As the Lions bandwagon has finally started to roll, hopefully you do not have too much planned for the next five weeks apart from a little light shopping on the House of Fraser website of course . The amazing concept of four nations coming together to play as one team has survived yet again and don’t we all love it.
It is hard however to say what they will have got from the Barbarians game in Hong Kong on Saturday apart from some serious dehydration! It was a bit of a cricket score which is a shame for the proud name of the Barbarians. Still, the conditions will have been a great test both mentally and physically and the players will find Australia a lot easier by comparison.
My own first tour of Australia back in 2001 was an amazing experience. There were a few on that tour who were not that happy and criticized coach Graham Henry but I found him a delight to work with. He didn’t chat much to me but he knew what he was doing and had us well organized and ready to play. I found every game not just the tests to be like a cup final. If you think about it from the other side and what it must be like to be a regional player in Australia taking on the Lions! It would be the biggest game of your career and a chance to be able to say in years to come ‘I played in a team that beat the Lions’.
Warren Gatland will have a lot to decide upon in the coming weeks. The reality is you cannot play every player in a test match and the coaches have the unenviable task of selecting sides knowing what they want whilst trying to be fair and give everyone a chance.
Combinations are crucial and you have to get those together quickly so an idea of your team before you go out is helpful. In the first test against South Africa I struggled upfront but some of that was down to us not playing together much as a unit. So you have to give your combinations a chance to work.
There is a perception that this Australian side is not as strong but believe me these guys are ready to play. They are used to big games against the likes of the All Blacks on a regular basis so they will not be waiting in fear for the Lions. Now pass me that remote control.
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