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A Doomsday Premonition For The 2017 British And Irish Lions Tour

By Jamie Wall
lions

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The Lions are going to get thumped next year, and the Wales vs Chiefs result isn’t the only reason, predicts Antipodean doomsayer Jamie Wall.

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The good news for Lions fans following the team to New Zealand next year: there are plenty of other things to do apart from watching the rugby. The bad: on the basis of what we saw in the Chiefs’ demolition job of Wales, the tour is going to be a month-long carnival of misery.

Remember, this was a Chiefs side without their eight All Blacks. Although he may be the biggest cult hero in New Zealand rugby, the fact still remains that Stephen Donald hadn’t started a Super Rugby game in over five years. By the time he was subbed, he was being talked about as the Man Of The Match.

As a result, this goes a lot deeper than just embarrassing a proud rugby nation. The British and Irish Lions will be facing a similar Chiefs side next year, along with all the other New Zealand Super Rugby sides and the NZ Maori. And of course three tests against the All Blacks.

There is every chance they will lose every one of those games.

Clearly Wales’ shocking lack of depth played a big part in their defeat, but that was a six tries to one beatdown. But that’s not the only reason why the Lions will suffer in 2017:

– They’ve never been very good in New Zealand anyway. In fact, they kind of suck. The Lions have only won one (1) test match in New Zealand in almost 50 years.

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– The last time they toured, in 2005, they had the luxury of a pretty soft schedule against severely weakened provincial sides. Even then, they were pushed by the Bay of Plenty, Southland and Auckland sides.

– When they toured in 1993, they dropped games to Otago, Auckland, Hawkes Bay and Waikato… the last being their biggest loss of the tour.

– They’ll be coached by Warren Gatland. Maybe a bit harsh, but a bit of quick analysis of the Chiefs game doesn’t do him any favours. Wales had their strongest period of the game straight after halftime, enjoying almost complete possession, but simply engaged in the most turgid, neolithic game plan imaginable. A series of dozens of pick and go’s were negated by simple hard tackling by the Chiefs, who patiently waited for a turnover and seemingly scored at will. Gatland will have to come up with a much better ‘Plan B’ next time around.

This tour could be a watershed moment in rugby history, the one where everyone realises the Lions aren’t actually worth getting excited about. More likely it will just continue being what Lions tours have always been in the professional era – an excuse for folk from the Northern Hemisphere to come down under and get hammered, on and off the pitch.

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