are missing through injury? Jenkins and Healy are the only two I can think of, and they are far from guaranteed starters.

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brawnybalboa July 07, 2013 10:34 pm

Seeing as Jenkins, Healy and Vunipola were the three loose head props on tour, one of Jenkins/Healy was virtually a guaranteed starter.

I agree though, the history books will just show yesterday as a record Lions victory and series win. Lamenting about relative strengths and weaknesses does not change the final score.

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george July 07, 2013 2:54 am

Congrats to the Lions, in the end a strong forward display in Sydney won them the series, but a simple slip on the grass could have meant the difference between a series won or lost. Despite the Sydney blow-out the series was just as close as those first two scores suggest. As a UK journo said during the week, neither side is playing great rugby and both SA and NZ would trounce them on current form. The Lions showed a little more on Saturday and an incohesive Wallabies tried to be expansive and play to their strengths. If you're in the opposition, Halfpenny is a heartbreakingly good kicker, but also showed something as a playmaker in Sydney. I've seen plenty of Beale and O'Connor over the years and they are world class as line breakers, even game breakers, but they need a stable platform to work from and that's one thing Aust isn't right now. Apart from 3 or 4 moments of brilliance and two close finishes, there wasn't a lot for a neutral to savour over the whole series. An intriguing Lions tour but not a great one.

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dave July 07, 2013 6:29 am

go cry somewhere else

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DrG July 07, 2013 1:18 pm

I disagree in some ways george, not to the same extent that dave the dick disagrees... But a neutral could enjoy all games just the same as anyone else.

A simple slip broke the Aussies hearts in the first test. A slight lack of distance broke the Lions hearts in the second test. That on the edge of the seat stuff is extremely exciting imo.

With Corbisiero on in the first and third test, the Aussies were stuffed. The scrum for them was ruined and they had no platform on which to work from. Aussies showed individual brilliance in the first and second test, but not so much of a team brilliance.

The Lions were stuffed without Corbisiero in the second test, and the Aussies showed them how uncomfortable it is to play when the pack is under pressure.

Beale and O'Connor, (Beale more so) didn't look as "on form" as they usually do. No Pocock, no Cooper, etc meant the Aussies were definitely under-par. I have to say, I thought the Lions were going to find it tough down under until it was revealed Pocock was injured and then I felt the Lions had a much better chance.

The last game was definitely a favourite for the Lions fans, and a nightmare for the Aussie fans. Some say it looked like the Aussies just didn't have the stamina in the end. I can only say once again, I feel that is down to that man Corbisiero at scrum time.

I've played a couple games in my time where we have been up against a hugely more dominant pack, and it's tough. Everything is about damage control, scrums you try to fire the ball out the back as fast as possible because you know when push comes to shove, you're screwed.

So all in all, I think the Aussies can take a lot away from the tour knowing that in full form they'll still be dangerous. The Lions fans can take away the win, and the rest of the world can enjoy the Lions spectacle that happens every 4 years, whether it's a scrappy spectacle, or a clean cut one..

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matt July 07, 2013 2:55 pm

I almost fully agree with you DrG, the Aussies (unfortunately) have much more to take away from this than we do I think. They'll wake up today feeling bad, but then tell themselves that in addition the players you've mentioned they are missing polotu-nau, higginbotham, ioane and barnes. As well as all the disruption caused in that first test, plus Beale's lack of rugby recently.
They could go back home today and honestly tell themselves that if the lions had come at any other time in the last two years, they would have stuffed them.

On the Corbisiero issue, as happy as I am to see an Englishman given so much of the plaudits, I think the big difference was the scrum being properly reffed. Corbisiero was on in the first test and we got no joy from the scrum, the second test was the same result with different players, we were dominant, but the refs didnt care. On saturday the referee simply penalised the weaker side for not being able to stand up to the test, and didnt fall for any of the sneaky tricks they'd got away with before. Corbisiero had a great game, but I dont think he was the man that made the difference.

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brawnybalboa July 07, 2013 6:37 pm

Interesting comment on the referee. The IRB has to be stricter on its standards of refereeing. We all know that Rugby Championship and Super XV is about flowing running rugby, and that the Six Nations and Heineken Cup is about forward dominance. Regardless of this, the refereeing should be the same, but between Pollock and Poite we saw one who would not allow competition at the break down, and would not penalise at scrum time to one who would allow competition and sin binned a prop for taking a scrum down.

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matt July 07, 2013 9:30 pm

Fully agree, whatever the IRB decide is the path to follow is fine by me, I hate the way the NH games are dominated by scrum after scrum going down and eventually a kick at goal, and I hate the way that some SH sides hide behind referees not wanting to make it a proper contest. Go for a faster smoother game like we saw with the hybrid ELVs a few years ago in super rugby, go for a 15 man scrum option or somewhere in betwee, I don't care, but be consistent, that is their only job as referees.

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brawnybalboa July 08, 2013 9:13 am

Hopefully the new scrum rules that they are bringing in for the next season will sort out the issues with the scrum. I don't see how it has taken years of pissing around with the cadence to realise that binding before the hit reduces the number resets.

It is not just resets that are the problem, but the fact the forwards spend ages binding, hence each reset adds nearly a minute to the scrum time, whereas in years gone by scrum the binding took seconds and the ball would be out within a few more seconds.

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DrG July 09, 2013 1:47 am

More scrum changes?? Took me about a month to stop cocking up the scrums when they took *PAUSE* out of the equation!

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dave July 08, 2013 3:35 pm

lol, good name, mabe i'll make that my rugby dump user name

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blindside July 07, 2013 9:30 am

Halfpenny for player of the year!

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PAT July 07, 2013 12:19 pm

The pack was the difference between last week and yesterday. Front 5 were great, but Toby Faletau and SOB were immense!!

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DrG July 07, 2013 1:19 pm

SOB had an unbelievable tackle count mid way through the first half, double anyone elses I think? Corbisiero was key.

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Paul July 07, 2013 1:49 pm

Interesting and for the most, fair comments. I am a bit surprised there has not been a call from the aussy fans for a rule change in the way scrums are refed. When England thrashed the aussy pack a few years ago now, there was the call to change the rules by some Australians, basically because their scrum were a bunch of girls, much like yesterday.

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matt July 07, 2013 2:55 pm

I think it is very flattering to Gatland to say that his selections made the difference, IMO the ref was the single deciding factor, he reffed the scrum as it is supposed to be, rewarding the dominant side and punishing the team that couldn't take the strain. That was what won the lions the game, not any of the changes Gatland made.

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Dannyb July 07, 2013 3:01 pm

There's a few important things to bear in mind with the selection. Chiefly, that the selection in itself admitted mistakes had been made in the 1st and 2nd Test Selections.

Jim Telfer famous words "scrummaging is the key" applies to every game of rugby. Yet Gatland went for the weakest scrummager in Test 2 (Mako) because he offered more in the loose than his only fit rival (Grant). Grant showed all Tour he is a brilliant scrummager. So you'd have to say the choice to go with Mako was a huge error.

A major error was playing JD at 12 in the 1st 2 Tests. He consistently over-ran BOD, he was poor defensively and didn't offer anything in attack. Bear in mind the Lions scored 2 tries in the 1st 2 Tests. One of them was a solo counter by North, the other was a finish by Cuthbert. So in 160 minutes of rugby the backline engineered 1 try. To say that is a reflection on any individual or the entire backline is simply incorrect. It is a reflection on the setpiece and the slow ball they were getting.

Phillips was absolutely horrendous in Test 1, yet returned for Test 3. When clearly Murray was on better form (as he proved by being the standout 9 yesterday). So that selection was not based on form.

Gatland also got the backrow horribly wrong in the opening 2 Tests. SOB and Dan Lydiate hunted so well in pairs. They were superb aided by a brilliant Faletau. So that proved the "balance" of the backrow was not right in the 1st 3 Tests. Yesterdays backrow was powerful, direct, SOB and Lydiate were equally good on the deck as Warburton.

Finally, Gatland showed tremendous grace and humility after the game. He deserves a massive thank you and a pint. But the vindication is in the concept of the Lions - the Sea of Red uniting, having fun and having the time of their lives. Uniting does not mean agreeing. Half the fun in any sport is to debate selections. But sport is intrinsically about enjoyment and the Lions have proved it is not an anachronism of the amateur era.

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matt July 07, 2013 9:34 pm

I like what you're saying, but I think Vunipola's penalty count in the 2nd test ended up at 2 against him and 2 for him. As a lot of the scrum analysis during and after the game showed, the problem wasnt Vunipola, but a very strange interpretation by the ref

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Reality July 07, 2013 9:05 pm

I didn't actually see the third test, so I'm not as well informed as I'd like to be, but it's great to see the Lions finally win something. I know it's a big money-spinning exercise by now, but it's at least something different, something that adds a bit of diversity to the rugby world, so it's a nice tradition to keep, warts and all.

Is it true though that some people are calling for Gatland to be the 2017 coach? I'd say the Lions won in spite of Gatland, rather than because of him. I'd say that they should have easily won 3-0. The Wallabies were plagued by injuries and in-camp problems, they had some kid playing at outhalf rather than potentially one of the greatest outhalves the game has ever seen, and from the highlights they looked like they just weren't up for it. I think the third test showed that Gatland's selection had been wrong for the first two tests. O'Brien should have been there from the beginning, a decent loosehead should have been there rather than Vunipola, Mike Phillips shouldn't have been playing, and Davies at inside centre was madness. The scrum and forward dominance seem to be what won the match, and the front row and back row were supposedly excellent. They were completely ineffective in the first two tests though because of Gatland's selection, and that was the difference. I honestly think this Australian team is the weakest seen in a loooooong time, and Ireland, England and possibly Wales and Scotland would beat them individually without too many problems. I'd say playing the players he played and that same gameplan against The All Blacks would result in possibly a worse result than 2005. I'm thankful to Gatland because they won, but it's more, "Thanks for not managing to screw everything up in the end" rather than, "Thanks for helping the team win". That's just my two cents.

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stroudos July 08, 2013 11:18 am

"Is it true though that some people are calling for Gatland to be the 2017 coach?"

I read that Gatland was calling for himself to be 2017 coach, but this is this first I've heard of anyone else making the same suggestion.

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brawnybalboa July 08, 2013 2:59 pm

I would imagine there is a good chance he will be All Blacks coach by then. Especially if Wales perform well at the next world cup and New Zealand do not win it.

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DrG July 09, 2013 1:49 am

"I read that Gatland was calling for himself to be 2017 coach, but this is this first I've heard of anyone else making the same suggestion."


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Jimothy July 07, 2013 10:22 pm

Anyone else looking forward to the 6 Nations where Corbs and Jones, Young's and Hibbard will being going toe to toe? (If fit?) Wonder if the outcome of last years game would have been different and therefore impacted on lions selection if certain players had been fit? Well done Lions and well done Gatland for making the big call (although Davis didn't do anything bod wouldn't have done and the big difference was Roberts!!)

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brawnybalboa July 07, 2013 10:28 pm

I bet the Aussie front rowers are starting to have nightmares about the RWC. They have to face Cole-Youngs-Corbs and Jones-Hibbard-Jenkins!

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Fraser July 07, 2013 10:54 pm

I'm hoping this could herald a new era for northen hemisphere rugby. So fed-up of hearing how 'great' the southen hemisphere is... Yes i'm English. Yes i'm clearly a bit biased but the once very clear grap between northen and southen hemisphere rugby is growing smaller every year and I think that is what I will take away from this Lions' performance.

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Razor July 07, 2013 11:19 pm

well you definately deserved the series win against australia, whether that means you've closed the gap against nz and sa, well i just dont think you can draw that conclusion from this series.

well and truly deserved winners though, outplayed australia totally in the end.

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matt July 08, 2013 9:21 am

I don't think the gap is closing at all, if anything I think it is widening. NZ were far and away the best team in the world last year, and the English result against them was a pure fluke, I loved watching it, and have probably seen it 4 or 5 times, but it was not because we were the better team. SA have just blitzed Scotland and Italy off the park, and if I remember rightly did the same in their autumn tour up here. And Australia are in the midst of a terrible injury crisis that seems to have been going for near on two years. Yet they still beat England and Wales in the NH and down south.

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themull July 08, 2013 10:43 am

All of this SH rugby is much much superior is nonsense in my eyes...The rugby world cup is what the majority of our conclusions regarding which is superior should be taken..And for the last 3 world cups the last four has consisted of 2 NH and 2 SH teams..Generally Sh is a tad better but if you're going to mention weaker teams like Scotland and italy then you have to mention the Sh teams like Tonga and Fiji who are also almost always beaten handily by top NH teams..

France(once they sort their current mess out) and England in particular are well capable of beating any team in the world..Ireland and Wales too, just not against New Zealand it seems..(this is more of a mental thing than anything else i fear)...

As I said in general SH rugby is superior but not by that much and come the world cup we'll no doubt see at least 1 or 2 of the big 3 beaten by these "vastly inferior" NH teams and styles of play..

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Reality July 08, 2013 7:46 pm

Yeah, that's the problem with these stupid definitions. People talk about the 'northern hemisphere', but in reality they talk about the Six Nations teams, not the northern hemisphere. Northern hemisphere means anything north of the equator, so USA, Giorgia, Japan and any other rugby-playing nations should be included. Ditto for the southern hemisphere. It's Six Nations vs SANZAR countries, rather than any hemisphere crap. And realistically, it's The All Blacks vs the Five Nations, because France beat New Zealand fairly regularly, and Australia and South Africa are also beaten fairly regularly by France, England, and Ireland.

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DrG July 09, 2013 1:53 am

AND...didn't Scotland even pull out a victory or a draw against AUS and a close contest against SA in the last few years??

You play who is in front of you..

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mise July 07, 2013 11:21 pm

not that it matters a whole pile, but where are the first few comments gone?

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Mastersa July 08, 2013 10:23 am

It was long recognised that this was the one we could win. The Aussies have been on a slide for a while. It easily said that only Genia is a world stand out. There is no debate about the amount of Welsh who deserved to be in the squad. They are a fantastic team only lacking a fantastic 10. The series win is a long time coming and I am delighted about that, but the standard of Rugby hasn't been great from either team. The Aussies simply don't have enough quality squad players for a 3 week 3 match test and even though the Lions had, selections and tactics throughout have been poor from Gatland. I defy anyone to say that the quality of Rugby played from either side was better in 2013 than it was 2001 tests. Stand outs for the Lions in 3rd test were Jones, Corbisero, O'Brien, Sexton and Halfpenny. Anyone who says BOD could not have excelled with go forward ball is nuts. Only last February he scored one and set up another against Wales leaving messers Roberts and Davies looking pretty average, which they quite frankly were on this tour overall. Halfpenny was awesome in all aspects of the game and well deserved tour stand out. I'd rather not see Gats going to New Zealand as they easily deal with bish bash bosh rugby. Joe Schmidt is my man!

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Lucius July 08, 2013 1:13 pm

The title should be: "The Wales Lions win the series 2-1 after third Test rout"

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Face_of_Matt July 08, 2013 9:47 pm

I don't have any complaints, incredibly happy with the win :)

I do have some observations though. The pack won the match in my eyes. The scrummed the aussies into the ground and wore them out in the first half, Corbisiero and AWJ particularly prominent, but not one of the starters had a bad game. Because of this, the backs could do their stuff against the more tired defence in the second half.

Although Jon Davies was very good, I don't think it would have mattered if it had been him or O'Driscoll playing there, similarly it could have been Manu or Roberts at 12. The pack was the difference.

It is correct to say that Gatland was vindicated dropping O'Driscoll because the Lions won, it is however my view that it was not the key change. That was the sheer effort of all the Lions forwards this week, and the inclusion of Hibbard, Corbisiero and Faletau, in two cases for underperforming players in Heaslip and Vunipola. Youngs was unlucky, but Hibbard gave the scrum that extra little bit of power.

Great series though, congrats to all involved, be they fan, player or organiser on both sides :)

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DrG July 09, 2013 1:56 am

"It is correct to say that Gatland was vindicated dropping O'Driscoll because the Lions won, it is however my view that it was not the key change. That was the sheer effort of all the Lions forwards this week, and the inclusion of Hibbard, Corbisiero and Faletau, in two cases for underperforming players in Heaslip and Vunipola. Youngs was unlucky, but Hibbard gave the scrum that extra little bit of power."

Pretty much exactly what I spent about 3 comments trying to say...The omission of BOD was a bad call imo, but the differences were in the forwards, including SOB too...

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dave the dick July 09, 2013 10:39 pm

I'm hoping that Stuart Lancaster will be the coach of the 2017 lions
I am incredibly impressed with what he has done with England's mindset in the past year and a half, taking England from the gutter to the highest they've been in years
I also like his humility and willingness to learn the game, he's a true student/teacher of the game
and unlike Gatland I have not found that he has favorites, he believes in players like Robshaw but if a player gives a real showing that he is better then a starter there wont be a hesitation to drop said player, he wants players in the reserves to force his starters out he didn't do this with ashton during the six nations but to be fair there wasn't a 14 that would have faired better in those games against Italy and wales, he would have been a loonie to toss Wade in his debut to George North, he also creates a pool of such intensity that it will be perfect for the AB"S tour and the most Important detail of all is HE HAS A WIN OVER THE ALL BLACKS and not just any win but an absolute ego smashing win over the AB's, something no other home nation team has had in god knows how man years and likely won't occur except by England excuse me for my bias, but this man will be the perfect coach by 2017

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mogsmouth July 11, 2013 6:52 pm

*sound of snoring*

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dave the dick July 12, 2013 5:57 pm

that's how your mom was last night after I put her through her "exercise" routine ;P

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