Despite all the talk of the Lions being finished, there are still a number of stars on the Lions squad that will be eager to prove their worth on the tour to South Africa.
The British and Irish Lions have won the game of rugby, but the future of the Lions is uncertain. With the 2016 tour to South Africa ending without a win, is the future of the Lions Tour of the Southern Hemisphere in doubt? Day One in Johannesburg must have been a disaster for the Lions, who were blown away by a powerful Blitzboks side. There was also a distinct lack of a Lions-like effort from the British and Irish players, who were embarrassing. The Lions had rightfully earned the right to be favourites, to play for the Lions.
The British and Irish Lions are two of the most iconic and successful rugby union teams in the world. They have won the most prestigious trophy in rugby union, the Lions, seven times. In 1994, they toured South Africa with a string of victories, including a famous series in which they beat the Springboks in a one-off final.. Read more about british and irish lions tour 2021 dates and let us know what you think.
Finn Russell, the Lions’ most creative player, was out for the most of the trip due to injury.
Given the perilous state of the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa in mid-July, with Covid ravaging the home camp and more than a dozen visiting players and staff isolated, it’s a minor miracle that the series was settled on the pitch, with all three Tests completed and the Springboks nicking the series in agonizing fashion for the Lions.
The series’ administrators and participants deserve a lot of respect for finishing it under such tough conditions. Despite the many challenges they confront, whether in a Covid world or not, it is obvious that the Lions are very important to both British and Irish players – as well as their hosts.
However, although the series was decided in the same manner as it did 12 years earlier, with a Morne Steyn penalty goal, the parallels stop there. The 2009 edition drew large attendance, with the Lions putting on a spectacular display of ball-in-hand rugby, strengthening the brand and idea in the process.
So, how will this trip be remembered, and where do the Lions go from here, after a 2021 series marred by squabbles off the field and poor rugby on it?
A chance squandered?
While Lions supporters would agree that they could, and maybe should, have won the final in Cape Town, the unimaginative brand of rugby they displayed throughout the Test matches will be a lasting disappointment.
Head coach Warren Gatland and his staff stated when selecting the team in May that it was a group capable of playing in a variety of styles and wouldn’t be dependent on attempting to defeat the Boks at their own game.
The Lions, on the other hand, were cautious, with their much-touted back three seldom getting an opportunity to run in space. The strategy succeeded in the first Test, with the Lions exploiting an underprepared South Africa, but it backfired in the second.
It was only a stroke of luck in the third period, when the magnificent Finn Russell came in early in place of the injured Dan Biggar, that the Lions were able to start playing rugby. It left both fans and commentators scratching their heads, wondering what might have been.
Covid and bad luck both had a role in this.
Gregor Townsend, the attack coach, spent time alone. Russell was out for the most of the trip due to injury. Biggar and Farrell both had injury issues, and they were never able to create a 10/12 combination that could have stretched the stifling Springbok defense. And, unlike the superhuman Alun Wyn Jones, Johnny Sexton was unable to persuade Gatland that he had one more tour left in him.
Would Gatland have chosen the skilled and adaptable Henry Slade of England, the elusive Irishman Garry Ringrose, or the legendary Welshman Jonathan Davies if he had his chance again? And would he have realized that being courageous against the Boks pays off?
In 2009, there was a strong feeling that the Lions deserved more. It’s difficult to disagree this time.
The series is ruined by Erasmus’ shenanigans.
Rassie Erasmus, the South African rugby director, took on water-carrying responsibilities so he could speak to his players on the field.
Despite the difficulties, the communications pouring out of South Africa from both camps were full of optimism during the first several weeks of the trip.
Before, during, and after the first Test, everything changed.
The Lions, the hosts think, began it all when they voiced their displeasure with the selection of a South African television match official.
While the Lions’ comments included elements of opportunism and cynicism, their primary complaint was that there was no contingency plan in place for when an official – in this instance, New Zealander Brendon Pickerill – was unable to go.
They claim they never questioned Marius Jonker’s honesty. And, as former Lions squad manager Donal Lenihan put it during a tense trip to Australia in 2001, there’s no sense in squabbling after a game.
The Springboks, on the other hand, argued after the match, with director of rugby Rassie Erasmus initially going to social media to highlight specific incidences then producing an incredible 62-minute film outlining approximately 30 instances when he thought his team was treated unjustly in the first Test.
There’s nothing wrong with publicly interrogating and confronting authorities. They are professionals who are accustomed to, and need, being held accountable.
But what Erasmus did was cross the Rubicon, because he not only argued about some aspects of the game that will always be subjective and ambiguous, but he also questioned the integrity of the officials, implying that his team, and captain Siya Kolisi, had been disrespected, and that the officials were actively biased against the Springboks.
Kolisi, regrettably, was eager to repeat the charge.
While Erasmus’s spectacular accomplishment will be celebrated even more in his homeland, the game’s mental and emotional manipulation of referees is a dangerous and harmful precedent. Is it possible for South Africa to ever lose a Test match in a fair way again? Or will their fans be persuaded that any future loss would be the result of prejudiced and rude officials?
|South Africa defeats the Lions 17-22 in the first test.|
|South Africa defeats the Lions 27-9 in the second test.|
|South Africa defeats the Lions 19-16 in the third test.|
In 2025, who will be in charge?
In his tenure as Lions coach, Warren Gatland has won four Tests, lost four, and drew one.
With a victory, a draw, and a defeat on his third trip as head coach, Gatland has an outstanding record.
Whatever happens next, he deserves to be remembered as a great Lions coach, the man who led the team to the century’s lone Test series victory, and someone who, by his dedication and force of personality, helped get and keep this tour on the road despite unparalleled hardship.
But it’s clear that the Lions’ board of directors has to look forward to a new era. Since 1983, every Lions trip has been led by one of two men: Gatland or Sir Ian McGeechan, with the exception of the one-off tenures of Sir Clive Woodward and Graham Henry.
These players are no longer dependable for the Lions. If the four home unions, who, let us not forget, make up the Lions, are serious about backing the idea, a clear strategy for who will be in control moving forward must be put in place.
Should the Lions’ head coach be someone who is unaffiliated with any of the four teams? Is it necessary for such person to be coaching at the highest level of the international game? Did Gatland gain from his decision to skip the Six Nations in 2021, or did he suffer as a result?
Where do the assistant coaches fit in? How can we prevent a repeat of the scenario in which a large number of first-choice candidates are unavailable? One suggestion is for each nation to send one assistant from their staff, which would be selected by the Lions’ head coach.
In 2025, there will be no lack of contenders for the presidency: Andy Farrell and Gregor Townsend are both experienced Lions coaches who have coached at the top level. Ronan O’Gara is causing a stir in the coaching world, and he may be ready by 2025. Stuart Lancaster is well-versed in the leagues and players of the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The Lions’ board of directors, who have kept a low profile throughout this process, should take their time. And the home unions, who refused to accept a delay until 2022, must demonstrate that they care about the Lions rather than seeing them as an antiquated impediment – a recurring story.
Four years ago, similar discussions about the Lions’ future were taking place in New Zealand, particularly following a humiliating first-Test loss and a tough build-up and lack of preparation time. That all changed in Wellington, when tens of thousands of Lions supporters danced in the rain after the dramatic second-Test triumph.
On and off the field, such joyous outbursts were noticeably absent this time. If there’s one thing this disappointing trip has taught us, it’s that the Lions will never be able to play without their fans again.
To put it bluntly, the Rugby World Cup came and went, and South Africa did not make it to the knockout stage. It is a well-known fact that World Rugby is always keen to expand, and so are the Lions. There are growing calls for a tour of Australia in 2019, but will that be the last one? There are already murmurs of a South Africa tour to the UK or France in 2021.. Read more about british and irish lions spectator and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often do the British and Irish Lions tour South Africa?
The British and Irish Lions tour South Africa every four years.
Who won the Lions Tour 2021?
The Lions won the 2021 Tour.
Who won between Lions and South Africa?
South Africa won the match.
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