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Simon Austin | 14:56 UK time, Saturday, 20 June 2009

Kings Park, Durban

Lee Byrne - rating 6: Solid under the high ball and booming with the boot, as usual. Also made a couple of nice breaks, before he was substituted shortly before half-time because of an injury. But failed to put enough pressure on Frans Steyn with his kicking.

Tommy Bowe - 6: One of the stars of the tour, but didn't have the chances he has had in the warm-up games.

Brian O'Driscoll - 8: Has developed an excellent partnership with Roberts, which gives the Lions hope in the remaining two Tests. Showed excellent awareness and strength to play Croft in for his first and was always a danger.

Jamie Roberts - 9: The Lions' man of the match cemented his reputation as a world-class centre with this performance. A constant threat who seemed to ask questions of opposite number Jean de Villiers whenever he had ball in hand. There were several memorable moments - showing the strength to stand up in the tackle and offload in the run-up to Croft's first try; driving Pietersen back in the tackle shortly after the interval and then making an excellent break before the second try.

Ugo Monye - 6: Two great chances to score, which could have swung the result the Lions' way. Can be forgiven for not getting the first, when the video referee took an age to make a decision before the interval. But should have taken Frans Steyn on the outside to score the second. Would Shane Williams have taken these chances?

Stephen Jones: 6 Missed two penalties in the first half, which was in stark contrast to Ruan Pienaar's excellent place kicking. Some of his kicking out of hand was also poor, although he has forged a good understanding with O'Driscoll in attack.

Mike Phillips - 7: Service was sometimes imprecise and a little laboured, yet always a threat round the fringes and took his try very well, with a clever dummy.

Jamie Heaslip - 5: Not a conspicuous presence, either in the loose or at the base of the scrum. His opposite number, Pierre Spies, had a quiet afternoon as well though.

David Wallace - 6: Lions struggled at the breakdown, which is obviously one of the number seven's primary duties. Went close to scoring in the first half before being substituted after the interval. Replaced by Martyn Williams and it will be interesting to see who starts at open side in the second Test.

Tom Croft - 8: How could he have been left out of the original squad? A superb performance. Often the first Lions player to the breakdown, great work-rate and took his chances very well. World class.

Paul O'Connell - 6: The captain must take some credit for the way the Lions came back late in the game. Sometimes looks lumbering in the loose though.

Alun Wyn Jones - 6: Perhaps his lack of bulk had something to do with Vickery's problems at scrum time. Lively in the loose and made one great tackle in the first half.

Phil Vickery - 3: Sad afternoon for the World Cup winner, who was dominated by Tendai Mtawira at scrum time. Gave away numerous penalties and was inevitably substituted early in the second half, although perhaps he should have gone off sooner. The resigned look on his face when Bismarck du Plessis threw him to the floor shortly after the interval seemed to sum up his performance.

Lee Mears - 4: His throwing into the line-out was poor, with several long efforts snagged by the Boks. Also part of a malfunctioning front row and looked lightweight in the loose.

Gethin Jenkins - 5: Part of a poor front row and not quite as prominent in the loose as we are used to, although he has admittedly set very high standards.


Rob Kearney - 6: Made no mistakes after coming on and attacked with purpose. Doesn't have the attacking threat of Byrne though.

Adam Jones - 6: Helped to steady the scrum after coming on for Vickery and will surely start the second Test.

Martyn Williams - 6: Some good link-up play after he came on. Might now start his first ever Lions Test next weekend.

Matthew Rees - 6: Scrum improved when he and Jones came on and his throwing to the line-out was better than Mears'.


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  • 1. At 4:59pm on 20 Jun 2009, rugbyboy75 wrote:

    A bit harsh on Vicks! Yes he was a weak link but the ref let the beast drive in sideways a lot and there was a lack of power coming from behind!

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  • 2. At 5:01pm on 20 Jun 2009, WelshGnasher wrote:

    pretty harsh on jenkins - giving him a 5 - i thought he tackled well and scrummaged well - it wasnt his side of the scrum that was the problem. I agree that shane williams would have finished one if not both of Monye's chances.

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  • 3. At 5:06pm on 20 Jun 2009, omitme wrote:

    Second-half scrum performance was amazing turnaround, harked back to small front row in 97 making it hard for the Boks to get down low. Thought the all-Welsh unit did really well and happy to see them start next week. Wonder if there'll be calls to beef up with Shaw and Worsley? I'd resist the former and go with Joe at 6, moving Croft to 8, Heaslip was anonymous. Also very pleased to see Martin Williams go well, he should have started and will next week I hope. Powell on bench as impact sub, Hook too if he's recovered. Need to send for another prop though, Sheridan would have been way off the standard today and if Jones starts then maybe Flatman should get down there asap...he's looking very fine with the Saxons

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  • 4. At 5:08pm on 20 Jun 2009, rltravers9 wrote:

    harsh on Monye, the two inside him should have straightened earlier to make it a stroll in. Rees gave a turnover penalty in front of SA posts which would have put us back in it. Jones' frailties with the boot effectively cost the Lions the game. SA didn't have to work enough for their points, all too easy, but excellent comeback. Need Hook in next week as the sight of O'Gara warming up to replace BOD was not something anyone would want to see again!

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  • 5. At 5:12pm on 20 Jun 2009, astoundinghawkeye wrote:

    Stephen Jones was very poor today. His kicking was not of a test match standard and has really reflected his tour to date. Time to give Ronan O'Gara his chance.

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  • 6. At 5:15pm on 20 Jun 2009, Maximus Decimus Meridius wrote:

    Alun Wyn Jones was our heaviest forward today.

    But Pierre Spies i have a word for you: OVERRATED

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  • 7. At 5:18pm on 20 Jun 2009, Applemask wrote:

    You're marking Ugo Monye down for being tackled inches from the line? Was Morne Steyn momentarily invisible or something? He didn't just drop the ball for no reason, you know.

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  • 8. At 5:19pm on 20 Jun 2009, Dundalkpoint wrote:

    S Jones 6??? 4 at tops. Also i just don't understand why heaslip got a 5 and wallace got 6. Jamie should be 7 and David a 5. for the second test Nugget to start instead of wallace. Can't argue with any other ratings.
    Despite the loss i do feel reasons for optimism for next week. All welsh front row and O'Gara to start. maybe DOC for AWJ but i think i would leave it the same,

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  • 9. At 5:23pm on 20 Jun 2009, SuperGedwards9 wrote:

    I was roundly laughed at when I suggested that A Jones is a better Prop than Vickery and should have started the Test.
    I even went so far as to cut and paste the Guardian ratings from the England Wales game in this years 6 nations as Vickery and Sherriden were taken apart by Jenkins and Jones. I would have picked Mears because up till now his throwing has been the best but I didn't understand why we didn't start with A Jones. Vickery got completely dominated, abused and bullied, soon as A Jones came on the scrum was good, solid and even dominant to the extent that the beast was taken off. Why did we have to lose a half, a Test Match and possibly a series to realise what I had been talking about, what am I a genius? This was so frustrating because everytime we had the ball in hand we looked dangerous and like we could rip them up and it was whenever we played good rugby. 8/100 for Odriscoll is generous to the extreme, he kicked out of hand too much, once straight to Habanna, he fumled under no pressure once in midfield, he knocked on at the base of a ruck in a vital moment. When you give only 1 extra point for a peerless performance from J Roberts it doesn't make sense.
    Monye, again I rest my case, Shane Williams would have nailed those two tries, espec the second one, he really got lucky in that he played in the game where everyone looked good.
    Total shame as this team was there for the beating, when we had a good front row on we started getting ball and opening them up, M Williams looked good as did A Jones around the ruck. Kearney for Byrne is a straight swap so no problems, he's a good player. What a waste of a chance though. Total shame.

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  • 10. At 5:24pm on 20 Jun 2009, mightymaroon wrote:

    Simon - blaming wyn-jones for vickery's "scrummaging" is a bit harsh when he wasn't even on his side of the scrum.
    all welsh front row for next game.keep the rest of the pack. kearney on the left wing if byrne is fit, otherwise fitzgerald on wing and kearney at full back.
    monye not good enough. first chance was difficult, but he blew the second one and butchered a 2 man overlap a couple of minutes afterwards.

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  • 11. At 5:26pm on 20 Jun 2009, optimussmith1 wrote:

    Harsh on Jenkins and too kind to Croft - Jenkins' side of the scrum was solid (and he clearly had uper hand when we got a proper front row on) and he was great in the loose (as per usual) - Not many props would have made that tackle on Habana

    Croft did well for the two tries but they weren't exactly the hardest to finish - His 'forward' work was not quite so good - shown up in the lineout (along with the others) and very lightweight in the loose. Also didn't really have to gve away that shoulder charge penalty...

    Changes for next week;

    start with the front row that endedthat game
    Ditch POC and bring in Hines/O'Callaghan to partner AWJ. (contentious I know)
    Bring William in for Croft(Wallace switch)
    Possibly ROG for Jones (though he'll need to up his defensive game)

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  • 12. At 5:26pm on 20 Jun 2009, Father Jack wrote:

    Vickery had a 'mare and it was the first game that I've seen where Mears' accuracy at the throw let him down. Matthew Rhys had one of his better games and Adam Jones has to start next week.

    Harsh on Monye though and I think it's incorrect to make the assumption that Shane Williams would have finished either of his chances. The Lions made the mistake of picking on reputation in 2005 and Williams has been poor for the whole of the past season. He was lucky to tour and in my opinion should be behind Fitzgerald if a wing change is considered.

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  • 13. At 5:26pm on 20 Jun 2009, xpat73 wrote:

    To be fair to Heaslip, if you are going backwards in the scrum at a rate it is hard to do ANYTHING!

    Beast was not scrummaging straight although Vickery was poor.

    Lions should have scored 7 tries in this game. The boks did nothing all game.....The Lions backs looked like they would score every time they got the ball.

    The ref was awful and Spies was invisible...was he on the pitch??

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  • 14. At 5:27pm on 20 Jun 2009, CoesauPlwm wrote:

    "A bit harsh on Vicks". Are you having a laugh?! He single-handedly lost us that game with his scrummaging. The Beast was not the one turning in- it was Vickery buckling under pressure. Embarassing. As soon as Adam Jones came on we started driving them back. Mears without lineout security is a bit pointless too. Back-row and backs were fine. We need Adam Jones, Matthew Rees and either Shaw or Hines to bulk us up front.

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  • 15. At 5:28pm on 20 Jun 2009, SuperGedwards9 wrote:

    "Service was sometimes imprecise and a little laboured" for Phillips,it's called posession Rugby, if it isn't quick you may as well keep the phases going, I thought he was outstanding and was one of the leaders of the fightback whilst quiet man O'connel went missing again.
    He controlled the patient game we needed to open up the holes.
    I am confident we can beat these guys next week but it is always 80% somebodies series when they go 1-0 up and we really should have beaten them today. Poor leadership as the discipline was bad but that's the same with Ireland so why are we suprised. Soon as we started playing a bit of Rugby we came good but it often went down the line and BOD kicked!!! Play the ball to a guy in the same shirt and support, we looked great then. Croft. good game in the loose, makes such a difference to have forwards with brains.

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  • 16. At 5:30pm on 20 Jun 2009, gibbsiesshoulder wrote:

    The team was heavilly dominated by Welsh players and it was a typically Welsh performance. Give the opposition a twenty point start and then gallently fight back to give them a scare. Good, but not good enough!

    From my comfy arm chair the weakest link to me this afternoon was yet again Stuart Barnes. I'm sorry but he may be a respected journalist and he may have played a significant number of amateur rugby games but the man does not know or appreciate the modern game. Can sky not give us the option of no commentary, or even South African commentary. The man has all this week been campaigning for the inclusion of Vickery at tight head, but only when Paul Wallace pointed out that he was too tall for the Beast, did he change his tune and clamour for "Good tourist" Adam Jones.
    Stephen Jones' boot let him down too. I'd now be tempted for the next two games to let someone with nailed on accuracy take the kicks. The altitude will take care of the rest. How about Croft? He's doing everything else right.

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  • 17. At 5:32pm on 20 Jun 2009, morphey00 wrote:

    Ugo Monye and Phil Vickery were an absolute disgrace. Monye shown up for the phoney he really is. Good job John hayes is out now, he'll have more acceleration and better finishing on the wing i think! Vickery's incompetence lost the lions the game.

    roberts and drico were fantastic unbeleiveable partnership. Stephen Jones could have got more ball to them if he wasnt running around like a headless chicken and kicking like a blind person!

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  • 18. At 5:38pm on 20 Jun 2009, JohnBridgend wrote:

    Team for next Test:

    Jenkins - Legend
    Rees - Best of a bad bunch
    A Jones - Wont let you down
    AWJ - POC just not doing the business
    Hines - Looked very solid
    Croft - did well today
    Wallace - just did enough over M Williams
    Heaslip - poor today but better than the rest
    Philips- Good today and miles ahead of the other two
    Hook - assuming not injured - if not Jones or OG offer about the same.
    Bowe - quiet today but class
    Roberts/Bod - no brainer
    Kearney - assuming Byrne fit if not then Kearney FB with Fitzgerald coming in. Monye shocking today.

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  • 19. At 5:39pm on 20 Jun 2009, boycie00 wrote:

    The coaches took their eye off the ball by downplaying the importance of one of rugby union's fundamental principles, a solid scrum. You cannot be effective at test level off the back foot - see the Lions in the first half and SA in the second.

    The front row were poor but there was a lack of power coming through as could be clearly seen in the Boks pack. Sheridan/Adam Jones/Shaw/Hines for next week to shore up the scrum then as the Boks tire at 60m, as they did today, unleash Jenkins, Croft, W.Jones to inject some pace.

    Another fundamental principle is you have to convert territory into points and Jones place kicking was poor and his kicking from hand was terrible. If he'd kicked into the corner with 3 mins to go we would have had a great chance of a catch & drive but he could only slice into touch at the 22 and bang went our last great chance. He certainly didn't deserve a 6, more a 3 at best. O'Gara now deserves his chance.

    I disagree with a 5 for Heaslip. Spies was meant to be a superman but was ineffective and some credit for that must go to his opposite number.

    Finally there's no excuses for Croft's shoulder charge of their No 9 into touch (cost: 3pts) nor Rees 'punch' (cost: scrum to the Lions 5 metres from their line) - two minor incidences which could well have cost us the game.

    Highlights: BOD/Roberts dazzling display and the sheer line out class of Mattfield/Botha.

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  • 20. At 5:42pm on 20 Jun 2009, ExileGwilym wrote:

    I don't think Gethin or AWJ deserve the blame for Vickery's scrummaging and deserve 7's apiece - it was still AWJ when Adam Jones/Matthew Rees came on and sorted the scrum out. Gethin's the only prop in world rugby who could get near Habana! As for Monye, don't forget he also threw away a 2-man overlap by going for the line himself towards the end. Shane may not be on his best form at the moment, but that just means he can't make tries out of nothing. Even now, you'd have to back him to get better than 0/3 of clear opportunities when the others in the team have done all the work. Interesting listening to the raido commentary, Williams (M) got a lot more mentions than Wallace despite being on the pitch 1/2 as much time. Starting XV for 2nd Test:
    Byrne (please be fit, else Kearney)
    S Jones
    A Jones
    AW Jones
    POC (too late to drop the captain now... perhaps it should have been BOD after all)

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  • 21. At 5:42pm on 20 Jun 2009, prjrugby wrote:

    Simon Austin now believes Tom Croft is 'World Class'. That would mean he would walk into the south african team then? I don't think so. He played well and scored two short range tries but keep yourself together.
    I do think we can play better than we did today and possibly win a test but we have to pick the right team and bench options.
    Vickery was appauling and has been hyped up all tour without every doing anything great. He had a rubbish six nations and then sudeenly everyone was saying he was ahead of Adam jones and Euan Murray (who by the way destroyed 'the beast' in the autumn internationals).
    I wouldn't make too many changes but would bring Hines into the second row and of course start with Adam jones at 3. I think Rees did well when he came on so he should start with Ford on the bench.

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  • 22. At 5:43pm on 20 Jun 2009, powerRugbyG wrote:

    SuperGedwards9, really, having a go about BOD!!!! Really.....?????? We will put that down to a knee jerk reaction to the loss! Roberts tho, wow, what a game!

    Think Jones has to be replaced at 10. YES he was threatening at times, much more so than ROG would be, but he was the man I was looking to to play some possession rugby early on, when we were under it, think its time to give ROG a go. That might be some Irish bias creeping in from me tho, as much as I try to avoid it! he would need to avoid kicking allot in attacking half!

    Would love to hear the opinion of the English/scots!?

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  • 23. At 5:43pm on 20 Jun 2009, dainut wrote:

    Disappointed ! I feel Vickery "talked" his way into the team. Totally disagree with comments about Alun Wyn-Jones, did nothing wrong. O'Connell has done nothing to help and should not start next test, suggest an invented injury for him. comments about Gethyn Jenkins ?? Were you watching the same game ? Ugo Monye is still a little clumsy but who else have we got, certainly not Shane Williams ? Heaslip was asleep but who else ?
    Still sadly think we will go down 3-0 - cannot see any way back.

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  • 24. At 5:43pm on 20 Jun 2009, itsourpete wrote:

    The 15 that finished the match could possibly be our starting 15 for the next test match. The all Welsh front row looks solid and the line-out stabilsed when Rees came on. Jones at no 10 is a much better all rounder than O'Gara who is poor at being a play-maker but who is admittedly better than Jones at penalty kicks. Phillips is probably best bet at scrum half and the O'Driscoll / Roberts partnership looks sound in the centre. Am not sure that Shane Williams is sufficiently on form at present to oust Monye and I would give the England wing another chance to shine. Bowe is class and should be retained even though he had few opportunities to shine this afternoon. Kearney looked as sound as Byrne, and if Byrne is injured then Kearney should be given the chance to start.I think the rating of '5' for Gethin Jenkins is too low - he maintained good stability in the scrum in the difficult first half and rang rings around the tight-head in the 2nd half - and, as such a good athlete he was able to hunt down and tackle the likes of Habana and win a penalty for the Lions when Habana was threatening an early get-away in th first half. the rest of the team generally did well and matched the opposition. Well done Lions. Am confident that we can win the remaining tests and the series on the back of such a dominant second half.

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  • 25. At 5:44pm on 20 Jun 2009, AJtheGog wrote:

    "A bit harsh on Vicks! Yes he was a weak link but the ref let the beast drive in sideways a lot and there was a lack of power coming from behind!"

    Were you watching the same game as everyone else??!! did this lack of power you talk about disappear when Adam Jones came on? Did the beast stop trying to bore in? Didn't think so!

    Lets face it Vickery was poor at best, an embarrassment at worst.... did you see the 6 scrums in a row where he was eaten alive?

    I haven't seen a prop get such a humiliating lesson since England reduced the Australians to non contested scrums!! Surely this must be the end of Vickery's chances on the tour.... John Hayes must already be above him in the pecking order.

    The question that must be asked is WHY did it take 50 minutes to substitute him off? I've heard it said that it is humiliating for players to be subbed off before half time BUT THIS IS THE LIONS SERIES!!!! The coaches must have known after 20 minutes that they had made a big mistake but didn't have the sense / guts to sub him off. Really surprised by Gatland and Edwards with this (if it's them and not McGeechan pulling the strings)

    Such a pity as this is a game we could have won and did start to look like winning when the scrum was fixed.

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  • 26. At 5:46pm on 20 Jun 2009, SidRoughdiamond wrote:

    Think Vickery deserves his three and will probably be glad that he got such a high rating. Noticable how the scrum went from backfoot to frontfoot when he and Mears left the pitch. Well done to Adam Jones and Rhys for making an impact coming off the bench. Thought Kearney also did a great job.

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  • 27. At 5:47pm on 20 Jun 2009, titomcs wrote:

    Thought those were generous scores for Monye and Vickery.

    Euan Murray propped against the 'beast' last year for Scotland and took him apart in the same way Vickery was taken apart today. Even though he's injured, surely the coaching staff and players would have/should have discussed how he did this?

    The last chance Monye had was a schoolboy error, at the very least he should have had the ball either in both hands or on his outside, so the ball wouldn't be knocked out of his hands. Think Williams would have finished those off.

    What was the most galling was that all through the tour, the talk has been about moving the ball out of contact, when the pack was anounced earlier this week, i thought they would be moving it around, but no, a smaller and weaker pack tried to take the ball to contact and were bullied. If they are going to try that again they need Shaw or Hines to add a bit of nastiness.

    Vickery's inability to hold the scrum and a poor lineout lost the game for the Lions. At least it's 'fixable' and O'Driscoll and Roberts were absolutely fantastic, so the Lions can come back from this!

    I just hope the coaching staff stop listening to the daft pundits on satellite TV and play players who are fit for the job. John Hayes must be looking forward to his place on the bench next week!

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  • 28. At 5:49pm on 20 Jun 2009, irishmcc wrote:

    Shame BOD doesn't have class around him!

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  • 29. At 5:50pm on 20 Jun 2009, itsourpete wrote:

    As varios author's has commented, O'Connell's leadership was perhaps missing today - but where are the options? O'Driscoll in the centre is too isolated from the set pieces. Ryan Jones whilst a great and proven captain wil exemplary leadership skills is absent through injury. With other places potentially 'up for grabs' then who in the pack is consistent enough AND captain material. Let's stick with O'Connell and get behind him. All for one and one for all!

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  • 30. At 5:54pm on 20 Jun 2009, joculargaz2003 wrote:

    Vickery was poor but the ref let the guy get away with blue murder. Hook for Jones in my opinion. O'Gara is basically the same but smaller; Hook gives something different (if he's fit). The joker at 5.26 who suggests that the best idea is to drop our best supporting forward because his two tries were too easy and keep faith with that donkey Heaslip must be the worse for Guinness. He was so poor today that Nick Easter would have been a more dynamic presence, and that is saying a lot. Williams in fo Wallace, Jones for Vickery (obviously), Shaw/ DOC/ Hines for POC. Not good enough to be Lions captain. Fact.

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  • 31. At 5:57pm on 20 Jun 2009, dualtamac wrote:

    A lot of Welsh bias in the posting already. Just put out the Welsh XV and you'll be happy. This is the Lions, gotta forget about National teams.

    Good second half performance from the pack, really should have won the game, considering the backs looked like scoring nearly every attack. Harsh on Heaslip for the notes, as said above, it's hard to do well as an 8 in a pack going backwards, especially in the first half.

    We'll still see changes for the second test. It should definitely be Jones, Rees and Jenkins in the front row. In the second row, he may bring in DOC to bring a bit more physicality, but AWJ did ok today and I'd be happy to see him keep his place. Williams will probably start next week and it's merited, even if I'm a huge fan of Wallace. Heaslip will stay 8, Croft will stay 6. Croft's not world class yet, Austin you're hyping him up a bit, but he's on his way to becoming it if he keeps that level of performance consistently, he was great today.

    Phillips will stay 9.
    O'Gara to start at ten, just for his kicking alone. I always thought he should have started today, his place-kicking is nigh on immaculate and he doesn't feel pressure.

    Monye should make way. Williams will probably take his place and I'd have Fitzgerald on the bench ahead of Monye. Roberts and BOD are a great partnership, no change there next week. Bowe will start again, but he'll have to up a bit next week. Kearney in for Byrne, Byrne may have an edge offensively, but Kearney is a top class player.

    On the bench:

    Jones (If Hook is not fit)

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  • 32. At 5:58pm on 20 Jun 2009, BucksWelsh wrote:

    Have to disagree with your rating about Gethin Jenkins. Was as good as ever in the loose (made a superb tackle on Habana, what other prop could have caught him that you know?) and all the problems in the scrum were on Vickery's side! Don't tar the props with the same brush! Although it has to be said there is no way an international pack should have been pushed back at scrum time like that. It was an embarrassment. We need more bulk in the pack next time around and then I think our SUPERIOR BACKS will be able to do the rest.

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  • 33. At 5:58pm on 20 Jun 2009, Tea Time At Harrods wrote:

    The Lions should be thoroughly embarrassed.To be beaten by a country with a comparative population of a small hamlet in Wales without a post office only goes to show how inept and deficient the choices the Lions have. The fact we couldn't muster 15 winners together with all the resources at our disposal is purely laughable and deplorable in equal measures. Well done South Africa.Shame on you Lions.

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  • 34. At 5:59pm on 20 Jun 2009, flyingmike15 wrote:

    By my reckoning 3/10 for Vickery was a token in consideration of past glories. At this level you live and die on performance alone and he signicicently gave rise to the psychological and physical domination exerted over our scrum in the first half. His experience should have been sufficient to counter what he was up against which suggests that he may just have had his day. Fair play, he has been a huge influence on the English game for many years but he either has to come back with the performance of his life (is Geech that brave - or naive) and prove the doubers wrong, or it is time to give fresh legs and ideas a chance - Tom Croft being an example where this can succeed. Even at this level.

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  • 35. At 5:59pm on 20 Jun 2009, mightymaroon wrote:

    "I would give the England wing another chance to shine"

    what are you on about.we're 1-0 down and you want to give him another chance to blow 3 chances.

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  • 36. At 6:00pm on 20 Jun 2009, joculargaz2003 wrote:

    oh and when you have a truly destructive scrummager like Sheridan why not stick him on the bench? I'm a massuve Jenkins fan but lets do to them whatb they did to us. Give Smit a monster to take care of and kick our threes. The beast never tackled a winger. He hit hard and got 6 points.

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  • 37. At 6:00pm on 20 Jun 2009, BobBrady13 wrote:

    Croft 8, "superb performance"? Surely Mr. Austin you should remain objective when providing your ranking and not show your own country bias? What else did Croft do apart from being on the shoulder of BOD for the two tries?

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  • 38. At 6:03pm on 20 Jun 2009, DUFFIN1989 wrote:

    Am I the only person who thought Philips had a bad game - his speed of service was slow at the breakdown. You cant take two steps then pass every ruck. I would have given him a 5 at most. He did take his try well but the bad outweighs the good for me.

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  • 39. At 6:04pm on 20 Jun 2009, Hotspur7 wrote:

    All a bit strange about Vickery.
    He was absolutely mullered in the scrums. Mullered. Worse than Baxter against Sheridan, which is saying something. If you look at the very first scrum on our ball, when Monye nearly scored, Vickery had already been fired through the roof.
    How did this happen? He has stood four-square against the best props in world rugby for his whole career. Its another example of the cruelty of elite sport - when your time is up, that's it. Think Hatton v Pacquio.
    Mears too. What happened at the line out?
    Mears and Vickery cost us the game, which as a proud Englishman is a hard admission.
    As soon as we got parity in the tight, the Boks went to pieces.
    I think the Lions may well win this series, because if I was a Bok player I would be worried.
    But if the Lions do win it, it will be without Vicks and Mears. Sad day for the English.

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  • 40. At 6:06pm on 20 Jun 2009, BobBrady13 wrote:

    Interesting how with a defeat, so many comments from each individual's own nation are now blaming the other home nations for the loss, whilst the salvation is seen from within their own borders...very sad.

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  • 41. At 6:08pm on 20 Jun 2009, rsuppards wrote:

    Are we sure that our (obviously) Welsh posters calling for recall of wee Shane aren't asking for the Williams of last year - not the one who turned up on this tour? If he'd have been firing all cylinders lately, he would have been in!

    Scrum a 'mare in the first half- can't have a front row that buckles. Embarrassing to get marched backwards at a rate of knots in the loose mauls! Everyone seems to have caught the "English disease" on the penalty count

    Sad to say that my fears about reffing at the breakdown were confirmed - tackler not releasing, joining ruck from the floor were all there and largely unpenalised.

    Perhaps this was needed to sort the men out from the boys!

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  • 42. At 6:09pm on 20 Jun 2009, Teddingtontaff wrote:

    Well, we certainly made it hard for ourselves and now we need to win 2 games at altitude, not a smart thing to do. Overall, I think the Boks played very well in the first half, and probaly would have lost if 10 more minutes were played. I just can't help feeling that the Lions were a bit awe struck in the first half, and gave away so many penalties. Despite everybody giving their all, we need to bolster up the front row, and I do think we're very slow getting the ball away from the ruck. Best Lions player goes jointly to Croft and Jamie Roberts, but my man of the match has got to be the Boks outside half Pienaar - superb game.

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  • 43. At 6:10pm on 20 Jun 2009, superyatesy89 wrote:

    Phil Vickery doesn't even deserve 3. All he had to do was bend his knees to give himself more of a chance. Shown up completelty by Adam Jones. Croft and Roberts were class. Was Heaslip on the filed for most of it. Stephen Jones' kicking cost us big time. O'Driscoll still up there with the best. Bowe non-existant. Monye was very unlucky with both chances. Phillips passing was so slow from the break down it was painful. Jenkins was much better than a 5. second row struggled a bit. Williams in for Wallace. Kearney did well but still like Byrne's attacking threat. Great comeback though with serious positives for next week if we learn from mistakes. Backs shredded SA but didn't get enough quick ball.

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  • 44. At 6:12pm on 20 Jun 2009, mightymaroon wrote:

    why is everyone so down on pierre spies. he was part of a dominant pack in the 1st half and in the 2nd half he twice made good hard yards from a defending 5m scrum (that was struggling at that point)giving his 10 enough time and space to clear.would have taken that from our no.8!!

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  • 45. At 6:21pm on 20 Jun 2009, superyatesy89 wrote:

    pierre spies was solid.

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  • 46. At 6:22pm on 20 Jun 2009, Hookers_armpit wrote:

    Time for some Scotch beef - get Hines on the bench for next week - we could use his muscle and he offers more than Shaw.

    Hooker is a real worry - Mears had a v.bad day but Rees looks like more of a liability and Ford can't throw - linouts to remain a problem.

    I don't think Williams would have scored either of those tries - Monye only got to the line through his sheer pace both times. He is not the finished article we need though...

    2, 8 and to a certain extent 10 - highlighted as problem positions prior to the tour. Still problem positions.

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  • 47. At 6:25pm on 20 Jun 2009, TheBhoyInKorea wrote:

    There was no "anger", for want of a better word, in the Lions display. Too chummy!! I didn't detect much passion or realisation that this is a rare occurence. The last 15 minutes covers up a very easy win for SA. de Villiers may have gotten some subs and timings wrong but if not it may have been embarrasing. POC actually played fairly well, esp second half when Botha went off, but led poorly, eg annoying an already poor/upset ref and not having the cojones to tell Vickery to just get on wiht it in scrums. The rest of the forwards did nothing, even Croft was only mentioned when collecting BOD passes. Backs did well enough wiht the ball, Roberts clearly MoM, but a sharper and angrier (due to press coverage) boks side will only make for a more damaging boks side.

    But, here's hoping. A few Scots may pull us through............

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  • 48. At 6:26pm on 20 Jun 2009, PREMIERSTEVE wrote:

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  • 49. At 6:28pm on 20 Jun 2009, ryanforlions wrote:

    Totally agree with earlier comment re Stuart Barnes - too little commentary, too much opinion and hot air.
    Also believe POC does not have the necessary leadership qualities, BOD would have made a much better job of it.

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  • 50. At 6:29pm on 20 Jun 2009, Will wrote:

    My god country bashing is annoying. I love how all the welsh are so quick to insult vickery, mears, monye (one guy even said croft had a bad game??? dont no wat game he was watching???) But i do believe it was jones who missed 6 points when we were in the game. We dont know whether monye scored the 1st try or not, only he will know, the angle didnt let us see it. The second was a brilliant tackle so fair play. Shane williams???? yer he may have scored 1, But monye was like a flanker in the loose, did a better job than wallace at stealing the ball. Roberts and O'Driscol were meant to play together it seems. Although BOD was a bit off at times but still class. Croft was 2nd behind roberts in terms of performance. One person above said his tries were easy but it was cos of his support and positioning. not many northern hemisphere forwards would have scored tries like that. I say Hook for jones, jones for vickers, rees for mears with monye on the bench, and sheridan for jenkins. Jenkins will tackel all day, but tackeling wasnt are problem. where was he when the boks pushed half way across the pitch. Making tackles no doubt haha. But that said, whoever plays i hope they play well and perform. I dont care who is selected. Its about winning as a 4 nations that counts, hopefully hines and ford will be brought in and bring on the second test!!!!!! Remember people were playing the boks not each other, maybe a little less england bashing and if .... had started we'd have won blah blah, i was critical but i can admit mears n vickery wont be in the 22 next week.

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  • 51. At 6:30pm on 20 Jun 2009, thesaucer wrote:

    I was not unhappy with the attacking options that the Lions showed, it was the intensity at the set piece and breakdown. Mears is a great player but today his throwing was not good, Vickery was taken to the cleaners (thoug Beast bored straight in to Mears)for me Jones was the weak link in the backs. Monye had the ball in his wrong hand for his second attempt, I fancy Banahan or Williams would have finished both of his attempts. Just need to cut out the penalties and actually try and win the ball. O'driscoll and Roberts were excellent. Dont disagree with any of the scoring of layers above though.

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  • 52. At 6:34pm on 20 Jun 2009, rasherseggs wrote:

    This match was lost in the first 20 minutes due to the failure of the Lions to take their chances - two missed penalties and failure to ground a try. At this level you cannot leave points off the board. Both Hook and O'Gara have clearly been kicking better than Jones in this series, and this selection proved crucial in the end. You had to feel that the Lions had no real luck in this game - but fumbling the ball over the line 3 or 4 times is beyond belief. Monye clearly is a strong pacey player but he seems to drop the ball a lot.
    For the life of me I cannot figure out why Vickery was not taken off earlier - clearly he could not cope with the "beasts" technique. Poor lineout throwing, bad scrummaging and missed kicks - these things will lose you matches.
    I think that the Lions should start the next match with the front 5 that finished the game: DOC is a very good option at no. 2 in the lineout, and the Lions lineout improved when he came on. They should bring in ROG for Jones. Otherwise leave the team the same.
    Finally, I am sick of the criticisms of O'Connell: he was excellent today; he is always excellent. This Lions team could well win the series. What they need to focus on is the fundamentals (scrummaging),avoiding giving away penalties, stop kicking away possesson and show the South Africans NO respect.

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  • 53. At 6:34pm on 20 Jun 2009, PREMIERSTEVE wrote:

    Mears is a good player but too small, which put scrummaging pressure on vix who was propping against a guy who was driving in. (On another day a good ref would have pinged the beast for doing this).

    However Ads and Rees corrected this problem and we could start playing but too late. Frustrating thing is that the Boks are not that good. Spies is not a monster and was outclassed by most people on the pitch (even the boks physio)

    BOD and the Doc were superb. Next week bring in Shawsy, too wipe the smile off Bothas face (arrogance personified)


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  • 54. At 6:36pm on 20 Jun 2009, joshkr wrote:

    It was clear that during the first half that some of the lions were not mentally prepared for the onslaught from the Boks. This, and lack of visible leadership-not just from POC-lost us the momentum early on and consequently the result. We must be first out of the blocks next week!

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  • 55. At 6:36pm on 20 Jun 2009, callisto wrote:

    If BIL are going to have a bad time at Loftus, the Boks will have a nightmare. They were finished after 65 minutes at sea level. BIL were strong through 80. At altitude, that will hurt them more than us. We should have a strong defensive first half - let them do the playing. Then turn it on in the second. Cricket score. Sheridan - Rees - Jones; Shaw - Alun Wyn; Worsley - Wallace - Heaslip. Change Sheridan for Gethin, POC for Shaw and Martyn for Joe at 50 (Croft if nec), then turn it on. Philips - Hook (or ROG); Shane - Roberts - BOD; Fitzgerald - Kearney (Byrne if nec). 606 - hope this isn't TOO inflammatory .....

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  • 56. At 6:37pm on 20 Jun 2009, rsuppards wrote:

    "A few Scots may pull us through" ???

    Per-lease! Might as well call for the Italian number 8!

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  • 57. At 6:37pm on 20 Jun 2009, xpat73 wrote:

    First off congrats to the Boks for winning. The only score that matters is the one on the board.

    That said here are my feelings on the game. Lions should have scored 7 tries. The "crossing" decision by the ref was bs....BOD did a dummy scissors with Byrne and the Bok centers fell for it hook line and sinker....Bod went clear and passed for the try. That was 100% not crossing. Monye has to score both those tries.

    I just feel like the Boks got all the breaks in this game. Fair play to the Boks.They took all their chances.....The Lions left about 20 points on the board, the Boks missed 1 penalty and that was it.

    When the Welsh frot row was on we went much better. Vickery had a mare, but the Beast did not scrum straight. With a better platform we would have won.

    The Boks did nothing in this game really.....Spies was much for beign superman. He was anonymous.

    The Lions backs cut the Boks to ribbons out wide with Roberts and BOD outstanding.

    Interesting that the Lions had 68% of possession and only made 34 takcles to the Boks 88.

    We had a terrible first half and just could not recover.

    The Boks substitutions smakced of arrogance...they lost shape and nearly blew it.

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  • 58. At 6:38pm on 20 Jun 2009, villagenumber9 wrote:

    i have noticed that not many people are commenting on the physical edge in this game. The Boks were all over the lions in this aspect in the first half. In the scrum Vickery - totally out of shape for an international rugby player - looked scared of his opposite number, whilst on countess occassions South African players stood up to their opposite numbers and lions players ran in not to support their team-mates but to calm things down. Im not suggesting there should have been an all out brawl(!) but until the Lions began matching this physical edge they werent in the match.

    In this i think Phillips played a great game - poor with the speed of his delivery, held up ball that could have been out wide as the backs were carving up the springboks in the second half - but stood up to all the physical pressure and got in the faces of the opposition unlike many of his teammates.

    Also think that Monye looked lightweight and inexperienced by the whole process, think williams could struggle considering form and again physical presence despite pace.

    Therefore - Lions nerves understandable but still looked like they werent prepared to stand up to aggression which gave Boks massive advantage in the breakdown for much of the first half, anyone agree/disagree?

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  • 59. At 6:39pm on 20 Jun 2009, princejimmycass wrote:

    any mention of donncha o callaghan--i reckon he settles o connell down at the set piece

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  • 60. At 6:42pm on 20 Jun 2009, rugby24-7 wrote:

    Looks like we will lose with a greater margin next week. Boks took of 7 major players in the last 20 min - havent played 2gether since Nov 98 and were not match fit and yet we could not win. Prediction - Lions to lose with 20-30 pionts next week

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  • 61. At 6:43pm on 20 Jun 2009, dlm wrote:

    Kearney only six? Did you watch the game? He was much better than Byrne. He was great under the high ball and kicking and he attacked more in 20 mins than Byrne did all match.

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  • 62. At 6:45pm on 20 Jun 2009, princejimmycass wrote:

    also only heard alan wyn jones mentioned twice today on the commentary...made no mistakes but largely anonymous.

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  • 63. At 6:45pm on 20 Jun 2009, PREMIERSTEVE wrote:

    I never would have imagined that the English front rowers were the teams weak link (Jason Leanord and Brian Moore, Fran Cotton must all feel what has happened to english forward play) and Monye scoffed two ops that Shane would have scored.

    XV for Next Weeek
    Matt Rees

    Geth to come on for sheridan, Hooky to come on for S j IN THE SECON HALF


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  • 64. At 6:46pm on 20 Jun 2009, PastelPete wrote:

    I don't know how anyone can make a fair assessment of a game that was ruined by appalling officiating.

    I have never had cause to criticise referees before (even blind Irish ones), but that was such an appalling example of Southern hemisphere bias, I would hope action will be taken to ensure no repeat in the remaining Tests.

    I have no objection to losing so long as the playing field is even, just as I wouldn't want the Lions to win by cheating.

    Hang your head in shame, referee. You ruined a fine game between two excellent sides.

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  • 65. At 6:47pm on 20 Jun 2009, britch13 wrote:

    I am absolutely raging. I'm going to be completely neutral here. I believe in the Lions, not Ireland at this moment. Unlike some awfully biased Welsh people. First of all, POC has been average at very best. I would turf him out for Hines. I got so annoyed watching the game, he lumbers. Doesn't get in anyone's faces. Phillips wanted the game. Fair play. Vickery-tragic to watch. Honestly, never seen it that. Monye, should have scored, but Williams has been awful this tour. Put Kearney left wing. We need an ugly pack, maybe Worsley, certainly Hines.

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  • 66. At 6:48pm on 20 Jun 2009, Simon Austin wrote:

    Thanks for the posts everyone - really enjoyed reading them.

    Here's my response to some of your points, in no particular order...

    Croft... interesting that a few of you thought I was over-generous and fair play to you! Aside from the tries, I thought he had a great work-rate, made a few nice breaks and was always an option at the line-out. colleague Bryn Palmer agrees with some of you that I was harsh on the prop. He says the tighthead was very good in the loose and made some great tackles.

    Heaslip...fair point #13, that it's hard to do well at the base of the scrum when it's going backwards at a rate of knots. I was still disappointed with his overall contribution though...just didn't see enough of him. He did help keep Spies quiet though, which is no mean feat, especially on hard ground.

    Wyn Jones...good point #10 and #6. Bit harsh to say his lack of bulk contributed to the problems at scrum time when he is, in fact, the heaviest man in the Lions pack!

    Thanks and keep those comments coming.

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  • 67. At 6:49pm on 20 Jun 2009, Quiquuwihu wrote:

    O'Connell played well today. I rate him a 7 with Croft a 6. It wasn't O'Connell's fault that Mears threw to the back of the line out. A Wyn Jones should be out of 22. My granny could have scored the two tries created by O'Driscoll for Croft. Stephen Jones a 4 at best. O'Gara must get a start. Bring the Bull Hayes and O'Callaghan into the starting XV for the second test. I would go with Mears again but he needs to practice his throwing. Only changes for next week: O'Gara, Kearney, DOC and Hayes to start.
    Jones on bench with Lee Byrne, Hines and Sheridan.

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  • 68. At 6:49pm on 20 Jun 2009, HarryWHU wrote:

    Come on ladies.... before this test virtually everyon esaid teh Test team picked itself (regarding reputationa nd what we had seen on tour)... and now all of a sudden after a narrow and brave test loss all the blinded alegiance to their home countries are coming out... Vickery deserved his place with some great apps... same with Mears.... and Wallace... and Wyn Jones... the 15 that started was the 15 that was virtually written in stone to start...

    lets take positives today... we came close... bloody close... Oh that's a WE of England/Ireland/Scotland and Wales...

    lets believe in the badge boys and girls.... we are ALL in trenches in the next couple of weeks


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  • 69. At 6:51pm on 20 Jun 2009, quinny_10 wrote:

    everyone is complaining about ref but we were very lucky not to have anyone sin bin especially croft just before he scored try for not even attempting to tackle du preez just shoulder barging him we wernt good enough for 60mins to many mistakes again and phillips should not get 7 he is to slow need quick ball to bod and roberts they are the key because the boks centres are very poor just wish blair had some confidence he is the only quick ball handler would bring him in along with hook both williams then ford and either hines or shaw to improve scrum and the other on bench instead of o callaghan who isnt a impact player just o connells pal

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  • 70. At 6:52pm on 20 Jun 2009, gubby allen wrote:

    I agree DUFFIN1989.

    Ratings are almost all spot-on, bar Phillips -2 to 5/10 & S Jones -1 to 5/10.

    The scrum was horrendous as was the 30 yard driving maul, but around the phases we were often on the front foot but Phillips took one step too much & the pass was slow - he lacked his usual impetus & flair - the one time he didn't pass or kick, scored a brilliant try.

    Jones though not poor, didn't control the match at all & was given a lesson by Piennar. I'd prefer ROG or Hook for the second test - although both will figure Tuesday too.

    I'd make Jenkins +1 to 6/10. Bowe barely got a touch so difficult to rate but we need to use him more.

    I feared an aggregate 80-100 point defecit over the 3 tests, so all things considered I thought it was a terrific effort.

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  • 71. At 6:54pm on 20 Jun 2009, Darren wrote:

    You must be kidding if you think we should put o'gara in for jones on next test. The simple matter is he can't tackle. He should not be on this tour full stop.

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  • 72. At 6:54pm on 20 Jun 2009, headretired wrote:

    Don't underestimate the influence on their performance of the changes the boks made in the second half. They were convinced the game was over. The sad fact is that although the Brits and Irish have some "good" international forwards we have few if any outstanding ones. Honestly, how many would get into a NZ or Springbok team?
    Sad to see Vickery who has performed heroics at the highest level (but not for some years) humiliated. The "Beast" has not proved himself a destructive scrummager against any top class opposition up til now.Traditionally there is a lot of hype about bok superiority.They hardly "thrashed" an average Eng team in the world cup final and have struggled to achieve consistent results in the tri-nations.But at home they are still very difficult to beat. Focusing on just one area of the game ignores the fact that the Lions forwards were clearly outplayed in most areas for 50 minutes or more until the boks eased up. It will be very difficult for the lions to come back from this as the springboks should improve significantly. However, if they can achieve parity up front,they have the ability in the backs to edge the next test. If the springboks continue with a very narrow game plan but fail to achieve the same superiority against a revamped pack, we may be in with a chance.

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  • 73. At 6:54pm on 20 Jun 2009, Croftalicious wrote:

    was i the only one who wondered what advantage the ref was ginving the lions? ok, he apologised for calling back play after jones had already run off with only a wing to beat and support on hand...but the phillips stretch...SURELY if that had been a knock on whilst playing penalty advantage anywhere but on the line then surely play would have been called back for the penalty? yet SA got a 5-meter scrum and duly hoofed the ball clear (Steyn was immense today!), wasnt my happiest moment!

    on the whole i thought that we played well, despite the lot of low ratings, yet if we had gotten the try in that final couple of minutes we'd have been seeing 7/8/9's in ALOT of places i think. Fewer stupid penalties (ie remove vickery/croft's barge was ridiculous too) and a bit more muscle in the pack for mauling at line outs (Hines) and general scrum times, we'd have had that game. Next test i'd go so far as to suggest putting powell on the bench (there i said it!) in the place of Wallace who was a bit absent at times today, and starting with nugget, as powell's power may be a deciding factor late on in a game (so long as he keeps the butter off his fingers)

    all the same, it was a great match, and at least now Saffers know they aint gonna have it all there way!

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  • 74. At 6:54pm on 20 Jun 2009, Steve wrote:

    LAFandan, what game were you watching? Byrne wasn't even on the field for 20 minutes!

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  • 75. At 6:56pm on 20 Jun 2009, rightRobbiesKeen wrote:

    There's some very weird activity on here, reflecting the Welsh contribution. If you want to get into that - it is the Irish who have been winning this year. Yet a few Welsh players alongside them - with the exception of the brilliant Roberts - and the losing gene kicks in.

    No-one has mentioned how poor Wyn-Jones was, I'd have given a 4, the all-Welsh front row is only being called for because of the inept Vickery (Rees has a worse throw than Mears!). Calling for dropping of O'Connell despite the man being good today and possessing more winners medals than the Welsh side put together, even criticizing BOD - thundering elephantine ignorance of the game. Heaslip and Wallace excellent at the breakdown, a worrying area before the game (Martyn Williams seemed ok because Boks took their foot off the gas and lets be honest hardly touched the ball).

    And the kicker cost them the game today literally - 6 points, penalties, final score 27-26.

    DOC in for Wyn-Jones.
    O'Gara in for S. Jones.
    A Jones in for Vickery.
    Kearney in for Byrne (injury).
    Fitzgerald in for the bench.

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  • 76. At 6:56pm on 20 Jun 2009, phildred wrote:


    "The Lions should be thoroughly embarrassed.To be beaten by a country with a comparative population of a small hamlet in Wales without a post office only goes to show how inept and deficient the choices the Lions have."

    i'm sorry teatime but i had to join the blogosphere to question what you base this on considering SA have a population of about 45m compared to wales' 3m

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  • 77. At 6:58pm on 20 Jun 2009, jimmyjimjames wrote:

    Croft seems to be receiving a lot of unnecessary criticism on here. In the game I saw he was our top tackler, a major presence in the loose and the scorer of 2 tries. One discrepancy doesn't ruin the rest of his game.

    More worrying for me is;
    1. the absence of any impact from the Irish forwards, all should have been major forces today, and were absent. I agree that POC's place should be in doubt.
    2. Mike Phillips service. I understand about a 9s struggles behind a pack going backward, but even during the second half when they were on top he still needed to take a backward step every time he passed the ball. It constantly allowed the SA backline at least 2 forward steps to get in the Lions faces...

    I was itching to see Ellis given a go off the bench, although would be much happier still if someone had allowed Peel onto the plane!

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  • 78. At 6:59pm on 20 Jun 2009, Derek Fallon wrote:

    Byrne-Injury obviously affected him.6
    Bowe-Tried too hard at times.6
    O'Driscoll-Played well alongside Roberts but tried to do too much on his won and made a couple of silly knock ons.7
    Jones. Awful. Place kicking, line kicking and re-starts all sub standard. 3
    Philips. Good around the fringes. ook his try well and should have had another.7
    Jenkins-Good around the park but suffered in the scrum.6
    Mears.-What he was picked for-his line out throwing-was poor. Too small for this game.5
    O'Connell-Decent game but inconspicuous compared to what he is capable of.6
    Croft-Excellent. 2 tries and could have had another. His pace especially from re-starts caused the Boks trouble.8
    Wallace-Decent enough. Should have done better when clean through in firt half.7
    Heaslip. Anonomous.5

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  • 79. At 6:59pm on 20 Jun 2009, juansmith22 wrote:

    Agree with the sentiments on Vickery. Prior to his selection- felt he was an overated liability. He is not in the same league as Adam Jones or Euan Murray. How he came close to starting the test is beyond me. He is ineffective at the scrums, and was actually fortunate to not be penalised sooner for scrummaging inwards instead of straight. In the loose, he is prone to giving away penalties and yellow cards.

    What a difference when Adam Jones came on and steadied the scrum. Just a shame that Euan Murray is out injured- as one poster mentioned, he destroyed "the beast" in the Autumn Internationals and was one of the sole reasons Scotland came close to beating them.

    Rugby is a simple game- shows how easy it is when you have a set piece that functions and possession. It is a credit to the Lions that they were not further adrift at half time given their set piece vulnerability.

    Would bring in Jones, and Rees for the next test and mix up the back row.

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  • 80. At 7:00pm on 20 Jun 2009, PREMIERSTEVE wrote:

    Britch is wrong about the bias Welsh.

    I am very Welsh, and feel that Alun Wyn was a non all match, and shaws should have been picked. Hines is god awful and offers very little. Worsley is a very limited player and would have made no difference. I feel very sorry for Mears as he is a top bloke and the whole front row probably needed a bit of grunt behind them

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  • 81. At 7:01pm on 20 Jun 2009, psychic duck wrote:

    I don't think Matthew Rees deserves a 6 he cost us a penalty in front of the posts by doing a needless punch.

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  • 82. At 7:02pm on 20 Jun 2009, snowblueland wrote:

    I think the scoring of Vicks a bit harsh given that he was being turned in and pushed up at the same time. Dont think Mears and Vicks are an ideal combo as Vicks always has trouble in the scrum next to Mears, look at all the England games. Not sure Jones will be any better against a rested Beast, yes Jones played well in the scrum but against a tired and not match fit front row. Was more dissapointed with the ref at scrum time.....seemed to give penalties against the Lions but re-sets against the Boks for the same offence? And dont get me started on tackles off the ball..........

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  • 83. At 7:03pm on 20 Jun 2009, BucksWelsh wrote:

    37 - Hotspur7:

    Congratulations sir! Your post stands out because it is devoid of any nationalistic nonsense and states just good honest common sense - I agree with your analysis 100%.
    Have to have more bulk next time to stop being pushed back at scrum time and conceding those penalties. Shaw or Hines to start (at least one of them on the bench) and Powell with M. Williams to come on in the back row at 60 minute mark. Even though I risk being accused of bias, I unequivocally state that the entire Welsh front row should start in the 2nd test purely on the basis that they will provide much needed ballast and of course know each other very well.
    Vickery has been a great servant in the past but really should not be in the 22 man squad next time. Unfortunately, Geech and the rest of the Wasps crowd probably over-rate him and this will mean that he will be included. Pity!

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  • 84. At 7:03pm on 20 Jun 2009, jimmyjimjames wrote:

    Anyone got any idea why after Monye was held up the ref over-ruled the TMO and gave a 22 instead of the Lions a scrum 5?? - a pretty big call!

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  • 85. At 7:07pm on 20 Jun 2009, Chris wrote:

    The Boks generally played WELL below par and won. They will get better every match as they get some more game time.

    The replacements certainly started the turnaround for both sides and I expect some changes on the Bok bench for Loftus. Cracking intensity all round though... looking forward to the rest of the series!

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  • 86. At 7:08pm on 20 Jun 2009, typoklyn wrote:

    Vickery ( a great servant to the game) was awful today and that should be the last we see of him.
    BOD was man of the match, the man is far and away the most complete player in rugby.
    Roberts was good, but he is a crash centre and nothing more.
    POC was poor as was Philips( didn't boss the breakdown).

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  • 87. At 7:09pm on 20 Jun 2009, city_4_live wrote:

    Blaming AW Jones for Vickery's problems is abit rich don't you think?

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  • 88. At 7:10pm on 20 Jun 2009, vangvieng wrote:

    poor leadership and poor decision making cost us the game with most of the bad decisions made by phillips, i thought he was shocking. everytime we moved the ball through the centres we tore the boks to shreds yet phillips persistently chose to go down the narrow side and play to his forwards who were getting hammered. dreadful. ellis and hook for the next test.

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  • 89. At 7:13pm on 20 Jun 2009, Saffavescent wrote:

    What a display of power.Power, power, power.

    Boks to be match fit next week.

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  • 90. At 7:15pm on 20 Jun 2009, Chris wrote:

    I think there are a few changes to be made for the next test. I have no idea what vickery did do derserve a test start shocking, he was torn apart i nthe scrum completely dominated and gave away far too many penalites adam jones to start hands down. Hooker could change mears was poor but would probs stick with him, would drop BOC and paly hines we had no inforcer out there to smash into rucks with real intensity., would probably play shaw instead of jones aswel. Drop wallace for williams he had big impact when came on.

    My biggest disapointment was monye that man was a shambles im sorry to say, williams would of buried both those chances he stays to high when going to finish both his chances should of gone low with both hands on the ball and would of scored both those chances and his general decision making was very poor i thought. Kearney played well i thought so not the end of the world if bryne isnt back but would be a boost if he was.

    Heaslip didnt doo much but there is 0 competition for the number 8 shirt, shame ryan jones wasnt fit when came out think he might have risen to the challenege. Jones O'Gara is a judgement call, if was fit would probs think about hook over both of them

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  • 91. At 7:19pm on 20 Jun 2009, Benjyyy wrote:

    Please take national bias out of proceedings here!

    Byrne: Solid enough not much chance to shine. Doesnt look good for him though injury wise and Kearney is a fine replacement

    Bowe: Tried hard but just didnt get the ball. Threatened on occasion.

    BOD: 1 error aside he looked dangerous and SA thought the same, took 3 men out of it for Crofts 2nd try

    Roberts: Outstanding, get the man the ball, he does damage!!!!

    Monye: Disappointing tbh. I dont mind if a wing stays on his wing and doesnt look for extra if he finishes his chances. Monye did neither. Williams isnt direct enough these days and hes short on confidence, Id plump for Fitzgerald, he looks for extra work and he has a rugby brain, runs great lines.

    Jones: Mixed bag but still think hes the better man to fire the backline which is where we looked most dangerous. Hook cant be considered; not alone because of injury but because he cant control proceedings at this level. O' Gara is inclined to kick too much and just wont allow Roberts to have as good a game as he had today.

    Phillips: Another mixed bag. Threatened well around the fringes and supply was decent. Major downfall was his decision making in the 2nd half. He took a couple of tap penalties when they just were not on. In saying that at least he tried to force the issue and hes easily the best option still.

    Heaslip: He was defended well but didnt get a lot of ball to take on. Thought it was a neutral performance that sees him keep the shirt.

    Wallace: Made a lot of hard yards that heavier men couldn't. I wanted him at 6 and Williams at 7 before this test and I still want Williams at 7 now. Problem is it looks like 2 tries will be enough to keep Croft his place.

    Croft: Good positioning for tries, fantastic support play. Thought otherwise he was suspect on occasion, also troubled by the SA lineout. 2 tries will help him keep his place but I think he is being overrated on this board.

    POC: Tries hard but failed to make a lot of ground. Lineout play improved during the game. Cant drop the captain in my opinion but I feel like he did enough to keep his place anyway.

    AWJ: Could be in bother for his place. Was driven backwards on a few occasions and didnt bring enough grunt to the 2nd row. I always felt that if Croft would start we would go with a more workmanlike force with POC since the lineout would not suffer. Pick any 1 of Hines, DOC or Shaw. My preference would be Hines on ability, DOC is close because of partnership with POC, but Shaw challenging too. Tuesdays game will tell a lot.

    Vickery: I never liked him but funningly enough, now I sympathise with him. I thought on nearly every occasion that he was the victim of illegal scrummaging due to either illegal binding or not driving straight. But at the same time Adam Jones made a big difference so he must start next test.

    Mears: Not his best game but still think he is the best option. Mears indiscipline in front of the posts was very frustrating. Did he improve the scrum? I would give most of the credit to Adam Jones

    Jenkins: Solid but unspectacular in both scrummage and in loose. May see Vickery drop out of 22 to accomodate Sheridan but I still start with this man.

    In Conclusion:
    15. Byrne/Kearney
    14. Bowe
    13. BOD
    12. Roberts
    11. Fitzgerald
    10. Jones
    9. Philips
    8. Heaslip
    7. Williams
    6. Croft
    5. POC
    4. Hines
    3. Jones
    2. Mears
    1. Jenkins

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  • 92. At 7:19pm on 20 Jun 2009, HarryWHU wrote:

    I'm not sure I have seen a test where supposedly we was so easily smashed yet we spurned three chances after crossing the try line.. and missing 2 other one on ones...

    The problem before this test was the breakdown... that was fine... our one real advantage was the scrum... we was massacred... funny ol' game eh??

    personally I'd keep the same starting XV except for Jones for Vickery... Shaw for Wyn Jones... and Kearney for Byrne (if injured)...

    Go Lions

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  • 93. At 7:19pm on 20 Jun 2009, Angryofchepstow wrote:

    Simon - saying Alun Wyn Jones' lack of bulk led to Vickerys problems is laughable. Firstly he packs on the other side of the scrum and also he must have bulked up as soon as Adam Jones came on. Vickery always overrated in the scrum. Need to make some other changes - Moyne is great running in an overlap but lets face it one on one he couldn't beat an egg.

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  • 94. At 7:20pm on 20 Jun 2009, Simon wrote:

    I have agree with the poster above who criticised all the country bashing going on. I'm Welsh but I can't help thinking that Kearney looked more solid than Byrne and kicked better too. I also didn't think much of AWJ performance - he may have been all around the park in the loose but he simply wasn't involved at the the lineout and that cost us. For me you have to have Shaw and Hines in the 22 - POC isn't going to be dropped (despite the fact he was our third worst forward today after Vickery and Mears) so it really is a case of working out who would be his best partner. My instinct tells me that if Shaw was named in the team the boks would be very concerned.
    I will step in to defend Gethin who I thought was one of the best players for the Lions today - I would have given him a 7. I still can't believe that tackle on Habana and the way the SA Scrum immediately began to buckle on Gethin's side once Jones and rees were on. Start next week with the welsh front row with Ford and Sheridan on the bench.
    Left Wing is a huge issue and I can't help thinking Monye fluffed his lines. I can't make up my mind about Williams or Fitzgerald for the wing, my head says Fitzgerald (he has done more than Williams in the warm up games) but my instincts tell me Williams is a big game player and would have finished at least 2 of the three chances missed by Monye. Having watched the Kings game I'm wondering if the Lions should give Earls a start on the Wing against the Emerging boks as he looked a different player with space to work in.
    To the guy above who questioned Mike Phillips performance, you must have been watching a different game to me! Dispassionately I think he took some wrong options in the first half but if you have ever played behind a scrummage in full reverse its not much fun at scrum half. For me the 7 was earned in the display in the last 20 minutes which was world class.

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  • 95. At 7:20pm on 20 Jun 2009, SOCKIES wrote:

    Everyone's being a bit harsh on Lee Mears. I didn't see the game myself but it sounds like he really didn't play well, but, he shouldn't be dropped. He's generally performed very well on the tour so far, accurate throwing, and has been effective in the loose too. His height is only a factor in his scrummaging, it can cause an imbalance when you have big props. Not only this but Rees and Ford have both been very bad. it wouldn't make sense to bring either of them in.

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  • 96. At 7:23pm on 20 Jun 2009, Benjyyy wrote:

    "You must be kidding if you think we should put o'gara in for jones on next test. The simple matter is he can't tackle. He should not be on this tour full stop. "

    How can you talk about a 2 time Heinekin Cup winner like that?! This excuse is worn out. Check stats ill think you will find he missed less tackles that any other fly-half in 6N. Just wise up

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  • 97. At 7:23pm on 20 Jun 2009, dbell222 wrote:

    You Lions supporters should remove your rose tinted spectacles! The Boka went pear shaped after taking off a lot of their frontline players. Why they did this - I have no idea and it made me very angry. Had they stayed on, the Boks would not have nearly blown it.

    Secondly, this test will be remembered for the day The Beast mauled the old Lion.

    As a legendary Bok from years gone by used to say when people were debating about the if's and the but's and the poor ref (funny how it is always the losing team, and typically NH critics) who moan about the ref:

    "Looks at the scoreboard" - at the end of the day, that is it, the scoreboard!

    What pleases me about the Bok display is that they played extremely poorly in the 2nd half with idiotic substitutions but still managed to WIN! They will only learn and be better next week. Bring it on!

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  • 98. At 7:23pm on 20 Jun 2009, bethrees10 wrote:

    First off - really enjoyed the match (well second half!), what a finish by the Lions!!

    Never been a fan of Monye, fair enough he's looked good in the other matches, but this is a different level and think he was majorly exposed, think Shane would have finished those chances off. I know he's not in form but if he plays well tuesday (sure he'll be picked) then think he'll be involved next week, just because he's a proven match winner.
    A Jones has to come in for vicks - Welsh front row looked good, but think Rees can be a bit unpredictable!
    I'm a massive AW Jones fan, but think he'll be benching it next week and I also agreed with Greenwood's idea of a bulky front 5 to allow M Williams to come in at 7.
    I would definitely NOT start ROG, too weak in defence, Jones did have an off day but he'll still be my No1 choice. Hooky on the bench if fit.
    Kearney played really well, but Byrne to start if he's fit with Kearney on the bench.
    Loved the Roberts/BOD combination, and Gethin had another great performance - definitely harsh giving him a 5!!!

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  • 99. At 7:24pm on 20 Jun 2009, Will wrote:

    guys we are playing against the boks not each other, vickery and mears played badly yes, but theres no need to bash only the english players, its not like stephen jones helped much, poor tatical kicking and goal kicking. Phillips' pass is very suspect but he played well overall. Monye played very well in the loose, made tackels and rucked better than the majority of the forwards. To shane williams would have scored is not fair, williams has not been on form and doesnt warrent a place in the team. Kearney althought limited in attack was exercelant, but we need byrne for the last test desperatly. Bowe was slightly less effective today but still played okay. We need more bulk. I suggest sheridan for jenkins(power needed 2 stop rolling maul!!!!!) ford or rees for mears and jones for vickery.

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  • 100. At 7:25pm on 20 Jun 2009, PREMIERSTEVE wrote:

    90. smithyhoops1871 wrote:

    The only judgement call to be made between Jones and O'Gara, is which one should sit on the bench if Hooky is fit.

    O'Gara will give you more points than Jones but he is a complete liability in defense, Jamie and Wallace would have to defend for him which would leave gaps all over the place.

    Also wouldn't it be nice if we had Dwayne Peel as an option. It grits my **** to think that Harry Ellis and the token Scots player is in ahead of him.

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  • 101. At 7:29pm on 20 Jun 2009, rapidDavide wrote:

    Right - first, Croft's penalty. If he had tackled du Preez full on when he was kicking, he would have been penalised for taking the man without the ball. If he did as he did to try and charge down the kick he was always taking the man with him. Unfortunate, no more. At least he got there otherwise might have been 7 points rather than 3.

    Otherwise, we need Sheridan in there to shore up the scrum as we were lightweight today and either Shaw or Hines at lock as we lacked ballast in the tight 5. Heaslip needs to show more as he is far more talented than his performance today.

    Monye was unlucky and played well, should have had a try but for a conservative tv match official.

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  • 102. At 7:29pm on 20 Jun 2009, xpat73 wrote:

    Top level sport is all about taking your opportunities.

    The Boks took just about every single socring opportunity. They had 2 chances to score tries and took them. Every time they were in out 22 they scored points. They missed 2 penaties and that's it...yu have to give them credit for that

    The Lions left 4 tries and 2 penalties behind. Assuming conversions that is 30 points!! You cannot do that against SA and expect to win.

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  • 103. At 7:31pm on 20 Jun 2009, hedropsforglory wrote:

    Glad the photo of the rater is published next to the ratings - demonstrating that being 17 years old and clearly never having plaid a serious game of rugby in his life is why he has gone to print with this naive rubbish, rather than his just being a bit simple.
    "Would Shane Williams have taken these chances?" Dunno - would he have created them?
    Rob Kearney "Doesn't have the attacking threat of Byrne though". The plethora of line-breaks and subsequent points that occured post-Byrne and anti-Kearney being a figment of our collective imagination then, obviously.
    Lee Mears "His throwing into the line-out was poor" - ever thrown into a line out? Had you, you would have spotted that you can be as accurate as you like but if your lineout caller or your catcher are an inch off, you'll wear it in the eyes of the naive rather than anyone else involved in the transaction. Mears did as he was asked all day and his last act was to come close to scoring.
    "The captain must take some credit for the way the Lions came back late in the game" - but plainly no criticism for the other 60 minutes of rubbish, no criticism for the fact that the Boks were able to intimidate the Lions and the referee into subjugation?
    Have you heard of Willie-John McBride and Martin Johnson???
    You appear as familiar with their standard leadership as the half-wit Bryce Kiwi-Nomark is with the location of his yellow card.

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  • 104. At 7:33pm on 20 Jun 2009, PREMIERSTEVE wrote:

    102. xpat73 wrote:

    Very true.

    Who is the ref next week? Hopefully someone who can ref a scrum

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  • 105. At 7:34pm on 20 Jun 2009, astoundinghawkeye wrote:

    Simon how can you avaoid comment of your 6 on Stephen Jones. His kicking and backward passing cost the Lions the match!

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  • 106. At 7:34pm on 20 Jun 2009, aberblabber wrote:

    My team for the next game:


    For me the areas were: front row, second row, back row and back 3. Before I continue, I suppose I should say I'm Welsh. But would like to deal
    I agree with Paul Ackford in the telegraph-Vickery's demise today was one of the saddest sights in rugby. He should be replaced by Jones for obvious reasons-his scrummaging effectively lost them game. Rees should come in by virtue of Mears' sub par performance

    Second row-I thought Hines would start ahead of AWJ, he'd probably add a bit of physicality-an alternative might be O'Callaghan. I'm not a big fan usually, but he looked good coming on. Plus I feel units that have played together would help. ditto all other areas.

    Back row. I'd go for William as I think the backs gave the boks the runaround, Mwilliams would complement this strategy better.

    Back 3-Sorry but Monye was poor. The first try he missed was perhaps fair enough-great cover from DVilliers. The second was really poor-his body position was terrible & had the ball in the wrong hand-an international wing should nail a chance like that so anyone from Williams/fitz should replace him. On that performance there are several others who can feel unlucky not to have toured-Cueto etc.

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  • 107. At 7:35pm on 20 Jun 2009, HarryWHU wrote:

    Saffas blowing out their back sides at sea level after 60 mins... I for one cannot wait for a bit of altitude!!

    The reason the changes were made was because the Boks were knackered...

    they might regain their full fitness in a week... then again they only played for 60 mins.

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  • 108. At 7:36pm on 20 Jun 2009, Tacklebag11 wrote:

    Loss was primarily down to over-estimating the quality of the Boks. Yes they are a very good outfit but as the Lions proved in the last 25 minutes, starve them of ball, attack them from angles and take them on up front and they have liitle esle to fight back with. This is the first time I can remember watching the Lions lose and actually feel ok about it. They'll watch the video afterwards and now know that what the need to do to beat them: have faith in their abilities, be strong up front, have ferocity in there defence and have guile in their attack. They have all these attributes now. They really can win the series and both them and the Boks know it now.

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  • 109. At 7:37pm on 20 Jun 2009, numberwanpurened wrote:

    Firstly congrats to the Saffers. They deserved to win based on their first half.

    We lost this test last week when Graham Rowantree though he was being smart in tipping his mate Vickery for a Test Spot. After the Western Province game 'I like warriors and Vicks is a warrior'. So Vickery has got a test spot a week ahead of the game. This was simply down to them being friends. At this point Euan Murray was still fit. Murray should never have played on the Tuesday. Rowantree picking his mate cost us the game today - 6 penalty points from two duff scrums.

    This time Graham please dont go spouting / showing off and give the opposition another advantage.

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  • 110. At 7:39pm on 20 Jun 2009, xpat73 wrote:

    1) It is a disgrace that the TMO ref could not even speak English properly. All the ffort these professional athletes put in and you have a TMO wh cannot communicate what happened to the ref. Disgraceful. The ref could not understan what he was saying. The 1st Monye "try" should have been a crum 5 to the Lions.
    2) In the seocnd half BODbroke and was about to offload to Roberts and Roberts was clearly tackled before he had the ball1. No penalty to the Lions.
    3) The 1st half try that was disallowed for "crossing" was a dreadful decison. The Bok centers bit down hard on a simple dummy scissors and BOD was through.
    4) The Beast dd not scrum straight the whole game. he was boring in.

    The referee was simply awful.

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  • 111. At 7:39pm on 20 Jun 2009, wemissjonny wrote:

    vickery was hard done by today, "the Beast is just a myth" he was scrummaging illegally and should have got a yellow card, would survive in the premiership. Powell and Shaw also have to start next week for more bulk, would quite like to see Shane Williams too. just hope altitute doesnt play too big a role. Shame we dont have poacher in the squad like an inform Sackey.

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  • 112. At 7:45pm on 20 Jun 2009, haroseal wrote:

    At first I thought you were just trying to be a bit lenient. But then i saw how you ranked some of the pack. How can you give Jenkins and Heaslip 5s and then decide to give Ugo Monye and Stephen Jones 6s? Tell me 1 thing Monye did to warrant him getting anything above a 3? At least Heaslip and Jenkins put in their workload. Fitzgerald would've gotten every try Monye failed to get. He should start next week and should've started today. Giving Kearney a 6 is also ridiculous. He deserved at least a 7. "Doesn't have the attacking threat of Byrne". He looked alot more threatening than Byrne today.

    Next weeks XV should be:
    1. jenkins
    2. Rees
    3. Jones
    4. Jones
    5. POC
    6. Croft
    7. Williams
    8. Heaslip
    9. Phillips
    10. O'Gara
    11. Fitz
    12. Roberts
    13. O'Driscoll
    14. Bowe
    15. Kearney (even if Byrne is fit next week)

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  • 113. At 7:45pm on 20 Jun 2009, Troakie wrote:

    The Lions lost simply because they gained no momentum whatsoever in the first half due to the abject failure of Vickery at tight-head, who was dominated and humiliated throughout, and to the poor performances of Mears and O'Connell at the lineout. The Lions had no platform at all. Vickery should have been pulled off after 25 minutes. He could not stand up. Adam Jones and Matthew Rees should both start next Saturday and the Lions similarly dominate the first half and go on to square the series.

    Oh yes: Sheridan is not in the same class as Gethin Jenkins (who's a LOOSEhead by the way, Simon!)

    This isn't a nationality-biased post. It is a FACT that the two people who turned the game for the Lions today happened to be Welsh. The best players in the world can't win a rugby game if they never have the ball.

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  • 114. At 7:45pm on 20 Jun 2009, xpat73 wrote:

    It is ironic that Rowntree is the Lions scrummaging coach as he was hardly a desrcutive srummager of Lecister or England.

    It would be like having Charlie Hodgson as your tackling coach............and yes, I am a Leicester and England fan.

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  • 115. At 7:46pm on 20 Jun 2009, headretired wrote:

    I have been a great believer in Lions rugby in the past but I have to say that it seems an anachronism in the modern professional game. British and Irish players today and on the last two lions tours have not done themselves justice because they are playing in a "scratch" team, where the result is less than the sum of its parts. It is of great interest to see players from disparate rugby styles and teams play together but I believe that it is virtually impossible to forge a combined team like that into one effective against close-knit, well drilled teams from the SH. In 2001 I believe England would have performed better against the Aussies and certainly the Welsh better against NZ in 2005 and the Irish or Welsh teams better now against the SA.Let's hope I'm wrong because it is still great to see players who would normally be trying to "murder" each other working to show that rugby is a game which can break the barriers of national exclusivism and spread friendship and comeraderie.It is a shame that some "supporters" see defeat as an excuse to air petty nationalist (or is that racist) squabbles.

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  • 116. At 7:46pm on 20 Jun 2009, Will wrote:

    aberblabber wrote

    'Back 3-Sorry but Monye was poor. The first try he missed was perhaps fair enough-great cover from DVilliers. The second was really poor-his body position was terrible & had the ball in the wrong hand-an international wing should nail a chance like that so anyone from Williams/fitz should replace him.'

    lmao your blaming monye for having the ball in the wrong hand, he dodged past the winger(pieterson i think, spose to be quite good in defence aint he??? well....) like he wasnt there and had no time to switch the ball, you telling me that you(i.e. humans) can switch the ball that quickly, clearly you have never played rubgy mate. He did not play poor, he didnt play excerlantly but poor is harsh. The tackeler hit him with imence force, if monye couldnt take that hit then no one could. Fitzgerald would have been sawn in half. When Monye is selected for the start again in a week my point will be proven, hopefully my point will not require williams or fitzgerald to start and show you what happens but hey i will support them none the less :)

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  • 117. At 7:46pm on 20 Jun 2009, PREMIERSTEVE wrote:

    114 Xpat

    Very well said

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  • 118. At 7:47pm on 20 Jun 2009, awesomeno7 wrote:

    At almost every scrum in the first half 'the beast' was turning/boring into Vickery. all of which is totally illegal. Fair play to the Boks for coming up with a strategy to combat was has been an effective lions scrum until today, but its a huge shame on todays Test referee for allowing it to continue for the whole first half. Had he penalised the boks for their looseheads illegal scrumaging, rather than Vickery, the lions would have won easily. Fact.

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  • 119. At 7:50pm on 20 Jun 2009, The Holy Hooker wrote:

    Invidious to compare starters' peformances with those of replacements who came on after SA took off their stars.

    For example Adam Jones had a much easier ride against the Boks' replacement loosehead than Phil Vickery did against the Beast.

    What the Lions did collectively better in the last third of the game was to play what was in front of them and react on the hoof.

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  • 120. At 7:56pm on 20 Jun 2009, mightymaroon wrote:

    xpat73 wrote:
    "1) It is a disgrace that the TMO ref could not even speak English properly. All the ffort these professional athletes put in and you have a TMO wh cannot communicate what happened to the ref. Disgraceful. The ref could not understan what he was saying. The 1st Monye "try" should have been a crum 5 to the Lions.
    2) In the seocnd half BODbroke and was about to offload to Roberts and Roberts was clearly tackled before he had the ball1. No penalty to the Lions.
    3) The 1st half try that was disallowed for "crossing" was a dreadful decison. The Bok centers bit down hard on a simple dummy scissors and BOD was through.
    4) The Beast dd not scrum straight the whole game. he was boring in."

    1-was a disgrace that he couldn't speake proper english, but ref made right call. monye clearly carried the ball over the try line,ball was ripped out of his hand by a saffer.22m drop out.
    2-ref played advantage. lions got significant advantage and wre attacking on the try line for a while and then blew it. can't play advantage forever.
    3-byrne clearly runs in front of bod,blocking 2 saffers.was as clear as night and day.
    4-funny how the beast started driving straight when adam jones came onto the pitch.

    no point blaming the ref.

    whats with all the calls for joe worsely. would understand if we lost by 4 or 5 tries and the affer back row would have run all over us. he is a destructive defender but offers nothing in attack, and weakens the line-out, an area we need to improve on not weaken. leave the back row alone. the did alright.

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  • 121. At 7:57pm on 20 Jun 2009, Stuart reid wrote:

    Whoever suggests Shane Williams on the wing must be mad, he spends too much time in touch, he is far to lightweight for this type of rugby and quite frankly is only on the trip because of 2007. Ugo is big and strong and with a bit of luck, and a decent ref, lions can win the next 2. Williams would have got know where near the line. Jones not to play 10 again to 1 dimensional. ODriscoll was no worse than anyone else on the lions side in the first half as for Vickery, he was lifted every scrum and the penalty should have been lions. No more welsh on here please.

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  • 122. At 7:58pm on 20 Jun 2009, punkyhooker wrote:

    Good call no #109. It's a shame there are so many national biased comment tonight. Vickery and meers were V poor and should be dropped, Jones came on and settled the scrum. I would like to see Hines promoted into the squad/team (more bulk) with Rees/Ford as the hookers. I think Geech's mobility pack has backfired, what is needed is a solid/strong pack to support our quality backs!

    Only problem I see with the backs - why does Philips pull the ball into his stomach before he passes (I'm a hooker, it looks wrong)?

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  • 123. At 8:00pm on 20 Jun 2009, PREMIERSTEVE wrote:

    119. Holy Hooker

    Disagree with your comment about Adam having a much easier ride. I firmly believe he is the most under rated player on tour.

    Adam is a better scrummager than Vicks by far and would have not been bossed by the beast and also has the technical prowess to make up for Lee Mears obvious weakness in the scrum.

    That being said I never want to slag off a player who has been such a stalwart for England and the Lions (true legend), I just think his time is up.

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  • 124. At 8:01pm on 20 Jun 2009, robbietaylor06 wrote:

    Vicks is going to be made a scapegoat by media with a lack of knowledge of front row play. He was poor but he is no Al Baxter. We are talking about a thoroughbred, world class prop. The referee let him down by allowing the bok loosehead to not scummage straight. He was clearly put right at half time which set the platform for an excellent scrummaging performance by A Jones. Very dissappointing to see that the Lions mauling continues to be ineffective. Feel positive for Test 2. To cross the line of the World champs 6 times speaks volumes. Boks were blowing by 60 mins and won't be match fit by next week. Big mistake to rest them for so long, in my opinion.

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  • 125. At 8:02pm on 20 Jun 2009, xpat73 wrote:

    Look at he match stats.

    The Lions had 68% possession.

    They made only 34 tackles compared to the Boks 88.

    The Boks had more steals in the lineout and more turnovers.

    The power of the Boks tackling is immense. I worry a bit because Burger was not even playing!!

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  • 126. At 8:03pm on 20 Jun 2009, roquefort01 wrote:

    I agree with others that the referee was awful.
    How many times did he ignore Springboks lying at the base of mauls, making absolutely NO attempt to get out of the way, and thereby preventing `quick ball`?
    Too often!
    And he played `advantage` for far too long at times. there was one passage towards the end when he played a penalty advantage to the Lions for about 3 minutes when it was quite obvious that no advantage was accrueing and the Lions could have had 3 points in the bag 3 minutes earlier and could have been back `knocking on the door` for more. And that`s just a couple of criticisms of him.
    Put him in charge of a Test Match? I wouldn`t give him charge of a pram!
    The Lions desreved to have won this one.
    But the ref was `a homer`.

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  • 127. At 8:04pm on 20 Jun 2009, Troakie wrote:

    @ The Holy Hooker (119)

    True, Adam Jones may have had an easier time against the replacement Bok loosehead, but he had to control "The Beast" for 15 minutes first. During those 15 minutes, the Lions scrum was rock solid and we were finally able to string some plays together, as opposed to being shoved back or losing possession due to a penalty against us, which is what happened to Vickery for 45 minutes straight!

    And for those of you saying that The Beast was scrummaging illegally against Vickery - even if that is correct, did The Beast suddenly stop scrummaging that way when Adam Jones appeared? I doubt it! Jones just had the ability to handle it. Vickery is simply a shadow of his former self; today he didn't have the tools to do his primary job: scrummage.

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  • 128. At 8:08pm on 20 Jun 2009, britch13 wrote:

    I am really upset at the Welsh. I'm Irish and can admit O'Connell should go. You seem to get great pleasure in players from other nations esp England playing badly. NOBODY could have predicted what would have happened to Vickery. Shane Williams is too small and weak. He'd get steamrollered.

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  • 129. At 8:14pm on 20 Jun 2009, Stuart reid wrote:

    When jones cam on for vickery the beast had been blowing for about 20 mins so thats why jones looked better. I am not saying that vickery was good but there were plenty of others not good, s jones was awful, had he kicked the first 2 who knows what would have happened, if phillips had passed better we might have had a few more trys. So please do not only pick on the easy target I am watching it again now and he was not the worst in the first half.

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  • 130. At 8:14pm on 20 Jun 2009, haroseal wrote:

    113 Troakie

    I could also just say it was a welshman's poor day with the boot that lost us the game in the end. This isnt about nationality, mate. That's a terrible way to look at things.

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  • 131. At 8:18pm on 20 Jun 2009, smilingDogbreath wrote:

    Can believe we were watchin same game looking at the comments... South African Rugby website says that Beast got man of the match but SA commentator felt O'Driscoll should of got it!! I agree , Roberts great too and great partnership but just watch the canny work of O'Driscoll .. suspect he is the real captain.....

    Starting XV for 2nd Test:
    O'Driscoll (Cpt)
    O'Gara or Hook
    A Jones
    AW Jones
    P O'Connell

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  • 132. At 8:24pm on 20 Jun 2009, phildog7 wrote:

    Jenks - 7 great tackle
    Mears - 4 throw was awful did nothing in loose
    Vicks - 2 last international match enough said
    AWJ - 4 anonymous
    POC - 6 at least he led by taking some line out ball, do not know what people expect
    Croft - 6 some good line out takes and good support for tries, but still not enough
    Wally - 6 couple of great breaks needs something more probably from
    Heaslip - 6 defensively ok
    Phillips - 7 pass is a problem but otherwise excellent, unlucky not to score 2nd try
    Jones - 5 limited today, still toss of coin with ROG
    Monye - 3 doubters are right and so much for his finishing. Twice had ball in wrong arm and both cost tries very basic errors
    Roberts - 9 enough said
    BOB - 8 some people have pointed out errors but made things happen as always
    Bowe - 6 looked dangerous but not enough ball, nothing wrong with his try, Saffers bought the dummy run
    Byrne - 6 did nothing wrong

    Cahnges for next week

    Rees and Jones in front row
    DOC for AWJ
    POssibly Williams for Wallace, but there is something good about bringing Williams on
    Fitz for Monye

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  • 133. At 8:26pm on 20 Jun 2009, Nhando wrote:

    I'm sorry, but there is a lot of nonsense about referees and the Lions missing out on several opportunities. I watched the match, and apart from one or two moves, the boks did not even seem to go into first gear. I would say the score certainly flattered the Lions, but who cares? The Boks won convincingly, and might have done so by more had they felt under more pressure. Very similar to the world cup final.

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  • 134. At 8:30pm on 20 Jun 2009, hoorayhenri wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 135. At 8:30pm on 20 Jun 2009, Troakie wrote:

    130 Haroseal

    I'm saying it's NOT a nationality thing. I agree Stephen Jones missed two penalties and those six points mathematically lost us the game. I have also not commented on the whole game, just the part that, to me, impacted the general performance and momentum of the game.

    If Vickery were Welsh, I'd say exactly the same things as I have posted so far. I am not being biased - in fact I stated that my post wasn't nationality-biased and implied that it just happened to be the case that the two replacements I mentioned were Welsh.

    I am confused as to how I have offended you...?

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  • 136. At 8:33pm on 20 Jun 2009, xpat73 wrote:

    It is absolutely disgraceful that the TMO could not speak good enough English to communicate to the ref for the 1st Monye "try" decision.

    He was clearly trying to say that the Boks had played it out and it was a scrum 5 to the Lions. The ref just could not understand him with the language problem in a loud stadium.

    You would think someone would have a little bit more respect for the players and coaches of both sides who put so much time effort and prep that the rugby admin would get this correct.


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  • 137. At 8:35pm on 20 Jun 2009, JACKONE wrote:

    AS mentioned before there has been some bias, including from some Irish contributors.

    For 15 I would keep Byrne over Kearney, Byrne has been by far the best full back on tour, and totally deserves to keep his place (if fit).

    No Changes in the 3 Quarters

    At half back perhaps O'Gara and Phillips.

    Front Row Jones for Vickery, I am delighted how well Jones is doing.
    No Changes in the back 5.

    Before this game, the Test side pretty much picked themselves, and the danger with having such a dominant first team is that, you don't have the players to replace them with.

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  • 138. At 8:36pm on 20 Jun 2009, xpat73 wrote:

    Nhando: You think the score flattered the Lions??? They left 30 points behind!!

    Credit to SA for maximising their points.......fair enough. They took their opportunities and the Lions did not.

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  • 139. At 8:37pm on 20 Jun 2009, headretired wrote:

    Some people on here are talking about Phil Vickery as if the man is unprofessional or was not trying. You are doing the man a great injustice. He clearly can no longer put in performances at the highest level BUT he did not deserve to suffer a referee who put in the worst scrum judging performance since the SA guy in the 2003 world cup final. By all means replace him with Adam Jones on form but show the man some respect and don't abuse him for not trying. In the past he has stood toe to toe with far better scrummaging props than the "beast" or Adam Jones come to that. His selection turned out to be a mistake but he had performed well enough to be selected. He wasn't responsible for all the Lion's shortcomings in the first 50 minutes.

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  • 140. At 8:39pm on 20 Jun 2009, Rickymeister wrote:

    O'Driscoll, Roberts and Croft were the only Lions to shine today. Phillips did fairly well but the rest were very average. The Lions only came back into the game when South Africa got tired and complacent. Yes, Vickery had a poor game and no doubt Jones will start next week but I cannot see him doing any better against the beast, especially if the ref misses the beast continually going to scrum at an angle. As for Shane Williams scoring Monye's chances...Williams has had more than enough chances and has been very poor in all of them and most of the games I have seen him play this season. He is nowhere near the player he was so he would be very lucky to even be in the 22.
    I think the Lions have missed their best chance as the South Africans will be much stronger and less complacent next weekend. I only see a comfortable win for them.

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  • 141. At 8:40pm on 20 Jun 2009, AJtheGog wrote:

    It really does amaze me that there is so much talk of National bias on here if you critise a player of certain nationalities.... am I Welsh or Irish biased for stating that Vickery was humiliated and should have been replaced 20 minutes in or am I just stating a fact?

    Before you start ranting, NO I do not think Shane Williams should be playing, we have enough problems as it is!

    Also, does Shaw have the fitness levels required? Was happy to see him go on tour but never thought he would get close to a test place.

    Phillips' biggest drawback is the step he takes before each pass, something that is illustrated when he is replaced by Peel in the 6 N and the pace of delivery goes right up but don't really think that Ellis is playing well enough to replace him.

    Finally, even O'Gara's team mates in the 6 N admitted that he is a defensive weakness and that's without SA forwards running at him all day so would question his selection. That said, Jones did not have a good game (especially with the boot) but Hook has hardly been top notch this season either so some tough decisions to be made at fly half.

    2 more to go.... we can still win the series!

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  • 142. At 8:40pm on 20 Jun 2009, mightymaroon wrote:

    re. xpat73:
    the ref understood what the tmo was trying to say (sort of!!!) but realised he was making the wrong desicion. monye carried the ball over the try line.regardless of what happened then it could not/never have been a scrum 5 to the attacking team. if the saffer had ripped the ball out before monye crossed the try line then it would have been a scrum the ref got the call dead right.

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  • 143. At 8:42pm on 20 Jun 2009, Bobbysmith wrote:

    Ratings prob about right.

    Totally fed up of the welsh "bring shane in" calls. The guy is useless at the moment, I'd rather have ROG on the wing. Ugo was unlucky with the first very tough finish, needed power (shane doesn't have it) and the second I accept he shouldn't have had 2 hands on it but it wasn't a straight run in.

    Not sure what we do at 10. Both average at best. If Hook isn't fit, then we stay with Jones as he links better with Roberts.

    Why are people trying to talk croft down and some want him replaced? Pathetic. He may not be a world beater yet but will do more than the anonymous Heaslip and wallace.

    Essentially it seems that because we lost, and vickery got humped up front that we should replace all english players.

    On the ref front, not blaming him at all. But the difference between SH and NH interpretations is getting too large and the NH seem to be treated more harshly. Why when we were warned in the 1st half for 3 infringments in the front row, then late in the second they kept giving away penalties for deliberate slowing offences, there was no sign of a warning let alone a yellow card?

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  • 144. At 8:43pm on 20 Jun 2009, rsuppards wrote:

    As an Englishman, I've had reservations about Vicks for about a year. He's become Mr 60 minutes!
    This is not the first time he has not been able to handle a prop who bores in - see last autumn's Investec series, particularly the Oz match. I think the saffers spotted that one and applied strategy accordingly - and got away with it and good luck to them.

    Not a lot of options at 10 if Jones misfires. ROG lightweight apart from kicking and Hook too busy buffing his manicure.

    Agree the finishing 15 should perhaps start the next one

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  • 145. At 8:45pm on 20 Jun 2009, hoorayhenri wrote:

    To the mods :
    Hi guys, just wondering what's happened to my post pointing out your deliberate mistake in calling Gethin Jenkins a tight head.

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  • 146. At 8:47pm on 20 Jun 2009, Segnes wrote:

    This was about forwards, sadly.

    The long and the short on Vickery is that he was exposed by a relative novice, but it is equally true that the comparison with Jones might not be valid as fresh legs always confer some advantage. It may still be that in Murray's absence Vickery is the best make-do. Mears on the other hand is the poorest scrummager in his position on tour and if his throw-ins are off the mark I'd say his innings is certainly over. And I was very disappointed by Jenkins, too, in the event. If you can't dominate the scrummage you can't win a *r*e*a*l* test match.

    Full marks to the Lions on keeping Spies out of the game when his scrummage was dominant, though: I think every serious student of rugby will want to have taken note of how that was accomplished.

    I certainly agree with the views expressed earlier that the Lions didn't go into what they had to know was going to be the real thing with anything like the requisite fire and brimstone. I really can't connect with talk about "warriors" on the basis of this performance, anyway! South Africa will always get the best of gentlemen's clubs; for that matter, so will New Zealand and Australia. The meek only inherit the earth in the sense of having their faces shoved into it. I hope the Lions will take that on board, but, unlike Rowntree, I just don't see the warriors. Not in the team, nor on the bench, nor in the rest of the squad.

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  • 147. At 8:48pm on 20 Jun 2009, Joey wrote:


    Byrne: 6 - Did little wrong.
    Bowe: 7 - Looked dangerous, although made some bad decisions.
    BOD: 9 - Class act.
    Roberts: 10 - Should have been on the winning team.
    Monye: 5 - Energy but decision making poor. Sellfish with the ball, showed his inexpierience.
    Jones: 6 - Good in the loose but ROG would have put those kicks over.
    Phillips: 10 - Great tenacity and courage.
    Heaslip: 6 - Quiet game but did little wrong.
    Wallace: 7 - Worked hard.
    Croft: 10 - Superb, my man of the match.
    AWJ: 6 - Lacked power but did little wrong.
    POC: 6 - Good work rate but like his partner in crime lacked power.
    Vickery: 3 - Outmuscled in the scrum which affected his whole game.
    Mears: 3 - Lineouts poor, ineffective in the loose.
    Jenkins: 8 - Good work rate and strong in the scrum.

    I'd give all the subs a 7 I thought they did well except the indiscipline from Rees.

    Next test.

    Williams for Monye
    Kearney for Byrne
    ROG for Jones
    Jones for Vickery
    Rees for Mears
    Shaw/Hines for AWJ

    What do people think?

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  • 148. At 8:50pm on 20 Jun 2009, hoorayhenri wrote:

    It's still not there. How can two of you get something that basic wrong - do you actually watch rugby?

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  • 149. At 8:51pm on 20 Jun 2009, changethe3 wrote:

    Vicks is going to be made a scapegoat by media with a lack of knowledge of front row play. He was poor but he is no Al Baxter. We are talking about a thoroughbred, world class prop

    Vickery should made to be the scapegoat today as he was beaten at every sceum. He looked scared to pack down in the coz he knew he was a beaten man.

    The first scrum we had after he went off and Adam Jones came on we won our ball comfortably.

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  • 150. At 8:51pm on 20 Jun 2009, bodiroga wrote:

    Lions coaches are to 100% to blame. They talked about running the Boks off the park but it's no use doing it for 20 mins after the Boks pack has already bullied it's way to a 20 point lead. Lions midfield is capable of ripping the Boks apart but the Pack was always going to be too lightweight. Vickery got mugged - the beast was not always scrummaging legally but Vickery is 5 years past his best and should not be on the tour. SR is too lightweight - Shaw and Hines required to add some muscle and get stuck into Botha and Du Plessis (shame on the Lions for letting a hooker bully his way through the game). Team for next week - you cannot beat the Boks unless you match them physically and play them at their own intimidation game up front - hence Sheridan Shaw and Hines all required.

    O Driscoll
    Heaslip (needs to do more)
    Rees (weight alone justifies selection)

    Jones (sorted out the beast so on for Sheridan after 50 mins with Jenkins switching over)
    Mears (poor today but can throw better)
    Wyn Jones (talented if game opens up but not physical enough for the hard stuff - if this guy is 19 stones then Shaw and Hines are 22 stones each!))
    Williams (useful when game opens up)
    Flutey (class and can do damage when game opens up)

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  • 151. At 8:53pm on 20 Jun 2009, welshtanman wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 152. At 8:54pm on 20 Jun 2009, dcfctommo123 wrote:

    Very harsh on Jenkins
    Ant you say Croft was 'world class' but only got an eight?

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  • 153. At 8:59pm on 20 Jun 2009, dcfctommo123 wrote:

    Plus im very surprised Hines didn't make the 22, could have done with him IMO

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  • 154. At 9:07pm on 20 Jun 2009, Ich_habe_gedient wrote:

    The fact of the matter is, the referee was a disgrace today. This is a game the Lions could, and should have won but for the SA number 16. It was an absolute scandal the way Vickery was treated - penalty after penalty after penalty for no apparent reason. The truth is that on another day the Lions would have been credited with the six tries they scored and would not have conceded at least two of the penalties that were not penalties. I make that 42-21 to the Lions but for the lamentable quality of the refereeing. Vickery should not be dropped given that his only offence was to be on the wrong side of an extremely poor set of officials. Good to see Mike Phillips showing his teeth - he may sometimes be a tad slow in his delivery but more than makes up for it with his aggression. All in all I think this will be a 2-1 series win for the Lions just take a look at those match statistics.

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  • 155. At 9:07pm on 20 Jun 2009, 2manlineout wrote:

    Think you got the spelling of Vickery wrong..should be spelt 'Mockery'. He seems like a very honourable character... but I cant fathom why the british media rate him so highly. He may be a Lion, but a tamed circus lion at best!

    I thought BOD was man of the match. He was the integral cog in the backline and gave the Lions their 'fangs'. Roberts and BOD may not be the fastest, wiliest or most powerful centres, but on balance, I make them the best centre pairing in the world. A joy to watch. Such a shame they dont play for the same country - but then I guess, thats what makes the Lions so special.

    I always felt Monye was a mistake for the test team, never mind the squad. But he did impress. Although he forfeited some match winnable points (points someone like Habana would never miss), his workrate was phenominal and he was instrumental to many of the crucial attacking plays.

    Stephen Jones was also very disappointing. Aside from 6 kickable points that went amiss and could cost them the test, his running play was flat and laborious. In fairness, flyhalf is a weakness in the squad. Aside from the exciting ( but unpredictable) Hook, there is not much firepower there.

    Next week I would expect a revamped front row... perhaps Adam Jones can provide a proper mane? Williams IMO would provide better balance for the exceptional Croft. Lastly Id be keen to see the selectors roll the dice and give Hook a chance, possibly with a speedier scrumhalf like Ellis.

    Overall, the Lions backs rose to the occassion and matched the exceptional bok counterparts. It was the tight five that were outclassed.
    So the prey has become predator and the springbok has conquered a lion.
    But the hunt begins afresh next week....
    (Im SAcan BTW)

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  • 156. At 9:09pm on 20 Jun 2009, Ruck_Maker wrote:

    Simon, I agree with most of your ratings, and will explain where I differ.

    Lee Byrne - 6
    Tommy Bowe - 7 Was threatening with ball in hand, made some nice runs.
    Brian O'Driscoll - 8
    Jamie Roberts - 8 Great game, maybe 8.5 even.
    Ugo Monye - 5 Poor kick cover led to SA first try, should have scored at least once!
    Stephen Jones - 6
    Mike Phillips - 7
    Jamie Heaslip - 6 No great plays, but no poor ones. Pass mark.
    David Wallace - 6
    Tom Croft - 7 Did well for his two tries, good vision. Less well at lineout and breakdown.
    Paul O'Connell - 6
    Alun Wyn Jones - 6
    Phil Vickery - 3
    Lee Mears - 4
    Gethin Jenkins - 7 Thought he had an excellent game, scrummaged well and effective in the loose.


    Rob Kearney - 7 Better kicking than Byrne, good under high ball.
    Adam Jones - 7 For his impact in the scrums.
    Martyn Williams - 6
    Matthew Rees - 6 Though if he hadn't thrown that punch a 7.
    O'Callaghan - 6 Came on too you know!

    Now, as for the next Test. Well, we'll have to see if anyone puts their hand up in the mid-week vs Emerging Springboks. But for now.

    Front-row. The All-Welsh combination that finished the match deserve to start the next. Mears to the bench, Vickery out.

    Second-row. We went for two Athletes, and we got pushed around. But I don't think Geech will change his strategy. Shaw or Hines would offer more ballast at the cost of mobility, and I'd say POC, DOC and AWJ are still the 3 Test locks.

    Back-row. A switch of strategy, with Williams to start and Wallace to come on and carry ball in the last 20. Croft and Heaslip did enough to start again.

    Half-back. O'Gara to start on the high veldt. Phillips must speed up or make way for Ellis, as although he played well, the Lions looked most dangerous when ball went wide fast.

    Centers. Can't ask for more. Roberts and O'Driscoll again.

    Wings. The kicking game of Kearney or Fitzgerald will suit the high altitude more than the straight-line running of Monye.

    Full-back. Both Byrne and Kearney played well, ideally both should start next Test.

    So, for next Saturday:

    1 Jenkins
    2 Rees
    3 A Jones
    4 AW Jones
    5 O'Connell
    6 Croft
    7 Williams
    8 Heaslip
    9 Phillips
    10 O'Gara
    11 Kearney/Fitzgerald
    12 Roberts
    13 O'Driscoll
    14 Bowe
    15 Byrne/Kearney

    16 Mears
    17 Sheridan/Hayes (These 2 plus Ford could make a fearsome front 3 midweek, even more so with Hines/Shaw as a secondrow.)
    18 O'Callaghan A good man to stop a driven maul by taking down the ball-carrier.
    19 Wallace Covers 6/7/8 and will make a great Impact in last 20.
    20 Ellis If service to out-half needs to be quicker.
    21 Jones While O'Gara deserves a shot, Jones can come on and be awesome.
    22 Fitzgerald/Earls/D'Arcy/Flutey In that order atm, but could change after Emerging Boks game.

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  • 157. At 9:10pm on 20 Jun 2009, Golden_J wrote:

    Alun Wyn Jones seems to get a lot of criticism, and it started with the original blog post. Watching the game would help. He did indeed tackle well and put in some abrasive tackles at that, but as another post says He packed down on the left side (behind Gethin Jenkins), and not his usual side either. POC unfortunately is not the player he has been in the past and is having a poor tour so far.
    Heaslip seemed quiet and a couple of pick ups had no forward momentum at all, but he's the only option and can be good if the Lions gain control at the start of 2nd test.
    Phillips needs a good talking to, takes too long to get the ball away and why oh why keep going blind to the 5m line giving the defence on the open side plenty of time to catch a breath and organise, hence when the ball comes back again the defence is there and with his 2 or 3 steps the defence are right up. There is no other option but why isn't Peel there with his zippy pass.

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  • 158. At 9:12pm on 20 Jun 2009, williehornerip wrote:

    Hugely disappointing performance against vastly overrated opposition. South Africa offered nothing special and played 10 man rugby throughout. Having said that, they didn't have to produce anything out of the ordinary. Appalling kicking options from Jones, slow service from Phillips and woeful scrummaging cost the game. BOD and Roberts were outstanding and Kearney was absolutely solid. If we can play expansively on a consistent basis South Africa are very vulnerable. Our back row did much to nullify any threat from the Boks so no complaints from me here. But front row and half backs continue to be the achilles heel. We're still very much in the series though.

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  • 159. At 9:13pm on 20 Jun 2009, Igottaeugeone wrote:

    Vickery was awful. He should have been substituted after 15 mins - what were the coaches thinking!
    I also think Philips was poor - Dwayne Peel should have been the Lions 9 - how many fumbles does Philips make every game and why does he need to take two steps before firing off his pass.
    Jones at 10 was ineffectual as well - hope Hook is available for the next game as O gara is a waste of space.
    I would also bring in Andy Powell - OK he does turn over too much ball but he can turn a game with his loose play and his 7s skills. For the very same reason I would bring in shane williams who can turn games on their head - I feel sure he would benefit greatly from operating outside BOD - player of the year 2009 without a shadow of a doubt - his rugby intelligence is a joy to watch. I thought both Wallace and Martin williams had a good game - but I would go with Martin next time round as he is great link man between the forwards and backs - and hopefully the coaches will have noticed if the Lions hope to turn the series around they need to run the BOKs off their feet.

    fingers crossed for the next game. C`Mon the Lions.

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  • 160. At 9:14pm on 20 Jun 2009, PREMIERSTEVE wrote:

    I wish people would stop suggesting Hines should have been on the bench. Shouldn't have even made it on tour. Hardly an enforcer....just a lump

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  • 161. At 9:17pm on 20 Jun 2009, Coxcurrygod wrote:

    SA are extremely fortunate that they didn't lose by at least 10 points and they would have to be inordinately dimwitted not to admit that.

    With the exception of the curious battle between Vickery and an escaped zoo creature (Even the crowd sing to him and call him The Beast), The Lions were emphatically the better side, and I've never seen a worse SH back division.

    Had this game been played at Twickers, or Cardiff or Murrayfield or Dublin - with a French referee, the Boks would have been absolutely torn apart.

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  • 162. At 9:19pm on 20 Jun 2009, Mr T wrote:

    It has to be said. What the hell was the referee doing? Three times in the match he signaled for Lions penalties only to change his mind. How can a knock on during an advantage constitute such? Its nonsense. The Boks were penalised numerous time in their own red zone with no mention of a yellow card. Phil Vickery was penalised for collapsing the scrum without any warning or explanation.

    Croft was penalised after the crowd booed a replay on the big screen! "The Beast" should be renamed "the bore". The ref refused to explain his decision to Vickery as he plainly didn't know why he was penalising him.

    The Lions were beaten but the officiating played a part in that. Unless the Lions can cope with the Boks and the refs we're stuffed.

    Finally fair play to BOD and Roberts. Absolutely top class, Every time they got the ball they looked a threat.

    It leaves a sour taste in the mouth moaning about the ref. But sometimes there's no getting away from it. The officiating today was an absolute disgrace.

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  • 163. At 9:21pm on 20 Jun 2009, senortibbs wrote:

    the only motivation the lions need for the next test is to the picture of the south african second row standind over bod looking to kill hom

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  • 164. At 9:23pm on 20 Jun 2009, BigBonzo75 wrote:

    welshtanman #151

    So lets pick 14 welsh and BOD. Better get the plane tickets bought and fly out a few more for the bench.

    By the way, your not Gavin Henson by any chance? get it? welsh-TAN-man?

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  • 165. At 9:31pm on 20 Jun 2009, PREMIERSTEVE wrote:

    Alternative XV (How many of these guys would have done better than the bunch today)

    15. Armitage
    14. Mark Jones
    13. Mike Tindall
    12. Gavin Henson
    11. Mark Cueto
    10. Danny Cipriani
    9. Dwayne Peel

    1. Duncan Jones
    2. Richard Hibbard
    3. Julian White
    4. Steve Borthwick
    5. Ian Evans
    6. James Haskell
    7. Scots bloke whop plays for Glasgow
    8. Ryan Jones


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  • 166. At 9:34pm on 20 Jun 2009, dillingerplan wrote:

    I agree with AJtheGog firstly about the speed of Phillips' delivery. The step(s) before each pass at the ruck did slow down the ball at times and this will be targeted in future. Attacking, I think he is fantastic. I would still stick with him ahead of Blair or Ellis.

    Tactically, hitting the blind side continually was beyond frustrating, and kicking to Pienaar and Steyn was painful to watch.

    Regarding Paul O' Connell, admittedly I am a Munster man, but can the issues of leadership be put to rest? Granted he is not at his finest form, but no one can deny the esteem he is held in amongst his peers on the tour.

    I thought Jenkins had a very good game, mobile as ever and could hardly be blamed for the scrum, neither could AW Jones who I still think will retain his place. To be fair to Vickery, the Beast was not scrummaging straight, but debatable if this would have mattered, absolutely dominated and should not have started the 2nd half.

    Roberts was sublime and really has the makings of a world class player.

    Croft thoroughly deserves his place, great support play and a great option at the lineout. Wallace I thought did ok, made some ground as he always does, but I can see Williams being given the nod for the 2nd test for his tenacity at the breakdown.

    Jones played poorly unfortunately, the second missed penalty should have gone over, the first possibly. I know ROG has question marks regarding defence but so far on tour has played well. Decision making with ball in hand will be the key for the decision. Hard call between Jones, ROG and Hook.

    Disappointed for Mears as I've been impressed with him all tour, just had an off day, Rees' ill discipline needs to be cut out.

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  • 167. At 9:36pm on 20 Jun 2009, billyrugby wrote:

    Just wanted to say one thing really.
    I am welsh and obviously like to see my countrymen performing well. However, this is a Lions tour and this is a very unique situation and it is not about having as many welsh, english, irish, or scottish players in the test team.
    The Lions is all about having and supporting the best british rugby players playing in the test matches, regardless of nationality. We need to be commenting without our 'national rose tinted' glasses and not blaming the english for the scrum, the welsh for this and the irish for that.
    I want to see the best rugby players that we have that are capable of beating the boks, no matter which country they represent. In fact, I almost think that it is unhealthy to have a very heavy percentage from one country alone.
    So lets stop attacking vickery and whinging about moyne and missed opportunities and just start supporting the cause by being a little less negative.
    Changes need to be made and that is only correct and I think I agree with one commentor who said the bench lacked the X Factor. I think I agree. I know Shane has taken a bashing and the debate will continue, but the fact is - he is someone who can spark a team into life. I would like to see him at least on the bench along with another maverick, James Hook.
    O' Gara is more clinical than Jones in front of the posts, but Jones has his good points as well. If it was left to me I'd gamble on Hook at 10 as we can't play conservatively from now on anyway.
    But let's get behind the team - whatever the national makeup is and not rant on about those players who didn't perform too well today.
    The reality is - tweak a few things here and there and we'll be in with a shout in the second test.

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  • 168. At 9:38pm on 20 Jun 2009, CabbageHeaven wrote:

    Completely agree with #109. Rowntree handed Vickery a test spot a week before the test. The TV pundits (hang your heads in shame) supported the "Phil Vickery is the greatest prop" campaign despite strong evidence that suggests he isn't even the 3rd best prop at Wasps.
    I watched an earlier tour game where Stuart Barnes used a still photograph to demonstrate how Euan Murray had failed to exploit an overlap. Watched in real-time it was plain to see that a pass would have been difficult for an accomplished back to make (and would probably have been intercepted in any event). This then became the evidence of Murray's limited capabilities. Talk about undermining a players credentials.
    In the autumn internationals Murray had "the Beast" on toast. I thought for a while he wasn't being played because the management team recognised him for what he is - the best tight head in British and Irish rugby - and were keeping him safe. Politics (not form) clearly has a place even in the "all for one and one for all" environment of a British and Irish Lions Tour. I'm a bit disillusioned.
    For the record I'm a prop and a big admirer of Vickery in his hey-day. I'm also English which makes this even harder...
    Lets get on with selecting on form not jaded reputations.

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  • 169. At 9:39pm on 20 Jun 2009, numberwanpurened wrote:

    160. Premiersteve. You wouldnt perhaps be an English fellah? If Hines is a lump what does that make Vickery?

    163. senortibbs. 100% correct mate. My bllod was boiling when I saw that arrogant **** threatening BOD. Very big of, Botha was it, threatening a man lying on the ground.

    Still say Rowantree selecting his mate Vickery cost us the test today.

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  • 170. At 9:42pm on 20 Jun 2009, Tom Cropper wrote:

    I'm a Welsh fan. Over the years I've called Mathew Rees many things, but British Lion is not one of them. He's infuriating. He can have a great game - steady the line out, produce pin point throws - but he can also do stupid things such as throw a punch and turn over penalties in front of the posts. He did well today, but I trust him about as far as I can comfortably spit out a rat.

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  • 171. At 9:51pm on 20 Jun 2009, WelshSubmariner wrote:

    No fingers can be pointed at ANY of the backs today. I dont enough about front row play to know what went on between Vickery and this "Beast" fella but apart from a good talking to and a kick up the backside I dont see anything much that should change for the next test.

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  • 172. At 9:56pm on 20 Jun 2009, Dei1984 wrote:

    Facts are-
    1.Vickery has proven to every one that he's past it
    2.Shane Williams would have scoredat least 1 try
    3.Monye looked slow in defence
    4.POC isnt a Internatinol Captain
    5.S Jones isnt the best fly half, but do we really want Spies, De Villiers runing down the channel with O'Gara standing there!!!
    6.Hooker is a real problem

    And all this rubbish of Welsh people slating othe home nation players?!?!?!what a load of TURD!
    its a fact Vickery was way out of his depth as was Monye!

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  • 173. At 9:56pm on 20 Jun 2009, Ron666 wrote:

    "I am really upset at the Welsh. I'm Irish and can admit O'Connell should go. You seem to get great pleasure in players from other nations esp England playing badly."

    A lot of people on here, English and (sadly) Irish, seem to get great pleasure in Shane Williams playing badly. I don't think he should be in the Test side in his present form, but some of the gloating about his problems on here has been highly unpleasant. And could somebody please explain exactly how AWJ was to blame for Vickery's problems when he was on the other side of the scrum?

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  • 174. At 9:57pm on 20 Jun 2009, Ruck_Maker wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 175. At 9:59pm on 20 Jun 2009, wabmeister wrote:

    From The Scotsman following Scotland v SA at Murrayfield in November..
    (the Boks won 14-10)

    "Euan Murray outshining Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira, the front five standing solid in every scrum and pushing the Boks backwards in some. The lineouts had hiccups, but Jim Hamilton and Nathan Hines regularly outshone Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha, considered the best lock pairing in the world, while the back row competed well with one of the hardest trios in the game".

    ...for the record 7 of the Bok pack that started that day started again today..... Murray with a sprained ankle would have offered more than Vickery who peaked 6 years ago in Sydney and has lived off reputation he was horribly exposed... and I suspect a good carrer has finished on a disappointing low..
    Sorry to say that if this team is picked on form then POC should do the honourable thing (Fitzgerald should have stepped aside for Deans in 1983).... Hines or Shaw deserve their chance.. hopefully however the criticism he is bound to get will spur him and his team to fight back at Loftus next weekend......

    John Hayes straight to the Test bench

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  • 176. At 10:01pm on 20 Jun 2009, VoiceofJoe wrote:

    The good news is that the Series is still very winnable - our backs shredded the Boks and that with a pack going backwards in the first half.

    I'd go along with the consensus of the welsh front row for next test. As a Lions test Captain, I didn't think POC fronted up as he should have done, particularly in the first half. BOD and to a lesser extent Phillips looked more like leaders. However I wouldn't go as far as dropping him but put in Hines alongside to add extra bulk and power.

    Jamie Roberts was simply awesome and what a partnership with BOD

    Stephen Jones - where to start ? Hasn't really convincedl all season and if Hook is fit he's got to start - not only for his kicking but for the extra creativity he brings. Kearney in at wing instead of Ugo if Byrne is fit - if not Fitzgerald with Shane on the bench.

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  • 177. At 10:04pm on 20 Jun 2009, politedebate wrote:

    Stop being so pessimistic everyone!
    The lions were fantastic in attack, and we can still win this!!

    VAST improvement on the situation compared with 05


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  • 178. At 10:04pm on 20 Jun 2009, Benjyyy wrote:

    oh dear oh dear....that is not BOD speaking as advertised on the sport front page audio. Its Tommy Bowe!!!!

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  • 179. At 10:07pm on 20 Jun 2009, Ruck_Maker wrote:

    Re: 172. Dei1984

    FACT: You are Welsh.

    Many other Welsh people are capable of making objective judgements. Please learn from them.

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  • 180. At 10:07pm on 20 Jun 2009, ctmanbok wrote:

    169. At 9:39pm on 20 Jun 2009, numberwanpurened wrote:
    160. Premiersteve. You wouldnt perhaps be an English fellah? If Hines is a lump what does that make Vickery?

    163. senortibbs. 100% correct mate. My bllod was boiling when I saw that arrogant **** threatening BOD. Very big of, Botha was it, threatening a man lying on the ground.

    Still say Rowantree selecting his mate Vickery cost us the test today.

    ..............WHAT RUBBISH..... and who was it that tackled FDP without using his arms???? who was it that punched Habana when he was onthe ground????? wonder who the real dirty players are mate! You guys need to look are little more inward with regards to discipline!

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  • 181. At 10:13pm on 20 Jun 2009, quinny_10 wrote:

    think both williams should come into team wallace and monye out cant afford mistakes like his in big games dont get that many chances bowes looked good but strugled against real quality today but deserves another chance ford in at hooker for his strengh along with either shaw or hines with the other on bench as impact player instead of o callaghan who was only there as o connells pal would like hook if hes fit aswel main problem is phillips he is to slow if bod and roberts get quick ball they will be even more dangerous before boks can line up ready for them but ellis is slower and blair who is best at quick play is short of confidence but might be worth the risk

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  • 182. At 10:15pm on 20 Jun 2009, numberwanpurened wrote:

    180. ctmanbok wrote:
    .............WHAT RUBBISH..... and who was it that tackled FDP without using his arms???? who was it that punched Habana when he was onthe ground????? wonder who the real dirty players are mate! You guys need to look are little more inward with regards to discipline!

    No need to shout. so was Botha a buffoon as well. I agree rees was so what do you say about Botha ctmanbok?

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  • 183. At 10:19pm on 20 Jun 2009, rightRobbiesKeen wrote:

    I think what makes many of the Welsh fans on here so thoroughly objectionable is the practice they so often employ of slagging a player not from their own nation when he makes a mistake. That's not the main point; there's a reason for that - a player has after all made a mistake. Fair game, errors drag a team back. Their own players we are informed, Welsh, should be in their place. Certainly, we are told, no question one of 'out lads' would have done better.

    But...and this is it, when a player from their country makes a mistake...they don't react the same way. O'Gara WOULD HAVE missed those kicks too we're assured, Shane WOULD HAVE scored that' and passing the buck to other national players. (Even when this extends to woefully underperforming players such as Powell and Shane Williams). So in other words, there is one criteria for players from their country and not for others. This flies against the spirit of the Lions. Many English fans have been honest enough to lament the performance of Vickery, for instance, and I respect them for that. But had Vickery been Welsh, Welsh fans would defend him to the hilt. 'Not his fault...the second rows were responsible' etc). It is one rule for them and not for others. The boneheads calling for people like Powell to come in in place of someone like Heaslip are inane and haven't the fainstest idea of what they're talking, this great game.

    It is the behaviour, a mentality of a small child, and it has to stop. (And frankly their performances this year in finishing 4th does not justify the hollow arrogance. This may be the downfall of the Lions). They say madness is doing the same thing expecting a different response. It's also puerile.

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  • 184. At 10:20pm on 20 Jun 2009, PREMIERSTEVE wrote:

    180 ctmanbok

    Fraid I am 100% taff

    I will stick by my Lump statement ref Hines (who incidentally is only playing for Scotland cos he wouldn't get any where near the Aussie team)

    Vickery was once great but now gone like all of the 2003 WC winners.

    Shaws is the only alternative in the 2nd row to Alun Wyn (they will never drop POD).......saying that I have forgot Donkey O'Callaghan (but I guess he has been pretty forget full on tour)


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  • 185. At 10:20pm on 20 Jun 2009, Dei1984 wrote:

    It's pathetic how some people cant understand its the BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS, so When we slate players for playing badly its not because from what country there from its because they deserve to be slated, Vickery was terrible no one can deny that weather your a DIE HARD ENGLISHMAN or not!its a sad thing every time when Lions come around if The English Players arent playing wel and some one slates them we'r having a go just because there English, what a load of rubbish im Lions fan and no matter if theyr Welsh Irish Scottish or ENGLISH if they play badly il slate them its my rite as im a paying fan!

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  • 186. At 10:20pm on 20 Jun 2009, fireywesthamhammer wrote:

    Ratings For Today
    BYRNE 6
    BOWE 6
    CROFT 7
    JONES 5



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  • 187. At 10:21pm on 20 Jun 2009, Hotspur7 wrote:

    All sorts of rubbish being posted about Vickery and the ref.
    Truth is, the Ragin Bull's time is up.
    It is incredibly cruel that it should happen in the first Test of a crucial series, but there it is.
    He's been a great servant of English and Lions rugby, but he can no longer do the hard yards. If a tight head can no longer lock out a scrum, end of story.
    Its a sad day, but a truism of elite sport that once you've gone, you've gone. Nobody could have predicted it on the warm-up games, so all those saying his selection was wrong are talking nonsense.
    Having said that, the Lions made the Boks look far better than they actually are for the first half - the pack allowed itself to be bullied. Problem is, I'm not sure that Shaw or Hines are capable of affecting that - better to play honest grafters who get their head down and play rather than somebody who is going to stick his chest out before getting decked in the first 10 minutes. (Hines)
    Lions to win the series 2-1. Why? Because we have the better rugby players, if they are allowed to play.

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  • 188. At 10:21pm on 20 Jun 2009, welshtanman wrote:

    Welsh tan refers exactly to the opposite of fake tan ie we don't see much sun so a welsh tan is pale.
    BigBonzo, that sounds like a tedious English public school nickname, Get it?

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  • 189. At 10:27pm on 20 Jun 2009, ctmanbok wrote:

    I don't condone any fould play, even by my own team.... i am just a little peeved that people here continue to point finger at the boks aggresive play yet forget to consider their own players throwing punches or tackling illegally, or for continuing to infirnge at the breakdowns....historially the boks would regularly get their marching order for doing similar.

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  • 190. At 10:28pm on 20 Jun 2009, saferblur wrote:

    What im trying to work out is all the hype about Smit geting desroyed by Jenkins - ahhhh when and were?????

    1. Vickery is past his sell by date please believe me!
    2. SA will do some homework on Roberts and BOD for next weekend.
    3. The Lions forwards were destroyed and it will happen again next week and PDV wont substitute his whole side again with 20min to go.

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  • 191. At 10:30pm on 20 Jun 2009, AJtheGog wrote:

    I have to agree with #170 about Mathew Rees.

    I am a Scarlets fan, a Wales fan and a Lions fan (order in which depends on the time of year) so I see quite a lot of Rees and one thing becomes very clear over time.... he is good about the park and often makes the extra yard, reasonable scrummager BUT eratic in the lineout! Today I feel he had a good game, particularly in the lineout BUT I wouldn't bet against him missing a barn door if he plays in the next test!!

    I thought Mears was a shoe in for all three tests after his excellent performances pre today but now I'm quite worried that after one test we're looking at Mr inconsistent Rees again. Ford has not performed on tour and I don't suppose there's any chance of sewing Flannery back together and getting him there for next week!

    In short, Mears missed a couple in the lineout and some would argue that he was not good in the scrum BUT a hooker is only as good as his props at scrum time so maybe we should stick with mears for the second test but put him with Jenkins / Sheridan and Jones. Don't think my nerves could take a whole test with Rees throwing in!!

    Why cant the Sco, Wal and Eng Unions produce quality hookers any more!!!!
    (Ire clearly do.... wood, Flannery etc..)

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  • 192. At 10:31pm on 20 Jun 2009, littleallroundgenius wrote:

    It's clear that the game was lost with numerous penalties conceded against a fantastic flyhalf in ruan pienaar, could have easily been 6 more points if himself and steyn converted the other penalties.
    Vickery was completely dominated and lost his discipline very early, it's all very well becoming frustrated but he completely lost his way which got the referee on his back even more, should have been replaced much sooner!
    Jenkins does not deserve the criticizm, he has been brilliant all year round and was solid on his side today, rees did well when he came on and the front row HAS to be all welsh (i'm english btw).
    As far as the second row goes, POC will never be dropped this late, there is only a week to go until the next test and the last thing this team needs is the disruption of the captain being dropped, i agree that BOD should have been made captain then it may have been different. Add DOC to the second row and it will improve, these 2 play together for ireland and these are the 6 nations winners, we need to use combinations that are proven!!!
    The back row should remain the same, croft was solid around the park and has a great work ethic, although we shouldnt be hyping him up too much, the tries were simple to convert and if you watch the replays you see that he almost lost the ball on the first try, luckily falling on it with his chest and convincing the referee. Wallace was solid and needs to start, with williams introduced once the game opens up more in the last 25/30 mins.
    Back line, with exception of monye and jones was brilliant, center partnership was excellent all day long and roberts created so many opportunities running strong and using fantastic lines, we could have easily had 3 more tries if monye had more talent and decision making skills, bowe looked a threat when he got the ball in good areas which was all too little, too many times he was cramped for space and had nowhere to go!
    I've said all along that hook is the best fly-half on tour, he has great composure for a young lad, good passing ability and obviously has a good understanding with phillips, added to his strong kicking game he should start the next game (hopefully he has recovered), otherwise stick with jones because of his understanding with roberts and phillips.
    Fitzgerald in for monye, williams has been poor of late and has been the ghost of the world player of the year last season, he finishes well but lacks confidence and cant be thrown into the fire.
    Fitzgerald is young, quick and full of ability, he proved his ability with leinster and its time for him to be given his chance, he will run all day long and his changing of direction is one of the best on the tour!

    Team should be:

    A Jones
    Byrne/Kearney (depending on the fitness of byrne, kearney is very solid replacement)

    What do people think?

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  • 193. At 10:33pm on 20 Jun 2009, barcelonatangerine wrote:

    People keep questioning the Beasts angle at the scrum against Vickery but the fact remains that once Vickery was substituted the Lions scrum was totally solid and NEVER pushed backwards.Vicks has been a great servant but in all honesty he was not good enough for England in the 6 Nations let alone the Lions.

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  • 194. At 10:34pm on 20 Jun 2009, dillingerplan wrote:

    No sour grapes, and no complaining but a discussion on some of the decisions.

    Firstly: Monye's first attempted try and the confusion with the TMO, how did the referee award a drop out when the ball had been held up and the TMO was attempting to communicate it should be an attacking 5m scrum?

    Secondly: the interpretations by the referee at the scrum and if any issues will be resolved by Geech with a meeting with Rugby Board referees chief Paddy O'Brien?

    Thirdly: the lack of action taken when the Springboks repeatedly infringed in the last 20 minutes. The only insightful comment on TV was that teams with a large margin do have a license to commit offences, and this has to be penalised in future.

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  • 195. At 10:37pm on 20 Jun 2009, numberwanpurened wrote:

    ctmanbk @ 189. Fair enough mate. Enjoy your beer tonight. See you in Pretoria when Im out for the last two tests. Hipefully i will be enjoying a cold one after a Lions win which is still a stong possibility.

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  • 196. At 10:41pm on 20 Jun 2009, Dei1984 wrote:

    Im a welsh man and there is no way Powell should start in place of Heaslip, S Jones wasnt good at all today, BUT and a big BUT like i stated before do we really want the SA running at ROG does Hook have the know how 2 run a lions game???? no, Williams has been playing off slow ball in every single game he's played on tour thought when Kearney came on he looked a much btter player than Byrne, so how the hell am i a biasde Welsh fan is it because im not kissing the A** of all the English or Irish players and as for the 6 nations comment its pathetic that on a BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS TOUR some people are going back to the 6N results! How sad can some people get!!!!!

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  • 197. At 10:41pm on 20 Jun 2009, ctmanbok wrote:

    numberwanpurened @ 195.... Cheers Mate :) Enjoy the game... unfortunately I am in Bristol and have to settle to watch the game in fron of the tele... may the best team win.

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  • 198. At 10:44pm on 20 Jun 2009, cefniboy wrote:

    Monye looked second rate - not a bit of footballing ability. If Byrne is fit, would start with him at full back next week and Kearney on the left wing. Although having had a generally poor tour, Powell may well have offered a viable option off the bench for the last quarter, particularly given the anonimity of Heaslip. Vickery was awful and in addition to his inadequacies at the scrum, gave away too many penalties in open play, his drive into a ruck from 45 degrees shown on an overhead camera was pathetic.

    Disappointed in Mears who had looked in excellent fettle in the provincial games - Rees may be a decent operator in the loose, but a question mark remains against his throwing. Adam Jones was solid and caps by far his best season. O' Connell again quiet and leadership must be questioned.

    Despite reasonable game, Phillips' service is still too slow and cumbersome - Dwayne Peel should have been out there!!

    Team for next week

    O' Driscoll

    Wyn Jones
    Heaslip (no other option - shame about Ryan Jones' injury problems)

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  • 199. At 10:50pm on 20 Jun 2009, AJtheGog wrote:

    "It is the behaviour, a mentality of a small child, and it has to stop. (And frankly their performances this year in finishing 4th does not justify the hollow arrogance. This may be the downfall of the Lions). They say madness is doing the same thing expecting a different response. It's also puerile. "

    So by your comments am I to think that IF the Lions lose then it is because Wales came 4th in the 6N or because you beleive their supporters are childish??!!

    Get a grip, your comments in the above post simply fuel the perception of a devided set of supporters and / or a divided squad NEITHER of which I beleive to be true appart from small minorities of supporters. Are you one of these? It certainly seems to be the case!

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  • 200. At 10:52pm on 20 Jun 2009, traveller_chris wrote:

    Changes for next week...

    Front Row - Maybe start with the all Welsh fromt row that finished todays game. Sheridan and Mears on the bench. Please no Hayes.

    Second Row - Hines needs to come in for AWJ to add a bit of grunt to the pack.

    Back Row - Leave it as it is but I'd like a bit more from Heaslip who had a quiet game.

    Half Backs - Serious case for giving O'Gara a go, Jones was pretty poor. Stick with Phillips.

    Centre - Our strongest suit! Leave alone !!

    Wing - If Byrne is fit then possibly bring in Kearney for Monye but do not consider Fitz or Shane unless they play an absolute blinder on Tuesday!

    Full Back - Byrne if fit, but Kearney was better than him today.

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  • 201. At 10:53pm on 20 Jun 2009, Ron666 wrote:


    At least I haven't seen any Welsh posters on here attacking an entire nationality in the way you do. If any did, I suspect you and others would be very quick to bring up the term "racism". If you hate the Welsh so much, maybe you would like to change the name of the team to "the English and Irish Lions"?

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  • 202. At 11:03pm on 20 Jun 2009, shane wrote:

    Firstly we only lost by 5 points, on another day we easily could have won if we took our chances! like most people gettin sick of the bias towards home nations! fact is, that at this level you cannot afford to miss those amount of try scoring opportunities and penalties and expect to beat the world champions on their own turf. Monye is decent but is not worth his place in the test 15. so far on this tour all his tries have been gifted on a plate. he is suspect in defence and is a liability. need a wing who is clinical and can defend. unfortunately williams is severely out of form leaving fitzy as the only other realistic option( presuming kearney gets nod at full back due to byrne injury). today it must be noted that when we got the ball to our backs, we caused constalation and havoc, would like to see earls tried on the wing tuesday, lightning pace and clinical! i feel jones has under performed on this tour, surely o gara deserves his chance now, he has not amassed his heineken cup meadals and grand slam medal for nothing. reliable place kicker and controls the game well(jones was very poor today). slightly better defender, but as they say the best form of defence is attack!!!

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  • 203. At 11:04pm on 20 Jun 2009, cymru-am-byth wrote:

    very harsh on jenkins- he had a solid performance and tackled very well.
    Monye- I'm a big fan but to be honest I was slightly dissapointed- we needed a finisher out there, and williams has a good record vs the boks. maybe his rating should be lower.
    for the next game-
    welsh front row in,
    and shane's got to have a chance as he's proven himself to be a match winner at this level- and that was what the lions lacked today.

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  • 204. At 11:05pm on 20 Jun 2009, Ruck_Maker wrote:

    Re: 185. Dei1984

    No-one is questioning your right to be critical. But people are questioning your ability to be objective.

    You say, "what a load of rubbish im Lions fan and no matter if theyr Welsh Irish Scottish or ENGLISH if they play badly il slate them its my rite as im a paying fan!"

    But previously you said, "2.Shane Williams would have scoredat least 1 try"
    and "4.POC isnt a Internatinol Captain
    5.S Jones isnt the best fly half, but do we really want Spies, De Villiers runing down the channel with O'Gara standing there!!!"

    You stated these were "FACTS".

    Now, as Shane Williams has been playing rather poorly on this tour, you might see why this comment makes it look a little as though you are displaying a little Welsh favouritism?
    I mean, Shane MIGHT have scored a try, on his day he's really good. But it's not really a FACT that he WOULD have scored, now is it?

    Also, Paul O'Connell IS in fact an international Captain. That is a FACT. You can check it out in official match records.

    Lastly, your Jones vs O'Gara comment, I'm not sure what FACT you are asserting by it, but it seems that you are suggesting that Jones should play, even though O'Gara is the best fly-half? Due to some hazy allegation about his defence?
    You are aware that O'Gara's defence has been excellent on tour, right?

    So can you see now how your comments are causing a perception that there are a lot of Welsh posters making comments where they only criticise non-Welsh players?

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  • 205. At 11:06pm on 20 Jun 2009, barcelonatangerine wrote:

    Ron 666 you are obviously a well balanced Welsh supporter -you have a chip on both shoulders.

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  • 206. At 11:16pm on 20 Jun 2009, rightRobbiesKeen wrote:

    I see this has rattled those with the most gnomic outlooks. I have clearly identified the germ of the problem.

    What I have pinpointed, AJtheGog, is that when an English or Irish player makes a mistake or is fairly anonymous, you hammer him - crying like rabid beasts from the rooftops that they should be IMMEDIATELY DROPPED (sometimes, as with Wallace and the brilliant Bowe and POC, even when he plays well you want them gone too). But you can't take it when your own players, such as Stephen Jones or Alun-Wyn Jones are poor. Then it's 'not their fault', 'you're being too hard', and 'O'Gara, etc wouldn't have done any better'. It's a question of basic honesty and consistency. As I said, it flies gainst the spirit of the Lions and is pretty reprehensible.

    I do not hate the Welsh Ron666 (but how cowardly to reach for the accusations and not being able to once again look at your own weaknesses and self-analyse). I have praised Roberts on this tour, and urged Adam Jones to come in, for instance. I just want you to be consistent in your estimation own players. One of your targets is Monye: Do you seriously feel Shane Williams has shown a glimmer of anything? And Rees? Not thinking, just blind utterances; Rees' throw is worse than Mears and the guy punched a Springbok after Bowe had made a great break! You see, this is what I'm saying. Just be more honest and have some integrity (and I see the emotional reaction is to cry racism as if all the rest you're up to wasn't bad enough).

    And yes we shouldn't hark back to the 6 Nations should we, that was only months ago and a competitive series of games at the pinnacle of NH rugby, nothing in that. My God there's some lacking here.

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  • 207. At 11:22pm on 20 Jun 2009, jerseyscrum wrote:

    I am amazed to see so many guys here that Geechs obviously overlooked in discussing his selection with. The weight of rugby knowledge on here is staggering!

    Yes, Vickery had a happens, it was written all over his face, but look at what he has done. he didn't actually take a step back, he did give it his all.. so let's not kick him while he is down.

    If you want o' gara..then we may has well put a little small garden gate there and hang it off one hinge with a sign saying 'enter at will'!!

    Robert and BOD .. what a great combo, and Moyne ,i think it all got a little bit much for the big fella. Williams is not the player he was, so lets not kid ourselves he is going to find a miracle cure to his non plus form.

    Sheridan, has to be in the squad, at least as an impact player and Nugget to start, he is a scavanger and we need to be in their faces!!

    O'Callaghan to partner POC .. think we need that unity, with Shaw on the bench.

    Bowe also had a great game, and masses of passion.

    Good performance at the end, lets not forget this SA team is rated better than the worldcup winning squad.

    Lions to win next week, but Boks to wins series.

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  • 208. At 11:28pm on 20 Jun 2009, Troakie wrote:

    @ 183 from rightRobbiesKeen

    I would appreciate it if you didn't make sweeping judgements about EVERY Welsh fan like you've met every one of us. For starters, there are many Welsh people ON THIS PAGE who have made fair, unbiased comments. I now feel that people of non-English nationalities have been criticised by SOME posters for having opinions on here just because SOME English players are coming under fire for their poor performances.

    As for, "But had Vickery been Welsh, Welsh fans would defend him to the hilt. 'Not his fault...the second rows were responsible' etc). It is one rule for them and not for others." as I have already stated above, personally, if Vickery were Welsh and played like he did today, my comments about his performance would be exactly the same.

    As for some of the other Welsh performances today:

    I was livid at Matthew Rees for throwing that (lame) punch and getting our scrum reversed to their penalty. I also have little faith in his lineout-throw - he can be very inconsistent - but unfortunately Mears' so-far great form on tour dipped a little today in that area.

    Mike Phillips distributes ball slowly sometimes. Everyone knows that.

    Stephen Jones missed kicks. One he probably shouldn't have taken anyway since it was on the edge of his range. His general play could also have been better. The fly-half shirt could be anyone's next Saturday - someone needs to step up on Tuesday.

    Lee Byrne didn't do all that much. He was good under the high ball but his kicking game wasn't great today and his usually counter-attacking high ball chases weren't there - whether this was to do with his injury or not I have no clue.

    Is this enough, or do you want me to continue to criticise only the Welsh players? Obviously, I will not comment on any other players because as a Welsh person, I'm apparently not able to be objective...?

    We saw a pretty great comeback performance today from the BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS. So far the whole tour has featured great TEAM performances only possible due to the stand-out players from FOUR nations working together. Yet some of their supporters can't even have an adult discussion without degenerating into nationalist judgements and insults? Puerile and pathetic indeed.

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  • 209. At 11:30pm on 20 Jun 2009, Edinmeanie wrote:

    I think Geech has largely done well so far to get the team gelling and to win the run up matches. Gutted that we lost today, and have a lot of sympathy for the ROG vs Jones dilemma as went to see the 2005 tour and both O' Gara's tackling and Jones' kicking under pressure were poor.

    We came back from what could have been a drubbing. Not sure the scottish players on tour merited test selection, but I think Geech should have taken Paterson. He's Scotland's top points scorer and the world's best goal kicker. I'm a big fan of Lee byrne but did he do much today that we couldn't have done with 6 points? Neil Jenkins was the quiet reason the 97 tour was a success- a rock of a kicker.

    As a scotland fan we've counted on him to get us at least 12 points a game singled handed. If Geech had been a bit more ruthless he'd have had him in the team, taking the pressure off the rest.

    Come on the lions and hope that we win next weekend!

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  • 210. At 11:38pm on 20 Jun 2009, Banzai13 wrote:

    It's funny! A narrow defeat in the Boks back yard and it's all doom and gloom! Not how i saw it.

    First: What a fantastic game of rugby, real edge of the seat stuff, i'd watch that every week.

    Second: First half to the Boks, by a considerable margin.

    Third: Second half to the Lions. Pride, pride, pride.

    Never mind being nationalistic, all the guys did us proud. There will be changes for the next game of course, there should be, but isn't a tour with the Lions the biggest learning curve of all? Won't stars of the future be born, shouldn't we expect the odd mistake?

    Stars for me, BOD, Jamie Roberts, Tom Croft and Gethin Jenkins, starters next time, Adam Jones, Martin Williams and maybe the maverick Hook. Hey and i'm English!

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  • 211. At 11:41pm on 20 Jun 2009, welshtanman wrote:

    RightRobbieskeen & Ruck_Maker
    The British and Irish Lions are touring south Africa not Munster or Leinster. You are an independent country now, people take you seriously, get over your little island mentality.
    In my blogs and most of the Welsh and English blogs people are openly criticising players from their own nations but how dare anybody criticise the Irish, grow up.

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  • 212. At 00:01am on 21 Jun 2009, Sharks1990 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 213. At 00:02am on 21 Jun 2009, Banzai13 wrote:

    Ok i've made my first comment, this is my second.

    It's got nothing to do with who was on the pitch or where they come from. Nationality doesn't come into it.

    It's to do with momentum, pace, power, support and breaking the gain line.

    Was it just me or were the Lions too static? Was support sometimes, just too far away. If only they'd stood deeper, arrived at pace the result would have been different.

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  • 214. At 00:08am on 21 Jun 2009, BigBonzo75 wrote:

    welshtanman #188

    Oh dear, all of your posts seems to result in you insulting one of the other home nations. Irish and English all on the wrong end of your vitriol. The Scotish seem to get off, but probably because unfortunately they had no starters today.

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  • 215. At 00:13am on 21 Jun 2009, GlyndwroWynedd wrote:

    Vickery is way passed his peak , and will now have trouble retaining his place in the England squad aswell as the "British and Irish Lions". An hour before the game , I laughed as I heared the English press , saying that it should be an all English front row to face the Boks ! I believe that that the welsh front row is highly under rated and is portrayed as players that dont deserve to be even considered in the test side on the tour by the English press. Ugo Monye is no Shane Williams and it would be no surprise for me if Shane would start in the 2nd test and i believe ( given the space that Monye had ) , Shane would of taken the chances . For me , the only English player that deserves his place is Tom Croft .

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  • 216. At 00:14am on 21 Jun 2009, rightRobbiesKeen wrote:

    Troakie and welshtanman are yourselves indulging in the parchial nationalism you accuse others of.

    Welshtanman (so keen to let us know you are Welsh you put it in your very name, small-minded?), if Ireland still has a 'small island' mentality then I would be complaining about England and their fans (Scotland and Wale are both smaller than Ireland incidentally). I am not. I will say something and it must be difficult to take this honesty: the Irish and English players and fans naturally have a healthy rivalry, but I'll tell you something; I damn well respect them. They call a spade a spade. They knew Vickery was past it and said so, sometimes harder than other people. But what causes most chagrin is when the Welsh fans come on and DO NOT administer the same to their players who are not up to it. I have outlined this already. It is your refusal to accept that Monye is, for instance, a better option than Shane Williams even if he has his flaws, and in focussing on the lineout, for instance, NOT Wyn-Jones, but instead DROP Paul O'Connell. Likewise, yes Mears had a poor game, but when Rees came on your sudden amnesia meant you FORGOT the latter's own poor throwing and indeed his indiscipline (Mears at least had the sense not to thump a player and have a good put-in opportunity near to the SA 22 overturned). All this is forgotten, while the mistakes of others are dwidled on, mercilessly justified as reasons to IMMEDIATELY DROP the players who are not Welsh and call for dreadful players lke Powell and an underperformng Shane Williams to IMMEDIATELY TAKE THEIR PLACES IN THE TEAM. It is empty-headed, infantile imaturity, and you are the only ones that do it.

    I contrast this to the very good-natured conversation on here between Leinster and Leicester fans before the Heineken Cup Final. Fraternal and balanced contribuions by people who knew the game and enjoy it. Why was this such a positive, fair and honest zone? I think I know why.

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  • 217. At 00:18am on 21 Jun 2009, Tim Richards wrote:

    All of us, every single last one, regardless of where we are from and as one, lost today.
    Simple as that. But, importantly, only just.

    Apart from Vickery, Shane not on the bench to relieve Monye and the leaving out of Martyn, that was the right team today - it's easy to criticise after the event.

    We must take enough heart in that we could (even should) have won today and we finished fitter at ABSA level. We have a single chance left to keep us in the series. Let us concentrate on that.

    Not a fan of Matt Rees, but Welsh front row OK as it worked and indeed, very well (Mears WAS the correct starting choice today).

    I like O'Connell, but he has disappointed.
    Alun Wyn did not stand out, but I would give him another crack with Hines for bulk (AWJ biggest man 2day) and sheer damned aggression.
    D O'Callaghan on bench should AWJ shy, then DO'C on as he was solid today once on.

    Back row :Whatever else please get Martyn in there. Experience, savvy, cleverness and simply best openside in the NH. He CAN clever out Boks and unlock the door.

    No. 9 Phillips (strong, fire-cracker aggressive and did what he could with scrum on back foot, shone 2nd 40 - only global No. 9 to face up to a Bokke forward and stand a chance of decking him. Then laugh.).

    No. 10 - Tight between all 3. Stick with Jones. Bigger, stronger and will bounce back from those misses as always in past. ROG is immense, but too weak in defense for these lands. Hook could b special if not concussed..

    BOD / Roberts - my good God, how good! Rugby heaven!!

    Wing : Bowe and Shane. Both very simply need ball. Shane WILL finish today's opportunities with ball in hand.

    Still Byrne injury-willing, but Kearney is no loss in standard and Ireland should be proud.

    Lions is union, both national and rugby and the above comments stem solely from passion for this beautiful and special game which, by-the-by, we do so damned well don't forget. From a German outpost, not expecting any readers...

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  • 218. At 00:21am on 21 Jun 2009, orangedrink wrote:

    To the person who said "if Vickery had been welsh you'd all be defending him to the hilt". If Vikcery had been welsh he'd have been dropped in 2007 by Gatland, never to return because he gives away too many penalties. Ask Alix Popham. Vickery has always given away too many penalties, always. He's been good on tour so far buthe's been up against a much lower class of competition. The difference in the scrummaging was Adam Jones came on was night and day. Proving the scrum problems were nothing to do with the locks (who I thought both had good games, mainly doing unseen donkey work), or with Gethin Jenkins or Lee Mears. I have a lot of sympathy for Mears. Getting your lineouts right takes time. If you think about what needs to go right for you to connect, the throw has to be spot on, the lift has to be spot on, both in height and ground position. The jump has to be spot on, and that's even with ignoring the fact that you're playing against probably the world's best lineout. To try to get all that sorted in so little time was always going to be problematic.

    But if you're going to nominate 1 goat for the entire game, it isn't Stephen Jones, who's 2 missed kicks were at or close to his accurate limit (and very narrowly missed too). Worth noting that the Boks missed a couple of kicks too. It isn't Ugo Monye, who may have struggled some at this level but I don't think you can pin the 2 missed tries on him. Just very good play by the Boks defenders. Though I wouldn't have picked him in the first place and would've gone for Kearney or Earls on the wing. You can't blame Jamie Heaslip who spent most of the game going backwards, and who also did a lot of unseen work on the floor allowing Tom Croft to be the ball carrying backrower instead. There is far more to 8 play than barnstorming runs. Healsip is a damn fine player but he is more of a Richard Hill technician and scrapper than he is a Scott Quinell type ball carrier. And that's fine as long as you have a ball carrier. Croft and Wallace are ball carriers.

    No, the game turned when Vickery left the field and Adam Jones came on.

    It's going to be nigh on impossible to win 2 games at altitude but I guess you have to now throw caution to the wind. Hook should come in at 10 if he's fit, I'd like to see Byrne and Kearney on the field together if fitness isn't an issue. Most importantly I'd like to see Martyn Williams in at 7. We'renot going to outmuscle the Boks. We have to around them. To me that means picking only one of Croft or Wallace and having a proper openside in. I think all the locks have done well on tour, I don't think Wyn-Jones did anything wrong but I wouldn't object if one of Hines, Shaw or O'Callaghan got the nod for next week either.

    Tempted to give Mears another go at hooker if his confidence isn't shattered.

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  • 219. At 00:23am on 21 Jun 2009, andyfinlay wrote:

    One man lost us this game. Phil Vickery.

    Three kickable penalties, take those away and the lions win the game.

    Any1 notice how the lions gained an ascendancy after he went off and Adam Jones came one.

    What a liability!

    John Hayes would've done a better job! And I'm Irish!

    One can onl;y hope that changes are made and he is kept well away from the 2nd and 3rd tests.

    I'm normally anti English, but Tom Croft was outstanding, positioning workrate and hands worthy of BOD or Jamie Roberts.

    Please get Vickery out of this tour!

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  • 220. At 00:26am on 21 Jun 2009, Lambo68 wrote:

    Yes - stop being so pessimistic - sure we lost, but the 2nd half was ours, and we could still win this series.

    15. Byrne - 6/10 - Kearney was better (7/10) but Byrne will keep his place
    14. Bowe - 5/10 - disappointing - Kearney may dislodge him
    13. BOD - 8/10 - see below
    12. Roberts - 9/10 - in two weeks time these two will not play together again, unless some club side manages to sign them up, but easily our best unit.
    11. Monye - 6/10 - dangerous, but not polished and certainly fallible in defense. Will retain his place
    10. S. Jones - 5/10 - unimpressive, and O'Gara may get the nod next week.
    9. Philips - 6/10 - slow passing, but will be there next week
    1. Jenkins - 6/10 - Okay. Reliable
    2. Mears - 5/10 - could be off he team sheet altogether -Rees not a lot better
    3. Vickery - 2/10 - we were out of the game until Adam Jones (7/10) came on and neutralised the Beast. Surely he won't play again this tour. Jones will start, Sherry will be on the bench - probably an all Wales front row next week.
    4. AW Jones - 6/10 - reliable
    5. O'Connell - 4/10 - I didn't want to believe all the criticism, but today he was poor and I now know what the pundits mean - slow and upright on the charge, we need Hines or Shaw, but that won't happen. - give the armband to BOD.
    6. Croft 7/10 - two tries - starts next week
    7. Wallace - 6/10 good player, but we need M. Williams (7/10) and his clones - and his experience - Williams will surely start next week
    8. Heaslip - 5/10 anonymous

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  • 221. At 00:46am on 21 Jun 2009, Troakie wrote:

    @ rightRobbiesKeen, 216

    You have clearly missed the entire point of my post.

    You have made an accusation against a nation of people and when called on your generalisation, you reply with exactly the same accusation, without providing any proof or evidence. This is called libel.

    You're the only one posting the negative comments here now, by the way.

    @orangedrink, 218: thank you for a very coherent and sensible post. Although I do hope you're wrong about our chances of winning two games at altitude. ;) I guess this whole post might just be me being a hopeless optimist...

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  • 222. At 00:59am on 21 Jun 2009, jabulisile wrote:

    I have to say that sitting here in SA, it's very amusing to watch you Brits self destruct and turn on each other. All we can hope for is that the same tribalism we see here has crept into the BIL camp as well. You take yourselves far too seriously.

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  • 223. At 01:02am on 21 Jun 2009, rightRobbiesKeen wrote:

    'But if you're going to nominate 1 goat for the entire game, it isn't Stephen Jones, who's 2 missed kicks were at or close to his accurate limit (and very narrowly missed too)'

    This is an example, even from someone who has some knowledge of the game. In actual fact they were two eminently kickable kicks which should hae been taken. Everyone knows it and I imagine the Welsh fans know it. But it's this 'very narrowly missed...' attitude. They were missed. Full stop. This was bad in all ways, not close or anything - misses that were costly.

    'the game turned when Vickery left the field and Adam Jones came on'. This too. Now Jones did well when he came on, no question better than Vickery. I wholeheartedly want him to start the next Test. But its quite laughable to attest the Lions comeback to this, invariably Welsh, player. I would say O'Driscoll has this mach-winning aura about him, or the way Shane Williams used to, or Dan Carter and Heymans more recently. They change games through their own talent. Now I don't think the prop Adam Jones GENUINELY CHANGED THE GAME through some mammoth gift or indeed any games. He may be a slight improvement and what is required, superior on the day to Phil Vickery, but he did not alter this game. South Africa took their big-hitters off the park, for instance. This heroism seems very limited to one-set of fans, and when that hero is such a prop forward it almost makes you laugh. This was all I was saying, before the empty-headed name-calling and victimology began. The fans must clear the air in this way, much as players do, and know where they stand. The Welsh must be more objective and generous in their assessment of players of other nations, as well as being harder on their own where it is due.

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  • 224. At 01:03am on 21 Jun 2009, RedandBlackJonah wrote:

    Croft was average, if anything wallace was better. Monye was really poor, i can just about accept the two missed tries as the bok defence was excellent on both occassions (although shane would have scored both) but i can't accept hesitating when chasing after the ball just before their first try, if the ball is in play run you fool. Tommy bowe was also pretty poor especially when he thought that half dropping his shoulder on his own 22 when running backwards would throw habanna off, hopefully he has learnt that leason.

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  • 225. At 01:25am on 21 Jun 2009, rightRobbiesKeen wrote:

    Troakie, your hysteria is simply immense - you turn an opinion into a matter of the law, I wonder how well versed you relly are in that subject.

    You will find evidence throughout this whole page of people doing precisely what I have been saying and they are from Wales. The latest is even coming on advising Tommy Bowe on how to outmanoevre Habana! Bowe, a test match-regular, 6 Nations winner! Being told by someone from this internet hinterland of hysterics such as yourself that he ought to 'drop his shoulder on his own 22 when running backwards...hopefully he has learned his lesson'. Perhaps we can fly that person out and have him take Bowe's place on the tour. Down to the physical detail he knows better than Bowe! He, the man on here, knows better than Bowe at how to play Test match rugby for the British and Lions, better than this guy who only got the crucial try in the 6 Nations! I think I know where this person is from, what do you think Troakie (and while you're at it any other advice for those world-class professionals out there)? It reminds you of that Dylan Moran sketch about the guy from the sofa balancing a beer on hs third belly 'bellowing instructions' at world class athletes.

    I feel it is a characterisic of one nation, that is all. Lions fans must clear the air and unite behind each others nations, else nothing has been learned from the last two Lions tours.

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  • 226. At 01:35am on 21 Jun 2009, jem707 wrote:

    It is the way we went into the game that was wrong for me. The Springboks started full-in the first twenty minutes, whereas the Lions went half throttle. Early try. The Boks kept it up for 50 or 60 minutes and as they tired (which I predicted), the catch up worked, but not well enough.

    I feel the Lions have worked the discipline and composure game well in the lead up games, and nearly came unstuck a few times. I was expecting them to come out all guns, but they didn't.

    The lineout was and will remain a problem, so focus elsewhere.

    Put the forwards focus on the scrum which we can win, and moving the ball away from contact. From there the backs, where I thought beforehand he had the edge, can damage the Boks.

    The players know how they did, so no point on my comment. Adjust the gameplan - that's all.

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  • 227. At 01:36am on 21 Jun 2009, Tom Cropper wrote:

    Some people here seem to think that us Welsh have an unrealistically high opinion of our own players. What rot. However, it just so happens that Shane Williams (Hallowed be his name) would have scored those tries. He'd also have taken them under the posts, danced across a lake, turned water into wine and then cured a few lepars.

    Anyone who says otherwise is a liar and a communist.

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  • 228. At 01:37am on 21 Jun 2009, godisbod wrote:

    This is an absolutely outrageous blog. Was this Austin lad watching the same match??

    15) Lee Byrne - Solid under the high ball, kicking was hopeful rather than purposeful, and lost early kicking battle with Steyn. Kearney was the better player when replaced. 6/10.
    14) Tommy Bowe - Quiet match, should have come off his wing looking for industry, and inexplicably tried to run around Habana, conceeding a penalty. 2nd Half line break was a sign of his true class. He'll be back next week. 6/10
    13) BOD - Partnership with Roberts is phenomenal, he picks his lines off the big man to perfection and makes things happen 8/10
    12) Jamie Roberts - Near faultless. Carried better than any of the forwards, picked some great lines and made some big hits. If he continues like this, the lions have a chance. 9/10
    11) Ugo Monye - Poor. Missed two great chances, one guilt edge. The first he can be forgiven due to De Villiers, but the second reminded me of Luke Fitzgerald vs Munster in the HCup. Frequently out of position when kicked to. He must not start next week. 4/10
    10) Stephen Jones - To win a lions series, you must take every point you can get. Missed 6points that would have won the match, kicking from hand was inept, but carried well and tackled spies well off the back of the scrums. This may give him the nod for next week. 5/10
    9) Mike Phillips - Service can be slow, laboured, and mis-directed at times, but his in-your-face, physical attitide, was something the lions could rally around. His eye for a break is sublime. 7/10
    8) Jamie Heaslip - Fairly quiet day ball carrying wise, and was outdone by the best no8 in the world at times, but you look at the video and count the number of rucks hit, and tackles made. Believe me, this was not a completely innocuous performance. 6/10
    7)David Wallace - Really wanted him to perform, but he failed. Took the ball into isolation on several occasions, and did not do the job the Lions needed of him. The 7 jersey might not be his next week. 5/10
    6) Tom Croft - Despite scoring two tries from good support lines, what did he do? He was punished for being light, could not ruck the South Africans off the ball, and shoulder barge on Du Preez cost 3points. 6/10
    5) P O'C - Carried a tremendous amount of ball. At times he didnt cross the gain line, but his work-rate is unmatched by anyone. Good leadership, but at times you end feeling he is running up dead ends. 6/10
    4) Alun Wyn Jones - Didnt carry as much as his 2nd row partner, but was steady and reliable. 6/10
    3) Phil Vickery - I do not want to say it, yet it was Vickery who lost the Lions this match. He cost the Lions 12points, and will not make the 22 next week. Cut a forlorn figure after each penalty was given against him. 2/10
    2) Lee Mears - Darts were poor, loose play not what it can be, put wallace through with a sumptuous pass to highlight his ball skills, would like to see him against next week. 5/10
    1) Gethin Jenkins - Whilst Vickery was having a poor time, we never got to see Jenkins prop against a former hooker. Superb tackle on Habana, and sometimes you forget he is a prop, such is his endeavour. 7/10

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  • 229. At 01:44am on 21 Jun 2009, fearlesswelshboy wrote:

    Lets make no bones about it.. monye should have finished twice. Vickery looked old, passed it, and was given a torrid time while he was on. I will admit to being welsh and I would have given both a starting berth, but I think they have been found out, and its cost us the test. Vikery's face as he came off was a picture... relief I think.... amazing how things changed behind a scrum we could hold. could have won it, just too late with getting Vickery off.

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  • 230. At 01:56am on 21 Jun 2009, jem707 wrote:

    godisbod - I'm close to 100% with your summary. Bed time

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  • 231. At 01:58am on 21 Jun 2009, Tim Richards wrote:

    Apparently, it is not just the Welsh with their passionate love and comment of the wonderful game of rugby which stimulate
    to use this portal to exude sheer bile and vitriol.

    To be honest, "jabulisile's" comment about turning on ourselves and taking ourselves too seriously (No. 222) rings very true upon reading previously expressed destructive comments.

    This comment from rightRobbiesKeen from last fall proving this commentator's deep and fascinating insight of the USA political situation is just as illuminating, qualified and heartwarming as the rest of the opinions to be found on tonight's blog...

    I know for a fact, that the Welsh love rugby with a genuine and heartfelt passion.
    But they never forget, that it is, at the end of the day, a game of rugby...
    Let us just enjoy, and not get too serious about ourselves.

    54. At 02:39am on 26 Oct 2008, rightRobbiesKeen wrote:

    My Lord the Republican apologists are running scared. Unlike the nobler sort - you know, the ones who've really fought in wars and things like that, not the patriot ones who dodged the draft and send the young to die in places like Iraq - who have seen Obama is the only candidate who will restore America's dilapidated international reputation: or 'heal the world' as a fool once joked at a political party's convention recently, because that's kind of lame you know, to want to do that - what a loser!...

    Krauthammer - boy oh boy. How can McCain win it back. Remind eveyone of the 'generations-long war' against the terrible fundamentalists, for starters. This is a good one. After all history shows Democrat Presidents are simply hopeless and at sea during times of war: look at Woodrow Wilson during the Great War, and Roosevelt and Truman during Wold War Two. Useless! Or even Kennedy/LBJ during Vietnam. The Democrats have no discernible track record of dealing with war or ideological enemies in any way...

    Then Georgia. Bearing in mind Georgian militias began the recent conflict in South Ossetia - a part of the world where a great many feel themselves to be more Russian than Georgian - it doesn't matter! Sure when did truth and reason get in the way of a bit of cold war rhetoric, reds under the bed, red menace, socialist evil empire. Yeah! Stand up to the evil Russians, hand in hand with the evil Islamicists: aside from that time when they fought each other in Afghanistan in 1979 and we armed the Mujahadeen and then were surprised when they had all these weapons and resented and killed us! Yeah!

    To borrow McCain's inane, 'folsky' whimsey, Krauthhammer looked into the eyes of Republicans and saw the initials
    ''R' 'U' 'N' 'N' 'I' 'N' 'G' 'S' 'C' 'A' 'R' 'E' 'D' - because for some reason McCain sees initials in peoples eyes instead of eyes.

    We haven't even referred to Palin here yet...

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  • 232. At 02:07am on 21 Jun 2009, Troakie wrote:

    @ rightRobbiesKeen

    Oh dear. I think you'll find that if you scroll up this discussion, you've been targeting the Welsh players and fans since your very first post. Yes, you mentioned an inept Vickery and gave Roberts credit, but you didn't have a good word to say about any other Welsh player. And then your second post was that all-out attack on Welsh fans.

    Anyways, your post 223 has convinced me that you're not here for a discussion, just to repeat your rather blinkered views, which is your right, of course. Also it makes me wonder whether you actually watched the game. You honestly didn't notice a difference in the scrum performance after the Vickery/Jones switch? You didn't notice that we suddenly had a decent solid platform to work from? You didn't think that improved the Lions' game at all? Well obviously, we all imagined it then.

    As for your post 225, believe me I'm not hysterical. And you've done it again. I'm not denying some Welsh fans may have done what you have said, but I take offence at you including every Welsh fan in your judgement. This is about my sixth post stating exactly the same thing and you still don't understand.

    One last uber-explicit time. Please show me exactly where I said the following:

    "Being told by someone from this internet hinterland of hysterics such as yourself that he ought to 'drop his shoulder on his own 22 when running backwards...hopefully he has learned his lesson'"

    I would like a post number and timestamp please. If you cannot find my post with this exact quote in it, I will assume you apologise profusely for wrongly accusing me of something that has clearly injured you so deeply. I cannot guarantee my roughly-3 million fellow Welsh people will be so gracious, though, since obviously I don't speak for a whole nation.

    I generally love all rugby fans, usually because you can have a joke and a laugh and a bit of banter during the game, and then you all go to the pub together afterwards. I've never met anyone with such a blanket anti-Welsh chip on their shoulder as you. It might be a good idea if you didn't judge a whole nation on the few people you argue with on the - what was it you called it? - "internet hinterland of hysterics". It's a shame, because, GENERALLY, we're great craic.

    Anyways, this has been fun. Same time next week?(!)

    P.S. LMAO @ cropp77! :D

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  • 233. At 02:59am on 21 Jun 2009, Primetime13 wrote:

    The 1st thing that needs to be pointed out here is that there was a general consensus that this was the right XV to take on the Boks in the 1st test, so I have no problem with team selection. The problem starts with the timing of the replacements. Vickery was clearly in trouble from very early on and shouldn't have lasted more than 30 mins at the most. He cost the Lions 6 points. Stephen Jones had an awful game. Kicking from hand was poor and missed a very easy penalty and another penalty which I feel ROG would have stuck over. You can't miss kickable penalties against a team as good as South Africa. Monye wasn't great. He should have taken at least 1 chance. I feel Shane or Fitzgerald would have done. I was disgusted by the fact the referee and the TMO could not even understand each other, and I was more disgusted by the ref's decision after the 1st of Monye's chances. It was a clear 5m scrum to the Lions which would have been a very promising attacking position. Instead, he chooses to ignore the TMO and give a 22 dropout, thus robbing the Lions of a very good scoring opportunity. The referee was poor generally. He let Mtawarira away with a few in the scrum. Also there should definitely have been a sin binning in the last 10 - 15 mins for the Boks. They were guilty of repeatedly killing the ball in their own 22 to prevent quick possession for the Lions before the 2 final tries. There seemed to be at least 5 instances of this. If the Lions had been playing against 14 men for the last 10 mins as they should have been they would have clearly have had a greater chance of winning. O'Connell looks flat in the loose (coming from an Irishman). He takes the ball static and lumbers into contact. He needs to be more dynamic. I thought he was alright overall though. He really needs to lead from the front in the rest of the series. Bowe didn't have many opportunities, but disappointed when you look at how good he has been the rest of the tour. He also gave away a silly 3 points taking contact in his own 22 when he could have thrown an easy pass to Byrne to clear. He needs to step up his game up but deserves another opportunity. I thought Kearney was a big improvement on Byrne when he came on and he directed his kicks alot better. I was disappointed with Byrne. I would start Kearney at FB next week even if Byrne's fit. Wallace was good but I think the craft of Martyn Williams is needed ro beat the Boks, with Wallace offering a dynamic ball carrying option off the bench. Heaslip seemed quiet but was in a retreating pack and kept Spies quiet, so although he had a quiet game I think it was a solid one. Croft was very impressive, as were BOD, Roberts, Jenkins, and Jones and Rees when they came on. I think we need the nastiness of a Shaw or Hines alongside POC. Harsh on AWJ but we need an enforcer. The likeliest enforcer today looked to be Phillips. Phillips had a relatively good game but needs to speed up the service for next week. If he does that he will be genuinely world class. My team for next week would be:

    Kearney (If Byrne is selected here then Kearney for left wing)
    Fitzgerald (If not Shane or Kearney - just not Monye)
    ROG(With Hook on the bench Stephen Jones shouldnt play again on the tour)

    Williams (Wallace on the bench to offer a dynamic last 20 mins option)
    Shaw (AWJ on the bench to offer dynamic last 20 mins as well)
    Jenkins (Sheridan on the bench for same reason as above)

    Possibly a bit harsh on Wallace and AWJ but hard decisions need to be taken. The Lions pack really need to front up and match the Boks or get as close to matching them as they can. The backs can slice the Boks to pieces at will on today's showing.

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  • 234. At 03:23am on 21 Jun 2009, Ruck_Maker wrote:

    Re: 211 welshtanman:

    Perhaps you don't understand, because it hasn't been explained to you monosyllabically, or presented in Sky highlights package.

    You are talking a load of rot. Your opinions are biased and uninteresting. You do not rate players based on their performance, but based on your personal prejudice. (Which seems to be rather embarrassingly simple, Welsh good, not-Welsh bad.)

    Other posters on here, the adult ones, are talking about players performance, and rating them accordingly. You are making a fool of yourself, and giving a very poor impression of the Welsh. (I know that there are one or two other bad apples, but most of the Welsh on here are smart enough in their rugby to not embarrass themselves as you have done.)

    Now please, grow up. Stop your pathetic attempts to wind people up based on kindergarten nationalism and try to learn a little about rugby. It'll stand you in good stead when the Magners League kicks off again.

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  • 235. At 03:32am on 21 Jun 2009, AJtheGog wrote:

    I wrote:
    "It really does amaze me that there is so much talk of National bias on here if you critise a player of certain nationalities.... am I Welsh or Irish biased for stating that Vickery was humiliated and should have been replaced 20 minutes in or am I just stating a fact?

    Before you start ranting, NO I do not think Shane Williams should be playing, we have enough problems as it is!

    Also, does Shaw have the fitness levels required? Was happy to see him go on tour but never thought he would get close to a test place.

    Phillips' biggest drawback is the step he takes before each pass, something that is illustrated when he is replaced by Peel in the 6 N and the pace of delivery goes right up but don't really think that Ellis is playing well enough to replace him.

    Finally, even O'Gara's team mates in the 6 N admitted that he is a defensive weakness and that's without SA forwards running at him all day so would question his selection. That said, Jones did not have a good game (especially with the boot) but Hook has hardly been top notch this season either so some tough decisions to be made at fly half.

    2 more to go.... we can still win the series!"

    To which the repy from right Robbies keen was:
    I see this has rattled those with the most gnomic outlooks. I have clearly identified the germ of the problem.

    What I have pinpointed, AJtheGog, is that when an English or Irish player makes a mistake or is fairly anonymous, you hammer him - crying like rabid beasts from the rooftops that they should be IMMEDIATELY DROPPED (sometimes, as with Wallace and the brilliant Bowe and POC, even when he plays well you want them gone too). But you can't take it when your own players, such as Stephen Jones or Alun-Wyn Jones are poor. Then it's 'not their fault', 'you're being too hard', and 'O'Gara, etc wouldn't have done any better'. It's a question of basic honesty and consistency. As I said, it flies gainst the spirit of the Lions and is pretty reprehensible."

    So, read both comments and tell me who the pretty reprehensible (non) fan is in all honesty. One of us is talking about the rugby today and you are trying to stir up non existent anomosity between groups of the same fans. I don't know your nationality (not welsh I presume!) but regardless I would not tarnish all of your nation's supporters with your small minded attitudes, after all this is the lions and all of us are together in this series.Please explain to me why your comment above is nothing short of RACIST BILE. Before you start on with the statement "I'm not racist BUT...." know that I and I'm sure the rest of the Lions supporters find it highly offensive to be refered to in such manners as you have in your post.

    A few points for you to mull over from this obviously lions/ welsh fan
    1. When Vickery came off today, it was several Englishmen who cheered with releief in the English pub I was in.... I agreed with their sentiments....
    2. I suppose as a welshman, in your world ( and ONLY in your world) I should state that Vickery deserved man of the match and Lions would have won if Roberts had not been so woeful in the centre. We would have also had a much better platform if they had kept Jones and Rees off the field for the full 80 minutes as they only ruined what Vickery and Mears had begun.
    3. Also in your world Graham Rowntree for a knighthood, nothing for Gatland or Edwards as they coached us into defeat (ie associated with Wales).
    4. To quote Vickery directly in the Mirror before the game "You dont get any second chance in this environment. So whatever your motivation use it to ensure that you come off the field proud of what you've done."
    So obviously in your world, Vickery to start the 2nd test!

    You really do have no clue about the ethos and meaning of the Lions! Are you a regular football supporter who could never comprehend a British and Irish group of supporters sitting in the same venue let alone in the same team?

    You really do not paint us Lions supporters in a good light through your comments.

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  • 236. At 03:58am on 21 Jun 2009, burntwoodmiffer wrote:

    A few things are obvious to me.

    Firstly, the Lions were far superior to the Boks with ball in hand.
    Secondly, the Boks were out of steam in the last quarter.
    Thirdly, a few guys had a bad day at the office today, but before we say drop them can we actually think about whether their replacements have done anything decent on this tour.
    Fourthly, to justify selection would mean a lot of players putting in a huge performance on Tuesday, as they haven't done enough to earn a place already. These probably include Sheridan, Shaw, Hines, Powell, S. Williams and Fitzgerald. The trouble is, if they play midweek they can't play at altitude on Saturday. End of story on that one.

    Our best chances of beating the Boks next week will be to stop taking contact and by moving their big guys around. Therefore need the playmakers and the guys who can pass out of the tackle, link up play etc.

    Consequently, my 22 for Saturday would be:

    1 Jenkins - Easy decision. The guy is the best loosehead in world rugby. Sheridan may be good in the scrum but offers nothing much besides. Defensively he's not in the same universe, although to be fair not many are.

    2 Mears - Hooker obviously a problem. Can be argued that none of them can hit a cow with a banjo, let alone its backside. Ford can be discounted easily. Rees hasn't been much better. Would give it to the guy who started today, on the condition that he stops running straight into the big SA forwards. If he can't do that then he offers less on the field than Rees.

    3 Jones - Pretty straightforward. Vickery has got to go. Murray is out. Couldn't pick Hayes as will have the same issues as the Cornishman. Offering nothing around the pitch and not having played on tour are not really qualities that justify his selection either.

    4 AWJ - Had OK game. Tackled pretty well. Not certain of place. Will probably keep the shirt though as Hines and/or Shaw will play on Tuesday. DOC not done enough to justify taking place.

    5 POC - He's the captain. He plays. How much of a psychological edge would it give SA if we dropped him.

    6 Croft - It's a fast track. We play him. Easy !

    7 Williams - If we are going to keep moving the point of attack, need Nugget for his link up play. Wallace unlucky to lose out, but horses for courses. And those of you singing the praises of Joe Worsley, please stop and watch a game of rugby every now and again. He did well against Jamie Roberts this year, but the guy is not a 7.

    8 Heaslip - Powell has got to do something to justify selection. Hence Heaslip stays.

    9 Phillips

    10 Jones - Not his best day with the boot, but offers so much more besides with his defence, leadership and playmaking. One massive reason for not picking ROG. His name is Jean de Villiers. The other, if needed, is the fact that he has constantly made the wrong decision on tour. He kicks when he should run (I refer to the numerous chips behind defence and cross field bombs) and runs when he should kick (missed having 6 men outside him, but attacked from 22 when only supported by Simon Shaw). He might have got those 6 points SJ missed today, but probably would have been run through on numerous occasions leading to more SA scores and not created the opportunities for the lions to score.

    11 Kearney (Monye, if Byrne not fit) - Surprised not been mentioned as wing more often. Was great there in 2008 6N. Would stick with Monye otherwise, given that the other wings will play midweek.

    12 Roberts

    13 BOD

    14 Bowe

    15 Byrne (or Kearney)

    And the bench

    16 Rees - For when Mears starts running into big guys

    17 Sheridan - No other choice

    18 Shaw - Been a good impact player so far on tour. Deserves spot on bench more than POC.

    19 Wallace

    20 S Williams (if Hook fit) - Shane can cover scrum half, as we're only going to replace Phillips if he gets injured. Might need someone with the potential X-Factor on Saturday.

    21 Hook (if fit) - Otherwise ROG

    22 Powell (if Hook fit) - Otherwise Fitzgerald

    Think we might struggle on Saturday, given that a few of the starting 15 may need to go to Cape Town for the Emerging Boks game. Geech might have missed a trick in not calling up a few more players just for this game (could really do with a couple of Armitage's to fill the gaps).

    Anyway 22 for this looks like it needs to be:

    1 Vickery 2 Ford 3 Hayes 4 POC 5 Shaw 6 Hines 7 Worsley 8 Powell 9 Blair 10 ROG 11 Fitzgerald 12 Flutey 13 D'Arcy 14 Williams 15 Earls 16 Rees 17 Sheridan 18 AN Other 19 Wallace 20 Ellis 21 Hook (if fit) 22 Monye

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  • 237. At 04:42am on 21 Jun 2009, BigJock1962 wrote:

    Scrum doctor was a tad late is prescribing the antidoteVickery & Mears should have been replaced after 30 minutes. That said I reckon there is at least 9 available spots for next Saturday, including Mr. Captain's. Surely Hines & Ford must be contenders!!!!

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  • 238. At 05:34am on 21 Jun 2009, cormacorr wrote:

    With the arguements for and against Monye. I'd noticed in the warm up games he had a tendancy to dive early for the line attempting to slide across and was worried about it then. This is a good tactic in the northern hemishere when pitches are usually greasy on top but it is not effective in the southern hemisphere when it is usually dry. You don't slide you tend to bounce, which is what happened and they where able to get underneath the ball over the line. It can also dislodge the ball causing a knock on over the line - highly embarrassing. Coaches should have picked up on it.
    As for the second, was a great tackle but the ball was carried in the wrong arm (inside vulnerable to cover tackles coming across).
    Yes they were two moments of superb defence, but they are playing the world champions. Can't help but think Williams would have finshed them.

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  • 239. At 06:40am on 21 Jun 2009, QuietBrit wrote:

    Very ominous for the Series - Tight 5 not up to the task - Set piece and breakdown for 60 mins were crap. Vickery was terrible

    However everyone is ignoring the fact that SA took off their key players to save them for the series decider in a week. IMO Vickery was aweful but 10 mins does not prove that Adam Jones is going to fix things for 80 mins.

    However it gets done We need to go into the Next match with at least 2 more heavies in at the start and sub them out when the altitude gets to them and they have taken the wind out of the SA heavies.

    Heresy to some but next week I would make Sheriden my starting loosehead and sub on Gethin Jenkins once Smit is winded. last 30 mins is when Jenkins is going to do damage in the loose.

    No 3 is going to be a bad place to be so I would stick Shaw or Hines behind them to give them some support. Vickery out of 22 start with Jones and hope that it really was a weak starting 3 not a strong No 1 which did the damage...

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  • 240. At 06:49am on 21 Jun 2009, notachucker wrote:

    This series will end 3-0 to the Bokks. They were absolutely destorying the Lions until they nearly did a classic Wallabies, took their collective feet off the gas, and nearly cost themselves the game. They won't be stupid enough to slacken off next time.

    People are talking about the difference it made when Vickey came off, I agree he was bad, but the real difference came when Peter De Villiers subbed off many his key players with twenty minutes left! This was the only passage of play that the Lions dominated. The scrum was hopeless and only managed to hang on (just) when bakkies came off.

    In other news, what do the British think of the rolling obstruction now? You seemed so keen to get rid of the pulling down the maul rule, which really backfired on you for this last game. I've never seen a maul drive for ~40m uninhibited to the try line. The Lions forwards were really made to look like a school boys team until some early (and arrogant) replacements were made.

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  • 241. At 07:05am on 21 Jun 2009, QuietBrit wrote:

    My Ratings (I tend to try and spread them out a bit the worst player on the pitch gets 1 and the best 10 (sadly he is SA...)):

    Lee Byrne - rating 6: Solid under the high ball, lost the duel of the fullbacks due to shorter range. Keep

    Tommy Bowe - 6: Not impressed today - though Habana Quiet too... Give another chance.

    Brian O'Driscoll - 9: Consistent quality - He and Roberts form the only clearly superior lions unit.

    Jamie Roberts - 9: Again Quality - he and BOD get same high score because they are working as a TEAM.

    Ugo Monye - 5: Inexperience led to failures to finish, defensive errors - keeps his place only because there isn't anyone to replace him. Shane williams too small and weak in defense to step in.

    Stephen Jones: 5 - weak with the boot, will only keep his place because ROG is too weak in defense.

    Mike Phillips - 7: It feels like he rather than O'Connell lifted the 1-8 effort for the comeback and his faults largely down to lack of pack control - hard position to excel in when the forwards loose.

    Jamie Heaslip - 5: Distinctly ordinary pack - didn't see much of him no one to replace him though.

    David Wallace - 5: Openside needs to take responsibility for the breakdown - Lions came up short.

    Tom Croft - 7: Like rest of back row shares some responsibility for breakdown - linking well with midfield attack and getting round the park fast. (unlike the wings today...). Drops 1 for the penalty.

    Paul O'Connell - 6: Would have been a 7 or 8 if the Lions won but his plate is too full. Worked Hard and led poorly. Saved himself from lineout panning with one against the SA throw. Captain - stays for that reason - needs to lead a bit more with brain and a bit less with biceps...

    Alun Wyn Jones - 5: Lack of heft a problem. Lineout poor. Didn't see stunning loose play - would Drop in favour of Hines or Shaw.

    Phil Vickery - 1: Outclassed at the set piece. No presence in the Loose to make up for it. Dropped and thrown into the midweek fixture - if he amazes there -might- make bench for last test. Really hope he is this bad (despite being english) as the alternative is very ominous.

    Lee Mears - 3: Crap throwing - Not too much in the loose. Who can you replace him with? All Hookers on the tour flawed.

    Gethin Jenkins - 6: Good enough in the Loose - scrummaging duties lacking - remains in squad on merit (Unlike the other surviving tight 5) would bench him and bring him on for Impact late in game when his pace will allow him to support the backs...


    Rob Kearney - 6: Solid and uninspired. Deserves to stay with squad.

    Adam Jones - 6: Scrum OK after he came on - not overly excited as SA saved the big guns. Will start next week and hopefully blunt 'The Beast'

    Martyn Williams - 6: Some good link-up play after he came on. Would give serious thought to starting him.

    Matthew Rees - 5: Some upside in the throw (but then my cat offers that). Ill discipline makes for a problematic starter.

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  • 242. At 07:15am on 21 Jun 2009, newportexile wrote:

    As I said on 606, too many Irish passengers in the pack. Where was the back row today.Croft was fine but Heaslip and Wallace not noticed. Martyn Williams has to play next week. Agree with bringing in Hines or Shaw to beef up the front five, but at O'Connell's expense. He looks a plodder now and his leadership skills are sadly lacking. Bit harsh on Vickery but John Hayes? Dont think so.The only player in history to be stuffed everytime and still get picked 90 odd times! Would leave back line alone (but Shane on bench)and make BOD captain. He has everyone's respect.

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  • 243. At 07:25am on 21 Jun 2009, scarletgog wrote:

    Interesting comment regarding AWJ's lack of bulk contributing to Vickery's problems at scrum time. It was actually POC who was packing down behind Vickery so if that is your argument - then POC's lack of bulk contributed to Vickery's inept performance. THe Beast was scrummaging illegally but surely both Vickery and POC shoul dhave pointed this out to Lawrence. POC has failed to show any real leadership qualities, and the question should be asked - if he wasn't captain would he play - as I beleieve the 2 outstanding locks on tour have been AWJ and Hines.

    The front row that finished the match should start the 2nd test.

    The Williams boys need to start the 2nd test. The Lions showed that they are dangerous in open play, hence the reason for M Williams to link forwards and backs and Shane to give the Boks something to think about! I believe along with thousands that he would have finished 1 if not both of those opportunites that Monye missed - granted first was unlucky, but the second was more or less a walk in.

    I'd also shake up the bench - Mears, Hayes/Vickery, DOC, Powell, Ellis, Hook, Kearney(if Byrne fit)/Fitzgerald

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  • 244. At 07:30am on 21 Jun 2009, kiwisimmo wrote:

    Croft "only" scored two tries?? There is no other no.6 in rugby who would have been anywhere near O'Driscoll when he received that first pass. And it was headless du Plessis who was "threatening" O'Driscoll when he was on the floor. But I wish someone would wipe the smile off Botha's face...
    Can someone tell me what the average age of the SA front five is? No wonder that they have to bring on so many replacements, and they will get knackered next week.

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  • 245. At 07:52am on 21 Jun 2009, duj_1arm wrote:

    Very generous towards Ugo Monye. He was at fault for conceding the territory for the Boks first try, and any of the other wingers on the tour would have finished the two chances he had. If Byrne hadn't been injured he'd probably have been replaced by Kearney at half-time.

    If Luke Fitzgerald doesn't start the next test the coaching staff need their heads examined.

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  • 246. At 08:13am on 21 Jun 2009, MackemWWE wrote:

    Vickery and Mears will surely be dropped.

    I thought S Jones was poor too and his kicking out of hand and especially at goal cost the lions a lot of pressure. If Hook were fit I'd bring him straight in, not sure about ROG though because that brings even more of a kicking game, which we'd clearly lose.

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  • 247. At 08:55am on 21 Jun 2009, numberwanpurened wrote:

    primetime13 @ 233. your wrong mate. quite a few were questioning vickey being ahead of murray. Rowantree picked his mate. many of us saw this coming. Not having a go at Vickery for giving it his best but Rowantree needs his butt kicked.

    Kiwisimmo @ 244. Mate your right on all counts. Some of the Bok team have perhaps hung about a bit too long to play in this series. There could be weakness there as they tired quickly. Du Plessis showed himself up by threatening BOD. Botha needs to be taken down a peg. Your bang on.

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  • 248. At 09:09am on 21 Jun 2009, Igottaeugeone wrote:

    BOD was great - must have welsh blood in him.......
    Anonymous and heaslip seem to be synonyms - let`s get Andy Powell on to break the game up........
    More agression needed from the kick off - the Lions were like scared rabbits in the first 15 minutes.........
    If you do not have a line out thrower then shorten the line out and make his target easier to hit - its not rocket science.....
    Vickery .....uuuurggghhhh.......

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  • 249. At 09:10am on 21 Jun 2009, orangedrink wrote:

    QuietBrit, just a note on Alun Wyn-Jones, lineout poor? I don't even recall them calling his number once at the front. All POC and Croft. As for not noticing him in the loose? You might find if you watch the game again, see the number of times that red scrum cap is making tackles or rucking players out of the way. Wyn-Jones did a lot of unseen work, much like Jamie Heaslip. Rugby is not all about running with the ball and showing up in the commentary. When you have a 6 like Croft hanging out in the loose it's even more important for your locks and front rowers to get their hands dirty recycling the ball.

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  • 250. At 09:11am on 21 Jun 2009, orangedrink wrote:

    ..and that is not a criticism of Croft at all by the way.

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  • 251. At 09:15am on 21 Jun 2009, orangedrink wrote:

    Incidentally, would love to hear others opinions, the TV angles they showed down here (Setanta, bloody awful commentary again by the way) probably weren't the best but it appear as if Mike Phillips had a couple of fingers on the ball for that try that was ruled a knock on by the comically inept video ref. If he's still in contact with the ball and he is in contact with it, even with a couple of fingers, as it lands on the line, shouldn't it be a try? I see those given week in week out in both Union and League.

    From playing the game, I know it often feels to you like you knocked it on but to me the replay showed he was still in contact and therefore applied downward pressure. Like I say, not the best angles shown here though.

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  • 252. At 09:28am on 21 Jun 2009, Mike Ireland wrote:

    There has been enough said about individual players and I am not going to add any more to that side of the debate. However, we all have experienceed a 'bad day at the office' during our lives; that does not make us incompetent or incapable.The role of management is crucial in these situations - to help and assist through a rough patch. Well, so it is for the Lions. My view is that the cause on the pitch was not helped by the tardiness of the management in making changes.We all hear commentators/analysts/coaches talking at length about the importance of having a solid platform and the main planks of that platform are the scrum & lineout.Why then, in the name of God did it take so long to make the nesseccary and obvious changes. This was the real failure yesterday. I do not think there is an individual who watched that match yesterday that does not think that the team that finished the match would have won that match, IF THEY HAD BEEN GIVEN TIME!!

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  • 253. At 09:32am on 21 Jun 2009, kingNeilDM wrote:

    I agree with the full Welsh Front row, however if we are not going to bother jumping like yesterday on the SA lineout, we may as well go for adding a bit of beef into the pack and put in Simon Shaw.

    Swap Wallace for M. Williams.

    Start with Harry Ellis instead of Phillips, still not sure why at this level he needs to put a skip left or right before passing the ball. If Hook is fit start him at 10. I would leave the rest of the team the same.

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  • 254. At 09:32am on 21 Jun 2009, kingjohnmac wrote:

    Welsh team, Welsh result! Even though I knew Geek and Gatland would go that way, I can't believe Stephen Jones started before O'Gara (ultimately, that's what lost us the match). But the ref favoured the Boks from the off, giving their forwards a lot of leeway and the Lions none. O'Connell was threatened with yellow cards after a string of infringements in the first half. There was no corresponding threat to the Boks after a similar string in the second half. Having said that, Vickery and Mears were poor. O'Discoll was superb, but he can't do everything!

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  • 255. At 09:35am on 21 Jun 2009, Dean wrote:

    AWJ was pushing Jenkins, not Vickery. And he is a very heavy forward anyway.

    Do BBC journalists not have to know about the topic they write about?

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  • 256. At 09:38am on 21 Jun 2009, kingNeilDM wrote:

    As for the comical conversations between the tref and his ey in the sky on the first Monye try.. How can you have somebody reviewing the videos that the ref does not listen to. The third official gave something, and the super ref decided on something different.
    Personally i though that the try should have been given, just the same as the philips try, he had contact with the ball when it hit the ground.

    When Croft got penalised for no arms to take the SA9 of the pitch it gave a penalty. However SA 11 did the same against Monye in the second have and was not even spoken to!!!!!!

    All i ask for from any ref is to be consistant in his decisions, and not show any biase towards wither team....
    Agree with POC, t

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  • 257. At 09:39am on 21 Jun 2009, Herbi J wrote:

    kicking and refs usual inability to know anything about what is happening in the front row cost a game Lions should have won. Boks played pressure rugby with no flair and it worked cos they kicked their pens and we didn't.

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  • 258. At 09:40am on 21 Jun 2009, toffo123 wrote:

    Thought we were well beaten up front but still created enough try scoring chances to win. Maybe someone should tell ugo to carry the ball in the correct outside hand when playing on the wing, thus allowing the handoff and keeping the ball a split second more away from the covering tackler. I think this cost him two tries today. Good luck to the Lions next week. Keep believing!

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  • 259. At 09:46am on 21 Jun 2009, silkeskills wrote:

    I have to say from watching the game yesterday that the Beast was certainly not going in straight on Vickery! However it is a bit worrying that after few penalties the coaches didn't take vickery off. Once a ref has decided thats how he wants the scrum to go there is very little you can do about it! They should have realised it and acted a lot sooner! Rowntree has been around for long enough to recognise that!

    A lot of people have said about the TMO which again is a fair point! Also the ball was thrown into touch after Monye went over so isn't that a penalty?

    Superb SA tackling to prevent monye and maybe he shouldn't start the next test but had it been shane williams.... blah blah blah. He would have picked up and carried back to his own try line! As an impact player though, he, hook, flutey and possibly Powell would have had a big effect on the team!

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  • 260. At 09:48am on 21 Jun 2009, Herbi J wrote:

    I think it is harsh to pick on the Welsh. I am English and could see that some of the Welsh players were our best performers in the test and they were all giving it everything they've got. O'Gara would probably have kicked better than Jones, but Jones moves the ball better and that is where the Lions outplayed the Boks.

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  • 261. At 09:53am on 21 Jun 2009, stevie wrote:

    Pehaps the ref should have looked at the SA tighthea's bind or lack of it. the bind should be downward pressure with the hand not upward pushing under the armpit. It seems to me that southern hemisphere refs don't have much clue when it comes to setting scrums or reffing them.

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  • 262. At 10:08am on 21 Jun 2009, markilveen wrote:

    Gotta love everyone slagging off POC's captaincy. The captain wasnt the problem, the fact that 2003 world cup winners are still picked in lions games is the problem, it didnt work in 05 and didnt work here. Glad The Bull is out in SA now, though the all welsh front row has to happen, they were immense in the second half, albeit against a tiring Bok scrum.
    And what other options apart from BOD are there for captain? None!
    or God sake get behind the man, he is guna make everyone eat their words.
    C'mon Paul!!

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  • 263. At 10:15am on 21 Jun 2009, numberwanpurened wrote:

    well said markilveen.
    c'mon Paul...!

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  • 264. At 10:17am on 21 Jun 2009, H3rmit wrote:

    From what I saw the Sarfies will give the lions some stick in the 2nd Test.

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  • 265. At 10:27am on 21 Jun 2009, Amphibi0us wrote:

    "Alun Wyn Jones - 6: Perhaps his lack of bulk had something to do with Vickery's problems at scrum time."

    You do realise that the ginger man packing down behind Vickery was POC, our captain, and not the scrum cap wearing AWJ.

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  • 266. At 10:36am on 21 Jun 2009, dano_997 wrote:

    nobody seems to want to say - so i will. paul o'connell was awful. total rubbish. we need hines to play and add some fire to the pack!

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  • 267. At 10:46am on 21 Jun 2009, FearRua wrote:

    I note that yesterday's TMO is next week's Referee !!!!!!!!!!!!
    Translators will be required.

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  • 268. At 10:46am on 21 Jun 2009, saferblur wrote:

    A few things clearly need to be pointed out

    1. The Lions forwards were absolutly destroyed in the first 50 minutes. The drives and mauls were just classic from the Boks.

    2. All this hype about John Smit being killed by Jenkins at tighthead Im afraid not! The only killing was the Beast on Vickery and in fact the SA scrum drilling the Lions scrum.

    3. BOD and Roberts were class and the only real threat to the Boks and what I will say is that SA will do there homework on them for next week.

    4. The only reason why the Lions got back into the game was because PDV made a massive mistake by sending all his substitutes with 25 minutes to go - I can promise you it wont happen next week.

    5. STOP blaming the ref and going on about Botha on BOD this is rugby and its contact sport oh yes and I do recall Fourie Du Preez getting taken without any arms = yellow card and Rees trying to thump Du Plessis aaahhh so get real guys look at your own players too!

    6. Expect the Springboks to give nothing next week they wont let you back into the game!!

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  • 269. At 10:56am on 21 Jun 2009, bigmike1664 wrote:

    Look no futher then Vickery for losing yesterday. Should of been replaced after 20 mins. The front row that ended the game must surely start next week. Maybe replace jones at 10. I cant help thinking that Shane Williams would have finished both of Monye's chances.

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  • 270. At 11:01am on 21 Jun 2009, numberwanpurened wrote:

    Bigmik1664 at 269. I dont blame Vickery. I blame Rowntree for picking his mate and ignoring Euan Murray. Rowantree should take the blame. It wasnt even an honest mistake. It was a pertisan choice and he should get his butt kicked.

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  • 271. At 11:13am on 21 Jun 2009, Steve wrote:

    Some of the comments on here are just plain childish. This is a lions tour and not an opportunity to start having a go at other nations - my objective views as follows: (I'm Welsh)

    Lee Byrne - Didn't have much of an opportunity to play his usual game, and would like to see him given another chance next week. 6

    Rob Kearney - Brilliant when he came on, if Byrne is fit, think Kearney should definietly start on the wing instead of Monye, but would have no issues if he took Byrne's place even if Byrne was fit. 7

    Tommy Bowe - Quiet game, but we all know what he can do, didn't get much of the ball. Will start again next week and rightly deserved too. 6

    BOD - Class, sheer class. A few mistakes, but who didn't make any. The guy should be captain. 8

    Jamie Roberts - MOTM to be honest, knocked the boks backwards, tackled solidly - best centre partnership I have seen for years. 10

    Ugo Monye - Should have finished one of thos chances, and generally all round bad game. Will not start next week. 4

    Stephen Jones - again not his best game kicking wise, but offered a few runs in attack and defends solidly. For all thos saying O'Gara would have kicked those that SJ missed, he may well have done, but with his suspect defence, the Boks would have run through him on numerous occasions, and we may have leaked a few tries down the 10 channel. Not sure what I would do next week. It's a tough call. Would definitely have Hook on the bench. 5

    Mike Phillips - Slow passing. Have watched him recently when I have been sat next to ex Welsh Newport and Cardiff players, and the general consensus is that scrum halves in lower leagues can pass quicker. His step is annoying but that's what actually made the try for him. Think he will start again as he offers so much more physicality than Ellis and Blair 6

    Gethin Jenkins - tackled well, scrummaged well and hit the breakdown. What more can you ask of a prop. 7

    Lee Mears - fee sorry for him. He has been the stand out hooker this tour, but his main job of lineout throwing was dreadful yesterday. Think he will be given another chance as he is more consistent that Matthew Rees 5

    Vickery - Terrible. Despite the comments that the Beast was cheating, he should be able to deal with this. After all, it's what he gets paid for. Should retire now - 1

    POC - Lacks leadership and if the Boks were cheating in the scrum should have been talking to the ref a lot more not just agreeing with him. Second half was a lot better, but wouldn't be surprised if he was dropped for next week - and yes, you can drop your captain. 6

    AWJ - quiet game, didn't dominate the lineouts and was quiet in the loose. Think Shaw or Hines should start next week. . 6

    Croft - great two tries, but easy run ins to be honest. Great pace, and hit breakdowns. In my opinion though, he does not do what a No6 should, which is the dirty work on the floor. 7

    Wallace - love this bloke, top player and has been outstanding for ages. Not his best game yesterday and did not link with the backs which is what he should be doing. All these comments about him being heavier than Williams and being a strong ball carrier - that's all very well, but it's not whan an openside should be doing (Neil Back anyone?) 7

    Jamie Heaslip - Didn't have much of a chance to do anything yesterday, but put his body on the line time and again, and kept Spies quiet. Will definitely start next week as he's still the best 8 in the four home nations. 7

    My changes for next week

    Monye out, but wouldn't start with Shane, he is nowhere near the standard required for test duty. WOuld start with Kearney if Byrne is fit, as I don't think Fitz has done enough.

    Hook in at 10 to get the backs firing. This is where we will win these games, in the backs.

    Adam Jones in for Vickery

    Martyn Williams to start to provide the link up with the backs (not that Wallace did anything particularly wrong and if I had my way he would start instead of Croft, despite Crofts two tries)

    Thoughts please?

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  • 272. At 11:25am on 21 Jun 2009, mightymaroon wrote:

    agree with most of your comments, apart from croft. thought he was fantastic. its not as if there were other lions players queing up to take those passes from bod. plus dropping him would already weaken an already weak lineout. no. 7 is a tough choice but would probably stick with wallace for the first 50 mins.
    kearney has to start, either full back or on wing if byrne is fit.
    wouldn't pick shaw. just don't see what he offers. if you want bulk, get hines in there. hasn't had much chance on the tour because he's been played at 6 twice durin the tour.

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  • 273. At 11:51am on 21 Jun 2009, GrocerJac wrote:

    Adam Jones will be in next week. Simon Austin says that Alun Wyn Jones' lack of bulk was a factor in Vickery's stuffing, but it was O'Connell who was binding behind Vickery in the second row. Would stick with AW Jones, he's such a hard worker around the pitch. Don't think there will be any changes apart from Jones and maybe Rees in front row. Perhaps Hook in on the bench and Kearney at fullback?

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  • 274. At 11:54am on 21 Jun 2009, VonStoobing wrote:

    What a shame Euan Murray had suffered the 'Vickery is in the form of his life' bandwagon that came from nowhere when this tour started. Murray dismantled The Beast in November, and deserved more respect than he was given this tour. Maybe the Lions will listen less to the internal PR of player's mates and go for the win next time.

    The Lions 'fightback' was entirely due to Peter de Villiers's inept decision to start taking off his key players at the hour mark - the Beast, Smit, Matfield, du Preez, Pienaar and Jean de Villiers going off was not only disrespectful to the Lions, it neutered the boks form and power. It was an inept decision from a manager who has long looked like a political rather than a rugby appointment, and if the full team had stayed on to the end, the score would have been an embarrassment for us.

    Poor front row options now - will Adam Jones fare any better from the start? doubt it and Mears was shown up fearfully today. Have no faith in Rees or Ford. AWJ needs to be where it was suggested he start, on the bench - what on earth did he do to justify the drooling write ups about his loose play? Hines should come in for him, although the Wasps chums will probably get Shaw the nod. Would start Martyn Williams for Wallace too.

    All in all, we should start facing up to a whitewash, including at least one proper tonking.

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  • 275. At 11:58am on 21 Jun 2009, SuperGedwards9 wrote:

    It's not English bashing, there has been a consistent campaign by the Egland fans to include their players in the team. This is understandable as they used to be a good side years ago and are getting to grips with the fact their team isn't very good anymore so it is hard to see so little players in the Lions team. The Scots for example had not 1 player in the starting 22 and they never complained, begged for the inclusion of their guys. It is simply the case that the Welsh fans knew that the inclusion of "It's my first game of Rugby, I can't hold the ball properly" Monye or Phil "I was good once but got demolished by Adam Jones in the 6 nations and my favourite thing is getting yellow cards or annoying Martin Johnson by giving away penalties" Vickery was a total mistake. I mean a few weeks ago the Englsih fans were all saying "It's got to be Fluety" then that settled down to "I'd like to see either Fluety or J Robs" then "I'd like to see Fluety come off the bench for variety". It is only because J Rob keeps giving 10 out of 10 performances that this isn't talked about. The English biase is based on the fact that they want to see some of their players in the Lions side but to be honest there just aren't that many and the guys who made it have been exposed. If this was a comment of hindsight well then ok it is English bashing but I have been saying that for as long as the start of the campaign. I have also been saying we needed to run at the Boks and as soon as we did they opened up. Now we have the Ogara Jones Hook debate again. Simply Jones is the best option, Ogara will get cut in half, much of Jones poor kicking out of hand was due to the fact that everytime he recived the ball the protection around the rucks by the backrow was awful and he got ball that he could hold and kick away as men were flying at him, same with Byrne, same with Bowe. The Boks span the ball back and had 5 men around the ruck protecting.
    Hook - No, great talent, too loose. Ogara, weak. Jones missed an early tough penalty from the sideline and one from a kickable distance, ok that has happened to loads of kickers and is very normal. Can we not start the debate again on Ogara, he kicks the flippin ball too much when we are in good positions, it is and aawful waste of BOD and Roberts.
    I thought M Williams should start also, Wallace was quiet and it is just madness to have a player of his ability and experience and form on the bench, total and utter madness, especially when we lack breakdown players and linking forwards who don't aimlessly run into contact. That was why Croft played well, he plays in a style that isn't English and would quite happliy fit into a Welsh side. I know you guys think it is biase but I have said before that playing a tight, physical English type game against these guys is a waste of time, kicking to them they'll kick you off the park, keep it tight they'll add up the penalties, forget about that and play rugby and use the immense talennt we have at our disposal in that team you'll get the second half we had but for 80 minutes and a Bok beating. I have been consitent in this line from day 1 of the tour and this will be the case, it is whether Geechs realises this and sorts it out. Gatland and Edwards obv don't have as much influence as we would have had R Jones from the start instead of the debarcle we witnessed and we might also have former Lion and excellent player Dwayne Peel as scrum half cover on the bench rather than wasting his time on tour with Wales in Canada and the US instead of that ghastly club-standard player Ellis. Imagine if Phillips got injured, heaven forbid. Please can we try and win this, BOD you are a great player, trust the guys around you and keep the ball alive, this isn't Ireland, we are not scared with the ball in our hands, calm down and play to your potential.
    We can really do this.

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  • 276. At 12:03pm on 21 Jun 2009, Pianoshifter wrote:

    Ok, Ok, let's get some perspective on all this. Let's think systemically about what went on. The pack as a whole was not up to snuff in the set piece for most of the match - scrums, lineouts, mauls. So it's not just about Vickery, or Mears, or O'Connell. It was the strategy of picking an entirely mobile crew - it was always going to struggle early on, but it nearly paid off at the end. Vickery lost it in his head by not being able to adjust to the ref's interpretation or going lower (he is tall and that would be difficult in any case). Pay attention to what Adam Jones says about how knackered The Beast was by the time he got on the pitch. Line outs are a combination of thrower and catcher - they share any failure, so don't put all the blame on Mears. The maul was also a disaster, again a collective failure.

    The only place the pack did well was (as intended) in the loose, where the fearsome boks back row were pretty much neutralised, so give Croft, Wallace and Heaslip credit for that. With the front five on their heals it wasn't surprising that the back three weren't seen too much in the first half. Again, Williams had the advantage of all the earlier hard work.

    Half backs - generally worked pretty well, or BOD and Roberts would not have been as effective as they were, repeatedly. Repeatedly is important, becasue it was the consistency of service from a reliable half-back pairing that allowd them to break the line time and time again. Phillips is a little slow with his service but would Ellis link as well? It's a tight call.

    Centres - enough said. Flutey and D'Arcy could be good impact players but the first choice pair performed right through the match, so maybe they just need to be there for injuries.

    Wings. Monye I think was unlucky, and the Boks defence was generally superb. He was also very good in defence - how much did we see of Habana and Pietersen and Steyn? But he lacked the spark that Williams had but has now lost. Bowe was great in flashes and later got into the game more -a sense he was really finding his place. Great potential there I think.

    Full back - Byrne a little disappointing, Kearney looked more solid, but again had the advantage of playing behind a team going forward.

    The problem areas for the next Test are:

    Front row - a real surprise here. If Murray isn't fir then Jones should play. Mears is still more reliable than Rees but they need to work on their combination in the tight, and think hard about how the Boks are going to play to the ref next time.

    Second Row - simply too light. Hines is aggressibve but not very mobile. Shaw is big and passes well from the tackkle, but is he fit enough for altitude? If not then DOC to replace Jones.

    Kicker - Someone has to take over this duty from Stephen Jones, but who? O'Gara hasnt the breadth of game to start the match, so maybe Hook if fit, but I realy don't want to lose that half-back pairing. Let one of the other backs try their luck?

    So, three changes max, and give the team responsibility for maximising the altitude advantage. And think ard about how much better the Boks will be second time out - tighter and more confident. Above all else, make sure the front five can compete in all aspects of the tight game.

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  • 277. At 12:08pm on 21 Jun 2009, TKCO3031 wrote:

    I've just watched the first test again. This time without burying my head in a cushion or screaming at the tv and I feel a lot more hopeful. I think the Lions are good enough to win the series, but there will have to be a few personnel changes. Top of the list is Vickery. There is no doubt in my mind that Mtawarira's scrumming was illegal and even Jones looked like he had a big struggle to avoid popping up. but he did that sucessfully and must be certain to start the second test. Hopefully Paddy O'Brien will sort this before the next game. I would also start Rees. His lineout,scrumming and breakdown work was a step up from Mears. Shaw for Wyn Jones. More bulk is needed and I didn't think Wyn Jones was anywhere near as busy as POC. Contrary to some opinions here I thought POC work rate was higher than anyone else, he protected every ball in contact, and was better in the lineout including the steal that led to the first try. Willams for Wallace. I thought Wallace had a good game but Williams was more effective when he came on. O'Gara for Jones. Jones kicking was poor today. 2 missed penalties, a critical slice, and any number of kicks straight to Steyn that where all repaid with interest. O'Gara is cooler under pressure and has been the most consistent kicker on tour and he has earned his chance to start. Despite what many are saying here his tackles made stats is better than Jones or Hook. I prefer O'Gara to Hook because his kicking accuracy is better and as Pienaar showed that will be the difference between winning and losing. Lastly I would pick Kearney over Byrne. After Kearney was brought in Steyn got little result and faded out of the game. Kearney's first act was to kick long and into touch, and that came from a Steyn return kick. He was brave and reliable under high balls, taking a beauty over Habana, and he was also looking to break with ball in hand. I think his introduction started the turnaround in Lions fortune. On the Bench I would drop DOC to keep Wyn Jones in the 22, and bring Hook in for Jones to cover the centre. If Lions can secure the set pieces I believe we have the the backs to cut through the Boks all over the field. We should have more belief.

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  • 278. At 12:58pm on 21 Jun 2009, ADobboo wrote:

    I'm afraid I don't understand the criticism of Monye, the two try scoring opportunities weren't thrown away by him, they were prevented by great SA defence. He added pace and physicality to the back three and defended well. And to say that Williams would have scored both of them is ridiculous - he hasn't played well for months. I think there's some people on this blog who wouldn't be happy unless the Lions team was made up of 15 Welshmen.
    If Murray isn't fit for the next one I'd bring in Jones for Vickery. There's a lack of decent Hookers on the tour but I'd bring in Rees just for the extra bulk. If not a starter I'd at least have Shaw on the bench for the same reason.

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  • 279. At 1:11pm on 21 Jun 2009, saferblur wrote:

    What really makes me laugh is that when the Lions were winning all the previous games the ref was fine but now they loose and its all the ref's fault!!!!! hahahahaha
    The Lions were destroyed in the first 50min and thats what won it for the Boks end of!

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  • 280. At 2:29pm on 21 Jun 2009, Uninventivename wrote:

    Some depressing comments on here from people who are obviously keen to put forwards their own country's players (or just to bash players from opposing countries). I didn't think yesterday was too bad, in the end we were probably a bit unfortunate not to win it but it was our own fault I guess. There are very few players that I think DEFINITELY need to be out of the team next week but sadly for him I think Vickery has to be one. Whether it was the ref or not he had a 'mare and can't have much of a chance of starting again next weekend. Mears I'm less sure about, if Jones comes in then he'll have a front-row that's nearer his height but it was his lineouts that were most disappointing, whether that was just jitters or not who knows. I don't think Rees is that much better so it's bit up in the air.

    I also think one of Wallace or Heaslip needs to make way for Williams as it seemed to be like it was our players' techniques that was letting us down at the breakdown rather than their power. While I'm on this I don't know why some people are criticizing Croft for his work at the breakdown, he surpassed my expectations and I thought he was clearing players out very well. To help the clearout we need some beef in second row, I guess Jones has to make way as we can't drop O'Connell and Jones' lineout ability wasn't really used in the first test.

    I thought the backline were, by and large, fine. Obviously Bowe wasn't anywhere near his best, Phillip's service was a bit dodgey and Monye's inexperience was shown up but with Phillips and Monye these were risks that were known before the game and Geech still picked them. Bowe should obviously keep his place, one average game doesn't mean he's average. I thought Jones looked a lot better when we were running the ball more, his distribution was much better than his kicking.

    Team for next week:
    15: Byrne (Kearny if injured)
    14: Bowe
    13: O'Driscoll
    12: Roberts
    11: Monye (Although I'm sure many will disagree)
    10: Jones
    9: Phillips

    1: Jenkins
    2: Mears?/Rees?
    3: Jones
    4: Shaw/Hines
    5: O'Connell
    6: Croft
    7: Williams
    8: Heaslip/Wallace

    I know Monye and even possibly Heaslip may be a bit controversial but I think it's really up to the midweek players to force themselves into the team. Only Vickery was bad enough to be a definite non-starter for next week and Wallace and Jones are neccessary casualties to the breakdown battle. If anyone plays amazingly in midweek they could step up but apart from that I think the team should remain predominantly the same.

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  • 281. At 2:34pm on 21 Jun 2009, Uninventivename wrote:

    What really makes me laugh is that when the Lions were winning all the previous games the ref was fine but now they loose and its all the ref's fault!!!!! hahahahaha
    The Lions were destroyed in the first 50min and thats what won it for the Boks end of!

    Actually if you read over match reports/commentaries/interviews with Geech/analysis from almost all of the warm-up matches you will find comments about the referees and interpretation of the law, especially at the scrum and breakdown. I'm not neccessarily saying the ref lost the Lions the match yesterday, I just think it's untrue to say that the ref has only become a problem now that we've lost when actually there have been many comments about the refereeing in matches we've won comfortably.

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  • 282. At 3:18pm on 21 Jun 2009, arnie_99 wrote:

    Firstly, I'll point out the fact that I'm Welsh, in case anyone wants to accuse me of bias, my view:

    1) I felt Vickery was harshly dealt with in the scrum, but A Jones looked much better when he came on, so it can't just be blamed on the ref. The coaches were poor- if your man is getting murdered in the scrum, and the ref obviously isnt seeing it your way, realise this, and bring him off!

    2) Worried about S Jones radar, a couple of glimmers of hope, but poor kicking, and I hope Hook is fit for the next test, with maybe O gara on the bench if needs be.

    3) Give Mears a chance off the bench next warm up game, I believe he is our best 2, and needs to be given a chance to find form. Like most other Welsh posters, im wary of Rees, but the all Welsh front row looked good, though the Saffers had changed theres too.

    4) Ithought AWJ edged POC today- he made a couple of great hits, and I think that POC was more 'noticeable' because people were looking for him to see what kind of game he would have. In addition, POC is no captain, that game showed it more than ever. Whoever is replaced, Hines should come in.

    5) Play 2 new wingers in the weekday game- hopefully one will play well enough to partner Bowe next test.

    6) M Williams at 7 please!

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  • 283. At 3:46pm on 21 Jun 2009, GrocerJac wrote:

    I would stick with the same backline for the next game unless Byrne is out. Jones' kicking wasn't great, but he handles pressure a lot better than O'Gara, and also the Boks would target O'Gara as he is very weak in defense. Hook will be on the bench to add a bit of flair when the game opens up.

    Agree with most people saying Jones starting tighthead, and maybe Rees, but I'm sceptical about his throwing in under pressure. I realise Vickery had it hard and "the Beast" was tired by the time Jones came on, but Vickery is not renowned as the best scrummager and never has been, and gives away too many penalties. Shame Murray is injured, but Adam Jones to start.

    Alun Wyn Jones wasn't as prominent as usual, but he is a natural leader and is a top player. He is 6'6, 18st 10.


    O'Callaghan is 6'6, 17st 4. Hines is 6'7 and 17st 13. Shaw is 6'8 and 19st 5.

    Alun Wyn Jones is the second heaviest second row behind Shaw, and considering the amount of work he puts in around the park, tackles that Shaw would never make, I'd give another start for AW Jones.

    Would stick with the same back row, Wallaces' ball carrying was good and not sure if Williams is "hard enough" to come up against the likes of Burger (who should be fit), Smith, Spies.
    Croft was good, is NOT WORLD CLASS as some people have been saying. Shame that Ferris and Quinlan were injured as it would have given us more options at blindside. Powell was never good enough to go on tour, has no rugby brain whatsoever, shame that Ryan Jones was overlooked, even though he is naturally a much better no8 than Powell, despite a lack of form.

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  • 284. At 3:59pm on 21 Jun 2009, welshtanman wrote:

    Your comments are not accurate, you have not taken the time to read the blogs thoroughly. Please, before spewing your bile onto this forum do your research.

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  • 285. At 4:04pm on 21 Jun 2009, hoorayhenri wrote:

    #233 primetime 13 has it largely right. Wellies had a poor kicking game, but who else is there to control that 10 channel? Anyone who has watched the 6 nations for the last few years will know all about Phillips at 9 and how he slows down the game. Vickery was hard done by - but where was the captain? Monye isn't quite good enough - yet - a bit green, def. have kearney or fitz there depending on Byrne's fitness. Haven't got the luxury of a replay to determine the back row play, suffice to say the best boys aren't on tour ( Nugget excepted - yurs, I'm a Cymro ). They were there for the taking and the coaching team must carry the can. Why isn't Peel on tour? All the people I know put him as the NO. 1 scrum half in Wales - but Gatland doesn't seem to like him???? One of the big mistakes of the tour!
    Back row selections - the stand out players were without doubt the Irish contingent who fell by the wayside for various reasons - the big disappointment of this tour.
    Mears had a poor game, but he's good and will prob. keep his starting place - ask the coaches about that.As for Shane/Fitzgerald instead of Monye - probably, there wasn't much open space for a straight line runner yesterday, and probably less next Sat.
    Could have pinched it - down to the coaches, not the players....

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  • 286. At 4:24pm on 21 Jun 2009, rightRobbiesKeen wrote:

    timinFreiberg thanks for reminding me of that post from last October on the Presidential election. It had totally slipped my mind. What quite it has to do with rugby and the Lions I am not sure, and what quite you are doing looking up things I said months ago about unrelated subjects I'm not sure, it's quite strange but that's ok. I was right about Obama anyway, and always happy to put the boot into Bush's old lot. You seem to have missed some of the irony, but then you are a wee bit eccentric no?

    Anyhow, I see since the last time that many more people have come on to contribute their thoughts on the game yesterday. The players at fault were Vickey and Monye, certainly, and should lose their places, we are told. You can tell aleady which country's fans are saying this(My own view is Vickery should definitely go, but not Monye - if Ronan O'Gara will be 'cut up' and 'steamrollered' for his 'weak defenece' then what the hell will happen to Shane Williams?) The other players, I have ascertained, who are to blame for yesterday's defeat are: POC for 'lacking leadership', 'too many Irish passengers' in the back row, so Heaslip and Wallace, and Bowe 'not as good as we thought'. Only 'Driscoll seems to escape criticism and the drop. Their replacements, we are told, should definitely be: M Williams, Powell, Shane Williams, aside from the Welsh players Rees and A Jones coming into the front row. Do we know where this is going? I think we have been here before and it's a big joke now. (My own view, for what its worth, Troakie and other automatons - by and large their only need to be Adam Jones in the front row, Shaw/Hines in for Wyn-Jones and possible change at No.10.) Otherwise the team aquitted themsleves well I thought.

    I repeat Troakie that you are an internet hysteric - in love with victimhood - who's spirit and, frankly, brain go against the concept of the Lions. Your diatribe has little to do with the game itself but a kind of self-enforced victimhood where you sem to think I am getting at the Welsh. This masks a bankrupt understanding of the sport itself. You have written so much that I can't possibly reply to all the idiosyncracies, only correct the false and hammer the stupid (a big task), though you seem quite obsessed with some others as seeing yourselves as the victims of something. You say I don't prayise any Welsh players despite my calling - who isn't? - for Adam Jones to come in and describing Roberts with O'Driscoll as the Lions man of the match yesterday (Phillips too is the best option at SH, I've said all this). Puerile. There's no complexity with your rugby-understanding, only facile black and white. Quite pitiful. Fundamentally it comes down to looking at yourselves, and being able to take it if you give it out.

    Test side next week, for what it's worth:

    15. Byrne (Kearey if injured)
    14. Bowe
    13. O'Driscoll
    12. Roberts
    11. Monye
    10. O'Gara (close call with Hook)
    9. Phillips
    8. Heaslip
    7. Wallace
    6. Croft
    5. Shaw
    4. O'Connell
    3. Jenkins
    2. Mears
    1. A Jones

    Bench: Kearney, Fitzgerald, Williams, DOC, Flutey, Rees, Hook, etc.

    6 Irish, 5 Welsh, 4 English, though this is hard on the English players who finished above you in the 6 Nations and had a representative in the Heineken Cup final (remember I am Irish, but am callign this only as I see it and fair). Perhaps humility will one day enter your bones. All in all, roll on next week, though I will coninue to slap down bumptious ignorance where I see it recurring.

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  • 287. At 4:35pm on 21 Jun 2009, powerRugbyG wrote:

    rightRobbiesKeen, really had enough of this. I really enjoy reading and contributing to these blogs, and this pathetic bickering is childish and completely against the spirit of the Lions.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and do you know something, its really hard to not be a bit biased towards the players from your own country, and thats ok too!

    Lets have some interesting fun debate on rugby, and stop going at each other!

    Most of all, COME ON THE LIONS, this tour is only really just getting started!!

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  • 288. At 4:37pm on 21 Jun 2009, hoorayhenri wrote:

    @ rightRobbiesKeen

    Come on,you have to be joking. You can't leave Monye in - and the same back row? The lack of ball carriers in the Lions pack is the big problem - Jamie Roberts does more than most of them. The selectors got it wrong - the only problem was a poor th and a captain who couldn't make his point. ( p.s. Gethin Jenkins is a loose head, Austin & Bryn Palmer...) The tactics were wrong - too many nonsens drives to the touchline and back again - no variation - does my head in, but that's Gatland's way of working. Too rigid in tactics by far, I could go on but it's taken me 10 goes to find the comma on the keyboard - lie down called for......

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  • 289. At 4:48pm on 21 Jun 2009, rightRobbiesKeen wrote:

    See above welshtanman, AJtheGog and other drones, indeed see all my comments and actually read them and take them in. It'll help you.

    Worth mentioning that aside from the other posiives from yesterday that the breakdown was meant to be a point of contention for Lions, and though the forwards gave penalties away, these were for other offences by and large in and around the scrum. The Lions actually did quite well at the breakdown yesterday where they were meant to struggle. All the pack and in particular the much-maligned back-row all kept SA's big-hitters nullified and competed well. It's not mentioned, only who should be IMMEDIAELY DROPPED for Williams and so-on. But we know where that comes from and it's already being slapped down.

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  • 290. At 5:04pm on 21 Jun 2009, rightRobbiesKeen wrote:

    hoorayhenri - I agree entirely about the dearth of quality and ineptitude of Gatland's tactics, as well as all his bombastic pre-match talk which saw him flat on his face last March. It is quite obvious the Lions will not beat the Boks at their own game, and that the backs must see more of the ball. (They do however need a functioning line-out scrum to secure them this ball, and Rees won't provide this anymore than Mears).

    What I am saying about Monye - and remember I am Irish, not English - is that Shane Williams will not be able to cope in any conceivable way with the pysical challenge of this SA side. Monye's not perfect, absolutely. He has sloppy hands and is not a nailed-on finisher, but he has qualities that don't dissipate because of one average game. Fitzgrald/Kearney an opion but I'd stick with Monye for next week. What I'm saying is - we can't be told that we can't have O'Gara at No.10 because he'd be 'flattened' because of his 'defence' and 'slight physique', but that we must have Williams instead. It's double standards. There are no questions about Bowe on this regard either; he's a strong guy and tends to win collisions.

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  • 291. At 5:10pm on 21 Jun 2009, Ruck_Maker wrote:

    Re: 286. rightRobbiesKeen:

    Monye's defence has been highlighted as suspect several times on tour, and the Saffers will look for him with kicks, as they did for their first try. This, more than failing to score, is why I think Kearney or Fitzgerald must come in ahead of him.

    Mears/Rees is a tight call. I'd say Rees to start, maybe Mears will do better running at tired players?

    Wallace/Williams. I think the plan worked. The SA backrow was kept quiet, and the 10 channel was protected. (Which is why people thought Heaslip & Wallace were 'quiet'.) Then Martyn came on to run against tired Saffers, with no Brossouw. Maybe this time we try it the other way, Williams to start and be a nuisance, and Wallace to come on and make his trademark drives against the worn-out Boks?

    I think bringing in Shaw or Hines is sacrificing too much mobility. I'd stick with POC/DOC/AWJ and Croft. Maybe bring DOC in to jump front of line-out and put some manners on Bakkies Botha.

    Oh, and while Jones and Jenkins CAN swap sides, I'd say that Jones will play Tight and Jenkins Loose. ;)

    (Looking at latest injury reports, with Bryne, Sheridan & Hook all dubious, bench will depend on how midweek game goes. Tim Payne been called up to cover Loosehead.)

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  • 292. At 5:21pm on 21 Jun 2009, Pianoshifter wrote:

    Hey ho, are we all done now?

    One good thing I see in all this is the huge passion for BIL - just need to direct in in the right place (ie Boks) rather than at each other.

    We run the danger of picking a team to win the Test we just lost - need to think about a) impact of altitude and b) how the Boks are going to respond, especially to our centre pairing. Expect it to be much tighter and considerably more violent.

    The front five are clearly the major problem. How to balance class and form, pace and strength. The truth is the squad is just not quite strong enough to provide too many alternatives, and there is a lot to be said for making the current pick take responsibility for putting it right. This is a one-off short tour, there are no long-term implications, so playing fast and loose with selection makes little sense unless you believe the perfomance was so poor that anyone else could hardly do worse. I am not convinced by that. But Vickery would be too much of a risk, and somehow they have got to find some more power. The omens are not good.

    No point in re-selecting the squad either at this point! As an Anglo and a Wasps fan it has been interesting seeing the price paid for having Geech and Edwards preoccupied with BLI/Wales all season. It has been pretty clear too that Vicks has been running on a near-empty tank for some time, and it was sad to see him run dry yesterday.Fantastic player, but it didn't work out this time (the last time?).

    Shaw might be worth a run (at least on the bench) but he also gives away silly penalties, though moves the ball well and does a lot of grunt work. Worsley I don't think has the pace or stamina for a game at altitude. M Williams has to start (but only if Croft stays in with Shaw to balance the line-out).

    The boot will be important - a reason to have Kearney on the wing? I don't agree with all the criticism of Monye but I am not sure if he will be the best choice. If Kearney has to play full-back then I would keep Ugo. Shane looks too chaotic at the moment - like Hook would be a dangerous pick for a critical match. Control is going to be all-important. ROG just doesn't have the power to survive the battering that the Boks will try to give to the BLI back line next time out.

    You can't drop the captain after one OK performance - you might as well catch the 'plane home.

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  • 293. At 5:59pm on 21 Jun 2009, hoorayhenri wrote:

    @ Ruck_Maker

    Jenkins is the only one I've seen swap sides, never seen Jones play loose head. HTH.
    P.S. You are Simon Austin and I claim my ticket for the 2nd test.

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  • 294. At 6:02pm on 21 Jun 2009, Gwyrangon wrote:

    Will Schalk Burger play in the Second Test? I ask because I think the guy is phenomenal, a force of nature. There are few forwards around who can win games in the way great backs can, but Burger is one of them.
    If he plays what will be the Lions' reaction? It's almost impossible to outmuscle him yet he's fast as well. One answer must be to get the ball away quick, which brings us to the problem of Phillips. Probably the best 9 we've got, but oh so slow.
    Then again, Burger not might be match fit, or fit at all. Fingers crossed!

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  • 295. At 6:05pm on 21 Jun 2009, hoorayhenri wrote:

    I see my comment at post no. 134 is still banned. All I did was call into question the credentials of the journos on this blog who could say that Gethin Jenkins played tight head in this test. Is that too much to ask of the BBC? Or are they merely on a yops scheme?

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  • 296. At 6:06pm on 21 Jun 2009, Ian wrote:

    Phillips must be one of the worst scrum half's I have ever seen. He took his try well admittedly, but why does he need to pick the ball out from the base of the ruck and then take two paces in the direction he is about to pass it, before passing it. Basically he tells the defence which way the ball is going and gives them time to take a couple of steps themselves to close the gap and put real pressure on the fly-half and rest of the backline.
    Also while I think Phil Vickery was poor and should lose his place, it is possible that the scrum being much stronger in the second half is more because the ref had been talked to at half time, rather than Vickers replacement by Jones

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  • 297. At 6:08pm on 21 Jun 2009, hoorayhenri wrote:

    " Or are they merely on a yops scheme? "

    Sorry, I meant "work experience". The world move on, showing my age....etc.
    Pishpoor journalism, nonetheless....

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  • 298. At 6:28pm on 21 Jun 2009, hoorayhenri wrote:

    If this is the first time you've been aware of Phillip's deficencies at 9 then you haven't watched much 6 nations rugby. Most Welsh fans would put Phillips at no.2 at best behind Peel and some at 3 behind Cooper. Certainly Peel should be no.1 #9 on this tour - why not ? - ask Gatland. ( Yes I'm a Cymro )

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  • 299. At 6:29pm on 21 Jun 2009, The_Hadster wrote:

    Gents, there appears to be a strong sense of individuals' national pride getting the better of them in terms of their comments. I will endeavour to put my comments forward in terms of the English players from a completely neutral point of view:

    Vickery debate - Phil has been my favourite player of all time. Unfortunately though, it must be said that he came up short yesterday. I dont think he should play either of the next two tests as I just dont think he can cut it at that level anymore. However, I dont think John Hayes is the answer as I regard that as a like for like replacement for Vickery who we have already established is not good enough. Start with Jenkins and Jones and Sheridan on bench to rough them up in the last quarter.

    Mears Vs Rees - I think there is a danger of writing a player off in terms of one bad game or in terms of not being able to cut it at that level. Mears is the best we have as hooker and I anticipate that he will get a 7 + on his next rating. Stick with him and that is no disrespect to Ford or Rees who I reckon are both good players.

    Croft debate - I think it depends what we want as a team. A flanker who will fundamentally score tries or a flanker who will primarily stop tries. If the former then Croft is the man, if the latter then Williams is the man.

    Monye debate - Shane Williams should start the next test regardless. He is far too good and has proven that he can ignite the biggest stages. We need him to play.

    I just want to say how proud I was on Saturday with the way we came back to front up to the Boks. BOD and Roberts were particularly awesome and I think POC has a big game in his tank and will come away from this test series as a great captain. Lets stop all these digs at each others countries. At the end of the day, Ian knows what he is doing and has chosen the team he thinks will win it. End of. Bring on next Saturday!

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  • 300. At 6:43pm on 21 Jun 2009, Tomspurs2009 wrote:

    Tom Croft 8!!!??? yes, he may have taken his 2 trys well but his workrate around the park was not as good as some people are saying, and when he gets to the breakdown he does very little. He's just not robust enough. We need a number 6 who can actually physically challenge the likes of Spies and Smith. Had Wallace and Williams both started we would've seen a lot more of the ball in the first half.

    As for Monye, he had a complete shocker. He looked clueless when defending deep and his positioning on the end of Steyn's kicks downfield was dreadful. He's also shown that he hasn't got what it takes to compete at the highest level. I think both shane williams and Luke Fitzgerald would have both finished off Monye's opportunities. I will be extremely surprised if he makes another appearence on this tour. Other than Monye, I think the rest of the backline (including Kearney) all had good games, and Jamie Roberts was immense.

    Mears is another player who has been exposed to be 'just a good club player' and showed that he lacked the physical presence and nerve that is needed in these type of games. And Vickery was shown up in the scrum, but i think he is stil worthy of a place on the bench on saturday as he could prove a good impact sub.

    I was also very disappointed with Heaslip's performance which was non-existent until the last 15 minutes. I think that Andy Powell should be given a chance, as he will not be worried one bit about getting stuck into the springboks' back row.

    This should be the team for next week:
    1.Jenkins, 2.Rees, 3.Jones, 4,AW Jones, 5.O'Connell, 6.Wallace, 7.Williams, 8.Powell, 9.Phillips, 10.Jones, 11.S Williams, 12.Roberts, 13.O'Driscoll, 14.Bowe, 15.Byrne

    16.Ford, 17.Vickery, 18.Shaw, 19.Worsley, 20.Ellis, 21.Hook, 22.Kearney

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  • 301. At 6:59pm on 21 Jun 2009, hoorayhenri wrote:

    Going totally off the thread for the moment, just watched the game again in ff, I suddenly realised that the guy who came in to rip the ball off Monye (the first time) was off his feet whilst doing it. Anybody up on the laws can give us the definitive answer on this one?

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  • 302. At 7:12pm on 21 Jun 2009, killermctiger wrote:

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  • 303. At 7:15pm on 21 Jun 2009, killermctiger wrote:

    Vickery has not been up to it for some time and has been much the worst scrummaging propr on this tour. Jones must start the next game.

    I also don't think O'Connell is playing like a captain...

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  • 304. At 8:12pm on 21 Jun 2009, Dei1984 wrote:

    When have you ever seen Adam Jones play at loose head??? He neva has my friend, think that a comment like that shows that you dont know what your talking about!, ive seen the game again and these are my ratings and mt team for the second test

    1.Jenkins 6 16.Rees 5
    2.Mears 5 17.Jones 6
    3.Vickery 3 18.DOC 6
    4.AWJ 6 19.Willams 6
    5.POC 6 20.n/a
    6.Croft 7 21.n/a
    7.Wallace 6 22.Kearney 6
    8.Heaslip 6
    9.Phillips 7
    10.Jones 5
    11.Monye 5
    12.Roberts 8
    13.BOD 7
    14.Bowe 6

    2nd Test Team

    15.Byrne/Kearney not sure about that one


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  • 305. At 8:38pm on 21 Jun 2009, hoorayhenri wrote:

    " colleague Bryn Palmer agrees with some of you that I was harsh on the prop. He says the tighthead was very good in the loose and made some great tackles."

    Perhaps the above piece of shining journalism confused ruckmaker - whatever.
    Perhaps they meant the looshead was very good in the tight (true), who knows?

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  • 306. At 8:58pm on 21 Jun 2009, ADobboo wrote:


    Are you serious? After watching that game you'd drop Croft and bring in Powell? Croft made some important tackles and didn't disgrace himself at the breakdown. In fact the breakdown wasn't the problem at all, the set pieces were the issue.

    Powell is a one trick pony, he's played better on this tour than I expected but he won't get very far running at Burger & Co. He can't even get into the Cardiff team.

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  • 307. At 9:29pm on 21 Jun 2009, Steve wrote:

    ADobboo - I agree with you on not changing Croft for Powell, but you're wrong about him not coping with the SA back row, he demolished them in the autumn internationals. Has not been good this tour though.

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  • 308. At 9:30pm on 21 Jun 2009, drufboy wrote:

    Unfair re Vickery. The Beast just drove in sideways and the ref gave him no protection

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  • 309. At 9:57pm on 21 Jun 2009, jl08crh wrote:

    applemask - for an international winger to have the ball knocked out of your hand over the line is a disgrace

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  • 310. At 10:32pm on 21 Jun 2009, Simon Austin wrote:

    Gethin is of course a loosehead

    Forgive me that sloppiness in #66...

    Keep the comments coming though. Ratings are subjective and I'm willing to take criticism on the chin...

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  • 311. At 10:33pm on 21 Jun 2009, tinyrugbynerd wrote:

    Lots of differing opionions on this game...

    Obviously some of us looking through some irish/english and welsh eyes....

    The facts:

    We do moan about the ref over here a hell of a lot.. the truth is we only have ourselves to blame...

    Consider any these moments that could have won the game..

    Jones kicking the 2nd penalty in the first half... meaning the penalty that he kicked to the corner with minutes to go could have been for the match....

    Either of Ugo's chances (and by the way... they were both excellent play by the Boks defence, De Villiers was unbelievable to get his hand under the first one and Morne Steyn with an awsome hit on the second)

    Philips not dropping it on the line

    But ultimately.... if the south africans were not so arrogant to take off some of their best players with an amazing 20minutes to play, it could have been a lot worse...

    Ratings wise i think they are pretty fair...

    Vickery was out-thought by the beast, and will probably have played his last game... hayes is not the solution, i think most of our props would have struggled in the first half.. beast was tired in the 2nd but the welsh boys did a good job..

    Jamie Roberts is a sensation and so was Crofty.... but lots of boys not performing...

    Philips too slow a delivery from the back, but always a threat.....
    Heaslip yet to perform or even turn up....
    Wallace not convincing....


    Powell on the bench
    Welsh front row to start
    Williams over Wallace
    Kearney over Byrne
    Worsley or Shaw to make some hits from the bench

    And this talk about Shane Williams... please.. although he may well have finished ugo's 2nd attempt ... frankly, hasnt been playing well all year HENCE why he didnt start... Ugo has played well up to that game... in defence he is solid and will win you penalties..

    And to whoever is in charge of next weeks 2nd Test...

    please, please, please look at your scrummaging manual before you ref the game

    he he

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  • 312. At 10:44pm on 21 Jun 2009, numberwanpurened wrote:

    Glad to see Graham Rowntree saying changes are needed. I just hope he keeps quite this time about what they will be and does not give the Boks another advantage by 'announcing' his selections to Sky TV. Graham dont pick your mates again. Look at the form players with guts. Its got to be Hines. We are going to need his kind of attitiude.

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  • 313. At 10:50pm on 21 Jun 2009, tinyrugbynerd wrote:


    its a tough call on the phillips try

    in real time its a no brainer but you my have a shout in the replay...

    maybe if it had been a green shirt...?... ....

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  • 314. At 11:10pm on 21 Jun 2009, DrQuarn wrote:

    No real complaints with the ratings except I don't see how you can blame AWJ for not Supporting Vickery in the scrum - POC was behind him... And 5 for GJ is actually rubbish, once vickery was gone, there was real parity in the scrum.

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  • 315. At 11:24pm on 21 Jun 2009, SuperGedwards9 wrote:


    "I agree entirely about the dearth of quality and ineptitude of Gatland's tactics, as well as all his bombastic pre-match talk which saw him flat on his face last March."

    This shows an extremely limited understanding of the game and what happened.
    Gatland simply said:

    ''Probably, out of all the teams in the Six Nations, the Welsh players dislike the Irish the most,''

    The really bad record against Ireland would obviously make this a straight forward fact. Wales hate playing Ireland because they ly all over the ball and slow it down, they are past masters of this art and if you get a ref who doesn't enforce the breakdown against them they destroy the Welsh game as it is based on quick ball to the backs. It is a fact that Ireland are our bogey team due to this reason. Gatland stated the obvious, it was in an interview with an Irish Newspaper and was in the context of their past experinces of defeat. But hey, it was a massive game coming up so the press then said "Welsh Players dislike Irish Players!" I laughed at the time, the thing snowballed, Gatland would have looked like a fool if he'd come out and said "oh, actually I meant this" and he may as well have made some impact from it. The Irish management said "not interested in this sillyness from the press" players were directly asked about this and they all said "no, we don't dislike each other" and then people with miniscule brains started saying "ooh, Gatland doesn't understand what he's on about".
    I mean honestly, dear dear....

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  • 316. At 11:29pm on 21 Jun 2009, Saffavescent wrote:

    Enjoyed reading the first 300 comments, of which 220 blamed the defeat on the ref, 54 blamed all things English, and 5 or 6 gave some credit to the Boks for their performance in the first 60 minutes.

    Well done to the likes of Pienaar, playing his first game in a while, and the Beast and John Smit who had been derided as weak scrummagers.

    Looking forward to next week and hope the Boks have got the rust out of their system. Lets have a clinical performance to go with the power. Jacques Fourie to start.

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  • 317. At 11:30pm on 21 Jun 2009, 919smallers wrote:


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  • 318. At 11:34pm on 21 Jun 2009, CardiffBoyy13458 wrote:

    Vickery has to be changed for Adam Jones because of the scrums , i also think hes slightly better around the field than Vicks. Im not entirely sure wether Rees should come in for Mears , Mears' throwing wasnt the best and the scrummaging was poor when he was on. But all tour hes been solid while Matthew Rees has been on bad form. A.W Jones should keep his place in the 2nd row and Shaw or Hines should come in for O'Connel. Williams should replace Wallace at 7.Heaslip was annonymous yesterday but you cannot blame his perfomance on the scrum going backwards in the first half because he had the 2nd to play better when it was on the front foot and he didnt?. Stephen Jones didnt have his best game and if Hook is fit then he should start because he had a flair that O'Gara and Jones doesnt have. He's also a strong tackler and that is O'Gara's weak point. Monye ruined his chances and Fitzgerald should start as he was sharp on the wing when he started there before. Still think Shane Williams would be very ineffective against the Boks as he's having a bad spell but i think a try would boost his confidence immensely and then he would start to reach his form again.

    My Team For 2nd Test:
    2.Mears ( If he can sort his throw out)
    8.Powell ( Give him his chance against the Boks)
    10.Hook ( if fit)
    15.Byrne ( if fit )

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  • 319. At 11:40pm on 21 Jun 2009, SuperGedwards9 wrote:

    drufboy wrote:
    Unfair re Vickery. The Beast just drove in sideways and the ref gave him no protection

    This is exactly what Sherridan did to Baxter, drove in and got a push on early, watch the game again, big fat meat heads cannot scrum against better technique since the level and straight driving laws came in.
    That's why A Jones sent him to hell in the six nations.

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  • 320. At 00:02am on 22 Jun 2009, gentlemannorbert wrote:



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  • 321. At 00:31am on 22 Jun 2009, SuperGedwards9 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 322. At 02:23am on 22 Jun 2009, Ruck_Maker wrote:

    @ hoorayhenri:

    My comment "Oh, and while Jones and Jenkins CAN swap sides, I'd say that Jones will play Tight and Jenkins Loose. ;)" was referring to the line-up I was commenting on, which had listed Jones at 1 and Jenkins at 3.

    I believe Graham Rowntree recently mentioned that Adam Jones could switch to loosehead in the event of injury, and I believe he did just that in a Magners League game in Musgrave Park a couple of years ago.
    (Perhaps I am mistaken.)

    My comment, however, was clearly stating that Adam Jones is in fact a tighthead and Jenkins a loosehead, not sure how it could be interpreted otherwise.

    @ Dei1984

    You say "think that a comment like that shows that you dont know what your talking about!"

    So you think that Adam Jones has never played loosehead. That he can't play loosehead. That it is impossible.

    Well Dei, clearly one of us doesn't know what he is talking about. As I see you would like James Hook and Shane Williams to start the next Test at 10 and 11, I am pretty sure that the one who doesn't know what he is talking about is you. Haven't we spoken before about the need to be objective?

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  • 323. At 05:25am on 22 Jun 2009, hkrugbyfan wrote:

    Not harsh on vickery at all. He got stuffed out of sight , and anyone who has played in the front 5 before, at any level, will agree with this. The look on his face after he was brought off was the look of a man who's intl career is over. I am a massive fan of vickery, i even played with him several times during england U16 & U18 trials back in the 90s, but he should not have even made the plane to travel . He is finished. To beat the bocks you need your fron 5 firing, and they werent. Drop mears, drop vikery, bring in simon shaw and martin williams, make it an all welsh fron row (im english btw) , keep the backs the same and we will win the 2nd test. The bocks dont like it in their face.

    bring on the 2nd test !

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  • 324. At 05:31am on 22 Jun 2009, Cork_Lion wrote:

    For those saying POC should be dropped, did you see Wyn Jone even on the pitch? How many lineouts, tackles or breaks did he make? Granted POC didnt have the best game but he was far better than Wyn Jones.PS Matfield( the best 2nd row in the world did nothing).
    Not 1 person has critised S Jones. He missed 2 easy kicks, his kicking from hand was poor and his line breaks were 2 yard gains.all he did was pass the buck to Roberts or BOC with a 2 yard pass.
    Kearney getting a rating of 6 was a bit of a joke as well. I'm a huge fan of Byrne but the guy did nothing when he was on compared to Kearney( Would still start Byrne at FB next week if he is fit but would start Kearney instead of Monye).
    Singing Crofts praises as well was a bit much.OK the guy did score 2 tries but they were laid on a plate for him by BOD.

    My ratings: Byrne6, Monye5, Bowe6, Roberts9,BOD8,Jones5,Phillips7,Heaslip5,Wallace6,Croft6,WJones4,POC5,Vicks3,Jenkins5(Despite what the Welsh think)

    Team for next week:
    11- Kearney
    12 -Roberts
    13 -BOD
    10- ROG
    9 - Phillips
    8 - Heaslip
    7 - Williams
    6 - Wallace
    5 - POC
    4 - Hines
    3 - Jones
    2 - Rees
    1 - Jenkins

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  • 325. At 07:04am on 22 Jun 2009, Segnes wrote:

    Saffavescent: I liked your witty comment, "Enjoyed reading the first 300 comments, of which 220 blamed the defeat on the ref, 54 blamed all things English, and 5 or 6 gave some credit to the Boks for their performance in the first 60 minutes." However, I'd like to set the record straight. Accepting that your numbers are, shall we say, notional, I'd like to observe that by my count many more posts blamed Vickery than blamed the ref., which is comforting, and I suggest that even more should have blamed Mears at least alongside Vickery, which troubles me. Mears got completely murdered in the scrummage by the best scrummaging hooker in the world, in my opinion: du Plessis. However, I suppose not many folk know what goes on in there, and none of the posts blamed the ref. for not protecting Mears.

    While I do think some refereeing decisions went marginally against the Lions, they don't relate to the scrummages. It's not even relevant to point out that it was as a result of du Plessis's and Mtawarira's ministrations, and Mears's complete inability to do anything about it, that Vickery couldn't keep his backside in and present his lock with some sort of platform, and that Vickery had little enough say about what was being done to his person, let alone wilfully boring. The fact is that the referee was quite consistent in penalising the retreating team. Vickery and Mears would have dropped the scrummage if they could, I'm sure, and the penalties would have gone the same way.

    Sure there are people who insist that it's the ref.'s job to protect the weak, and that any sign of a front row in trouble is evidence of illegal tactics on the part of the opposition, sanctioned by the referee, and while your count of 220 in 300 may be justifiable as a rebuke of such wallies, let's just keep it on record that they aren't in anything like the majority you humorously claim.

    As to not giving credit to the South African effort, you don't see any posts claiming that Vickery and Mears were shoving their own heads between their knees and modelling their own backs into three-dimensional chicane courses, do you? So here it is for the record: South Africa fashioned a win on the remarkable dominance achieved in the first half by a front row which, du Plessis excepted, isn't world-class. When that dominance was checked, it looked a lot as if they might contrive to blow it.

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  • 326. At 07:58am on 22 Jun 2009, bowlhead1984 wrote:

    The problem with Stephen Jones is when there is an easy kick he let's his concentration wonder whereas if he has a difficult kick or judgement to make he executes really well. I would start with Jones over RO'G in the second test. RO'G gets battered all over the pitch and he will be a target to the 'boks if he starts.
    Of course I would pick James Hook but many people will disagree!
    Shane Williams would have finished one of Monye's two chances, no matter what form he is in. Also the 'Boks are scared of Williams after Wales' tour last summer and they will have two guys marking him.
    However, after the perforamnce in the second half of the forwards I do believe we will win the next test. I think our backs are better then theirs and a lot fitter. It would be nice to have the last test as the decider for the series. Should make for good viewing!
    Here's my second test starting line up (you might think I'm slightly patriotic!)
    Bowe/Byrne (or Kearney fitness pending)/S.Williams

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  • 327. At 08:56am on 22 Jun 2009, iamallknowing wrote:

    Alun Wyn Jones was on the left side of the scrum - ie between Mears(Rees) and Jenkins.

    How have you put him to blame for Vickery?

    I wish some bloggers would really look at it before they try to point a finger of blame!!!

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  • 328. At 09:53am on 22 Jun 2009, Pershorian wrote:

    I get fed up that whenever it is suggested that the changes to be made should involve some Welsh players, you get loads of people complaining about the inevitable Welsh bias. Not at all. Of the squad available the suggestions that have been made are sensible man for man changes and not just the Welsh trying to get a Welsh XV on the field. The Welsh have played the Springboks a few times recently and have no real fear of them, in fact they will be frustared not to have beaten them over there last year. Same goes for the Irish, and should be for the Scots, although there are too few of them there to make a diference. A Jones for Vickery, Rees for Mears, Williams for Monye, and Willimas for Wallace are, I am afraid, probably the best options. However you could argue for ROG over Jones (though Hook is also an option), Hines for /AW Jones. Also an argument exists for Kearney on the wing. Other than that I think that the Welsh guys on the whole performed (Gethin Jenkins was far better than a 5). Let's not go for the whole 'the Welsh are biased' argument becasue it is boring. The best players for each position should play, regardless of where they come from.

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  • 329. At 09:54am on 22 Jun 2009, Mark wrote:

    'sgoldswo' To me this is the most accurate and fair reflection of the game I have read.
    To add my own points I have to say as an Englishman I have empathy for Phil Vickery, great servant for English rugby, true warrior but I feel past his best some time ago, selection I am afraid miffed me?
    The best full back in the 6 nations and the man the game was crying out for was...left at home! Delon Armitage should have been on that playing field his exclusion from the tour I find staggering?
    The ref, I know SH fans will say we poms moan all the time, but fact is the SH ref's referee the game differently to NH refs, and generically seem to favour SH sides.
    England WC final 2003 was a classic example as was NZ V Lions with the infamous 'spear tackle' on BOD, I cannot fathom how rugby seems to have one set of rules for one and another for others it makes a mockery of the sport IMO?
    The coaches, the Lions coaches have to get the lowest mark, poorly thought out team for 1st test and the fact Armitage is not on the trip I will give them a 1 for turning up.
    Lets hope for some beef up front for next test, all Welsh FR, and give Williams a go on the wing, he might find some spark and I believe risks need to be taken now.

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  • 330. At 10:12am on 22 Jun 2009, bonymaen11 wrote:

    Yet again a BBC Sport Writer gets something factually incorrect.

    As has been pointed out previously AWJ packed down behind Melon and Mears at scrum time, POC packed down behind Mears and Vickery. How can AWJ's perceived lack of weight possibly affect Vickerys scrummaging. Admittedly the 8 need to function as one unit but if a prop is being out played technically then extra weight isn't going to help. The Beast got the better of Vickery purely on body angles (legal or not).

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  • 331. At 10:30am on 22 Jun 2009, ADobboo wrote:

    Some of these blogs are just the product of rampant patriotism bordering on the ridiculous. If anyone really thinks Williams would have been better than Monye on that game theyve not watched any Rugby in the last year. Williams was one of the best players in the world but hes well short of that now. Picking him would be on par with picking Vickery, they were both world class but have had their day. One the reasons we got hammered so badly in NZ four years ago was that we picked players on reputation instead of form.

    The anti-Croft blogs are the same, he seems to be taking flack just because of his nationality. if youre going to blame anyone for performing badly in the Lions back row I would suggest it shouldnt be him. Both Wallace and Heaslip had forgettable games and yet people think Croft is the one who should make way for Williams?

    The real problem is that the Lions arent good enough - the Saffas are stronger in most areas of the team. If you were to pick a combined 15 from the two squads youd be looking at BOD and Roberts (though it would be hard on de Villiers), and maybe Jenkins form the Lions squad. The rest would be made up of South Africans.

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  • 332. At 10:49am on 22 Jun 2009, orkrugby wrote:

    The Lions management said they picked the team on form, but the main problem is how form is determined. The media is completely English dominated, given the population advantage, and the English media would have us believe that Vickery, Monye and Croft were the form players.

    Croft had his chance to cement his place on tour in the Heineken Cup and had an appalling game but was still given pass marks in the English press.

    I do have some sympathy for Mears as he did play well in the friendlies but the huge increase in physicality at test level looks like it is too much for him.

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  • 333. At 11:00am on 22 Jun 2009, Malachy28 wrote:

    Big factor for me was the pace of the game. However, lions seemed to slow things down too much and pace was not existant for most of the first 60 mins. Choice of players/tactics an obvious reason.

    Front Row - Welsh front row seems to be the way forward. Sheridan is not good enough around the field IMO.

    Second Row - Paul O'Connell may be a good player on his day but so far on the tour has shown no real leadership qualities and in my opinion has played poorly. No pace when taking the ball up and often gets targeted by defenders because of this. He is worthy of his place in the squad but dont think he is a worthy captain or test starter. Hines/DOC?

    Backrow - Again, too slow to the breakdown. Tom Croft was good in his support play but not very effective at the breakdown (although I may need to see game again). Heaslip is not quick enough and goes missing. Wallace is not good quick enough at securing ball without quick backrow around him. Martin Williams needs to start to up the pace and improve breakdown area. A Powell maybe? Although not had the best tour he layed well in autumn tests.

    Half backs - Mike Phillips needs to stop running with the ball before he passes, this just gives defence time to target runners. Steven Jones had a poor game by his standards but think he will come good. Strength in an important factor in choice of 10. ROG would have a nighmare IMO. Hook though brings options and pace (possible replacement after half time)

    Centres - On that performance and rest of the series, Jamie Roberts may well be the best 12 in world rugby at the moment and his potential is unbeleivable. BOD very clever and certain started but thing he kicked possesion away too much.

    Back 3 - Byrne has been best full back around recently but seemed quiet on sat, not his best game. O'Kearney did well. Got to be Byrne to start if fit though. Bowe did not have much ball but has been in form. Monye proved very poor at finishing. Although not a big fan, based on his strength and previous games thought he would be better option. Maybe Shane will be able to do offer some unpredicatability. He is also good at picking the pace up when he comes in field and acts as playmaker.

    Bench - Lacked options. Need some flare on the Bench. Andy Powell is a must if not starter, same with Shane. Flutey/D'Arcy/Hook all able to offer something different too.

    A few changes, faster distribution from the ruck and more direction tactically and I think we will come away with a win. However, if we give away as many penalties again, SA will just play the terriotory game and keep the score board ticking over!

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  • 334. At 11:11am on 22 Jun 2009, BucksWelsh wrote:

    Got a gut feeling that we are about to be given a shock when the 2nd. test selection comes along. If Hines, Shaw and Powell do well on Tuesday, wouldn't be at all surprised if all of them start or bench. That could mean dropping POC and starting with a combination of two from either Shaw, Hines and AWJ, with one on the bench. Hook (if OK) might well start too as he is an attacking option that could make an already v. good backline even more effective. Very sad to see the demise of Vickery, he always gives his best but unfortunately not good enough at this stage of his career, so doubt if he will feature in the tests again.
    Would expect - well it is a MUST really - the pack to be beefed up and look something like:
    Jenkins, Rees, A. Jones, Shaw/Hines or Shaw/AWJ or AWJ/Hines, Williams/Wallace, Powell, Croft.
    The backline:
    Phillips, Hook, Roberts, BOD (CAPT.), Bowe (still the best wing in my mind), Moyne (but Fitz if he plays well Tuesday), Kearney.

    Note Kearney at full back - he looked as solid as a rock on Saturday. Byrne seems to have a long-standing foot problem and might not be 100% but would have only made the bench in my team even if he was 100%.
    Either Wallace or Williams on the bench to start. Heaslip on the bench because I thought he was a little bit over-awed by the occasion on Sat. and Powell will bring some much needed power to proceedings.

    It's do or die now, and I'm sure the selection will reflect that. They will have to beef up the pack. I don't think the lineout should be such an important consideration because no matter who we put in we will not be able to win that particular battle. But by competing in other areas the superior fitness/conditioning of the Lions will pay dividends earlier in the 2nd. test and thus enable them to go on and win.

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  • 335. At 11:21am on 22 Jun 2009, foxtrot_charlie wrote:

    from the lions perspective, how embarassing the south african rolling maul was... i don't think i could take seeing that again next week.

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  • 336. At 11:31am on 22 Jun 2009, Mark wrote:

    'The backline:
    Phillips, Hook, Roberts, BOD (CAPT.), Bowe (still the best wing in my mind), Moyne (but Fitz if he plays well Tuesday), Kearney.

    Note Kearney at full back - he looked as solid as a rock on Saturday. Byrne seems to have a long-standing foot problem and might not be 100% but would have only made the bench in my team even if he was 100%.
    Either Wallace or Williams on the bench to start. Heaslip on the bench because I thought he was a little bit over-awed by the occasion on Sat. and Powell will bring some much needed power to proceedings.'

    I agree but I am not sure of Moyne on the wing (is Williams really that of the pace at the moment) maybe Fitz after all then?
    I must admit I like Hook (accept when he plays well against England :)) I would deffo have him in for Jones if fit he's looked class on this tour and damned frustrating to have him injured for the 1st test IMO.

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  • 337. At 11:37am on 22 Jun 2009, paceywinger wrote:

    First of all i feel the Welsh are being very biased towards all other squad members. They are speaking as though 1 - 15 should be Welsh.... I really think its time to wake up and smell the coffee....
    Lee Byrne: Before he was taking off offered very little to the attack, His fielding of high balls and territory kicking from hand was very poor. I feel Kearney offered more when he came on before hand.
    Bowe: Was not giving the ball no couldn't give the same treat as he had in the previous games.
    BOD: What can you say, World Class... Hand two tries on a plate for Croft.
    Roberts: Also Class, Great partnership with BOD
    Monye: Not at the races at all. Proved that he should not have started, No defensiveness skills whats so ever, all he knows what to do is run forward, Kearney/Fitzgerald would offer so much more
    S Jones: Very poor, Both goal kicking and kicking from hand was so below par. Missed two very kickable penalties that would have giving lions the win. O'Gara need to start next week.
    Philips: Delivery was very slow, Pack did not help, Best of a bad bunch here. Just wish Tomas O'Leary wasn't injured
    Vickery: Very poor, Cost team 12 points, Change should have being made after 20 minutes, Jones offered so much more and scrum was much better after his arrival
    Mears: Also very poor, Lion out ball was less than average, Gave his jumpers no chance
    Genkins: Wasn't helped by hi front row partners, Stick with him
    A W Jones: Wasn't the same promising player, Approach to the ruck/Maul was slow and lion out was poor, O'Callaghan has to get chance
    O'Connell: Didn't have his most powerful game, But still put himself around, Called alot of the lion outs on himself but Mears throwing let him down. Can't see the reason people are slating him.
    Croft: Scored two great trys but then they were handed to him on plate, Over all game was poor and didn't offer much only for the two trys
    Wallace: Again wasn't his most powerful game but did absolutly nothing wrong
    Heaslip: Didn't offer the same intensity he offered in the warm up games,Position to be looked at.

    This would be my 2nd Test Team :
    1: Genkins
    2: Rees
    3: Jones
    4: O'Callaghan
    5: O'Connell
    6: Wallace / Croft
    7: Williams
    8: Heaslip / Wallace / Powell

    9: Plilips
    10: O'Gara

    11: Kearney
    12: Roberts
    13: O'Driscoll
    14: Bowe
    15: Byrne

    Welshe front row look good together when they came on last Saturday. Would definitley stick with this
    2nd Row Grand Slam partnership, These guys know each other inside out and have proving it for Munster and Ireland over the last 3-4 years
    Big calls here, Think team would benefit more with Wallace and Williams
    in it
    Half Back needs to be changed, Jones kicking in general was very poor especially to two very kickable penalties, O'Gara to be giving his chance
    Backs, Monye to make way for Kearney, Kearney offers more to attack and defence is much stronger, Also his kicking is much stronger.

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  • 338. At 11:50am on 22 Jun 2009, williRUGGA wrote:

    jones and rhys to start in the front row. with shaw brought in, to partner o'connell. powell to start at eight with croft and wallace still at 6 and 7. leave monye on the wing. 2 great tackles by the box on monye. get sheridan on the bench with mears,wyn jones and williams.maybe shane williams as a back replacement, if lee bryne is not fit.

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  • 339. At 11:56am on 22 Jun 2009, tinyrugbynerd wrote:

    Just a quick comment about the scrum

    It isnt just Vickery that needs to be ridiculed

    The front 5 are responsible for the shove and we had no weight in there!

    Vickery has admitted he was not up so scratch but those that understand the game must realise that the hooker and 2nd rows are also responsible for our demise in that area

    Having said that it does look like rowntree has picked his mate

    As for this Monye/Williams debate.....

    He was picked on form, as were most of the boys..

    To settle it let fitzgerald and williams play on Tuesday and see what they have to offer... but frankly, neither have shown any form in the warm up games (and williams for several months!!)

    Please lets not go back to Clive and 4 years back where he went with what he thought would win it on past experience...

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  • 340. At 11:59am on 22 Jun 2009, tinyrugbynerd wrote:

    ADobboo... sorry just read your comments and you pretty much summed up what i said about the wingers situation

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  • 341. At 12:07pm on 22 Jun 2009, FearRua wrote:

    19 Jun 2009, Hotspur7 wrote:
    No intention of getting side-tracked by this, but to those who have been knocking Vickery, I suggest that you keep a very close watch on his loose play tomorrow - you will understand then why he is in the Test team - his clearing out of rucks and mauls is immense, so is his tackle rate.

    Could'nt resist.

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  • 342. At 12:08pm on 22 Jun 2009, Pershorian wrote:

    I thought these boards were about rugby.

    Robbieskeane, you are quite offensive. Please stop painting all Welsh people with the same brush. Try and get behind the lions rather than using this forum for your petty gripes. And accept other people may have opinions that differ from your own please.

    Hines for Alun Wyn please. I think Shaw would struggle a bit at altitude and I like Hines' agression and ability to offload.

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  • 343. At 12:25pm on 22 Jun 2009, Owain Glyndwr wrote:

    2nd Test

    15. Byrne
    14. Bowe
    13. O'Driscoll
    12. Roberts
    11. S.Williams
    10. Hook ( S.Jones bench )
    9. Phillips
    8. Powell
    7. M.Williams
    6. Croft
    5. Shaw
    4. O'Connell
    3. Jenkins
    2. Rees
    1. A Jones

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  • 344. At 12:34pm on 22 Jun 2009, powerRugbyG wrote:

    Allot of the comments here seem to be from panicking fans, desperately trying to change the team to create a winning formula, I really dont think thats whats needed! Looking at the stats, the Lions were the dominant team in possession and territory, all we need to do is make sure we take our chances, and stop givin them so many penalty opportunities! Barring their first try, all the boks scores involved penalties!
    So having said that-

    Front row- The all welsh trio, they got the job done
    Second row- AWJ moves to bench, Shaw starts with POC, bring on the more mobile AWJ later in the game when the boks are blowing hard
    BAck row- I wouldnt change it, M Williams to come on @ 60 mins are so when the game should be opening up

    Half backs- Phillips (no competition here really) and ROG. We need to score our penalties, cant afford Jones' misses Im afraid. Let the boks think he is weak in defense, he has only missed one tackle on tour, this idea of being able to run straight through him is nuts, why dont any of the six nations teams do it then!!! Hook doesnt quite have the same game management skills, however might well be a good option to come on from the bench for the last 15-20 mins, to mix things up

    Centers- oh I cant possibly decide.....!!!!

    Back three- Bowe, Byrne(but only if 110% fit, if he is going to come off early we just loose a bench place, and there really is nothing between him and Kearney) and at the minute I still would go with Monye I think, I reckon he will have learnt his lesson, having said that I would put in Fitz/Williams if either have a stormer tomo.

    M Williams
    Kearney (Fitz/S William if Kearney starting)


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  • 345. At 12:44pm on 22 Jun 2009, BJ27772 wrote:

    "Time for some Scotch beef - get Hines on the bench for next week - we could use his muscle and he offers more than Shaw"

    So funny, haven't laughed so much in ages!
    Your solution is to put 'Scotch beef' on the BENCH! - brilliant, that should do it then - 2-1 to the Lions on that suggestion alone.

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  • 346. At 12:58pm on 22 Jun 2009, afcdon17 wrote:

    Yes Monye should have finished the 2nd attempt however the 1st attempt was a great tackle and credit should be given to the SA center. A number of people gave the view that monye could not defend or kick and that part of his game on Saturday was as good any of the backs.

    Yes you can blame the ref for a few decisions but that is part and parcel of sport. In international sport if you make mistake you will get punished and thats what the SA team did. If you think the first try came from a poor defensive line out and 3 points from croft giving away a silly pen that 10 point swing could have been the difference of being on the winning side.

    Apart from, the front row I dont think they need to make wholesale changes. These are top international players the same mistakes won't be made again.

    On a big plus note BOD and Roberts were different class can you imagine the destruction they would cause if they play for same club side/country?
    SA did not really create an attacking platform cant see that being the case in the next two tests!

    May cause a bit of debate but I thought Kearney was a bit better that byrne!

    And lets not forget the lions were only a try away from beating the world champions not many teams have been that close in the last 3 years!

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  • 347. At 1:16pm on 22 Jun 2009, TheLastKingOfEngland wrote:

    Shane Williams wouldn't have made either of Moyne's attempts. He wouldn't of even made the line for the first one where it's Moyne's strength and power that takes him through. He also would have suffered for the second.

    I also think Roberts' rating is very very generous. He was completely at fault for South Africa's first try where he leaves the channel wide open.

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  • 348. At 1:27pm on 22 Jun 2009, ADobboo wrote:

    Right, this seems to be more about nationalism and picking fellow countrymen than objectivity and perspective so I recommend the following:

    We need to front up to the Saffas, or as they say in Australia Bring back the Biff. So, why not bring back the English WC final pack of 91, and tell them not to give it to the backs unless its an emergency. Probyn would sort out the Beast in no time. For the rest Id bring back the English WC winning backs of 2001, in fact forget that, bring back the English WC winning forwards of 2001 and have them play in the backs the sight of T.Woodman rampaging down the wing will be truly inspirational (to appease those who think Vickery was to blame for all things ill on Saturday Id leave him in the changing rooms to sort out the half time Oranges).

    To add a cosmopolitan feel to the occasion I would have one from each of the home unions on the bench; Rory Best from Ireland because based on his performance against the Saxons last night hed fight Beelzebub himself armed with nothing but a toothpick, Jason White from Scotland because he wouldnt need the toothpick, and Robert Jones from Wales because of the fine pugilistic skills he displayed against Nick Farr-Jones on the 93 Lions tour.

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  • 349. At 1:42pm on 22 Jun 2009, Mick2009 wrote:

    Vickery was a victim of his and the "Beast's" reputations, and poor refereeing. Beast simply capitalised on that, drove in sideways every time and got the decision every time, usually because the referee stood at the opposite side to Vicks despite him going up, down and sideways each time. I knew we were in trouble when I saw Dickinson with a flag, he's only one degree less biased than Steve Walsh.

    Overall I think both sides were fairly poor with good spells, so can't blame the officials, SA were less poor than us. Hoping for Shaw and Powell to either start or come on in the 2nd Test, much-needed weight and power. Neutralise the SA aggression (or more specifically Botha and Smit) and I don't think they have a lot more than us (yet!) I'm sure they will be awesome by the tri-nations but we have to take advantage of their lack of playing time before they really gel.

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  • 350. At 1:45pm on 22 Jun 2009, jaseybabes2002 wrote:

    Like the ratings, could not agree at all though with the rating of Phillips. Both myself and my best mate who is Welsh could not understand how he was still on the pitch at the time of scoring the try. Laboured, three steps before making a pass, no wonder the SA defence was all over everything. Ellis should have been in, as he makes for speed and the other thing was, how come when Roberts and BOD (please go back to being a runner, not a kicker) were so dominant, was he passing away from them all the time partic in the first half, when they had two possessions, both of which should have been tries, one was and the other was canceled out due to the lack of subtlety from Mr Byrne. Please put Hook on the bench, ROG to start, Jones out unless he brings some kicking boots.Monye dealt with harshly by lots of people above. Easy with hindsight but I was with Geech on each aspect of his test selection based on form apart from Phillips. Vicks unfortunate, but no complaints from the management team, though I am sure Bryce Lawrence has forgotten how to ref the maul and will be interesting to see if a northern hemisphere ref had given the Boks a yellow card or two in the final 15 minutes for persistent offending. POC, sorry but you're no international leader, Simon Shaw could get round the paddock and jump better than you, and he's a decade older, mind you so could Martin Johnson. If I was him I would watch the Living with Lions doc and then he could see what it meant to be inspirational.

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  • 351. At 2:20pm on 22 Jun 2009, FearRua wrote:

    occasion I would have one from each of the home unions on the bench; Rory Best from Ireland because based on his performance against the Saxons last night hed fight Beelzebub himself armed with nothing but a toothpick,

    For the record Rory Best did not play for Ireland last night.

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  • 352. At 2:39pm on 22 Jun 2009, Ruck_Maker wrote:

    @ hoorayhenri:

    Not sure if Adam Jones has ever STARTED a match at loosehead, but he has switched there. Saw him do this in a Magners League game at Musgrave Park.

    Obviously the point of my comment was that this is not desirable, as I was responding to some-one else's line-up that had Jones at 1 and Jenkins at 3.

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  • 353. At 2:54pm on 22 Jun 2009, ADobboo wrote:

    HoorayHenri, you are right. It was the captain Neil Best. He rampaged over the paddock like a demented Bullock.

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  • 354. At 3:02pm on 22 Jun 2009, Ruck_Maker wrote:

    Re: 315. SuperGedwards9 wrote:

    "The really bad record against Ireland would obviously make this a straight forward fact. Wales hate playing Ireland because they ly all over the ball and slow it down, "

    This made me laugh out loud. Who do you think Irish teams learned this from? For years Irish teams struggled at the breakdown amid a mass of sprawled Welsh bodies. Back in the day, it would have been sorted out with the boot, but in the professional era that's no longer acceptable.

    "Get quick ball for our backs, slow down quick ball for theirs" isn't a uniquely Welsh style of play you may be surprised to learn, actually all rugby teams play this way. But the unique Welsh rucking style, 2 forwards lying over the ball, 2 more lying on the wrong side of the ruck to disrupt the half-back, is something that Irish teams have had to learn to adapt to. I think the new enforcement of 'on-your-feet' was long overdue, and has made the game a much better spectacle.

    Wales hate playing Ireland because Ireland know them so well, and are equipped to destroy Wales in the back-row and at half-back.

    The great George Hook once remarked that Wales game is based on passing and running, Irelands on kicking and chasing, and Scotlands on rucking and cheating. And he meant it as a compliment! :)

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  • 355. At 3:17pm on 22 Jun 2009, patto1960 wrote:


    agree with most of your selection but would put Hines along POC with DOC coming on after 60. AWJ is an invention of Welsh optimism over realism. Hasn't cut it on this tour, a cursory glance at his stats shows him to be one of the weaker players there.
    Byrne if fit will probably start and if that is the case I would move Kearney to wing and bench Monye. Sorry but he has to pay for not finishing.

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  • 356. At 5:32pm on 22 Jun 2009, BigSeanDoyle wrote:

    I think there are too many biased views being displayed on this thread... especially from the Welsh contingent

    I consider myself Anglo/Irish and will try be as fair as possible!

    Front Row:

    Vickery - was suprised to see him included in the Squad let alone the test 15. There should be no reason to even pick him for the bench as he clearly is not up to it. Jones certainly proved he should not have been left out.

    Mears - I dont think he should start the next test, but equally Rees is not superman as many here are claiming. Rees' lineout ball was better, he was worse in the loose.... and was hillarious to see him getting bullied by Habana (a winger)after his stupid punch!

    Jenkins - Solid, mobile, definite starter. Although after watching the 60m Bok drive couldn't help but think additional bulk in the way of Hayes/Sheridan could prevent such humiliations.

    O'Connell - I am not sure he did enough to keep out others... He always seems to get his hands on ball but never seems to make much ground with his labourous runs.

    AW Jones - together with O'Connell puts in a lot of tackles which is where the likes of Hines have fallen down on this tour but his lack of bulk is a concern for Saturday.

    Croft - Very fast around the park, which was evidenced by his superb positioning in support of the centres which resulted in his two tries Despite being fast got muscled out at a few breakdowns.

    Wallace - Solid in attack although was not first to the breakdown often enough. Would probably start Williams next match to see if he injects a little dynamism into the loose. Definitely on the bench though... as he can be brilliant.

    Heaslip - Good defence. If we can steady the scrum next game would like to see him pick more on our own scrums and offload to Philips.

    Philips - Good try. Slow ball all day however, which may have caused Jones to rush a few kicks/passes. His size was never really going to have the impact it did in the warm up games and the question that has to be asked is whether it would be better to have a 9 who will get the ball to our most dangerous channel 12/13.

    S. Jones - Poor Kicking display and held on to it to long a couple of times. If O'gara could tackle I would have him in there but he has let Ireland down so many times at 10 and often crumbles under pressure. Despite his role in the grand slam, many are forgetting how he nearly cost Ireland glory. Hook is probably a better ball player than both and can put them over from his own half.

    Roberts - Everytime he touches the ball he smashes a gap and between two defenders where previously it did not exist. If a couple of offloads had been quicker there could have been a couple more tries.

    BOD - Everytime he touches the ball causes problems for the Boks. Lost a little bit of pace but still the best outside centre in the world.

    Monye - Does not deserve to be in south Africa let alone the squad. Never really understood why he was brought on tour!?! I was told because he was strong and fast.... qualities which he did not display on saturday!! Useless in defence, Poor kicking, poor vision when he had men outside him and I dont want to even think about the 2 missed touchdowns. Even Keith Earls would have converted those chances and he has been poor all tour. Plenty of better wingers in the Prem and Fitzgerald/Williams must have been so frustrated. Wing and Bench for those 2.

    Byrne/Kearney - Both exceptional talents at 15 although Kearney's kicking game seemed slightly better on the day. However, Byrne is more dangerous in attack and finds a gap where Kearney will take Crash ball. If Byrne is fit I would play Kearney on the wing.

    Bowe - as another commentator mentioned, he should have been used more in the middle of the park and I believe he was supposed to be had we won more of those set pieces as he could be seen getting into position before the forwards messed it up. I think he links better with O'Gara at 10 off of these moves also.

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  • 357. At 7:06pm on 22 Jun 2009, legendaryComfychair wrote:

    Just a note to say that alun wyn jones was not behind vickery, it was o'connell. And who has overlooked the man-house ian gough for the tour?

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  • 358. At 7:39pm on 22 Jun 2009, SuperGedwards9 wrote:

    Aaaahh, my comment was taken away for a copyright infringement as I directly quoted the Telegraph.

    Anyhow, I put in an article that was from Nov 2008, England v Australia and it said how Vickery and Mears got beasted by Al Baxter and this was due to the fact that Mears is too small for Vickery and the front row to get a hit on the oppos front rown. Sherridan was also commented on and the main point is that big muscle men cannot out scrummage a more technical scrummager without boring in and the relatively new straight rules have made meatheads a waste of time.
    England got smashed in that game in the scrum and to think that in 2007 and in 2005 they had anniahlated Al Baxter. Also in the game Vickery offered Al Baxter his shirt after the game!! Ha ha!!
    And guess who the assistant coach was.......Graham Rowntree.
    I finished the comment by saying "what is the point of Graham Rowntree besides bringing in errors from the England side"...
    I really don't get it......

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  • 359. At 7:39pm on 22 Jun 2009, SuperGedwards9 wrote:

    What a waste of 40 minutes, the Test, the series probably.....

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  • 360. At 8:14pm on 22 Jun 2009, Hotspur7 wrote:

    Re: 341
    Fair enough mate; that was my objective (or as "objective" as any of us die-hard national supporters can be) assessment of Vickery's performance on Tour up to that point, and I think that most people would have supported Geech's selections before the Test, including putting Vicks at No 3.
    Nobody could have seen what was going to happen on the day, and as I said elsewhere, it was a sad day to see the bloke get dismantled that badly. Its never happened before against some of the best loose-heads in world rugby; just last Novemeber I thought he gave Woodcock a pasting.
    But when a tight head gets that badly taken apart, anybody who has played in the front row knows that there are some really deep-rooted problems in the scrum as a whole. Rowntree (who seems to have completely de-powered the England scrum since he took over) will have his collar felt if it happens again on Saturday, when (presumably) Jones takes on a fresh Boks front row. It might be an example of how a touring team just cannot gel in four weeks in a highly technical area like the scrum in professional rugby, a point that nobody has made yet.
    Segnes analysis above is spot on.

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  • 361. At 8:36pm on 22 Jun 2009, padster101 wrote:

    For all those now shouting for O'gara to start ahead of S Jones, I suggest you watch the heineken cup semi-final where munster lost to Leinster. They targeted his defence & he was shocking. I truly believe that's the reason that Geechs brought in Hook to replace the injured halfpenny. They were already light in cover at 10 & having seen how weak his defence was in that match I don't believe he'll ever start for the lions again.
    Yes, Jones didn't have his best game but in actual fact what did he do wrong when we started to win some ball? Not a lot. He missed two relatively difficult penalties and his kicking out of hand in the first half when under extreme pressure wasn't great.
    Why were we under extreme pressure? Vickery! Pure and simple! I've never seen an international prop get so dominated & humiliated in 35years of playing and watching rugby. Simples!
    Only changes will be for an all Welsh front row. Although I agree with some of the other critisism of other players....Heaslip, Wallace, S.Jones & Monye in particular I feel they didn't do enough wrong to get dropped. I'd like to see how they do with a solid front row when we're winning good ball from the start. Lets hope it happens on Saturday!

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  • 362. At 8:50pm on 22 Jun 2009, tinyrugbynerd wrote:


    Agreee with most of your comments until your Monye Rant

    What utter nonsense...

    Keith Earls (ha ha that is good!) wouldnt have even got THROUGH the tackle to get to the line

    And by the way... you have to give De Villiers and Steyn credit for a. Steyns Hit (which dislodged the ball, Ugo did not drop it) and b. De Villiers awsome attempt at getting a hand underneath the ball (which he then subsequently illegally threw into touch)

    You need to watch the again before making rediculous statements because clearly you have gone into so much detail on each player you forgot to mention the BIGGEST HOWLER of the day.....Mike Philips did actually drop the ball over the line!...

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  • 363. At 9:05pm on 22 Jun 2009, iroberts89 wrote:

    S Jones must keep his place, he missed ONE easy kick (the other was a 50/50 kick and the TV pundits agreed) and generally ran the backline and distributed well. If O'Gara plays the backs will get no ball since he'll kick it to 'munster corner' every time he gets it ande the Bokke back row will have a field day. NB I know he can tackle, he just can't tackle and stop the offload or crossing the gainline, whereas Jones made 4/5 tackles in the last game, missed none.

    Vickery out, never to return. All welsh front row please, they proved they can stabilise the scrum in the autumn and in the last test. AWJ to keep his place, POC to keep his place, Croft stays, Wallace to bench, Williams to 7 and maybe even Powell to 8 if he plays well tomorrow. Croft did enough to justify his place again, despite being two run-ins that any good back rower would hope to be available to take.

    People are saying philips passed slowly but look again and its mostly because of the many hands from both sides in at every breakdown, and who would you rather? Harry 'I can only go blindside' Ellis? Mike Blair offers an alternative to Philips' powerful running game, but he isnt playing that well.

    One more thing, Monye has clearly been found to be in the mould of wingers like Cueto from a years ago (8 tries in 8 tests but all run-ins), who can't hack it when asked to change hand or make a step to beat the man. So, whoever plays better out of Williams and Fitzgerald tomorrow should start on saturday.

    My Team

    1 Jenkins
    2 Rees
    3 Jones
    4 Hines
    5 POC
    6 Croft
    7 Williams
    8 Heaslip (but maybe Powell, on the hard ground of Loftus his running game would be handy)
    9 Philips
    10 Jones
    11 Fitzgerald (ahead at the moment, just, but a good game from Williams and he's in for me)
    12 Roberts
    13 O'Driscoll
    14 Bowe
    15 Byrne (although Kearney played well in the last test)

    16 Ford
    17 Sheridan (for lack of better options)
    18 AWJ
    19 Wallace
    20 Blair (for lack of better options)
    21 Hook (the last thing we want is O'Gara coming on and kicking away possession to the Bok's set-piece machine, and away from the Lions' backline)
    22 Kearney (unlucky to be same position as Byrne imo)

    Now that's a possibility of up to 10 welsh lions in the XV (more likely 7), but since its the BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS, it shouldn't make the blindest bit of difference what nationality they are, since those players would have performed and won those shirts.

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  • 364. At 9:28pm on 22 Jun 2009, tinyrugbynerd wrote:


    now that was a completly unbiased view of the game.... ..

    erm... apart from all the supportive welsh comments... and irish and english negative comments.

    10/15 welsh players?

    these games are supposed to bring the 4 nations together... not give an opportunity to get one over the other nations and find scapegoats..

    It was the same at work today.. tried to have a conversation with a welsh and irish man and all they did was blame the english players.. one even went as far as to say that Croft should be on the bench for the next test..

    Anyone get the same today?

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  • 365. At 9:30pm on 22 Jun 2009, Dei1984 wrote:

    Please please please tel me you know the difrence between a looshead prop and tight head??!???!?
    Yes i am saying that Adam Jones couldnt play at loosehead in a LIONS TEST MATCH, maybe he could on a sunday pub match or yes if need be he could fill in for a injury, but at test rugby level its a big NO!
    there is a BIG difrence between Loosehead and Tighthead the techniche is completly difrent.
    Oh abd if you couldnt tel from my spelling im a prop :)
    Also IMO Shane and Hook should play my friend not saying they will but that is what i would pick

    I hope that is a typo when you say Williams at 8???????

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  • 366. At 9:36pm on 22 Jun 2009, Hotspur7 wrote:

    exon89 said: "...who can't hack it when asked to change hand or make a step to beat the man..."
    You must have been behind the sofa when Monye completely took out Steyn with an excellent step on the second chance.
    Not enough has been made of the astonishing defence of the Boks; they kept hold of that game only be their finger-tips, literally, and there was one heck of an element of good fortune in it.
    The Lions pack will not allow itself to be bullied again (or, at least, hopefully they will find the personnel no to make that mistake again) but will the Boks get that lucky again? All three chances could have been scored, and the Boks would not have been able to complain about any one of them.

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  • 367. At 9:38pm on 22 Jun 2009, Dei1984 wrote:

    @ exonrugby89

    Agree with every thing you said, spot on
    it shouldnt matter what natinol team thay play 4, they are playing 4 the British and Irish Lions so Every 1 should get behind them

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  • 368. At 9:43pm on 22 Jun 2009, powerRugbyG wrote:

    Exon rugby 89-

    Just dont see how you can possibly be series about Ogara. A 10 who coulnt defend simply couldnt have the results behind him ROG does. I can only think that you have had limited experience of seeing him play. And its a little ironic for a Jones fan to criticise ROG for his least he CAN KICK! And please, if it is going to be Jones to start saturday, maybe ROG could sit him down and teach him how to do a cross field kick!!

    Jones was poor, so if ROG plays well tomorrow, he starts, if he doesnt it will be Jones. If it is Jones I will be behind him every bit, but gonna be crossing everything when he steps up for a penalty/conversion!

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  • 369. At 9:43pm on 22 Jun 2009, Dei1984 wrote:

    On the 1997 tour we hit lumps out of the SA scrum by playing 2 Smaller props Tom Smith and Wallace who got under the chest of Du Rantd and Stopd the Boks scrum doing anything, so my Question 2 the Lions Manegment would be, why we Played Vickery against a smaller more compact Scrumager in ' THE BEAST ', it was roles reversed from 1997!

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  • 370. At 10:14pm on 22 Jun 2009, dave-53 wrote:

    Lee Byrne had a poor game in my opinion, Rob Kearney looked a far more assured presence when he came on, should start 2nd test, he's a class act. Phil Vickery absolutely crumbled in the scrums, and made the beast look like a far better scrumager then he actually is. This was proved when Adam Jones came on and changed the game, he was well on top in the scrum against the beast and then the SA sub prop. He deserved at the very least a 7 probably an 8. Matthew Rees also made a big impact, he was solid in the scrum and lineout as well as carrying a lot of ball.

    Stephen Jones was anonymous for almost the entire game, kicked poorly at goal, kicked poorly out of hand, was no threat with ball in hand. ROG deserves a chance, he's consistently proven himself as a big game player for Munster and Ireland but has never been given a chance to show what he can do for the lions in a test match.

    Also cannot understand all the praise Tom Croft has been getting, he was put into gaps 5 yards out by BOD for both of his tries. He's a good player, but not worthy of an 8 in this match in my opinion.

    My changes for 2nd Test:
    Rees for Mears
    Jones for Vickery
    Shaw for AWJ, DOC on bench
    ROG for Jones
    Kearney for Byrne

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  • 371. At 10:30pm on 22 Jun 2009, padster101 wrote:


    You completely miss the point I think. O'Garas defence is weak, but for Ireland & Munster he plays behind a dominant pack most of the time when they're not so reliant on having a defensive 10. In the old days it was not a requirement for a number 10 to tackle at all & some of the best fly halves of all time hardly ever did. The game has changed however, and of course O'Gara can tackle. It's just not his strength! Kicking is his strength, either for position or points. Its a gameplan that relies on having a dominant pack and even if there are personnel changes in the front row on Saturday, the best we can hope for is parity?
    Did you watch the Munster Leinster semi-final? He couldn't tackle a big lunch in that game!
    O'Gara will not start the second test regardless of how well he plays for the reasons detailed above. If Geechs thought he could start a test match behind a struggling pack why did he bring hook over to replace halfpenny, a winger? He knew about his defensive frailties and knew he needed cover at 10 for that reason. If we lose on Saturday, he might start the third test. Might!

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  • 372. At 10:34pm on 22 Jun 2009, hobofrost wrote:

    Television commentators, pundits, newspaper articles and all the comments on here and not one person seems to have noticed that the springboks removed 2/3rds of their dominant front row just after Rees and Jones came on in ours. Lets not put the boys up on a pedestal just yet.

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  • 373. At 10:35pm on 22 Jun 2009, padster101 wrote:

    Dave 53
    Perhaps you could enlighten me as to why you think Byrne had a poor game? He did everything asked of him including catching the high ball, tackling well & running & putting others into space? Kearney did well too, but Byrne was in possession until his injury, so if fit will start. No question. Also, what has AWJ done wrong to get dropped? As for ROG, please! Be careful what you wish for.

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  • 374. At 10:35pm on 22 Jun 2009, hoorayhenri wrote:

    @ ADobboo re HoorayHenri, you are right. It was the captain Neil Best
    Thats great, nothing better than being right without actually posting anything. ;)

    @ BigSeanDoyle re Alun Wyn Jones his lack of bulk is a concern for Saturday
    As he is the biggest/heaviest lock how do you plan to get around that?

    @ tinyrugbynerd Mike Philips did actually drop the ball over the line
    Er, wrong , it was knocked out of his hand. Watch it again hawkeye

    The only thing wrong with tomorrow is that Shane is on the right wing again - we all know O'Gara can't pass L-R only cross field kick. Not a good omen for Shane - he's got his work cut out - but then so has O'Gara fighting for a bench spot.

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  • 375. At 10:42pm on 22 Jun 2009, padster101 wrote:


    Complete rubbish! I've watched the game three times and vickery went off less than five minutes into the second half when Jones then came on. He scrummaged against their first choice front row for 20 minutes until the 'normal' late replacements. Reason no-ones commented on it is it never happened the way you described it silly!

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  • 376. At 10:48pm on 22 Jun 2009, hoorayhenri wrote:

    Edit: Shaw is actually 7 lbs heavier than AWJ at 269lbs to AWJ's 262 but as AWJ is 2" shorter he's possibly "bulkier".

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  • 377. At 11:03pm on 22 Jun 2009, dave-53 wrote:

    Perhaps I overstated it slightly by saying Byrne had a poor game. But I thought at the very best he was average. I thought he looked nervous throughout, and allowed himself to be dominated by the SA kickers. He did not put them under pressure with his kicks, and was then punished by being pinned back in his 22. I have always belived that Kearney is a world class 15, in fairness he does seem to have lost a bit of edge in attack this season, but he remains absolutely rock solid under the high ball and in the tackle, is still a threat going forward with his ability to put people into space and deceptive strength in the tackle, and also with a left boot that was better than byrnes on sunday. He is just a more composed player and spreads calmness throughout the team, I think he should start. Thats not to say I don't rate byrne though, he's a class player too but i think kearney shades it for the 2nd test, although i think Byrne will be picked.

    Regarding AWJ, it's not so much that he did something to get dropped, it's more that he just didn't really contibute anything to the team in the lineout or the loose, and i think Shaw should be given a chance to prove his worth.

    As for ROG, I can't deny that his defence is somewhat brittle and could possibly be exposed by SA, but Stephen Jones is no Wilkinson when it comes to tackling either in my opinion, and ROG has a far better kicking game, both for touch and at goal, and also better distibution. The argument that he can't tackle or break the opposition line is true, but i think he has proved on many big occasions what a world class player he is, and if we have a kick at the end of the 2nd test to keep us in the series, ROG would be more likely to convert then SJ

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  • 378. At 11:10pm on 22 Jun 2009, powerRugbyG wrote:

    Fair point, ROG does work best behind a dominant pack, and if they are exposed like they were in the first half he might suffer, but then again if the pack get beaten like that again then the tour is as good as over anyway so it really doesnt matter!

    As for Hook starting, please please no, the guy is very good, but at this point of his career cannot manage a game well enough to be a starter! Maybe by the time the next tour comes around!

    I see your point of view but still reckon geech will consider giving him a go to allow the team to play an intelligent kicking game instead of mindlessly giving them the ball back constantly. But hey, as I have said before, last time I checked I havent ever won a Lions tour personally (and would reckon its a fair guess none of the other contributers here have either!) so happy to put my faith in whoever Geech picks, and give the whole team all my support!

    Oh and by the way, dont think Ogara would have wanted to tackle a big lunch in that game, Heineken cup semifinals arent really a time for eating

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  • 379. At 11:23pm on 22 Jun 2009, padster101 wrote:


    I agree, but I'm working on the assumption that we'll get parity or near it on saturday. When we did last weekend, Jones conrolled the game very well & rarely kicked. Why kick the ball at all if you're controlling it as well as we were in the 2nd half? O'Gara's first instinct is to kick and that's not the way to beat the Boks.

    I never suggested Hook to start and agree with you on that point. In actual fact I think they're all good number 10s in their own right but all have different strengths. O'Gara's is kicking, not tackling. Hooks is running & distributing & Jones is defence & control.

    I also agree that whoever is picked should get all of our support & they can certainly count on mine, except maybe if he picks Vickery again, lol.

    As for the big lunch, I'm fairly certain that'd go straight through him too!

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  • 380. At 11:35pm on 22 Jun 2009, padster101 wrote:


    My personal opinion is that the vast majority of that team should be given the opportunity to demonstrate what they can do with a more solid platform. That includes AWJ, heaslip, Wallace (even though I'm a big Martyn Williams fan), & Monye. All those selected were the form players on tour over the six games prior. The possible exception was Vickery & he was exposed & although he wasn't entirely to blame, it was from that weakness that we fell apart in the first half. I'd just like to see what they can do from a stronger platform. I think you'd have to agree they all had better second halves than they did first halves. (maybe not Monye, but he deserved his starting place then so deserves a second chance)

    I'd like to point out that I'm Welsh & am advocating sticking with Monye over Shane & Wallace over M williams, so cannot be accused of Nationalistic Bias!

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  • 381. At 11:51pm on 22 Jun 2009, dave-53 wrote:


    I agree with your point about the second chance for those players, they are all quality players.

    Personally I don't understand the wave of criticism against Monye. In both instances in which he knocked the ball on it was astounding defensive work by the SA backs, and I think Monye did well both times to put himself in a position to score. He always looks dangerous when he gets a bit of space, he has so much pace and some strength to go with it. In my opinion Shane Williams shouldnt get anywhere near the 22, he has done absolutely nothing for the whole season, let alone the zero influence he's had on tour. If anyone is going to challenge Monye it should be Fitzgerald, quick, elusive and strong in defence.

    And I commend you for not being biased, even though you pick SJ over Rog! But i suppose thats the general consensus so you couldn't be accused of bias for that

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  • 382. At 11:58pm on 22 Jun 2009, U14045822 wrote:

    Lets clear something up, Powell is not a test startin option. nowhere near.
    All Welsh front next week and kearney in for moyne provided byrne is fit. 10 is a bit of a toss up but i expect jones to keep da jersey. No other changes. and people calling for POC to be dropped get a grip.

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  • 383. At 00:00am on 23 Jun 2009, padster101 wrote:

    I feel a lot of sympathy for ickle Shaney as he hasn't really had the breaks. Monye has benefitted from playing outside the better players for most of the tour such as BOD & Bowe who have set him up. Fact remains, he's been the form player in that position though and deserves to keep his place.

    My last word on the S Jones debate is this. Check out the fly halves in tomorrow's squad. O'Gara & Hook. Who do you think is likely to start on Saturday then? Gotta be Jones.

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  • 384. At 00:08am on 23 Jun 2009, dave-53 wrote:

    Maybe thats true, but i still think hes gone way off the boil, even in the 6N and when playing for the ospreys. He just doesn't seem to have the spark he used to have.

    I know Jones will start I never said he wouldn't, I was just stating my opinions that ronan SHOULD start.

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  • 385. At 01:12am on 23 Jun 2009, Ruck_Maker wrote:

    Re: 365. Dei1984:

    Are you mental? Do you have some kind of obsession?

    Adam Jones is a tighthead prop, Gethin Jenkins is a loosehead.
    I stated this, and that both COULD switch sides, the emphasis on COULD clearly indicating that it was not desirable. But could be done in case of. for instance, injury.

    This was by way of supporting the inclusion of both in a starting line-up, with another specialist on the bench.

    YOU insisted that Adam Jones could never play loosehead, and had never played loosehead, even once.

    You said in comment 304.
    "When have you ever seen Adam Jones play at loose head??? He neva has my friend, think that a comment like that shows that you dont know what your talking about!,"

    Now you want to change your story, to,
    "Yes i am saying that Adam Jones couldnt play at loosehead in a LIONS TEST MATCH, maybe he could on a sunday pub match or yes if need be he could fill in for a injury,"

    Give it up buddy, you went a little over the top to try and nitpick, then you tried to backpedal. Let it go, and we'll forgive your mistake.

    And don't worry, as a scrum-half I'm used to doing my forwards thinking for them! ;)

    Lastly, I think Shane and Hook are very exciting players, with loads of flair. But on the current tour, I think Shane is too out of form, and Hook a little too callow, to be considered to start a Test, given their are at least 2 other contenders in each of their positions.

    (Hook vs Italy in this years 6N, and Hook in several Ospreys games, seemed to lack control when the game was slipping away. OK, the Ospreys games vs Munster were bad for the team in general, but those are the days when you need your out-half to have a cool head. He's still getting better, and will be a leading contender in 4 years.)

    Also IMO Shane and Hook should play my friend not saying they will but that is what i would pick

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  • 386. At 01:13am on 23 Jun 2009, Ruck_Maker wrote:

    Re: 385

    Last line is quoting Dei1984

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  • 387. At 05:41am on 23 Jun 2009, hkrugbyfan wrote:

    Some of us seem to forget just how GOOD this springbok team is. They are without question the best team in the world, by a country mile. So with that in mind, lets give the lions some credit. They didn't perform well in the first half but STILL nearly nicked it . I am a firm believer that had the game had 5 more minutes to play, we would have clinched it.

    I think the saffas will be actually a little bit more worried than the lions leading up to the 2nd test. They know the lions only turned up for the second half and still nearly nicked it at the death

    Paul Oconnel - great player, a mountain of a man, but didn't have a great "captains" match. Got flustered with the ref, showed some frustration, and this would have been joyful for the boks to witness. IF selected for the nest test, O'Connel can axpect some serious lip from the saffas, to test his leadership qualities. I would drop him, based on current form, bring in shaw and hines, and make BOD captain.

    Lets get behind our boys and stop whinging about the ref. Even Graham Rowntree, the lions forwards coach made it very clear that the boks front row played entirely within the rules. The fact is , vickery got taken to the cleaners. Pure and simple, and even he would admit it

    quicker ball and more physicality will win the next match for us. The lions need to be more hungry, more confident, and ALOT more brutal . We need to beat the boks up, it wont be ugly , but thats what we ned to do, and simon shaw IS THE MAN to beat a front 5 up

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  • 388. At 09:22am on 23 Jun 2009, welsh_ian wrote:

    People need to stop saying the reason Vickery struggled was because the beast kept coming in sideways. Vickery is a VERY EXPARIANCED INTERNATIONAL prop if the ref was not doing anything he should have sorted it out himself did the beast not try and come in sideways once on jones. Dont get me wrong over the past decade vickery has been one of the best props you could get but i think Saturday proved that he can do it at the very top level anymore.

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  • 389. At 09:36am on 23 Jun 2009, ADobboo wrote:

    @exonRugby89 Croft did enough to justify his place again, despite two run-ins that any good back rower would hope to be available to take.

    Youre criticising him for scoring two tries?

    People are giving him flack because he scored two easy tries. The point is he was on BODs shoulder to take the passes. Thats what he is good at, and why he was picked. He gets around the paddock well. He didn't disgrace himself in the loose either. The Lions back row is getting a lot of criticism but the SA back row is the best in the world, and the fact that they were kept pretty quiet is due to the good work of Croft and Co. You expect the grunt to come from the front five, and thats where we were found wanting. Get Jones, Rees, and Shaw in and we should fare a bit better.

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  • 390. At 10:58am on 23 Jun 2009, Dei1984 wrote:


    I dont think you understand enough about the game of rugby to be commenting on it my friend!
    it seems to me that you are repeating every thing you hear off sky and the nonsense they come out with, so if i were u my petty little friend id give up and stop talking so much drivel! ;)

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  • 391. At 12:36pm on 23 Jun 2009, bobmordellshair wrote:

    Dei 1984, 10 years in the front row at Moseley, you are wrong, end of.

    Now move on!

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  • 392. At 2:53pm on 23 Jun 2009, Talonneur wrote:

    Having read most of the posts on here - those commenting on the issues with the front row and Vickery in particular, have clearly never played up front. Sorry boys - but some of the stuff being typed is utter tripe! Vickery was simply outplayed - spectacularly. The first time was due to lack of concentration, he was too high and too open shouldered. This allowed Beast to get under his sternum - and it's game set and match from there! The Boks had seized the initiative and gained a significant psychological advantage. A player of Vickery's experience should be able to come back from this - but it took almost 25 minutes for him to begin to gain parity. At this point he fell foul of the referee - who's decision making at the set piece was typically poor. Vickery turned inwards only slightly to protect his right shoulder and make it a smaller target, Beast turned in much further as the likelihood is the TH will get pinged - and hey presto! Adam Jones did much better - but he had no psychological baggage and has the advantage of being stockier and therefore closer to the ground than Vickery. Vickery and John Hayes are both tall props with long backs - so they are easier for a LH to get under. Hayes would have had exactly the same problem. Gethin Jenkins - great player - absolutely, but he is not an attacking destroyer as a prop. Ideally, he would have attacked John Smit and given him the same treatment that Vickery endured - this would have caused the scrum to wheel a lot though - confounding the already non-plussed referee further. The best out and out scrummaging props are Sheridan and Murray with Flannery (his absence is a real shame) as the best hooker. However, both of these props (despite being injured too) haven't shown the work rate of their competitors - hence their absence. Old adage - never truer - games are won and lost upfront! We came back wonderfully well - what a second half, but we have to be more competitive, more abrasive and more aggresive. We have to seize the initiative and attack their front row - 'get your retaliation in first'. Wise words.

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  • 393. At 3:18pm on 23 Jun 2009, HighlandHitters wrote:

    I think lots of the comments are really harsh on Ugo Monye. The first time he divrd for the line and wast taken out by 2 players?? How can you fault a guy for that? By the time de villiers had his hands on the ball Monye was over the line, carried there by de villiers and the other tackler.
    The second chance he had he was faced with the choice of going on the outside of F Steyn and being taken into touch or cutting inside to beat F steyn, which he did, and trying to get past the full back, M Steyn, which he nearly did. He didnt drop the ball it got knocked out of his hand in the tackle! I doubt S Williams would have done better judging by recent performances in the 6 nations. Ugo should have another chance.

    I feel sorry for vickery because he did have an awful game but the commentators said that the ref would favour the looseheads and the beast was not always pushing straight.

    S Jones kicking wasn`t great but he seemed to do ok with ball in hand.
    O connell needs to be more vocal

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  • 394. At 10:06pm on 23 Jun 2009, Dei1984 wrote:

    I dont need 2 justify my comments by saying who i play for or for how long, im not that small!
    Lets just say that your wrong, END OF!
    dont poke your nose in where it dosent belong! ;)

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