Lions restore old school values

Sun, 04 Jun 2017 07:00

REACTION: The British and Irish may have been widely rubbished for a sub-par performance in their New Zealand tour opener, but they won respect for restoring old school values in a professional era.

The scrambled effort to pull off a 13-7 win over a team of nobodies playing under the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians banner was widely panned by critics.

But for the mainly amateur Barbarians, who fit rugby around regular weekday jobs, the highlight was as much about a return to after-match camaraderie as it was about nearly causing a major upset.

In the tightly-scripted professional era, the once traditional get-together in the changing sheds after the game had become a distant memory until Warren Gatland decided his Lions could benefit from socialising with New Zealanders.

As the sellout crowd of 20,000 left Toll Stadium in Whangarei, frustrated by what they had seen from Britain and Ireland's best, the players relaxed together beneath the main stand, bonded by a mutual respect.

"We just walked between the two changing rooms," Barbarians centre Dwayne Sweeney said as he emerged from the changing rooms wearing the No.12 Lions jersey of Ben Te'o.

"I said it was a privilege to play against him. I haven't played Test rugby and he's playing for England," Sweeney said.

"They respected what we put out there. I didn't think I'd ever actually get the chance to play the Lions. It's probably the best moment I've ever had, I loved it."

The Lions, each on a basic tour fee of £70,000 (US$90,000), regrouped Sunday to attend an official Maori welcome before launching into preparations for Wednesday's match against the Auckland Blues.

The Barbarians meanwhile returned to their homes to prepare for their day jobs on Monday in a land where the median annual wage is close to a third of the Lions tour fee.

"It was a hell of an experience and something the boys really enjoyed," said Barbarians skipper Sam Anderson-Heather.

He scored the only Barbarians try as his team took a 7-3 lead at half-time, but memories of the outstanding performance were already giving way to reality for the 29-year-old who runs a property management company.

"I've got a lot of work to get through. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday are pretty full so I'll literally be straight back to work Monday morning," he said.

"Life goes on."

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
Fri, 22 December 2017
Wasps v Gloucester 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins 22h00 Kingston Park
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Leicester Tigers v Saracens 22h00 Welford Road
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
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