WunalaYann
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Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Sun Jul 10, 2005 1:45 pm

Ok.

Now that the All Blacks have stomped on the face of the British and Irish Lions, let us have a better look at what happened during those three brilliant games.

First, congratulations to the All Blacks. The game they developped in all three games is simply the best I have ever seen. The most complete, entertaining yet absolutely serious and rigorous at all positions. They attacked on every ball they had, sometimes from their own goal line, for long and well-organised sequences of play. Absolutely beautiful.

Stand-outs: well, difficult to say since all the Kiwis played an absolutely superb game. Carter was a show of its own, but I am more impressed by the third row. So'oialo, first and foremost, although McCaw gets all the attention.


But I am puzzled by the performance (or lack thereof) of what should be the best team in the world, aka the Lions.

First, Woodward's choices. When you have to select among such a deep talent pool, there are usually two courses of action one responsible coach can pursue. Either you put the best players at each position and hope they all gel, or you put players who are used to playing together, even if they are not the best individual talents.

Both strategies can work.

But it looks like Woodward tried to find a middle of the road solution that, obviously, provided with miserable results.

Peel and Wilkinson at halves? Greenwood and Thomas at center? Dawson and Jones? Come on.

I cannot understand why O'Gara never had a chance to play. Why Peel? Dawson seems far superior. Why did D'Arcy never get his opportunity? Same for Martyn Williams.

When you look at how well Carter+Umaga+Mauger/Smith played together, it is clearly at 10-12-13 that the game was won. A Henson-Shanklin or D'Arcy-BOD (when healthy) combo would have been more logical.

To the Lions' credit, they never let go up front. They were dominated, but the forwards still provided a few good balls, and supported their three quarters on defence.

I think Lewis Moody was the best Lion of the series. Devastating tackles, big presence in support, lots of heart and skills. The third row in general played well (once Corry and Hill were discarded) in tough circumstances.

Lining up Shane Williams against Sivivatu was suicide.

Well, lots of mistakes, but credits to the forward pack.

Your assessment (Banco, WhiteHatter, ZS, and all the rugby nuts here should show up with some comments...)!  Wink

Cheers,

Yann.
 
CRJonBeez
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Sun Jul 10, 2005 2:49 pm

 bigthumbsup  Rugby Fans!!!  bigthumbsup 

good to know there's a few here, although i probably should have assumed...unfortunately, since i live in the states, i barely get the chance to watch any of the tests, but from time to time, it shows up on the television...i watched england play a few months ago, but it was far from a "live broadcast"

are you a player as well?

i spent three seasons with a big 9 on my back...a few friends of mine are pretty good...one plays for the chicago lions, one for the detroit tradesmen, and one (i lost touch years ago) played for the USA under 20 team and spent a month or so in Europe competing
 
WunalaYann
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Sun Jul 10, 2005 3:58 pm

Former player, in my case. Hard to combine work + organized team sport.  Sad

So you were a scrum-half... Hmm, something the Lions could have used...  Wink

There are a few rugby fans round here. Basically, anyone with a New Zealand flag should be part of the community. It is safe to assume that 20% of all British A.netters (yes, Kirkie, that includes you) would have a least a remote interest in the game. Same goes for South Africa, France and Australia.

I have never heard of the teams you mention. I did not even know there was an organized rugby championship in the US. Good news!!!

Welcome to the pub, mate!

Cheers.
 
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aerorobnz
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Sun Jul 10, 2005 4:22 pm

The best thing about the entire tour was the Lion Barmy Army. I checked them in by the truckload today and they were some of the friendliest most courteous people one could meet, so I think they made the tour good, even if the rugby was disappointing. I hear Clive Woodward actually tried a different tactic last night - He actually got them together in the changing room and introduced them all to each other before they ran onto the pitch...
Flown to 120 Airports in 44 Countries on 73 Operators. Visited 55 Countries and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
 
WunalaYann
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Sun Jul 10, 2005 4:34 pm

Quoting AerorobNZ (Reply 3):
He actually got them together in the changing room and introduced them all to each other before they ran onto the pitch...

 rotfl 

That was a very good line!

As much as I like the Lions, it is true that, except for the forward pack (thank God), they often gave the impression of brilliant individual players discovering they had teammates who could also play well...

What's the Lions' Barmy Army?

Cheers.
 
Gman94
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Sun Jul 10, 2005 6:10 pm

I think the biggest failing by Clive Woodward which has been mentioned in the media is the lack of playing time that the test team had together. They line between the midweek and weekend became very muddy compared to previous tours, the test team only played once with each other against Wellington. Woodward should of pretty much picked his test team on the first weekend against Bay of Plenty got them playing together, learning each others game, learning how the coaches want them to play and played them every weekend with a few interchanges from the midweek side.

One of the most irritating things about the Lions failure is the poor forward play. Only in the third test did we see the Lions forwards exert pressure on the All Black pack and they were getting a lot of success particularly with rolling mauls and lineout play. But the complete lack of Lions challenge at the breakdown was appalling, people have blamed that on lack of coaching by the Lions management but I think most of the heat should be directed towards the forwards themselves. These are world class, experienced forwards they should know that there job is to put All Black forwards on the floor, rucking and fighting to get the ball back to their scrum half and backs to create. Instead more often than not we had a lack of numbers at the breakdown and made it easy for New Zealand to create, all too often when the backs got some ball there was a big lumbering forward in the way slowing down the move.

Injuries were also a problem, losing Lawrence Dallaglio in the first few minutes of the first game on tour was a major blow, he would of definitely of grabbed the Lions forwards by the scruff of the neck and got them doing their job properly. Losing Brian O'Driscoll in the first test was also a blow but I don't think it was as huge as losing Dallaglio, I was never a big fan of him being captain. I don't think he is that great a leader on the field and I normally prefer a forward being the captain.

I think the standard of officiating was pretty poor on the tour as well, the officials more often then not were very pro New Zealand. The amount of times things like forward passes, offsides and knock ons by the All Blacks were missed by the officials was very poor. It's hard enough to play against this All Black team without having to fight against the officials and how Umaga and Mealamu were not cited for what can best be described as an assault on O'Driscoll is an absolute disgrace.

The Lions team was supposed to be the best prepared touring side that has ever been put together but the results and performances show that the opposite is true, and how Woodward can claim that the tour is a success despite the defeats is beyond me.

Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 4):
What's the Lions' Barmy Army?

It's the hoards of Lions fans that go to the other side of the world and out number the home fans in the stadiums making the stands a see of red, though I don't like the tag of the 'Barmy Army'. They are the plums that embarrass our country following the cricket tours. Lions and rugby fans in general are much more friendly.
British Airways - The Way To Fly
 
pacificjourney
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Sun Jul 10, 2005 7:50 pm

How can we be sure Clive W isn't a pyromaniac ?

No pyromaniac alive would ever waste 7 matches !
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gkirk
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Sun Jul 10, 2005 8:19 pm

Quoting Gman94 (Reply 5):
I think the biggest failing by Clive Woodward which has been mentioned in the media is the lack of playing time that the test team had together.

Plus Clive Woodward is crap and overrated  Wink
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Gman94
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Sun Jul 10, 2005 8:22 pm

Quoting Gkirk (Reply 7):
Plus Clive Woodward is crap and overrated

Hmmmmm!!!!! How many Scottish coaches have one the World Cup? Big grin

Though in all seriousness his reputation has been tarnished by the Lions displays on tour.
British Airways - The Way To Fly
 
gkirk
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Sun Jul 10, 2005 8:51 pm

Quoting Gman94 (Reply 8):
Hmmmmm!!!!! How many Scottish coaches have one the World Cup? Big grin

Amazing how a team consisting mainly of Englishmen, with no Scots at all got thrashed  Wink
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Gman94
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Sun Jul 10, 2005 8:57 pm

Quoting Gkirk (Reply 9):
Amazing how a team consisting mainly of Englishmen, with no Scots at all got thrashed

I blame the Welsh and Irish, the Lions team should of consisted of all Wasps players, New Zealand would of got stuffed.  Wink
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WrenchBender
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Mon Jul 11, 2005 4:47 am

Haven't seen the third test yet, but definately a disapointing tour buy the Lions.
It was a comedy of organization from the start. Why did woodward have such a hard time in selecting his side's ? Too many to choose from and the number of hangars on etc I heard a number as high as 103 for the entire tour group. That is just ridiculuous.
The Black Ferns and Scottish ladies have just finished the Canada Cup here in Ottawa. The Scots contingent was 29 and the Black Ferns 31 I believe. If Ww had stuck to 30 players and 10 staff he might have stood a chance.

BTW Black Ferns finished 1st, Canada 2nd & Scots 3rd. Women's Rugby is also coming back to Canada next year World Cup in Edmonton.

WrenchBender
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NumberTwelve
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:45 am

Aaaargh, thought (hoped) you were talking about Brisbane Lions, Wunala Sad lol
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Banco
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:31 pm

There's usually a difficulty in getting what is a scratch side to gel and play well. Having said that, by the time the Tests come around, they ought to be a bit closer knit and with some idea of how to play together.

Nevertheless, I do think it a mistake to view the Lions as a team that ought to be "the best in the world", it doesn't work like that, not in modern, professional rugby.

New Zealand were magnificent, it has to be said. Graham Henry definitely outcoached Woodward. He knew what the Lions would look to do and nullified them completely.

I don't often agree with Stuart Barnes, but I do think he had a point when he said that Woodward was coaching to a game-plan based on 2003, not 2005. The game moves on all the time, and Woodward didn't. Losing to a fabulous All Blacks side isn't a disgrace. Losing without ever looking like they were even going to get in the game is.
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cornish
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:38 pm

I also feel that as a squad the Lions were not that strong. Key players were either missing, not at full fitness or match rusty or simply finding this was one tour too many for some ageing legs.

If you looked at the teams fielded in the Tests, I don't think they were ones to really strike fear into the All Blacks. Yes there were some great individual players, but with the likes of O'Driscoll injured, wilkinson unfit, where was the threat going to come from?

I think when Wales won the Grand Slam (with no disrespect to them) that showed us that the writing may have been on the wall somewhat Lions-wise. It was openly said that most of the Welsh players would struggle against the All Blacks, yet where was the alternative from the other teams?

It has to be said that a couple of years ago, you could have named a really strong Lions first 15 (ok mainly England players, but still). This time you would have really struggled with some positions....
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WunalaYann
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Wed Jul 13, 2005 6:55 pm

Perhaps putting together players who were used to one another. If you look at Wales and Ireland, their centers very much complement each other. Henson is the playmaker, complete, swift player, whereas Shanklin, although a very good ball-handler, is more of a pile-driver who instills fear into his opponents. He is also very good at catching balls from high kicks.

O'Driscoll is the match winner, with the killer instinct and the "presence" that keeps opponents honest. Well, when they do not take him out, two on one, in the first minute of the game. D'Arcy is more like Henson, very complete. Exactly like what Mauger and Smith are to Umaga.

Exactly what Wilkinson and O'Driscoll are not to each other.

Then again, regarding high expectations, it is logical to assume that the Lions are the team to beat. Remember that they won their last two tours in SA and Aus. in style and through adversity (both tours featured some of the most thuggish acts I have seen in rugby).

Now the question is: what will the All Blacks do against the Springboks and the Wallabies? Will the black forward pack be able to sustain the impact of their green and yellow counterparts?

Answer in a few weeks...  Wink

Cheers.
 
Banco
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Wed Jul 13, 2005 7:01 pm

They lost in Australia, WunulaYann. And yes, some of the thuggishness was unbelievable - remember the assault on Ronan O'Gara?
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WunalaYann
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:49 pm

I stand corrected.

Didn't they win two and lose one?

Other way around, perhaps.

No, I don't remember that particular assault but apparently the tests against some of the provinces were just a blood bath. I have heard that there was question of simply cancelling the tour, at that time.

The SA tour was quite rough as well. I remember James Small... well, being James Small...

That must be something about the British Empire that the former colonies have not yet forgiven...  Wink

I should know, now...

Cheers.
 
pacificjourney
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Thu Jul 14, 2005 2:06 pm

The real tragedy is how much was invested for almost no return, not even any lessons in defeat (other than 'score tries you tossers' that is) to speak of, and Clive will just walk away from the game he claims to love having done such damage.

Over 10 million pounds spent on kit techs, chefs, media reps, Campbell, lawyers and TOO MANY players and FAR TOO MANY coaches. It would be funny but next year one of the home unions may want to take a school boy team to Argentina or something (you know actually develop the game) and guess what, the cash and goodwill just won't be there.
" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
 
Banco
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Thu Jul 14, 2005 5:49 pm

Whilst I partly agree with you on that Pacificjourney, it did cause me a wry smile given the record of the southern hemisphere record in this regard.

England go to the US and Canada with a development side every year to play the Churchill Cup. The idea is to help those two nations in their rugby development. A drop in the ocean, of course, but it does at least exist.

Now, on the other hand let's compare the behaviour of New Zealand and Australia with regard to the Pacific Islands. It's reprehensible, and it's killing the game there. Then there's the refusal to admit Argentina into the Tri-Nations, which has gone beyond a joke.

I don't mean this from the perspective of being holier-than-thou, all the established countries are piss-poor at looking after the global game, but I wouldn't single out the Lions. New Zealand's policy on this tour of pulling all the decent players out of the warm-up matches the Lions played against the provincial sides isn't particularly geared towards making these long tours more likely in the future. All sides need to ensure that they look after the concept of the Lions - we don't want to see it decline in the way the Barbarians have over recent years.
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pacificjourney
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Thu Jul 14, 2005 7:03 pm

Quoting Banco (Reply 19):
Now, on the other hand let's compare the behaviour of New Zealand and Australia with regard to the Pacific Islands. It's reprehensible, and it's killing the game there.

What are you talking about ?
" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
 
Banco
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Thu Jul 14, 2005 8:51 pm

She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
pacificjourney
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Fri Jul 15, 2005 10:43 am

Nice link,

"So the list rolls on. Sitiveni Sivivatu, Sione Lauaki, Rodney So'oialo, Joe Rokocoko, Joeli Vidiri, Jonah Lomu, John Schuster, Frank Bunce, Michael Jones, Bryan Williams, Walter Little, Stephen Bachop and Andrew Blowers. Jerry Collins and Mils Muliaina are both Samoan by birth. The list is endless."

You should be more discerning about what you believe though Banco,

Lomu, Schuster, Bunce, Jones, Williams, Little, Bachop (x 2), Blowers, Collins all BORN IN NZ.

Sivivatu moved here when 4, Rokocoko likewise at age 5. So'oialo and Muliaiana both went to high school here ... who should they play for exactly ?

Brendan Gallagher should check his facts, the Telegraph get their money back and people from countries who regularly scour the upper Limpopo to find a celtic great-grand parent shouldn't point the finger.
" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
 
zeekiel
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Fri Jul 15, 2005 11:07 am

I agree with Pacificjourney here. Northern Hemisphere commentators don't know what they are talking about.

Am I under any pressure to play for Fiji here? I have roots there, but born in Auckland. I've lived in New Zealand and Australia. I have no connection to that country and have nothing in common with that country.

Even if you were born and moved to New Zealand at a young age, which country are you more attached to? Which country are you a citizen of? Which country do YOU want to play for?

This has nothing to do with unions themselves. More as a function of immigration policy. Remember we let in a lot of guest workers from the Pacific Islands in the 60's and 70's. They liked it here and stayed here. Then a lot of relatives came over and they still do. To become proud Kiwis. Heard of the dawn raid?

Quoting Banco (Reply 19):
New Zealand's policy on this tour of pulling all the decent players out of the warm-up matches the Lions played against the provincial sides isn't particularly geared towards making these long tours more likely in the future.

Was the New Zealand Maori a warm-up match? The Lions had time to build up momentum in those warm up matches. The players in those provinces aren't half baked as you think. A lot of All Blacks did play in those provinces.

The All Blacks just had Fiji to play against to become mould themselves into a cohesive unit.

The Lions had several provinces to mould themselves, with some of them proving to push the Lions just a bit. Remember some of those players are not full-time professional players. Quite a few of them don't actually play in the Super 12.

Cheers

Zeekiel
Bring back the New Zealand Air Combat Force
 
ZKSUJ
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Sat Jul 16, 2005 6:06 pm

Was a great series, probably the only time ever you will see margins this big with the lions involved. Shared a plane with a few of the Barmy Army to SIN last week. I did not say anything but wearing my All Black Jersey on the aircraft was a Sweet Sweet Sensation Big grin
 
WunalaYann
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RE: Lions Vs All Blacks Series, Your Thoughts

Sun Jul 17, 2005 10:38 am

A few quick questions to our Kiwi neighbours here...

1) Is it always a Maori who leads the Haka?

2) What is it exactly that the "leader" says before "Kama te Kama te"? Do you have the exact words of the Haka?

3) Why have the All Blacks changed the Haka in 1999, to a supposedly more "TV-friendly" chant that I find personally far less intimidating than the Zinzan Brooke-led Haka? No need to bring back Colin Meads or Gary Whetton, but the current one looks really "Hollywood-like", IMHO. Is it a tradition to change the Haka?

Cheers,

Yann.

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