The Lions squad has been named, and the phoney war has begun.
Remember the bitterness and sneering around the 2005 series? To be fair, the Lions rocked up with Alistair Campbell, but quite how Brian O’Driscoll lost the moral high ground after a calculated piece of filth a couple of minutes into the test series (and the Citing Commissioner flown out of the country at 0700 the following day) remains a mystery.
The contradictory criticisms, reckons and sneers have begun and this is likely to escalate gradually over the next six weeks. And when Stephen Jones breathes air, it will gather pace further.
Last Wednesday night’s Crowd Goes Wild interview with Will Greenwood gave a reasonably innocuous interview mainly focussed around accepting that Dylan Hartley won’t be in the squad.
Returning to the studio it was said “Wow; we’ve got more of this coming”. Like what; a bland opinion? And there was no slurring in the aside either.
Greenwood comes across as a bit wooden but he’s no Ian Jones. But let’s get the retaliation in early.
Then there is Graham Henry; presider over the most spectacularly dysfunctional Lions tour ever. He has come out and taken inappropriate hyperbole to new depths in saying the schedule was suicidal. Maybe that’s why the squad is so large?
Anyway, we are in for a lot of Graham Henry over the next two and a half months. He has been out of the limelight since he was assistant coach for Argentina in 2012, so this is a welcome return to some form of perceived relevance for him. And should this Lions squad self-implode he’s your man.
Your corporate money will not be used to its finest in the winter of 2017. They are actually charging people decent coin to hear him, Ian Jones and Phil Gifford speak.
Here we have a Scotsman, living in New Zealand complaining about a British side with New Zealand born players picked to play a New Zealand side with a history of picking Pacific Island born players. What a dizzy and confusing circle that is.
And, really, that is not a rabbit hole we want to dive down.
But there’s more. Let’s find some ex All Blacks for some more reckons.
Kevin Mealamu knows a thing or two about how to disrupt a Lions campaign by hook or crook, but … who is Steven Bates? That is casting the net pretty wide. Research reveals that Bates played one test v Italy in 2004.
Colin Farrell might want to sit by his phone.
This winter, we are in for a season of hanging on every word that Stephen Jones might utter. Buckle in.