Lions in Australia

This entry was posted on Friday, June 21st, 2013


Sporting trips to Australia used to be worth fearing. All conquering in cricket and rugby union, they even invented the ‘dominate your home Olympics to a point of tedium’ shtick too. Not any more. Their cricketers are only feared in the post-match bar, whilst the British (and Irish) Lions head to Australia this summer as heavy favourites. But we are laying them.

Our main concern are injuries to key players. Irishman Jonathan Sexton has a hamstring problem, whilst the Saracens number 10 Owen Farrell has a dead leg. Two loose-head props in Cian Healy and Gethin Jenkins have already gone home, and Manu Tuilagi isn’t fully fit either. The European game has no depth. A Lions tour requires bags of it.

Australia aren’t as bad as many suspect either. They recently drew with the greatest side ever on home turf, and their winter tour saw them win all their UK matches.

Assembling a group from different clubs, let alone countries every four years is bloody tricky. In international football at least, there is a level playing field – everyone else is doing it too (so no excuses Hodgson.) Yet here, the Lions are fighting against a regular international outfit. That may explain why only two of the last nine Lions tours have been successful, and why there hasn’t been an away win since 1997, Jeremy Guscott drop-kick and all. Even a great Lions side led by Martin Johnson in 2001, suffered a 2-1 defeat. And if Johnno can’t, who the hell can?

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