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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 July, 2005, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
Josh Lewsey's column
Josh Lewsey
By Josh Lewsey
England and the Lions

It's odd being back home. Every morning I wake up and think, "where's my kit, what time's training?" and then it all clicks - the Lions tour is over.

I'm struggling to relax, but I'll get there. I've got four weeks off and one thing I'll make sure of is that I won't be watching any rugby.

You can become sick of it, particularly after such a long season and a tour in a country as intense as New Zealand.

Josh Lewsey
The results may not have worked but the tour was still enjoyable
But the weirdest thing is getting used to normal life.

So far, I've been told off for eating too fast - shovelling food down my throat, while the language is worse than usual. The social etiquette goes out the window when you're around 40/50 other lads.

That said, it's good to be home. I got a great greeting from my two dogs, have just about unpacked and played a round of pitch and putt. Other than that, I've done little else.

The post-mortems on the tour are bound to begin in earnest now but, for me, it was a hell of an experience and I'll always look back fondly on it.

I'll cherish having met all the guys. They were brilliant and everyone got on really well... whatever anyone else might say.

For all that, though, it'll be interesting to see what'll happen when we get back into the Six Nations. We'll all give each other the odd bashing, with a sly wink here and there.

Sadly, I'll always be plagued by one regret from New Zealand - I look at our players and know they were too good to lose a series 3-0.

The rugby was a disappointment, results wise, but we got beaten by the better side, it's that simple.

I'm not going into the specifics of apportioning blame but I feel sorry for Sir Clive Woodward as he's getting quite a lot of stick at the moment. He doesn't deserve that.

I've put away my Lions jersey knowing I couldn't have given any more
All he wanted was to have the best set-up for the players: the best medical back-up, the best coaches, the best facilities.

What people should talk about, instead, is the fact that fortune favours the brave. We ended up playing defensively on the back foot in the first Test - I'm not suggesting that was the plan - while the All Blacks attacked from every angle.

They reminded me of England two years before the World Cup. They were so imaginative and England have to play like that to have any chance of defending the World Cup in 2007.

What New Zealand have shown us is that everyone has to raise their game and that's an exciting springboard for rugby globally.

The other big thing to take forward is that the Lions must carry on. Some have been suggesting the Lions should be consigned to history but that annoys me - it's nonsense.

You tell the 30,000 travelling Lions fans, the All Blacks, New Zealand's tourist board and any of us Lions players, that the Lions are history. The response wouldn't be polite.

Admittedly it becomes harder and harder to win as a Lions touring party as teams become more professional but that makes it all the more captivating.

On a personal level, I've put away my Lions jersey knowing I couldn't have given any more on the field. It's a shame the tour will always be remembered for the results. I, for one, will always look back at it with a smile.




LIONS TOUR 2005

ALL BLACKS WHITEWASH LIONS




VOTE RESULTS
What was the main reason for the Lions' whitewash in NZ?
All Blacks just too good
58%
Woodward's selections
30%
Injuries to key players
6%
Squad was too big
6%
97190 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Vote now closed



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