ANOTHER WIN for the British and Irish Lions, and another set of lessons learned for the men in the famous red jersey…but they quickly need to start handing out more lessons, rather than trying to learn from them.
Against the The Cheetahs – who finished bottom of the Super 14, only winning two games – they were taught a lesson at the breakdown, but why are they still surprised by the way teams are playing?
The keys to the breakdown, as all players know are:
- And learning, quickly, what the referee wants
So it is confusing to hear players talk about their problems at the breakdown, when we all knew what they were before the game.
And please don’t let the blame he placed on the head of the openside flanker, against the Cheetahs, Joe Worsley.
As every coach will tell you the breakdown is the responsibility of every player. The 7 is meant to be the first man to the breakdown, but after that the job is done by everyone else.
Wales put in an exemplary display at the breakdown at the start of the Six Nations. When they were tackled or doing the tackling the job of the first man was to remove opposition players. The Wales players arrived with a plan but for so many of the rucks against the Cheetahs, the Lions seemed to be arriving at rucks without a plan. Just hitting them for the sake of it.
If they repeat this performance in the Test match they will lose, without question.
It is true that the Lions do have many players to return to the side and they had nine making their first starts…that does let them off some of the blame, but not all of it as they are all internationals.
Those who got closer to a Test place:
- James Hook – Showed that he offers something very different from O’Gara and Jones. But can he run a game as well?
- Andrew Sheridan – Playing very well and scrimmaged superbly
- Euan Murray – The same as Sheridan. Will lock up the scrum