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Weather Conditions To Favour The Lions ?

24th June 2005 By Munster Rugby

Weather Conditions To Favour The Lions ?

The storm clouds that are gathering over Christchurch are expected to deliver conditions – heavy rain and strong winds – that will favour the Lions rather than the All Blacks.

The storm clouds that are gathering over Christchurch are expected to deliver conditions – heavy rain and strong winds – that will favour the Lions rather than the All Blacks.

Even Blacks captain Tana Umaga alluded to the affect the weather might have when he said, “It’s already in our mind-set that it might be raining and we’ll have to play wet weather football, so we’ll just have to adjust to that. I don’t think it’ll be an expansive game. It’s going to be pretty tight, a big grind, I don’t think it’ll be a great spectacle for the supporters.”

The general consensus is that the Lions will use their two 10s – Jones and Wilkinson – to kick for position for the pack to take it on from there.

The worry with that policy was the threat posed by Leon McDonald, Dougie Howlett and Sitiveni Sivivatu, were they to hoover up wayward ball and run it back.

Now it seems the weather may negate that threat to some degree and all of a sudden it looks like this could be a really close run affair ?

The Lions will be confident that they can handle the Blacks at the set piece, both scrum and line-out, and that they’ve learned a lesson from the Maori game about the break-down area that ultimately cost them victory in that game.

Forgetting all the hype and nonsense, pound for pound,there is probably very little separating these sides in terms of all-round ability.

The Lions to edge it up front, the Blacks in the backs ? So the outcome to be decided in two key area – half-back and back-row.

Marshall/Carter v Peel/Jones

Collins/So’oialo/McCaw v Hill/Corry/Back.

Put in those terms it doesn’t look good for the Lions but there are two other areas that will play a huge part in deciding the outcome of this game – passion and preparation.

The Lions are up for this one and one thing we can be sure of. If they are alive with ten to go, they will finish strongly. And Wilkinson is always capable of doing what he did against Argentina or Australia. To win, the Blacks need to be home ‘n hosed by the start of the final quarter.

Woodward and Eddie O’Sullivan are famous for their preparation. Their attention to detail. It looks now like they’ve gone for a ‘wet-weather tyre’ race and the weather is about to turn in their favour.

When announcing their side in glorious conditions last Wednesday, perhaps they were only too well aware that it was the foot-soldiers who would influence the outcome of this game not the cavalry.

Marvels or Muppetts ? We’ll have a better idea, Saturday morning before 10am.

Lions: J Robinson; J Lewsey, B O’Driscoll (captain), J Wilkinson, G Thomas; S Jones, D Peel; G Jenkins, S Byrne, J White, P O’Connell, B Kay; R Hill, N Back, MCorry. Replacements: S Thompson, G Rowntree, D Grewcock, R Jones, M Dawson, W Greenwood, S Horgan.

New Zealand: L MacDonald; D Howlett, T Umaga (captain), A Mauger, S Sivivatu; D Carter, J Marshall; Woodcock, Mealamu, Hayman; Jack, Williams; Collins, McCaw, So’oialo. Replacements: D Witcombe, G Somerville, J Gibbes, Lauaki, Kelleher, Muliaina, R Gear.

Joel Jutge.

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