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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 June, 2005, 14:21 GMT 15:21 UK
Lions in New Zealand Tour Blog
We want to hear from you whether you're travelling to New Zealand, are already there, or are watching the action from Britain, Ireland or anywhere else in the world.

Join our team of fans, pundits and reporters and let us know where you've been and what you've seen.

To contribute, use the form on the right hand side or text 'Lions' plus your message to 81111. Texts are charged at operators' standard tariffs.

If you want to discuss specific Lions issues with fellow fans, please visit our dedicated message boards.

LATEST UPDATES FROM FANS, REPORTERS, PUNDITS & PLAYERS

1710 BST: Josh Hawken, London, via e-mail
The team for the Taranaki game tells us a lot by who isn't playing - no really big names. I think Sir Clive is putting a big marker down that Stephen Jones will be wearing number 10 for the game against NZ Maori. That'll be the game that sends some messages about what the Lions are really doing.

1522 BST: Undercover Kiwi
The best sight in Saturday's match, or worst depending on your perspective, was the injury suffered by Lawrence Dallaglio. The Wasps number eight was at his imposing best until he fell over what appeared to be an innocuous blade of grass and was invalided out of the tour. The inside word is that the groundsman was tasked with cutting the grass at a particular height that the All Blacks coaches believed would derail the Dallaglio express. Personally I'm sad to see him out of the tour, I was looking forward to him fronting up to Jerry Collins in the Tests.

1435 BST: Alex, Christchurch, NZ, via e-mail
I can't believe how rude the press has been out here against the Lions, claiming we're ordinary and unprepared. If we said anything like that about the All Blacks immediately we would be labelled jealous and unsportsmanly. The team we have over here are all very new and some are playing for the first time as a Lion. I think they did a brilliant job considering. I look forward to the rest of their matches, particularly the first Test being held here in Christchurch

1404 BST: Iain Robertson, Five Live, New Zealand
Lawrence Dallaglio's injury is such a tragic incident. He was the core of the team, rather like Martin Johnson for England at the World Cup. I felt the Lions were going to build the Test team around him - he's an iron man. He's irreplaceable as a number eight, a vice-captain and the focus of the squad.

So with his absence, others have a chance to stake a claim for the number eight Test place: Michael Owen, Martin Corry and Simon Taylor if he recovers from injury.

The Lions should bounce through their next game against Taranaki, admittedly with a line-up with no more than three or four Test players. But it's up to those players to turn from unlikely to likely Test contenders.

1357 BST: Martin Corry, Radio Five Live
It's an unbelievable honour to be named captain. But as a team our primary goal is to step up from the Bay of Plenty game. All the New Zealand sides we'll meet have big runners. We just need to make sure we're strong defensively to cut that out.

1323 BST: Jamie, Bucks, via e-mail
Stephen Jones proved himself to be the best fly-half in Europe this season with outstanding performances in the Six Nations and for his club side, taking them from a relegation battle up to a European spot. However, he has still yet to make the bench for the Lions, despite proving himself to be the best fly-half the Lions have.

1222 BST: Greg Ford, Sunday Star Times
Sir Clive Woodward's Lions delivered on their promise to bring an open and expansive brand of rugby to New Zealand in their tour opener in Bay of Plenty. But most remain convinced the rugby knight's masterplan to bring the downfall of the All Blacks remains under wraps, despite his side having to pull out all stops to suppress the spirited Steamers in Rotorua.

1213 BST: Scottie - Englishman in Oz, via e-mail
The Kiwi press and public are writing us off already - "second rate", "ordinary". If Brits commented the way they do we would be branded arrogant, unsporting etc. The Lions are going to keep on building and run the Kiwi noses in it.

1121 BST: Gregor Paul, New Zealand Herald
What better sight than to see the king of smug, Sir Clive Woodward, steaming away like a local thermal attraction [in the game against the Bay of Plenty]. And no wonder. The knight of the realm has assured the western world the 2005 Lions are the best prepared in history. It was a massive claim to make before a ball was kicked. It became a hugely dubious one when it emerged in all their meticulous planning they had clearly forgotten to spend any time putting a defensive structure in place.

1033 BST: Undercover Kiwi
So the show is finally on the road and the British & Irish Lions have played the first match of the series. They were frightening for 10 minutes. By the end of it, they had muddled their way to victory over a side that was thoroughly unprepared to face an international side with the best players from four, count them, four nations.

The Bay of Plenty side had five training sessions prior to Saturday's match, their coach only turned up on Tuesday (he was assistant coach of the Super 12 Crusaders and had some celebrating to do) and this was their first match of the season. Sure they had some Super 12 players in their ranks, but none of them were consistent starters this season.

To put the side into perspective, they would be the equivalent of Sale or Newcastle in the English Premiership (minus their international stars). They had no right to be on the same park as the Lions but, for long periods of the match, they made the tourists look decidedly second-rate.

1005 BST: Lions statement on Lawrence Dallaglio
Lawrence underwent surgery this afternoon. He is in the best possible hands, in the care of two of New Zealand's top orthopaedic surgeons, who called the team doctor, James Robson, a short time ago to say the operation had gone well. The surgery involved internal fixation to stabilise the fracture and post surgery he will have a period of convalescence followed by intensive rehabilitation. After an initial period of observation and review by the surgeons he might be expected to return to the UK in 10 to 14 days.

0825 BST: Tony, Auckland, via e-mail
Just let the All Black press hacks keep talking - that's all they do - but they don't fool anyone. By the time the first Test gets here, we will have the boys ready and we're looking forward to rubbing their noses in it at work. Beware.

0720 BST: Alistair Hignell, Radio Five Live
Lawrence Dallaglio is in Auckland right now. He made the painful journey there by road from Rotorua to see a specialist before flying home. It's a bitter blow after he gave up international rugby to get ready for this tour. Sadly, though, is Lions career seems over.

Simon Easterby has obviously been added to the squad so we now have seen three players added to the squad, and only after one match. When I spoke to Clive earlier, he'd told me his medical team had originally told him to take a squad of 50 rather than the 45 he took for this very reason.

After their win over the Bay of Plenty, the Lions have been dwelling on the positives - scoring six tries and playing well for the first and last 10 minutes. And they're confident their defence is moving in the right direction after conceding just three points in the second half.

0504 BST: Jamie, Auckland, via e-mail
We are gutted that Lawrence Dallaglio is out of the tour. I heard he is going to be sticking around in Auckland for a week before flying back so hopefully he'll be down the pub drinking this place dry with the rest of us.

0430 BST: Sir Clive Woodward, Radio Five Live
I was gutted for him but what's done is done. He fell trying to change direction and a New Zealand player collided with him. Dr James Robson popped the ankle back into place which must have been pretty painful in itself. This is a blow... but no more than that.

0132 BST: Kevin, Cairns, Australia, via e-mail
I'm gutted, totally gutted about Lawrence Dallaglio. We won't be seeing that inspired British passion - an enormous loss.

0016 BST: Macca, Australia, via e-mail
Great first game good standard of rugby and big commitment great atmosphere in the pub we watched the game in loads of Kiwis and Lions supporters giving it maximum vocal support hope its still a contest up to the final test when we get over to Auckland.





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SEE ALSO
Pick your Lions XV
24 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
Lions tour venue guides
18 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
Early history of the Lions
18 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
Fixture list for Lions tour to NZ
08 Apr 05 |  Lions in NZ
Lions player profiles
25 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
All Blacks player profiles
25 May 05 |  Lions in NZ


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