George Hooks Lions Video Blog After 2nd Test Lions 25 South Africa 28

By admin · June 28, 2009 · Filed in George Hook's Video Blog



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Really enjoyed the intelligent and coherently argued piece. I especially liked the bit about the quality of warm up matches that I hadn’t thought about. Anyway for what its worth my thoughts are;

1. We don’t have finishers or sufficient pace and skill in the back line. A classic example is our inability to score when we made line breaks and the misses by Ugo. A second example I would give and I would cite this as the main reason for us not winning the second test – our inability to score a second try with all that possession in the first half – we acme away with a drop goal.

2. We do not tackle to the death to prevent a try. Look at the stills of the last SA try in the second test. Look how SA fought to the death to stop M Phillps and Ugo in the first test.

3. Our possession is too slow and we play the blind side too much. WE don’t bring forwards running onto the ball. And Mike Phillips’ pass is too slow.

4. I am amazed you don’t mention the video ref. I was sure that the Sky replays were showing the scorers foot on the touch line before he scored.

Anyway – we fought hard and I think SA can expect a hot reception when they come to Cardiff.

Good stuff. Selection has been poor. It seems that the Boks scrum was dismissed as a threat so the selectors felt empowered to go with a lightweight mobile version. What they hadnt bargained for and what George Hook hasnt focused on much is the refereeing of Bryce Lawrence. The ‘Beast’ has never been a scrummager and has never troubled anyone. His tactics and technique in the 1st Test were illegal. Lawrence stayed on the Boks tighthead for their put-in- common practice and the touch judge is too far away to see clearly what was happening. Lawrence formed an opinion of what was going on ie ‘Vickery’s getting stuffed’ and based all his decisions on that premise.

One other point,the 2nd test prop selection on the bench meant that the Lions were always lined up for uncontested scrums. It’s a big ask for a tighthead to play 80 minutes on a hard pitch. If Jones had left the field then Gethin Jenkins would have moved to tight to accomodate sheridan. Jenkins is no tighthead and would have been under pressure from the start. The Wasps (McGeeghan, Gatland and Edwards) have plenty of form for ‘managing’ uncontested scrums in such circumstances. The scenario they had in mind would probably have seen uncontested scrums favouring the Lions. The irony if course is that the opposite was the case because the Lions scrum and the forward pack were going so well.

As for Shane Williams, his best days are clearly behind him, but all it would have taken was a tiny piece of his old magic to have won the series. Williams of only last year would have scored both tries that Monye missed and may have even scored one of the 2 chances Fitzgerald had in the 1st half on Saturday. I dont think you can blame the Lions selectors for holding out hope that his touch would return.

Was there not enough thought put into to the choice of the the men on the bench for the Lions?
Should the Lions necessarily be selecting the best 30 odd players based on the 6 nations and various cups or should they be choosing horses for courses? ie it might have been nice to be able to take a Shane Horgan off the the bench when a big physical presence was needed in the second half.

Hi George and Brent.

Thank you both so much for your analysis of the Lions Tour so far. George as ever is clinical is his assesment of everything and nearly always spot on. Brent still remains the romantic who always belives the positive until the last man is standing. You have just git to keep BELIEVING or you will never get to the promised land of a 3.0 series win over a Tri Nations country.

The provincial warm up matches proved nothing except that the breakdown was going to be a problem area for the Lions.

All in all they gave it a right old go but fell because the Boks were simply too powerful all round for them. If Declan Kidney, Michael Cheika, or top class coach were in charge of the Boks it would have been a lot worse.

DeVilliers made some serious mistakes:

1.Arrogantly emptying the bench too early in first test instead of humiliating the Lions instead of giving them some heart for the 2nd Test after the famous fightback.

2.Did not start Fourie instead of Jakobs and not replacing Jakobs when Fourie was brought on both times. Jakobs is an impressive centre with ball in hand but was the only Bok player who was lacking the physicality to defend against O’Driscoll and Roberts.

3.Took off Juan Smith in 2nd Test when he was destroying the Lions at the Breakdown.

4. Defended Burger’s eye gouging(totally unacceptable for an International coach). I believe that H.Broussow was much better than Schalk Burger anyway and will be more valuable to the Boks than Burger was.

5. Left M.Steyn on the bench for so long when Pienaar was obviously suffering from the pressure put on him in the 2nd test.

I truly wish South Africa all the success they deserve and really want them to be led by a black man for all the right reasons. Maybe DeVilliers will be a fantastic coach for them but he did not use his resources as well as he could have despite winning the series and he is probably going to get a 3.0 series result given all the Lions injuries for next Saturday. Maybe he is just a lucky coach and fair play to him for that.

The Lions Management also have to hold their hands up for the errors that they have made on tour.

1. Presumed that the Boks scrum would be inferior to theirs after the provincal games and picked two more mobile middle jumping second rows instead of Shaw,O’Callaghan or Hines with Paul O’Connell. This weakened the scrum and maul areas. Shaw was immense and showed that an abrasive hard working tight 2nd row is needed to compliment a more mobile middle jumping partner. O’Callaghan or Hines should have been on the bench given that POC was hardly likely to be substituted.

2. I agree with George that Rory Best should have gone especially after Flannery was injured as he is a better all round player than any of 3 hookers who travelled.

3. Cannot understand why the Lions Management did not bring on M.Williams when the scrums went uncontested. A.W. Jones is a fine player but this was the perfect tactical time to add extra firepower to the breakdown. I would have put Shaw into front row, Croft into 2nd row and M.Williams into the backrow to help nullify the threat of Spies off the perfect platform of an uncontested scrum. Instead they took off a tiring Wallace when he could have had a fired up M.Williams helping him at the breakdown.

Overall the Lions Management got more right than the Boks Management but the superior firepower told in the end. I wish to congatulate both sides for a fantastic series so far, especially the 2nd Test. I am looking forward to the final Test next week. Let’s hope that the Lions can pull off a shock given all the injuries

Lions for final test

15.Rob Kearney
14.Tommy Bowe
13.Riky Flutey
12.James Hook
11.Luke Fitzgerald
10.Stephen Jones
09.Mike Phillips
08.Jamie Heaslip
07.David Wallace
06.Tom Croft
05.Paul O’Connell, capt.
04.Simon Shaw
03.John Hayes
02.Matthew Rees
01.Andrew Sheridan

16.Ross Ford
17.Tim Payne
18.Donnacha O’Callaghan
19.Martin Williams
20.Harry Ellis
21.Ronan O’Gara or Gordon D’Arcy
22.Keith Earls


insightful, accurate and unbiased commentary again hookie

heaslip, oconnell, very dissapointing tours
Wallace after a quiet 1st test, i thought he was amazing in the loose and all round physical play and effort.

O’Driscoll i thought after the last lions tour was a fading player, but with his 2009 6nations, heino cup and now lions tour, how wrong i was. His tackle on the boks 2nd row knocking him out basically was the most incredible tackle ive seen when you consider the bok was twice his size and weight. His lack of any fear is immence, truly not a pretty boy player and makes me consider was he ever!(and im a munster fan)

Ronan i dont know where to begin, all ill say is he took the praise with his drop goal in wales, even after an average 6nations and so he will have to take considerable blame for his mistake aganist the boks. i hope he comes back, but maybe its time for sexton to get a chance for a world cup 2011 spot.

Very happy to hear hookie talk about the future world cup, i thought we had a chance of getting to the semi’s last time but now with the right coach and a team of old heads and newbie’s who all they seem to know how to do is win, the future looks bright.

thanx george, love the radio show, listen every nite cooking dinner


shane smashed backwards…but recycled the ball, lions went left and gained penalty that jones kicked to tie the scores. then ronan intervened.

After all the spin and hype of the media it’s good to come across someone that’s capable of cutting through the crap!! Well done George.
I’ve read a lot of media coverage about the tests and some of it is
allright, however the rest is about one journalist plagerising the insipid reports and opinions of another. And most of what is being written is an indication that the majority of sports journalist are just there to eat sandwiches, drink beer and paste shite onto paper!
Now our man George Hook talks sense, as he has always done, well most of the time anyway. Keep on telling it as it is!!

Shall check in for the next blog.

Bill Daly.

Hi George.

What is your view of Peter De Villiers defending Schalk Burger’s deliberate act of gouging?

It was disgraceful and PDV should be banned from coaching. Obviously, one must defend his players, but to defend a clear act of gouging is spitting on the principles of rugby.

Hello George,
If ifs and buts were crackers and nuts it would be christmas every day !!!
SA were just better, starter 15 and bench, yes we played some top notch rugby and some guys pulled their weight more than others, but they were fresher and psyched to destroy, defense in the red zone of the 22 was there to be admired and behold, especially the first half T1 and second half T2.
My hopes were raised when first scrum under our posts…..hold your breath…..was that a another smirk from Bakkies botha…a wink from the beast……a deranged stare from roussow… it was a penalty to the lions after the bok front row stood up and checked out the clouds formations!!
But the strength and sheer nastiness from the bok pack, taken up a notch in the last quarter showed their quality and after watching the performances of NZ and the Wallabies, have to be tri nations favourites.

But hey it was a great game to witness and it could be worse, you could be Ronan O’Gara !

Ta ta!

Robert Hathaway
July 3rd, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Are you doing a blog pre the third test?

Did you do a preview of 3rd test yet?

Where’s the blog after the third test?.

Come on George -talk to us!!!!!!