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South Africa vs British and Irish Lions - Test 3

Reiser99

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That article left me feeling very confused because while I agree with many of the sentiments, it seemed to place the blame on the lions concept as a whole, the issues with covid and unrest in South Africa, rather than on Gatland. The way I read it, it seemed to say that it's mainly the boks fault for playing boring rugby and the Lions just fell into the trap of playing them at their own game or that poor readership was down to whether they won or lost, not the quality of rugby. Reality is, it was Gatland's choice who to pick and the tactics they employed. He chose to play the boks at their own game and it led to boring, terrible matches.

I do agree that the Lions tour has issues going forward, such as needing a coach to have a years sabbatical, more congested calendar and players needing more time off. Ultimately this tour will not have made any large number of new Lions fans and I imagine if you had data the number of lions fans would be down once you compare new fans to existing fans who have had enough.

For me the concept of the Lions is to gather the best players from Britain and Ireland and compete with 3 of the best (? loosely in terms of Australia) teams in the world. It's meant to be better than ordinary rugby. Instead its become a pathetic puff piece more focused on making money than providing entertainment. Yes they need to fund the tour, but if the tour exists just for the sake of financing it's own existence then it's lost it's purpose and we'd be better off spending the money on developing the game globally against T2, than just filling the coffers of the S.A, Australia and NZ.
 

Le Frére Alpha

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May I ask why out of interest?
Firstly I don't really care about the Lions, it doesn't represent anything that I want to support and I don't think it does the individual nations and players any favours with injuries and burn out common on and after the tours. It's also turned into a bit of a **** product in my opinion, X amount of warm up games against comically weak opposition followed by a test series against a team only starting their season and blowing a bit cold isn't a recipe for entertainment in the modern game and is always a bit dragged out and anti-climatic.

As for the last 8 years I felt that Gatland stuck with his boys, played miserably boring rugby, didn't reward players who earned spots on the tour (Ringrose ahead of Payne springs to mind last time but I can't remember back too well otherwise, Slade and Sexton this time who I'm convinced would have brought a winning contribution) but, mostly, he made it about him and his ego so often. What sticks out at me was the BOD saga in 2013, firstly making a big deal of not picking backs as captain when BOD was absolutely the obvious and correct choice, there wasn't a more respected leader in the NH at the time and then when he dropped him the first thing he said was 'I'm the first coach to drop him', have a bit of class. It happened again this time with the reasons for not picking Sexton and Ryan and I'm fairly sure he ****** off the Scots a lot on the last two tours saying stupid **** too. He's divided media and fans so much that Lions tours have become exhausting, this tour definitely being less toxic than the last two on here but mostly because half the English, Scottish and Irish fans were so fed up that we'd post snarky jokes that were usually ignored rather than having a proper discussion/argument that could get very tense, it was far more bitter on here and in the media (bar the Rassie show) last times out.

Add all of this together and I really didn't want Gatland to have a winning record as a Lion's coach, 33% and underachieving on every tour seems about his level when it comes to playing the SH and I'm happy with that. In 2025, and from then on, I'll want the Lions to win and the Irish to do well but I won't be happy or upset depending on the result at all mostly hoping for no injuries.
 

ncurd

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He's divided media and fans so much that Lions tours have become exhausting, this tour definitely being less toxic than the last two on here but mostly because half the English, Scottish and Irish fans were so fed up that we'd post snarky jokes that were usually ignored rather than having a proper discussion/argument that could get very tense, it was far more bitter on here and in the media (bar the Rassie show) last times out.
I think it was mainly due to him picking shite English/Irish players this time around as opposed to just shite Welsh players. It was very hard to get entrenched along nationalistic lines. Gats just proved us all right after years of complaining the issue was him not the fact he was the Welsh coach.
 

The Oggmonster

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One of Gatland's biggest flaws is that he overlooks too many form players who haven't played for him before and refuses to put his trust in them and instead picks out of form 'trusted' players who delivered for him four years ago. It's almost like he's romanticising about the past and in a deluded kind of way thinks he can get history to repeat itself. Conan starting instead of Faletau is one of the rare exceptions but if Faletau had shown any sort of form in the warm ups then I'm sure he'd have started yesterday.

Henderson, Beirne and Watson should have featured way more in the tests but his obsession with shoehorning AWJ into the side meant in form players missed out.
 
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I love the concept of the Lions. The next tours will be against teams who play more open rugby, there will almost certainly be a new head coach and there will be fans. The look and feel will be much more upbeat.

But I do question whether there is space in the calendar for them now. Also the warm up games are a joke as the host country’s best players tend to be held back for the tests.
 

Reiser99

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One of Gatland's biggest flaws is that he overlooks too many form players who haven't played for him before and refuses to put his trust in them and instead picks out of form 'trusted' players who delivered for him four years ago. It's almost like he's romanticising about the past and in a deluded kind of way thinks he can get history to repeat itself.

Henderson, Beirne and Watson should have featured way more in the tests but his obsession with shoehorning AWJ into the side meant other in form players missed out.
I literally wanted to vomit every time I heard the phrases "credit in the bank" and "test match animal". Reality is they are just excuses for out of form players. Look at Farrell. Out of form for England for a while now, didn't look like he was in any kind of form for the Lions, yet still picked. Came on and did...I think kicked one penalty. Other than that he made no contributions to the tests. Finn Russell came on and the game changed, yes he was injured for the first 2 tests, but was he likely to play anyway? For me Gatland was forced into picking Russell and Simmonds as it became clear that the team in the first 2 games had 0 ability to change a game if things were going wrong, not because he wanted to.
 

The Oggmonster

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I literally wanted to vomit every time I heard the phrases "credit in the bank" and "test match animal". Reality is they are just excuses for out of form players. Look at Farrell. Out of form for England for a while now, didn't look like he was in any kind of form for the Lions, yet still picked. Came on and did...I think kicked one penalty. Other than that he made no contributions to the tests. Finn Russell came on and the game changed, yes he was injured for the first 2 tests, but was he likely to play anyway? For me Gatland was forced into picking Russell and Simmonds as it became clear that the team in the first 2 games had 0 ability to change a game if things were going wrong, not because he wanted to.

Yeah I think Gatland only put Russell and Simmonds on the bench to prevent people from accusing him of not having a Plan B and being too one dimensional. He probably would have gone for Farrell and Faletau if he could have gotten away with it and had Townsend not been there to push the case for Russell & Simmonds. I just hope the Lions board perform some kind of post tour post mortem and identify these fundamental errors.
 

Kripke

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I literally wanted to vomit every time I heard the phrases "credit in the bank" and "test match animal". Reality is they are just excuses for out of form players. Look at Farrell. Out of form for England for a while now, didn't look like he was in any kind of form for the Lions, yet still picked. Came on and did...I think kicked one penalty. Other than that he made no contributions to the tests. Finn Russell came on and the game changed, yes he was injured for the first 2 tests, but was he likely to play anyway? For me Gatland was forced into picking Russell and Simmonds as it became clear that the team in the first 2 games had 0 ability to change a game if things were going wrong, not because he wanted to.
You forgot 'never takes a backward step'..
 

Dan Kelly is Irish

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Quite apart from Gatland’s mistakes we also missed North, Underhill and Kruis for various reasons all of whom would have been right up for the physical battle. Fully fit all would have been in my starting XV.

Hen’s teeth territory, granted but if Binny and Manu had been anything like on form / fit they’d have played a part too.

Underhill and Kruis was part of gatlands mistakes. They could’ve gone but didn’t get picked.
 

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I literally wanted to vomit every time I heard the phrases "credit in the bank" and "test match animal". Reality is they are just excuses for out of form players. Look at Farrell. Out of form for England for a while now, didn't look like he was in any kind of form for the Lions, yet still picked. Came on and did...I think kicked one penalty. Other than that he made no contributions to the tests. Finn Russell came on and the game changed, yes he was injured for the first 2 tests, but was he likely to play anyway? For me Gatland was forced into picking Russell and Simmonds as it became clear that the team in the first 2 games had 0 ability to change a game if things were going wrong, not because he wanted to.
I believe Russell was always going to be the go to guy to up the pace. HIs injury didn't send him home plus it was made clear by Gatland that he would be in consideration for the 2nd or 3rd test. Smith was called up as a similar player to Russell.
 

ncurd

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I believe Russell was always going to be the go to guy to up the pace. HIs injury didn't send him home plus it was made clear by Gatland that he would be in consideration for the 2nd or 3rd test. Smith was called up as a similar player to Russell.
I'm amazed Russell got a game, Gatland's entire coaching career really suggests he would never use him unless forced. Farrell was always his guy for the bench and if hadn't stunk it up so royally would of been kept.

If the plan was always high tempo Smith would of been in the bench in the first two tests not Farrell.
 

Dan Kelly is Irish

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If Gatlands plan was to have Russell up the pace why did the pace drop off massively in the second half after a team talk?

RE Simmonds if Gatland wanted an attacking threat in the back row why didn't he stick with Watson? At least he's physical in defence also.
Made no sense, bar the one tackle Watson came on and added energy.
 

Dan Kelly is Irish

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For me Gatlands mistakes biggest mistake was not taking
Genge/Marler over Vunipola (I know biased re Genge), Kruis/Gray over Hill/Beard, Stander/Underhill/Fagerson over Simmonds, Ringrose over any of the centres outside Henshaw, maybe even add Slade over Harris also.

I know I got grief cause Kruis hadn't played international rugby and was against sub par teams in the top league.
But people underestimate the condition players get in, Mostert played the same teams Kruis did and was imo player of the tour.

Ringrose was massively missed we had zero attacking threat at 13 in fact it wasn't till Henshaw had to play 13 that we made yardage there.


The initial selection looked like a coach who knew he wanted to play a boring gamelan but picked some selections to appease various medias.
If Gatland had any desire from the start to play an attacking plan he would've found a way to fit Ringrose in at 13 it's simple as that for me
9. Price
10. Russell
12. Henshaw
13. Ringrose

Is an actual attacking core of a pretty high level.
 

Kripke

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I love the concept of the Lions. The next tours will be against teams who play more open rugby, there will almost certainly be a new head coach and there will be fans. The look and feel will be much more upbeat.

But I do question whether there is space in the calendar for them now. Also the warm up games are a joke as the host country’s best players tend to be held back for the tests.
I can't get excited about touring Australia in their current makeup - good enough side, but it's simply not the same task as the other sides.

Warm up games in New Zealand aren't a joke to be fair - didn't the lions lose to the Blues or someone? And most games were close I think but can't recall that clearly.

In fact even the Oz warmups weren't all bad - again I can't remember but didn't something happen against the Tahs?

Anyway, I'm not making any particular point here except maybe that there's a lot of variation between the challenges of each tour
 

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I think that everyone is being too negative about the state of rugby, South Africa have always played like they did during this Lions series. They have still been involved in plenty of classic games, the 2013 and 2018 New Zealand games spring to mind. Rugby is a clash of styles and if the other team tries to play open and expansive rugby as the All Blacks do then it can be an amazing clash of styles.

The problem arises when the other team tries to out Bok the Boks. All that happens is that you get a poorer spectacle for the casual viewer and the Boks invariably win.
 

Gena_ZA

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My hangover rates there amongst the biggest test ever played, not even going to read the last 25 pages of crying and picking a new coach. with subtle hate amongst the 4 nations, it got old.
This was a different tour and should be seen as such. No crowds, utterly undercooked Boks to start off with.
Covid, bashing of officials on both sides and social media usage/misusage never seen before.

Yet it gave us three tense test matches, and I am grateful for that, I missed rugby dearly.
My view only - had the Boks the same time and level of preparation, the Lions would have gone home 0-3, I have no doubt about that.
Sure they have all this class, the history of the red jersey, and all the lovely things that go with it.
This is the best Boks team in a very long time and earned the two biggest trophies that exists in modern-day rugby.

It's 4 more years for anyone for the World Cup.
It is 12 more years for the BI Lions to come again.

c'est la vie
 

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One of Gatland's biggest flaws is that he overlooks too many form players who haven't played for him before and refuses to put his trust in them and instead picks out of form 'trusted' players who delivered for him
Sounds vaguely familiar...
 

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Strange to feel relieved that the Lions tour is over, for me personally it just didn’t excite or deliver as past tours have felt.
I know stats are just stats, and should not represent actuality, but these tour comparison stats make for poor reading of the tours in decline over the years.
Except for the odd stat of high amount of defenders beaten against low points for 2021 tour.

D1B18194-DA1F-4C78-9730-EC02DD3D3E1B.jpeg
 

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