The British and Irish Lions Tour Still At 50/50
I think this tour is still hanging in the balance right now and it is 50/50 whether it will be completed or not.
This week with both the British and Irish Lions plus The Springbok Rugby Team having to rearrange fixtures to try desperately to keep the tour on the go. Covid is rampant in Johannesburg currently and personally i should know as I have been taken out yet again as each variant is alarmingly different. I can understand more this time as my balance has been affected and nothing else. That was 4 days ago and my balance is now back but I am still weak so can understand any player getting this now will not be at their best for a good few weeks.
Imagine having a squad of 48 players just to try and guarantee you will be able to select a final squad of 22 for the match day game. That is the Springboks answer to Covid as they are playing a numbers game and it may work still. The entire squad was in a lock down quarantine with 12 players isolated as of yesterday. We are still 2 weeks away from the first test so who knows what shape either squad will be in by then.
I must admit I have been shocked by how catchy this has been as I know from my families business how many staff members are now off and it is getting worse here. Obviously for the majority this is not deadly, but it is more of a nuisance than anything else as it is just so disruptive.
What I don't understand is the tour is looking more and more likely to be a major financial loss for both parties and they had other options. This should be a celebration of sport as this tour only happens once every 4 years so why play somewhere where fans cannot attend. If you are not able to tour as a touring party would enjoying that country taking in what it has to offer then you may as well invite that country to your country. This is a unique opportunity to play one test match at each of the home union venues in a revised schedule in what could have been a rugby celebration.
I have no idea why this was not agreed upon as this would have grown the British and Irish Lions brand even more. The public demand from an internal tour such as this would have tickets sold out within minutes and you would not be dealing with having to play the same team twice in the warm up games like we are now.
I would read nothing into these warm up games and don't be fooled and be sucked in. South Africa's squad of 48 players has basically taken the best players out of the teams that the Lions would be playing so they are not even being tested. The chances of them being undercooked by the time the first match comes around is a real possibility and must be a huge worry for Gatland and his management group. We know how smart Rassie Erasmus is on tactics and would put nothing past him.
The quality of opposition is disappointing to say the least as I know my club team I used to play for would have been stronger that what we have seen so far. This in my mind is damaging the tour more than anything else and then having the same team play again 4 days later in a repeat match is not what fans want to see.
I understand the show must go on but there are ways of going about it smartly. This option they decided on has not been thought through properly and is a shocking sporting decision as it is not only robbing the players of the experience, but the fans as well.