an ability to ground the ball there.
And what could the lions be coming away with from South Africa?
Just think a half decent set of officials, Ugo Monye being able to keep hold of the ball and ground it for tries when he’d crossed the line, Ronan O’Gara not choking on the big stage and the lions could have written themselves into rugby folklore with a 3-0 or 2-0 series victory.
The little things cost them as they showed on Saturday when the 2nd XV – the Boks can’t claim that as we kept being told about the great strength in depth they had – got the breaks and didn’t have to play against officials, who now didn’t have to favour one side with the series being won. And so proceeded to thump the Boks.
Yes they made mistakes, you can’t say that Williams should have been on the wing for the first two tests because his form this last season has been rubbish and he did nothing in the warm up games to justify a starting place. The latter is the same for Flutey who had a great game on Saturday but hadn’t looked anywhere like that previously on the tour, there’s no way he could have displaced either of O’Driscoll or Roberts.
Was it a mistake to start with Vickery and Mears in the front row in the first test, no, they were on form and the trouble they found themselves in was more to do with the pack behind them and the inability of the officials to understand the shenanigans of the front row. Put Shaw behind them in that game, and a ref with a clue and things would have been different. Vickery, completely written off after that game showed all the detractors when he exited the international stage for probably the last time on 55 minutes.
Is it really McGeechan’s last Lions? Two very close defeats and a thumping victory, outscoring them 74 to 63 and putting down more tries, for a disparate bunch cobbled together against a settled reigning World champion side in their back yard, it could have been have been a hell of a way to bow out.