An amazing game to watch which would of left every Lions fan without a voice by the end of the 80 minutes, and every SpringBok fan touching cloth!
The Bok to be honest, were amazing in the first half. They hammered the Lions forwards with only Croft and Jones showing they were world class players. Stephen Jones missed some vital kicks which could of won the game for the Lions, and Monye was tackled very well on 2 try saving tackles on the line.... in short it was just not going to go the Lions way.
There is brightness on the horizon though, which comes in the shape of O'Driscoll and Roberts. The 2 centres as playing as if they were born at the hip. The link up and power play between these two has SA on the back ropes. Roberts is seriously staking a claim for the best centre in the world, where as O'Driscolls reputation is drawing a swarm of defenders to him, which is opening up gaps around the park.
A lot more to come, the second test obviously is vital, but we believe the Lions can do it, if they get the crap players off the pitch quick enough and go to plan B before 20 points have been put on the board, they we can take it right to them!
FANS REPORT - by Chris Mann
Brave Lions let down by management donkeys!
The Lions could have won the game if only there had been some ‘leadership’. And we have to thank the Boks for ‘giving us a chance’ and making it great to watch!
I’ve been fearing for the Lions with Vickery and Sheridan in the squad – and though fortunately Sheridan didn’t feature – poor Vickery was ‘hung out to dry’ – put into a situation which he just hasn’t been able to cope with for at least the last three years. Whereas little squat Adam Jones coped admirably against the much-hyped ‘Beast’ – who certainly doesn’t bind according to the laws, by the way. And Vickery at tight head SHOULD be the one putting pressure on the Beast at loose head, not the other way round.
I don’t blame Vickery – I feel for him. But what were McGeechan and Rowntree thinking? Couldn’t they see what was plain to everyone? Putting Vickery back on in the second half, where he gave away another 3 points, was just worse than insanity. And not just for the points he gave away, but for the destruction of what should have been good Lions possession at scrums whilst he was on the pitch.
And what woeful captaincy from O’Connell. As the man in charge on the field he should have made the call re Vickery if the ‘management’ could not. Whatever were they all thinking at half time? And with 5 mins to go, and South Africa ‘on the ropes’, (thanks mainly to their own stupidity or arrogance in how they made their substitutions) and with easily-kickable penalties coming thick and fast, why lose your head and ‘go for broke?’, when several times 3 points were on offer – and another 3 looked very likely to come along too – such was the Lions final pressure? That would have won it, despite the horrendous errors over Vickery. And an unconverted try would only give a draw – so how intelligent was that?
But I don’t read much of any of this in match reports – probably because few who haven’t played in the front row understand that mostly games are won or lost ‘up front’. This was certainly a game lost in the front row.
And I think the selectors and the Captain should ‘carry the can’ publicly for throwing away a priceless chance for these Lions, and their supporters. But just like politicians everywhere, even when faced with plain facts of culpability, will those responsible apologise or admit responsibility? Hell no!
Roll on the next test – at least the Boks have ensured that a decision over brave Vickery which has been long overdue, will be made now. I’d imagine that if he had been Captain himself on Saturday, he’d have taken himself off after about 20 mins.