In two very interesting columns this week, Wales assistant coach, Shaun Edwards and, All Black legend, Zinzan Brooke have their say on the difference between the North and the South and what the 2009 Lions prospects are.
Rugby 365 reports that Wasps head coach Edwards, writing for the Guardian, is part of Ian McGeechan’s coaching team heading to South Africa next year and, despite seeing the majority of the Home Nations dismantled by their Southern Hemisphere opponents, says he remains confident that the Lions can be successful against the Springboks in 2009.
“It is not all doom and gloom. The summer and the Lions tour are still a way off and lessons have been learned about the particular set of circumstances in which Test rugby now finds itself and what they demand of the players.”
With Wales having saved some pride on the last match-day of the November series with their win over Australia Edwards says there was still plenty of good which he, Warren Gatland, Rob Howley and Ian McGeechan can take from the international month.
“Had levels of performance merely bumped along at basement level during the autumn, I would be depressed but Wales, the team I know best, improved from game to game until, in arguably the match of the autumn series, we beat Australia.”
He continued: “With three of the Welsh coaches involved with the Lions you can also be sure that the lessons of losing to the Springboks, when we felt we should have won, will also be hammered home. For example, we know that against the brilliant South African scrambling defence it is not enough to have 60% of territory and 60% of possession if you don’t make it.
“I’ll bet the odds on the Lions will be a whole lot closer by the time we play our first match on May 30 and a whole lot closer still when the first Test comes around on June 20.
Brooke on the other hand, in his column for the BBC (focusing largely on the 2011 World Cup Draw), had little optimism for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The former All Black No.8 says there is just too big a gap between the Hemisphere’s at the moment.
“The gap is just too wide and you have to remember that Australia, New Zealand and South Africa came to the UK off the back of a long hard season.
“That void between the northern and southern hemisphere teams can be filled but I cannot see it happening any time soon.”Tweet