Rate the match: Lions v Barbarians


How did you rate the opening game of the British and Irish Lions tour?

Rate the match: Lions v Barbarians

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What were the main talking points from the game? Who stood out in a red shirt?

29 thoughts on “Rate the match: Lions v Barbarians

  1. Difficult to vote due to the playing conditions and the level of structure the BaaBaas had. I went for 7 simply because I thought both teams tried their best ( minus a couple of baabaas that didn’t look interested) and I liked some of the attacking patterns shown by the lions. Farrell as expected showed his recent indifferent form and I pray Sexton stays fit although I doubt
    Gatland will ignore the need to bring outhalf reinforcements. Backrow were immense and scrum good although we must get the lineout a lot sharper. Bring ’em on!!

  2. Pointless marketing exercise, a decent enough training run but all it told us was stuff we already knew – Sexton is head and shoulders above the other outside half. Farrel’s iceman persona now seems like an old sarcastic joke and he was worryingly stilted. Tried and tested same nation combinations worked well but we didn’t really see any new and exciting matchups. Roll on the first real match – I think there will be some tasty encounters in the provincial matches.

    1. Agreed regarding Farrell Brighty. i can’t believe some people on here are blaming Phillips for Farrell’s terrible performance.

    2. So much has been made of this. There was some holding on, the likes of which happens all the time in every game. Then there was a close-fisted punch to the face. Then there was a shove and a push over.

      If anyone else had been punched in the face, people would have gone insane. The citing team rightly cited and banned Brits, and nothing was done about the “reaction” from Farrell, which was quite understanable. The only but which was poor on his part in the incident was clapping afterwards, but that is no different from front rowers patting the heads of others when they concede a penalty.

      About his composure, he then 2 mins later did a delightful chip over the top which had it reached the hands would of been a try under the posts. He then kicked ever goal bar 1. Petty decent if not spectacular.

      Sexton hardly set the field alight with his contributions, and his goal kicking was 50%, in an unpressured environment given the score. He should only start if Halfpenny is playing.

      1. Robbo – well done. Sensible, impartial comment. Oh and accurate too. I’m sick and tired of the knockers of Farrell, typified by Brighty’s usual inane one-eyed drivel.

        1. Quality assessment of the rugby Baz. Insightful and enlightening. Good to see you didn’t resort to your tired old abuse for people who have different opinions to you. I reckon you’re not far off graduating to a grown up name.

      2. My criticism of Farrell wasn’t based on his reaction to what Brits did. It was on the general atrocious play throughout the game.

        1. I don’t wish to get involved in “sides” on this, but I do feel a need to offer an opinion on Farrell.

          I don’t feel any kind of love for Saracens and I would rather Burns for England, but, I also feel that Farrell gets a bit of a raw deal for his approach to the game.

          I think that he is generally a composed player when decision making, whether it be in attack, when kicking (open play and for goal) and in defence. Yes, he makes mistakes at times, and sometimes make the wrong decision, but no more than anyone would reasonably expect of a 21 year old (or whatever he is) playing 10 at this level.

          I like the fact that he gets spiky. I am not necessarily of the school of thought that 10’s should just stand back and turn a blind eye to those winding them up (physically or verbally).. Of course, the likes of Wilko and many others do play like this, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that every 10 should take the same approach.

          I also don’t think that acts of aggression or temper during the game should be linked to a subsequent poor kick, bad pass or dodgy decision or a lack of “good” temperament.

          When Dan Carter makes a mistake, it is not because he has lost his cool. It is because he is (sometimes) human. I find it all a litttle tabloid-esque to link Farrell’s spiky play with his errors.

          1. Blub, I mentioned Farrel’s composure as an aside to my appraisal of him really; I’m mocking the media created image of him as “the iceman”. As is often the case with UK sports hacks they build something up beyond proportion – there was a lot of media coverage about him being “mr cool” and “incredibly composed” etc. after the start England had to the 6 nations. He is none of those things. He is, as you say, fallible. Also I am more interested in his game composure and I have found that lacking – he didn’t have it against Wales, didn’t have it in the HC semi and didn’t have it in the Prem semi – all big games. This worries me for the Lions.

            His overall game on Saturday was, I thought, poor. I’m not the only one who thinks that. This blog rated him the lowest player on the team. His play was too stilted (opinions differ, some blame this on Phillips), he made some critical mistakes.

            Finally I cannot but help appraise him as supposedly one of the best 4 players in the world this year. He is far, far from that and such a ludicrous accolade only serves to highlight that he is not one of the best FHs in the world.

            I don’t find his play spiky. When his dummy pops out I find it laughable and petulant. But this shouldn’t detract from the more important fact that it is his game that isn’t up to scratch, never mind his temperament.

  3. Pretty entertaining game, even the non rugby.
    Adam Jones displayed that he is probably the best scrummaging tight head in the world….. but adorably clueless everywhere else. I remember in the first half after a lineout, he ended up on the wrong side of a maul and did a hilariously hopeless 180 and lumbered back to help the drive. He looked like a confused Otter Hound xD
    Farrell played better than he did in the 6 nations (despite the scrappy opening 10 minutes), but still not as good as in 2012. I think the POTY nomination went to his head.
    Maitland was cheated of an excellent display. His effort was off this planet but his luck was just terrible. Always chasing and stretching for poor offloads and passes which was only worsened by the conditions.
    I have seen the light regarding Jonathan Davies and Jamie Roberts. Absolute class pairing, but I feel Roberts could easily team up just as fluently with both Tuilagi and O’Driscoll. Only Roberts place at 12 is secure, the 3 Outside Centres have an awesomely tight battle ahead of them.
    And Ben Youngs has something to show, Mike Phillips put in a performance that would make a chill run up Genia’s spine. The battle of the scrum halves isn’t as one sided as it’s been predicted to be, Phillips is on fire. Then Conor Murray seemingly drenched himself with gasoline ready to take the flame and carry it for the remaining 20. I assume Youngs will start against Force, he needs to put in one of the best hours play of his life if he wants to see some test action. Doubt he will get test action though as Gatland’s game plan is probably going to revolve around Phillips to counter Genia, and although I’d say Youngs is better than Murray, Murray is more similar to Phillips in his playstyle.

    My 2 cents on the stand out players.

  4. Farrell wasn’t that bad, Philips passing doing him no favours.

    Good start but hard to tell given opposition and conditions anything of consequence

  5. I dont think farrell was terrible but he certainly hasnt been at it, his attacking game has serious flaws and he has the maturity of a 6 year old, mocking his team mate when he got sinbinned was childish. Sexton was by no means at his best but still imo a shoe in for the test spot, especially if halfpenny plays and gets kicking duty as sextons attacking game is his strength, all the welsh boys were good and i thought POC led well, interested to see the match on wednesday!

  6. Farrell was not that good, he wasn’t that bad either but he was playing with no pressure on him, the pack was destroying the oposition.

    Phillips is a unique scrum-half and offers a physical threat that no other does, but his passing is not goos enough, he doesn’t deliver quick ball and the wingers better be awake because he tends to spend a lot of time at the bottom of rucks. He is a class player but he likes the game based around him.

    The pack was not tested, sure they did well but that means little, nice to see lydaite get a full game in, he needs to plahy a lot before the test.

    Nice to see Hogg looking asured at this level, I am hoping that he could light up the tour.

    A lot more to come from everybody

  7. Agree R120 , yea Philips was eye-catching due to his sneaks and breaks around the side but my worry is that the Aussie backrow are not stupid and will stem this point of attack and so Sexton will rely on quick snappy ball from Philips which he simply does not offer ( as Farrell found out) . Some of the baabaas defence on Philips” runs was pathetic – never seen Parisse give up on a tackle like that ever before!
    Also, still not sure who is going to nail down the hooker spot – Hibbard was ok but nothing better than what Youngs and Best offer.. Thoughts??

  8. When Phillips takes over a game like that, it can be great to watch, but it can also be frustrating. This time it worked because passes weren’t sticking, and running straight at the opposition was a better option than throwing it wide – as Farrell found out with his “would have been easier to score” antics.

    I answer to Tom re: Adam Jones, perhaps Tom didn’t see Adam’s little scoop pass from the base of the ruck which set up the Tipuric chance? :-) Vunipola linked well there and did a lot around the park that caught my eye. Faletau and Gray went well in the loose too, I thought. Any of those three would have made a good MOTM shout, although it’s hard to ignore Spikey when he plays like he did today.

    Farrell had a bad game. No, he wasn’t helped by a sympathetic 9 but Phillips didn’t butcher that 1-on-1, throw wild passes or get involved in a punch-up. I’ve been an admirer of Farrell’s before, but managing his alarming lack of form may prove one of the greatest challenges for the Lions coaching team.

  9. Farrell was absolutely diabolical. Me and my friends were just continually laughing at him throughout the game. Incidents i can remember off the top of my head include a kick from his own 22 that didn’t make it past half way perfectly into their fullback’s hands. A pass to one of the Lions feet that gave a turnover that lead directly to Fotoallii’s (SP?) try. And obviously butchering the move of the match. He also missed some very kickable penalties and that is less forgivable when you offer absolutely NOTHING else.

  10. The good: Adam Jones, Jamie Roberts (critical of form recently but very very good yesterday, my MOM), Faletau (high number of carries), O’Connell for 50 mins, Philips bar his terrible passing, Tipuric – definately my starting 7.

    Jonathan davies also played better than he has for ages. Some good points if not oustanding.

    The reasonable: Vunipola in the 2nd half, Hogg bar a few drops, Farrell’s kicking and genereally solid but unspectacular display, Hibbard in the scrum but lineouts not great. Gray OK. Cuthbert when he got into the game was good. Maitland had limited opportunities.

    The not so good: Lydiate – very quiet, must improve, try masked a very average day. Sexton’s goal kicking.

  11. hugely disappointing from the Baa-Baas again. Rokocoko looked fantastic, but the team again just looked like they’ve not trained on any of their strike moves together. Bit of an embarrassment for an institution within rugby which holds such high esteem.

    I don’t think it was good for the Lions. I don’t know if you can rate many positively based on the game they had, especially with much of the scoring coming from sloppy play and lax passing. Some poor distribution from Farrell and Phillips was a key thing I noticed. Farrell generally being an idiot. Questionable scrummaging from Jones. Every engagement head below hips, don’t like to see that.

    Was glad to see O’Connell come in as talismanic captain.

    1. I am glad that you picked up on Jones’ scrummaging. It means I wasn’t the only one to notice it.

      He was spending a fair amount of time binding on the arm, and pulling James down.

      I am a lions supporter, so will play the “well done for getting away with it” card, but what the hell is Steve Walsh looking at!? Half of the time he was actually on the side of Jones, and still have the pen for Adam…

      This is yet another situation where a player was able to con a fair amount of penalties because the officials have such a diabolical understanding of the scrummaging laws.

      I think that the 3 scots played pretty well, especially given the conditions. I think that all 3 could have a great tour, as the chance to play with other world class talent will bring the best out of them.

      I was happy that the two centres stepped up and produced the goods.

      Very disappointed by Farrell. I think there is no doubt that we will be seeing another 10 fly out at some point (hoping for Wilko)

      Based on what I have heard about the conditions with the ball, I think Hibbard was outstanding with his throwing, big credit due for hitting the tail so accurately with such a slippy ball.

      Phillips was pretty good. He ran it a bit too much for my liking, but I am going to give him he benefit of the doubt and say it was a decision made due to the condition of the ball. With sexton at 10, the ball needs to be passed a lot more. I liked tipuric doing the job of “2nd 9” when Phillips was at the bottom of the ruck.

      Lydiate was solid, but didnt do a huge deal. I would like to see a bit more from him, as he has to justify some of the names left out (Brown, Wood, Robshaw).

      North looked aggressive when he came on. I liked seeing him in at 12. It’s something I love about the lions, the fact that we occasionally see a guy out of position, but he is still effective. It’s good to know he is an option there.

      Cuthbert finished and finished well. Couldn’t ask much more of him.

      Liked the combination of POC and Gray with AWJ to come on. POC is someone who will strike fear into the Aussies, great leader too.

      I hope the lions find the experience helpful, and the ball will stick a lot more in Aus.

      Overall pretty happy though. I thought everyone played pretty well and justified their selection (except Farrell)

      1. I’m glad it’s been picked up on here because Adam Jones was awful. I am normally a big admirer of his, but his scrummaging was just illegal in every way. Yes if he gets away with it great, but if it gets noticed then the refs will be looking for this. He bored in horrifically twice in the first 20 minutes and we received penalties for it. I think it happened a few more times when he was binding on the arm. I have seen him do this before and get away with it, so hopefully he stays as deceptive as it appears and it doesn’t cost the Lions.

  12. I think it would be pretty foolish to base any predictions for the tour on what we saw in hong Kong. That was like a prem team playing an all amateur outfit. What was the game plan? Just seemed everyone was head down. Worked against the smaller babas team. But I can’t see Roberts running through Horne and faingaa like he was laulala and Daly. Berrick Barnes is a solid tackler too. Hogg and Maitland are the only two with any real gas. Lydiate looked exactly how I expected. Not match fit blowing out his backside after five minutes. Tipuric on the other hand looked class. Warburton must be nervous, his fellow countryman is playing out of his skin. Would love Hogg to start as well. He brings so much more than halfpenny going forward.

  13. If Warburton recovers enough for him and Tipuric to share the warm up games is there a real chance we could see Gatland drop the captain for the tests? Tipuric’s form is sensational, Warburton still seems to be working his way back in.

    1. Agree Brighty. Tipuric looks the better play at the moment, and with leads like POC (definitely) and BOD (maybe) on the pitch, we wouldn’t have an issue of no real captain.

      1. We hear a lot about the “one squad” ethic of the Lions, and all the comments from the players are emphasising this. I would hope therefore, that this would enable Gatland to pick the best back-row for the Tests, as opposed to the captain plus the best other two.

        I do not suggest – yet – that Warburton is NOT in the best back-row anyway, but it is reasonable to assume that he may not be.

  14. There is much criticism of poor handling (catching and passing) but really – that ball was awful. It is not like playing in torrential rain because the moisture (not rainwater) is mixed with sweat which make sit incredibly more slippery.

  15. Any Lions supporter would say the game was a 7 but the opposition in my opinion was a 1. The last few Babas selections have been questionable to say the least. Not wanting to pick on individuals but to use as an example: Michael Tindall as brilliant player!!! as he was is a cart horse today. Is this the flare the selectors were looking for? Better you select the whole reds backline, maybe then we will have a game!!! Who wants to watch 59-8 and 40-12 ?!!! I would rather watch a good school boy game like recent Maritzburg College 150 th anniversary v Glenwood game that supports on both sides in tears during and after the game !!!

    1. Sorry Last line should read” game that had supporters on both sides in tears during and after the game !!! “

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