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Lions Need To Up The Pace.

21st June 2005 By Munster Rugby

Lions Need To Up The Pace.

The comment from Sky’s Stuart Barnes that, “This aint going down as one of the memorable Lions mid-week perforamces,” could trigger little argument from those watching the game in Invercargill.

The comment from Sky’s Stuart Barnes that, “This aint going down as one of the memorable Lions mid-week perforamces,” could trigger little argument from those watching the game in Invercargill.

Not that you could ever really have seen the Lions beaten but their performance was disjointed and scrappy and had they not had the surprise inclusion of Gavin Henson then yes, things might have been a whole lot different.

Or if Southland hadn’t lost Paul Miller early in the second half. Or if the Lions hadn’t introduced Andrew Sheridan and Gordon Bullock.

This was a Southland side who started with just four players who had Super 12 experience and along with Manawatu would be considered the weakest of the sides the Lions have to play.

Individually, there were good displays from Henson , and from Ronan O’Gara, Geordan Murphy, and Donncha O’Callaghan, – three of whom at least should have been in Christchurch preparing for the first Test – but overall it was an unconvincing display.

In previous games the Lions have managed to pull away in the final quarter but on this occasion, it needed the intervention of Murphy to prevent the home side snatching a 73rd minute try that, had it been converted, would have left just three points separating the sides.

Maybe the Lions are playing below themselves in a deliberate ploy to lull the All Blacks into a false sense of security.

If that is the case, they are doing a splendid job.

On the other hand if the Saturday side isn’t a whole lot better than what is termed the mid-week team, then it’s going to be a very long afternoon for northern hemisphere fans in the Jade Stadium on Saturday.

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