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[Archived] British And Irish Lions Tour

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earlier tonight i watched the second game of the tour against a team that are downright pathetic. the first game in rustenburg, i was not overly impressed by a lot of the players, but the game against the golden lions brought 12 changes and players that i was very impressed with. i know we are only 2 games into the tour, but i think that the fullback spot is gonna be a close call, but i am leaning towards rob kearney. another bloke is mike phillips, whom i think is a shew in for the test spot at half back.....bigger, stronger, quicker, more athletic and a better tackler than mike blair. nathan hines will get one of places at lock forward and i reckon ugo monye did himself no harm at all, pace, power, strength and again a good tackler. places that are still up for grabs in my opinion are the centres, wings and the tight five. i think the flankers are pretty much gonna be o'connell and williams.

anyway, what do people reckon??

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For fullback it has to be Lee Byrne, Kearney is good but i think Byrne will edge it. Anyone else think BOD is a knob?

Philips was miles better than Blade at scrum half. Will be tricky to select out-half i would think.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Pretty strong team for the 1st test!

15. Lee Byrne (Ospreys/Wales)

14. Tommy Bowe (Ospreys/Ireland)

13. Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster/Ireland)

12. Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues/Wales)

11. Ugo Monye (Harlequins/England)

10. Stephen Jones (Scarlets/Wales)

9. Mike Phillips (Ospreys/Wales)

8. Jamie Heaslip (Leinster/Ireland)

7. David Wallace (Munster/Ireland)

6. Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers/England)

5. Paul O'Connell (Munster/Ireland) Captain

4. Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys/Wales)

3. Phil Vickery (London Wasps/England)

2. Lee Mears (Bath/England)

1. Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues/Wales)


16. Matthew Rees (Scarlets/Wales)

17. Adam Jones (Ospreys/Wales)

18. Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster/Ireland)

19. Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues/Wales)

20. Harry Ellis (Leicester Tigers/England)

21. Ronan O'Gara (Munster/Ireland)

22. Rob Kearney (Leinster/Ireland)

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From planet Rugby

The match preview will come. But we thought we'd go a little step further when it comes to the previewing the Boks-Lions clash.

Planet Rugby's correspondents Dave Morris and Danny Stephens got together over a pair of orange juices and light chicken salads on Thursday, to figure out who might win the first Test, stripping the teams right down to their smallest component parts...

15 Frans Steyn v Lee Byrne.

DM: If it can be done on the rugby field, chances are Steyn can do it. The list of his qualities is near endless, including extreme drop kicks from 50 metres out. However, Byrne - simply put - is an attacking weapon that can read the game more naturally than his opposite number.

DS: I agree about Byrne's attacking game... not entirely sold on Frans Steyn being able to do anything with an endless list of qualities though. He seems to be quite high maintenance at times when it comes to coaching him to get things right. I do much prefer him in the centre, he doesn't seem to have the all-round game for full-back and certainly not up against Byrne.

Verdict: Byrne

14 JP Pietersen v Ugo Monye.

DM: Defence will be priority for both these wingers, who have been known to show the occasional hiccup. Monye is playing his third game in seven days, and this fatigue factor could ultimately take it's toll against the fresher Pietersen.

DS: Monye seems to have problems with his defence, as befits someone still in his international career infancy. He has this tendency to rush up at the wrong moment (he's not the only one). I think Pietersen is a class act if given enough space but he doesn't go looking for work like Monye does. A tough one to call...but I'll pick Pietersen on freshness as well.

Verdict: JP Pietersen

13 Adi Jacobs v Brian O'Driscoll.

DM: Jacobs is the archetypal pocket rocket and has the ability to beat most opposition, but he just doesn't have a physical enough presence in the midfield to stop the one and only BOD. O'Driscoll is the master of the perfect angle and hits the line like clockwork.

DS: I don't know how anyone can conceive of seeing past BOD on this one. The complete centre, in the form of his career, is unstoppable.

Verdict: BOD

12 Jean de Villiers v Jamie Roberts.

DM: Everything De Villiers does appears effortless, even when running at full tilt. He has a skill set to rival anyone, is deceptively quick and has superb handling skills. Roberts is also an incisive reader of the game, and often provides that little spark that cracks open defences. Tough call, but it's JdV's eye for the tryline against Welsh opposition that wins it for me.

DS: JdV's eye for an intercept is not quite the same as asking him to get past Roberts. The Bok dangerman is also decidedly rusty, playing only 20 minutes of that Namibia game and little either side of that for three months. On other days I'd pick Jean, but Roberts has been brilliant all tour and is a huge physical threat. Form and match-readiness point to the Welshman.

Verdict: tied

11 Bryan Habana v Tommy Bowe.

DM: The combination of blistering pace, lightening acceleration and quick feet make Habana one of the most threatening runners with ball in hand in the game. Bowe has pace, quick feet, good hands and has excellent finishing skills. But in a race for the line - I'll put my money on Habana winning hands down.

DS: Most people do. But Tommy Bowe is in scintillating form and his eye for coming off his wing might swing him this one. Questions do longer over his defence though, which might count for a fair bit in the context of the game. On form, it's Bowe for me.

Verdict: tied

10 Ruan Pienaar v Stephen Jones.

DM: The strengths to Pienaar's game are plentiful and diverse. He has a decent boot, is a reliable goal-kicker, and his scrum-half experience means his distribution is near flawless. Jones' natural size and strength translates into an ability to play a very direct game when necessary, and natural tactical acumen means he can control a Test for 80 minutes.

DS: Jones gets this hands down. More experienced, less recently injured, fresher, and with the physical threats of Roberts and Phillips either side of him giving plenty of running options as well as the kicking and distribution.

Verdict: Jones

9 Fourie du Preez v Mike Phillips.

DM: So often the catalyst, the creator, and the inspiration for Bok victories, Du Preez directs play effortlessly through his pin-point kicking game and metronomic distribution. Phillips' decision-making is seldom less than exceptional. He knows the right option, and has the skill to execute it but is up against arguably the world's best.

DS: Goodness what a pick! These are the world's two best in my opinion. Phillips has the better pass and strength with the ball in hand, du Preez has the better kicking game and open play running game. So hard to choose! But given that this game is likely to be tight, you'd have to back the man who won the tightest-planned World Cup Final of them all two years ago.

Verdict: Du Preez

8 Pierre Spies v Jamie Heaslip.

DM: Spies and Heaslip are ideal number eights possessing size, strength and speed. Heaslip always brings a physical presence with him on the field and has the ability to slide and break through tackles, however what the Munsterman can do, the Springboks' explosive runner can do better.

DS: I think the world is yet to see what Spies can do on the biggest stage yet. This could be the bionic man's series. Intelligent as Heaslip is, there is just no comprehending how big and powerful Spies is until seen first-hand.

Verdict: Spies

7 Juan Smith v Tom Croft (6).

DM: The claws are out. Croft, the Tiger who became a Lion will be up against a Cheetah... this is one cat-fight you don't want to miss! Smith is first on the Springbok team-sheet for a reason, but it's hard to say the same about Croft had Stephen Ferris still been around.

DS: Agreed. We've talked Croft up all series and his line-out option he offers will be priceless to his team, as will his pace be in broken play. But Smith is arguably the Boks' most consistent performer over years now, he just reads a game so well and carries the ball so much. Too dominant.

Verdict: Smith

6 Heinrich Brussow v David Wallace (7).

DM: This is a tough one. Brussow is near-peerless on the ground, where his ability to secure turnovers and slow down opposition ball are key attributes. Wallace has been around the block a few times and his experience performing on the big stage should see him through.

DS: Yes, Brüssow could be the tour revelation. But you'd be a brave man to pick a rookie over the Munster stalwart first up. Wallace is far too astute not to have learned and learned fast from Brüssow's Cheetahs masterclass and he's an underestimated threat with the ball in hand.

Verdict: Wallace

5 Victor Matfield v Paul O'Connell.

DM: This mouth-watering head to head sees South Africa's line-out extraordinaire against the leader of the Lions pack. Both are intimidating defenders and can cause of all sorts of problems with ball in hand. O'Connell is a superb motivator, but the reason why he is the leader of men is that he's always the first to get stuck in. Matfield has shown why he is regarded as the best in the game, and he'll do so again.

DS: Yes, this one is key. Again, I agree. O'Connell sometimes tries too hard to lead by example, where Matfield just goes about his business with maximum efficiency and effect. With the captaincy inspiring O'Connell into doing too much around the park, Matfield is likely to win this battle just by concentrating on his own game.

Verdict: Matfield

4 Bakkies Botha v Alun Wyn Jones.

DM: Matfield's partner in crime is unrelentingly determined and skilled in his role at the set pieces. For such a big guy, he's very athletic, and Wyn Jones will have to be at his very best to get one over him. Saying that, the Welshman never gives in and he's constantly in your face.

DS: I harbour a sneaky suspicion that this tour might define Alun-Wyn Jones' career. If there is a chink in Bakkies' armour, it's his on-the-edge needle and discipline, while Jones is already one of those quiet and devastating exponents of his art. Jones is also better around the park and with a hooker now throwing in who can find his targets - a luxury not afforded often to Jones in Wales - the line-out might be a different story for him here.

Verdict: tied

3 John Smit v Gethin Jenkins.

DM: Freshly moved to number three against Wales last November, Smit didn't concede an inch against Jenkins in their last meeting, and after some impressive outings at prop in the Super 14, I'm backing the Bok skipper to prove his doubters wrong once again.

DS: It depends if Jenkins gets the rub of the officials or not. If not, he's in big trouble. If he does, he has been the strongest loosehead on the tour. Let's assume that Bryce Lawrence will allow the Welshman to scrum; he will win the scrum battle.

Verdict: tied

2 Bismarck du Plessis v Lee Mears.

DM: Keeping errors and indiscipline to a minimum is non-negotiable for Du Plessis who has a tendency to do both. Mears is the better line-out thrower and, like Du Plessis, always brings a physical aspect to the team and will look to intimidate up front.

DS: Bismarck is the better runner with the ball in hand, but Mears is a far more accomplished hooker and his line-out throwing has been a real asset on this tour.

Verdict: Mears

1 Tendai Mtawarira v Phil Vickery.

DM: Mtawarira is a strong scrummager and powerful ball carrier, while his defence is fearsome and he'll hit rucks for 80 minutes. However Vickery is the complete prop, executing the core duties consistently well, while adding that bit extra around the park that sets him apart from "Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeast".

DS: Vickery is back to his quiet and accomplished best on this tour, and in a game where scrummaging is set to be paramount, that will count for a great deal against the rawer Zimbabwean.

Verdict: Vickery.

Overall votes: Boks 14 Lions 16

Head-to-head score: Boks 5 Lions 6

So it's the Lions by a whisker! We'll see...

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Lost to many points by penalties in the first half simply because Phil Vickery can't bind!!!!

Great come back in the 2nd half and South Africa were on the ropes but thanks to their great defense throughout the whole game, they held on.

Nothing to do with the bind, all to do with the angle the saffa prop was coming in at, and also the Ref deciding Vickery was always wrong.

Start with the front row that finished to day, O'Gara for Jones and you'll probably have a team that will beat the Boks.

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Yeah saffies didnt want to play scrum. Looked like they werent even coming in straight at times.

Kearney to start i think next match, looked the business when he came on.

You could see the intensity with regards the scrum in the 2nd half, lions didnt wait for the push, they just motored.

Cant wait for next test now

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  • 2 weeks later...

If it wasnt for Ronan O'###### Gara, we'd have won the second, and yes I know I said he should start, but begorrah, I'd forgotton his tackling technique was to fall on the ground and try and trip the opposition up with his shaking torso.

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He was after being injured when he came on and i think he should have come off the field at that stage. I just think it was poor that certain members of the selection didnt get enough of a chance!

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Good stuff by the Lions. They didnt deserve to lose the series, they were by the better team. Our coach is a serious idiot, a ticking time bomb, who doesnt know when to shut the F up. Fantastic support for the lions, looked like they outnumbered the local fans.

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his tackling is fine. I can name a certain player from across the water, who's inability to do more than try and trip the opposition up by falling on the floor in front of them, cost us the 2nd test. Garumpf.

Still, time to start saving for 4years hence.

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his tackling is fine. I can name a certain player from across the water, who's inability to do more than try and trip the opposition up by falling on the floor in front of them, cost us the 2nd test. Garumpf.

Still, time to start saving for 4years hence.

Your thinking about heading to Oz flops?

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His tackling is also somewhat suspect

Couldnt believe Monye actually held onto that intercept. Seems he has butter fingers or just panics when he gets to the try line.

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Couldnt believe Monye actually held onto that intercept. Seems he has butter fingers or just panics when he gets to the try line.

Exactly. He had the line at his mercy early on in the first test but went to ground way too early.

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