Mourning the loss of Wallaby dominance
PETER SLATTERYNOTHING else needs to be said; we are mourning the loss of Wallaby dominance over the northern hemisphere.
We move on, with a lot of work to do.
Now that the British and Irish lions are on their way home, let's review their trip.
In Ws, they finished with seven out of nine, beaten in one tour game (by the Brumbies) and one Test (in Melbourne).
On the face of it, that is commendable, but certainly not spectacular. The non-Test fixtures were against Super Rugby teams devoid of their Test stars.
The tour was accompanied by an advert on Pay-TV, where my good mate, Greg Martin, proffered that the British and Irish Lions were the best test team in the world, inclusive of the All Blacks. Whether scripted or not, I'm still not convinced of that statement.
I think they were a solid squad, no doubt. Taking two Tests off the Wallabies is not easy at home. But they fall way, way behind the All Blacks, for example, in quality. In fact, I reckon All Black B's would have beaten this British and Irish squad. Kinda, puts us Aussies in our place.
Off the field, there were certainly some winners from the tour. Those thirty thousand-odd British and Irish Lions' tourists can drink and eat. So, too, can us Aussies for that matter.
The multiplier effect of the tourism dollars generated by their trip will be felt for a while in the markets touched by the visitors. Noosa, for example, will be reaping the benefits of the Lions visit for generations.
The ARU, as rights holders to every single tour game, will have big, big smiles on their faces. Apart from the first 51 minutes of Test two, the tour was very effective as a marketing tool, and an efficient generator of the plastic stuff.
The one-all Test status going into the third clash was a promoter's dream. You could have sold out the Olympic stadium three times over. We were all talking British and Irish Lions. Many, many newspapers were sold, websites visited, televisions watched and social media posts shared, commented, retweeted, etc., etc. The British and Irish Lions do generate media, that's for sure.
Is Australian rugby better for the tour? I think so. Winning will always be cost-effective, so the loss of the series will be felt.
But I think the game will be in a better place. The publicity and finances generated by the tour will not only inspire a new generation of rugby spectators, players, coaches, administrators, etc., but will also provide a solid financial base to move forward.
And we need to move forward, quickly.