Differences of Opinion

There were  a great deal of differing views on the All Blacks win at Eden Park yesterday.

The game itself was hailed in both NZ and here as a triumph by the ABs but with some admiration for the wonder try sparked by Liam Williams that showed the Lions can finish – but not often enough.

Whilst most of the coverage was balanced there were four articles that stuck out for me.

The first was a vitriolic and smug account from Paul Lewis –

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/rugby/news/article.cfm?c_id=80&objectid=11881571

He is almost as vitriolic as Chris Rattue usually is –

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11881745

To be fair to Rattue (which goes against the grain), I agree with him about Brodie Retallick – the guy fully deserves to be talked about in the same breath as Colin Meads, Martin Johnson and Willie John McBride.

The two articles that I think are more important are the ones that talk about Wellington rather than the clinical finishing of the All Blacks and the lack of it by the Lions.

 

I’ve mentioned Gregor Paul before as a good commentator on rugby – he is knowledgeable and balanced – his views on next week are worth reading –

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/rugby/news/article.cfm?c_id=80&objectid=11881820

His view on changes for the Lions largely echo the ones I put forward yesterday – so obviously I would agree with him there.

His analysis of how difficult it will be for the Lions to win in Wellington is also interesting (and worryingly rationale).

That’s not to doubt their desire or appetite to win this thing. These are world class players. Good athletes, good professionals and men dedicated to the cause.

But they are not super human and the reality of international rugby is that no team on earth has managed in recent history to lift their performance in the final two tests of their respective season.

And another piece from the legendary Graham Price regarding the second test –

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/warren-gatland-probably-stick-same-13233768

But you know, ultimately it didn’t really matter what Williams did or didn’t do, nor any of his team-mates. On this performance New Zealand would have walloped any team in the world.

And the most worrying thing for me is they are only going to get better in the second and third Tests.

The Lions didn’t make the most of the chances they did create, whereas New Zealand, by contrast, produced a couple of match winning moments when we didn’t expect it.

 

The final word has to go to Mark Reason – who, more than most in New Zealand understands and appreciates the Lions fans –

http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/all-blacks/94058464/.html

There will be thousands more words written about the tour, I would like to think that this will be one of the best memories –

OPINION: Come on, guys. You were magnificent on the pitch. Hard, skillful and intelligent. Everything we revere about the All Blacks. But far too many people in New Zealand really need to learn how to win. Listen to the Lions who always sing when they’re losing. Be Irish for a day.

A lot of Kiwis have been in touch since Saturday night who now actually want the Lions to win the second test. They hate this smug blanket that is settling over the country. They wince at all the gloating, all the high pitched crowing. Doodle, doodle, doo.

It’s unthinkable, but there are blokes and blokesses deep in the New Zealand undergrowth who have become Lions supporters for a week. They are the new black. They are the folk who used to turn out to cheer for the Lions when they toured apartheid South Africa.

 

Long Live the Lions! (see previous post)

 

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