The Lions always produces some incredible moments of skill, nail-biting episodes of drama and the odd instance where you think; did that really just happen?
I’ve dug into the Lions archive and found three gems, one a defensive offensive (juxtaposition but we’ll go with it), one an piece of attacking daylight robbery, and the last is just barbaric. These were three occurrances that made everyone in the stadium and those watching from their homes, demand a second look. ‘Did that really just happen?’
That’s just the beauty of the Lions; you just don't know what's going to happen next and it forces individuals to go that extra step and pull something out of the hat - and most of the time they're positive decisions.
The Good: George North Vs Israel Folau
Two giants of world rugby did battle in the most recent Lions Tour and it really was a case of Goliath Vs Goliath, except neither really succumbed to defeat, at least not in this individual skirmish. Both players' performances over the campaign were incredible, as two highly skilled and extremely physical players fought for their teams in heroic fashion.
Yet if one moment stood out as the pinnacle of their rivalry, it was that fireman's lift by North.
The audacity of North to turn offense into defence and physically move his opponent out of the way was quite remarkable. You don't see this happen often in world rugby.
The Bad: Rugby for Dummy’s (Springboks)
The second moment I want to talk about, was really quite bizarre to watch, given that we were watching some of the world's best rugby players...
Matt Dawson single-handedly took out four South African players with one outrageous dummy. So outrageous in fact that it appeared utter horseshit; but then again it comprehensively worked, so surely it must be labelled genius?
An impulsive decision and one that, if it hadn’t worked, would've made him appear a fool.
The Ugly: Cheap Shot
No matter how competitive the game of rugby is, the strict code of conduct with regards to showing respect to both the referee and your opposition is adhered to 98% of the time, yet sometimes you get those moments of sheer madness; moments like when Duncan McRae nearly beat Ronan O’Gara to a pulp.
He issued the Irishman with 11 punches to the head whilst he was grounded, and deservedly received a red-card for his crimes.
It was described as a ‘bad day for rugby,’ by the then Lions coach, Graham Henry and it’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen happen on a rugby pitch in terms of sheer malice.
3 completely contrasting moments that will all live long in the memory of the British and Irish Lions…let’s hope this year’s tour create some fantastic memories.