'Great call' in resting Lions

Tue, 18 Jun 2013 13:22
Large lions dejected630 Large rory best b i lions dejecte

The Lions have defended their decision to rest a number of their first choice players during their 14-12 loss to the Brumbies in Canberra on Tuesday.

The Lions have defended their decision to rest a number of their first choice players during their 14-12 loss to the Brumbies in Canberra on Tuesday.

The Lions fielded their weakest side of the tour against the strongest Australian Super Rugby franchise which meant that it was always going to be a tough ask. Having three players that only joined the squad in the past two days and one that arrived a few days before that did not help their cause.

A fullback at flyhalf, two centres and a wing on debut and another wing that arrived on Monday means that there was absolutely not continuity amongst the back division going into the game against, arguably, one of the most tactically astute coaches in world rugby - Jake White.

Lions tour manager Andy Irvine defended coach Warren Gatland's decision and told lionsrugby.com: "The coaches made a great call in trying to preserve the players for Saturday, so that we have a fresh team with a bit of luck."

The Lions have been left depleted hugely in the backline during this tour which is strange according to the former Scotland fullback Irvine.

"It is an incredibly physical game now, even more so than in 2009, but strangely it is our backs who are struggling.

"And that's despite the fact they've won the physical battle in every game on tour and have been wonderful in their bravery, defence and taking the game to the opposition," he added.

Irvine, a veteran of 42 Lions matches himself, still believes that despite the injuries they are more than up for the task at hand and that the influence of the older players on the younger ones is something that is vital in their preparation for the first Test.

"There is a lot of character in this team and there is a great combination of youth and experience. The older players are really showing what experience counts for by helping the younger ones, who are bubbling with enthusiasm.

"There is a great mix and team spirit and Sam Warburton is doing a great job as captain.

"The likes of Brian O'Driscoll, Paul O'Connell, Jamie Heaslip, Adam Jones and Alun Wyn Jones are all contributing and they are all working together," Irvine said.

The decision to rest a number of players for this game seems to slightly mirror the tactics of Clive Woodward in 2005 who basically selected two squads which proved to be much more of a hindrance than a help in the end.

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 20 October 2017
Scarlets v Bath 18h45 Parc y Scarlets
Sat, 21 October 2017
Australia v New Zealand 09h00 Brisbane
Glasgow Warriors v Leinster 12h00 Scotstoun
Sharks v Blue Bulls 12h30 Durban
Treviso v Toulon 14h15 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Western Province v Golden Lions 15h00 Cape Town
Clermont Auvergne v Northampton Saints 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Leicester Tigers v Castres 16h30 Welford Road
Munster v Racing Metro 16h30 Thomond Park
Saracens v Ospreys 18h45 Allianz Park
Sun, 22 October 2017
Montpellier v Exeter Chiefs 12h00 Altrad Stadium
La Rochelle v Ulster 14h15 Paris
Wasps v Harlequins 16h30 Ricoh Arena
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
B&I Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Australia 0 0 0 0 0
Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0
NSW-Queensland 0 0 0 0 0
Blues 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
NZ Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Maori All Blacks 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0