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Last Updated: Monday, 11 July, 2005, 08:34 GMT 09:34 UK
Lions in NZ tour blog
The Lions tour of New Zealand has now ended with the All Blacks completing a series whitewash of the Lions with victory in the third and final Test.

And as players, management and fans made their way home, we asked you for your reflections of the tour and what the journey back to Britain would be like.

Indeed, throughout the tour, you have been contributing to our tour blog along with our team of fans, pundits and reporters, telling us where you've been and what you've seen...

LATEST UPDATES FROM FANS, REPORTERS, PUNDITS & PLAYERS

0830 BST Monday: Paul, BBC Sport blogger
Well, it's all over bar the packing, and the team and coaches fled at first light. Auckland has been noticably quieter tonight, which is not surprising when some of our tour are leaving at 3am, but perhaps the most telling moment of the last couple of days was in the pub after the third Test when the small number of Kiwis watching Australia against South Africa came to realise that the Tri-Nations wasn't going to be as easy as they thought.

The last few camper vans are being returned, and I'm told that there's a special offer on camper rental in Auckland at the moment, where the hire companies will pay your ferry crossing and provide very cheap rental rates as long as you drop the camper off in the South Island where it belongs, as every camper van in New Zealand is currently in Auckland. That's a major logistical problem!

Many of the fans are stopping over on the way home - we're in Cairns, others are in Hong Kong or Singapore - to get some sun and to dry out from the Auckland weather, but from the reaction of the press to the end of the tour, it looks like the memories will live long in New Zealand folklore despite the disappointing Test games, and there will be many fans coming back again to see more of the country. We have a list of targets for next time, and I'm sure we won't be waiting 12 years to return, so thanks to everyone in New Zealand for the amazing welcome and hospitality, and for the level of interest your rugby-mad country has shown in us even after we were soundly beaten, and be sure that we will return. As for the Lions, roll on 2009....


Sunday:

1630 BST: Martin, SW London
It really, really annoys me the amount of stick Sir Clive has taken this series. Yes he's made some bad calls, (that spin doctor being the biggest) but at the end of the day the All Blacks 15 were much better than the Lions, the players also have a lot to answer to. Also for narrow minded people to make comments like 'his backlines can't attack': well you only have to look at which team has the record for number of tries in a Six Nations season or game and see who coached them to see what drivel people are talking. That said he let himself down with his comments but doesn't deserve the barrage of abuse he's received.

1332 BST: Matt, Leeds
To Mark in Beaconsfield, in reply to your remark about "take rugby away from the Kiwis and they have nothing". Know the facts before you make statements like that. Let's see NZ is third in the world for cricket, won a little golf prize the other week, fourth in the world for basketball and have been or are world leaders in softball, rugby league, triathlons, sailing, rowing, squash, indy car, kick boxing, cycling, canoeing just to name a few sports. Not bad for a country of only four million.

1313 BST: Spence, Christchurch, New Zealand
From a fan/social perspective, the tour's been fantastic, with incredible support for a team of modest talents. However, some of the criticism of Sir Clive has been over the top. Sure he made mistakes (as did Henry, Dawes and nearly every other Lions coach) and some of the comments in NZ have been downright nasty, why? Because Sir Clive had the temerity to win a prize NZers, Aussies and South Africans consider their own. He may/may not be a great coach, but the abuse whipped up by the NZ media is both embarrassing and puerile.

1205 BST: Matt, Treviso, Italy
My opinion of the All Blacks has completely gone down during this series. From the utter disgrace that was Tana Umaga's tackle on Brian O'Driscoll to their un-called for arrogance all the way through the series. It could very well be their undoing, as it has been in the last four World Cups. Long may their losing streak in this area continue. I do believe the Lions lost the first Test more than the All-Blacks won it. They brought it all upon themselves with their poor performance. Let's just see how well these New Zealanders do in the autumn against International teams that have played together for years and are properly prepared.

1016 BST: Dave, Wellington
Now the Lions are on their way, they leave a gaping hole in our lives. It has been just great having two big matches a week to look forward to and on occasions the rugby rose to exhilarating heights. After every sporting contest the meter goes back to nought and it all goes on again another day. We sincerely thank the Lions for coming here and we truly hope that we are all still around when the next team arrives; hopefully with an army of followers as special as the ones now leaving. All the very best to fans, players, good old Geech and, yes, Sir Clive.

0904 BST: Lyndon Jones, Bromsgrove
Hursty from London: what planet are you on? Henry not achieved anything in his coaching career yet? Numerous NPC and Super 12 with Auckland Blues, gave respect back to Welsh rugby (10 match unbeaten run beating England, French, 'Boks and Pumas away twice)!! Nearly won a Lions tour with a squad of battered players against the official world champs at the time. AB's were awesome, so have been the Lions fans. Sir Clive made mistakes and things didn't go right, ce la vie!!

0900 BST: Tony Kirschberg, Auckland
The Lions are great tourists and great for world rugby and must not be disparaged by the results in 2005. I look forward to their return to NZ and their next series in SA and Australia.

0857 BST: Mark, Beaconsfield
My lasting memories of the tour? Highs: seeing some of the players around town, some good rugby, and Umaga in the sin bin. Lows: Not winning a test game, countless unkind remarks made by AB supporters, their smugness and "up yours" attitude. I realise that if you take away the rugby Kiwis are left like our score - with nothing - but at least after Six Nations games we commiserate with the winners and losers and even fight over who is buying the drinks for each other - none of that here. Oh yes, and the Kiwi behind me who talked throughout the minutes' silence. Despite the loss I'm so proud to be a Brit.

0840 BST: Michael, Feilding, NZ
From a perspective of rugby in general I say that the Lions Tour has been a great success. It clearly displayed the gap between north and south styles and if the northern teams want any chance of winning future world cups then they will need to adapt their style. That must be a positive outcome from the series. Sir Clive now needs to accept defeat, move on and let someone else "go forward" with British/Irish rugby.

0819 BST: Andy, Dunedin
The touring Lions supporters have contributed a great deal to a very entertaining event, well behaved and good fun. All credit to them. However, Clive Woodward has not helped the English reputation for being whingers and lousy losers. I am tired of his arrogant references to the World Cup, a trophy, not won by him but the likes of Martin Johnson and Jonny Wilkinson. Therefore: Thanks Lions; bye, bye Clive.

0811 BST: Helen, Newcastle, UK, on tour in NZ
Clive originally said this series was bigger than the World Cup. Now that he has lost he says it is not as important as the World Cup. He ONLY refers to the opposition as 'The New Zealand Team'...never 'The All Blacks'. ( so he doesn't hype up the aura of the name). His selections were poor, his coaching is poor, he brought too many players, he cancelled pre-planned public appearances, he has cancelled the press conference this morning and he is living in the past. He cannot accept defeat. Well done All Blacks...a much better team. Thank you New Zealand for hosting us. We have had so much fun and you have been perfect hosts.

0751 BST: Bongo, Bath, on tour in NZ
And now Clive says he wishes he brought more players and played more games! He is living on a different planet and has ruined the tour for the Lions. It was not the All Blacks infringements that won them the series....we infringe enormously as well! It was the far superior All Blacks play. Clive and Alistair Campbell have done an injustice to rugby. It is sickening. Thank you New Zealand for hosting us....magnificent. I hope we can repay the compliment when you visit in November.

0744 BST: Kevin, Auckland NZ
As an expat out here, it is was nothing short of embarrassing to see the Lions. No roar more of a whimper. There was no imagination, no ball handling skills, no quick passing.

0659 BST: Juls, Hamilton
Wouldn't it be great to accept defeat with grace...the least SCW would do in a 3-0 'blackwash'. This would be much better than what he is saying now about winning the World Cup is the ultimate. Didn't we hear correctly in the beginning of the tour that this is the best prepared Lions team. Let's reflect back to the Lions of 2001, they lost 2-1 and scored 7 tries whereas the Lions of 2005 only managed three. Last words, don't let this 3-0 blackwash to deny future Lions tours. Its great to watch!

0614 BST: Graeme Seaton, Hatfields Beach, Hibiscus Coast, New Zealand
This would have to be the most memorable tour I can remember...not just because of the black shirts, but the red shirts!! Never have I seen a more well behaved, friendly, hardcase bunch of supporters. Hats off to you barmy army and followers, we got the silver cup, but you get the gold cup for sportsmanship. Cheers to you all.

0537 BST: Liam O'Hagan, Portland, Oregon, USA
This series showed up the major deficiency in all Sir Clive Woodward coached teams. His backlines can't attack. England won the World Cup with forward dominance and dogged defence, but despite this unenviable platform the backline hardly crafted a try all tournament. Wilkinson might have the most reliable boot in the world, but he has yet to prove he is the "complete pivot".

0501 BST: Paul, Madrid, Spain
Thanks to the Lions¿ tour supporters. Thanks to the English, for being gentle-men and gentle-women, to the Welsh for being themselves, the Irish for being humorous, even in times of despair, and thanks to the Scottish for being financially responsible. Thank you for helping small Kiwi businesses, who I am sure are in gratitude. And thanks you for simply taking time off work, measuring what is important in life, then thinking stuff it.....I'll come anyway.

0421 BST: Spencer Bishop, Taunton
Four years is a long time to have waited for a 3-0 scoreline. Without a doubt the negatives outway the positives and Sir Clive has a lot of questions to answer. However, it is vital that the few positives are built upon so that the same thing doesn't happen on the next tour. I take my hat off to all the fans who travelled all that way. I would also like to thank the players for giving everything they could considering the circumstances

0259 BST: Andrew Kerr, Vietnam
Finally a Scotsman got a few minutes in a Lions Test! What does Sir Clive have against Scotland? First Patterson was not selected, then Cusiter played well in every game and could not even make the bench and finally Jason White flew all the way to NZ for 55 minutes of rugby!

0234 BST: Hursty, London
What a bitter man Graham Henry is. Truth is a very good New Zealand team beat a very, very ordinary Lions team. No Scots, a load of over-rated Welsh, reputations built on one of the poorest 6 Nations in years, some very average Irish and over the hill English. No wonder we lost 3-0. And to all those ex-pros turned TV and newspaper pundits who have been waiting to stick the knife in to Sir Clive for something because he had the audacity to do that very un-English thing and win something. England's World Cup win came after years of preparation and thanks to one of the best bunch of players ever assembled. I'm glad Henry has exorcised his demons from 2001 but he's achieved nothing in his coaching career yet. New Zealand are not even the Tri-Nations champions. Once he's done something maybe then he'll have something to crow about.

0004 BST: Toy Boy, Cambridge
Everyone is giving Sir Clive a hard time - yeah he made a few faux pas but at the end of the day it is 15 guys on 15 guys. Just look at the conditioning of the All Blacks, these guys are muscle bound terminators led by the Predator likealike Tana Umaga himself - they are hungry, passionate, on a mission and at the start of their season. It was unfortunate that Lions were made to look feeble but I am sure we will see rejuvenated home nations sides when the ABs return in the winter - then we will see if they are the world beaters people are claiming already.....and if they are which is likely to be the case, at least Sir Clive can sit at home and join in the sledging!!




Links to more Tour Blog stories


 

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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