First Test SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: British & Irish Lions players

The sun is setting on the day of victory for the Lions, so that means it's time to pour some two-stroke into the famous ratings computer's engine and fire it up for its output of bile and benediction regarding the Lions players' performance.  Give us your comments in the, er, comments…

Leigh Halfpenny – GOOD.  The fullback was solid in his job both with his hands and off the kicking tee.  Positioning was very good, something he is rarely given credit for, and hit the line well when he chose to.  

George North – GOOD.  His try was of the highest quality, a powerful burst and a change of direction that would cause most people of his dimensions to topple like a giraffe on rohypnol.  But his defensive work, while slow to get going – he was hesitant when Genia ran at him for Folau's first try – was also first rate, including a magnificent choke tackle that led to the Lions scrum in the Aus 22 late in the game. Which they duly ballsed up, but that was hardly his fault.  Black mark against him for the Delon Armitage style point and showboat as he scored. We all love you George, please don't become a bit of a twat.

Brian O'Driscoll – SHIT.  Controversial decision by the computer this one.  But, for all his very GOOD work in defence and attack, he gave away two penalties at the breakdown after it was very clear that the ref would not stand for what he was doing and if Aus had better kickers that would've lost the game. Regardless of whether BOD thought he was right and Pollock was wrong, a man of his experience and class must react to the ref better as next time Australia may not miss.

Jonathan Davies – GOOD. Not a barnstormer, but did enough in a fitful team performance.

SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings Special: Mick Cleary’s British & Irish Lions Team selected before the RBS 6 Nations

Mick-cleary (460x159)
Mick Cleary: "Johnno, you just squeezed past a Kiwi to get to the bar, on that form you're in my Lions Test team"

Attention was drawn this week to Telegraph rugby journo Mick Cleary's stab at picking a Lions Test team after the Autumn Internationals but prior to the start of the Six Nations.  Below is the XV he put forward, which you can see in pictorial format with Mick's explanations here (SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings of selections added below by the famous B&M Computer)

1. Alex Corbisiero – SHIT
2. Tom Youngs – SHIT
3. Dan Cole – SHIT  - "The best tight-head in world rugby" said Cleary, apparently with a straight face. 
4. Joe Launchbury – SHIT
5. Geoff Parling – GOOD
6. Tom Wood – GOOD
7. Chris Robshaw – SHIT
8. Jamie Heaslip – GOOD
9. Ben Youngs – SHIT
10. Jonny Sexton – GOOD
11. Craig Gilroy – GOOD
12. Brad Barritt – SHIT
13. Manu Tuilagi – SHIT
14. Tim Visser – GOOD
15. Leigh Halfpenny – DOUBLEPLUSGOOD

If Cleary were here in the B&M Basement, he would no doubt argue that this team was picked after the Autumn Internationals and based on the form shown in those games.  Or, to put it another way, "England beat the All Blacks, so they must be ace!  Stick nine of them in the Test team!" Which is, frankly, unforgivably lax journalism from someone who makes a living from writing about rugby.

British & Irish Lions: To Dan Lydiate, or not to Dan Lydiate?

Dan-lydiate

Following Dan Lydiate's return from injury last Friday, Dragons coach Darren Edwards has said that the flanker has enough time to get ready for the British & Irish Lions Tour this summer.  

"A month is enough time for a player of Dan's quality to prove himself worthy of a Lions spot," said Edwards, and while this is obviously a case of a regional coach using the media to motivate his own player for his own reasons, does he have a case?  Is simply being fit all that Lydiate needs to find himself on the plane?

Wales's 2012 Grand Slam saw Lydiate – in the most successful use of the quiet/loud approach since The Pixies wrote songs – quietly go about his outstanding and destructive work until at the end he was loudly praised, bellowed at by the Player Of The Tournament award and the Lions Tour Betting was all on him being the starting Test six.  Then he got broken.