19-3, 19-16 and then……

Bit of a blinder, wasn\’t it?

11 thoughts on “19-3, 19-16 and then……”

  1. How do you get to see the matches, Tim? Does Portgual have a rugby channel or are you picking up one of the British stations?

  2. Oh, yes. And to top it off Ian Robertson is going to have to eat his words after saying they would get beaten without O’Driscol.

  3. Excellent. The only selection mistake was Philips, another fine player who is now past it at that level. Very odd, given how logical it would have been to give Sexton the scrum-half he was used to with Ireland.

  4. Aye, playing 10 Welshmen was a huge mistake. What contribution did Roberts, Davies, North, and Halfpenny make? Lucky we just scraped home, otherwise we’d have been rueing the day we didn’t pick Neil Back and Johnny Wilkinson.

  5. You’ve named four Welshman. What about Phillips, Lydiate and Hibbard?

    Granted the histrionics over O’Driscoll were a little absurd, but claiming that every decision the coaching team made was the best one is a little silly.

  6. If assume you mean that those three players had games poor enough to put question marks over their selection. To that I reply that if you think picking a poor scrum half and hooker against the Wallabies can give you a victory, or even a half time lead, you don’t know much about the game. True, the Lions turned it on once the substitutions were made, and there was a reason for that: the Lions had a very strong bench, Gatland knew this, and made the changes early. The Aussie substitutes were not of the same calibre.

  7. @Tim Newman, Phillips is pretty poor – stuttering feet, an average pass, laborious ‘darts’ around the fringes. We don’t want ‘an extra forward’, we want ‘a scrum half’.

    That said, it didn’t matter behind a pack establishing that kind of dominance – I could play scrum half behind a scrum that is sprinting, not rumbling, upfield.

    Conor Murray was the better 9.

    Lydiate was average; Tom Croft would have been better.

    The fact that we won doesn’t mean this was the only side that could have won.

    I thought Hibbard was outstanding, though (and clearly concussed – if you have it recorded, watch his reaction, post-substitution, when the Lions win a scrum pen; he has no idea what is going on); when Tom Youngs came on the hard work was already done.

    Likewise Adam Jones, Alun-Wyn Jones and Faletau who were also not mentioned above.

    I was in Australia 12 years ago for those Tests; I’d have been there again on Saturday but for some work issues. Still, watching it on the telly was cathartic to say the least!

    I can’t remember a more chaotic and shambling Wobbly side. And now for the Ashes…

  8. I agree that Phillips was far from his best in both the tests he played: but he did enough, had he been poor Genia would have been running through him all night. I didn’t see much of Lydiate, but I too thought Hibbard was very good, and has been all tour. He’s a great prospect for Wales. And it was great that Youngs could come on as such an effective replacement.

    I’m not making the argument that this was the only side that could have won, but in hindsight it’s pretty hard to justify the criticism directed at Gatland. He knew what he was doing and his selection delivered, everything else is “what if?”

  9. Yes, agreed Tim, though on a minorish technical point, I’m not sure Genia would have been running through Phillips anyway – at the scrum and breakdown it’s usually your back row or other mobile pack members looking for the opposition 9, and in broken play Genia often operates as a second full back. But this is a quibble and you’re right re Gatland.

    I must say, I was one who thought his non-selection of O’Driscoll was mad.

  10. Oh, nothing justifies the level of abuse Gatland got and the jeremiads in relation to BOD’s non-selection. I just think it’s debatable that every call he made was right.

  11. I thought BOD had two very ordinary games in the first two tests, and a change was due. He was one hell of an addition to the squad for sure, but I don’t think his earned his place in the third rest. I didn’t think Davies had done much either, but clearly Gatland put the partnership with Roberts at a premium, and it paid off.

    It annoys me that people thought BOD was undroppable because of his history and stature rather than his current performance. IMO there were only two undroppable players in the side: Halfpenny and North (maybe Adam Jones too). Nobody else was a shoe-in, and that includes BOD. And it’s not like Gatland shies away from dropping high-profile players: he dropped Warburton during the last 6 Nations. Maybe this is one of the advantages of having a foreign coach?

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