Lellow or Wed?
It is not often that rugby supporters get to choose a team to support just before the kick-off of a test match - you are either born a Springbok, Wallaby or
a Kiwi or you are busy working out Fermat's Last Theorem and therefore pre-occupied and disinterested in rugby. Stop reading if you are the latter.
The 2nd test between the Wallabies and the British and Irish Lions provided the first legitimate opportunity for this old armchair critic to support Australia
and therefore force a series decider in Sydney. And before you shout ‘skande!’ from the cheap seats, who wants to see a 3 match test series decided in
2? Are we not southern hemispherians in arms?
Anyway, a far simpler decision process on whom to support resulted in the same answer from a 3-year old princess watching with me. Despite carefully
explaining where The B&I Lions were from and why Australian rugby players are named after a marsupial the future fashionista made her own choice
based on? Yellow or red or rather ‘lellow or wed’ - so we both supported ‘lellow’!
Similar to the previous weekend’s histrionics the 2nd test was an incredibly tense affair and the players looked like they were tasked to find a solution
for global warming in the 80 minutes available. There were many elementary mistakes and it seemed like neither side was willing to open up and play
like they did the previous week.
The defences were markedly better and for a crazy moment one could understand the Stormers’ game plan of defend first and kick your penalties.
Except that they (Stormers) apply this test series or RWC winning formula in a Super Rugby series but that’s another story.
The changes made by Gatland to his forward pack backfired to a certain extent as the Lions conceded a few penalties at scrum time and in a game that
close, 3 points were always going to make a difference.
Leali’ifano’s boot was unerringly accurate despite what surely was a raging headache from the previous week’s knock out and ultimately goal kicking
was again the differentiator. Halfpenny’s attempt at the end was a go for broke hallelujah decision.
Two players stood out in this match and not for the right reasons, Beale and O’Connor. Both were overwhelmed by the occasion and given earlier errors
tried to make up with individual breaks and trickery exactly like they have been trying for their provincial outfit with little to no success. For Australia to
win this series, these 2 gentlemen need to unlock the power around them and once that happens, individual brilliance comes naturally and unforced.
The Lions have made wholesale changes and dropped Brian O’Driscoll from the match day 23, a very big and brave call but as Horwill proved in the final
few minutes, big brave calls win test matches. This is not the time for BOD’s eulogy but he will definitely have made a difference with his old Lions
partner Jamie Roberts but alas no.
This game is probably the biggest test outside of a RWC knock out and this correspondent cannot wait for Saturday’s kick off. Who to support? Lellow
or Red? I’ll let the princess make the call.