Brian O’Driscoll says the 2021 Lions Test series against the Boks was not exciting for a multitude of reasons, while adding that Rassie Erasmus’ video “maybe has changed things and not for the better”.
The Springboks overcame a 1-0 deficit to clinch the series 2-1 courtesy of wins in the second and third Tests in Cape Town.
But, according to O’Driscoll, there was nothing to linger in the mind ‘from this particular dreary misadventure’ of a tour and that the Test series produced no memorable on-field moments compared to previous Lions tours.
“It was not the most exciting tour for sure for a multitude of reasons,” O’Driscoll told RugbyPass. “We all realise fans make sport and none more so than fans make Lions tours. Not having supporters out there and the energy they bring to a stadium, the atmospheres and having to create that yourself, we have gotten used to that in rugby over the course of the last 18 months but it really felt wrong from a Lions perspective.
“And, then on top of that, the rugby was not the easiest on the eye and so I don’t think any of us the week after the third Test were wishing there was any more rugby to be watched, that there wasn’t a fourth Test. We had all had our fill at that stage … we went to be entertained as a public but it is not your job as a team or a head coach, you play to win.
“There was none of those [memorable moments], just two maul tries in three Tests. You look back on big moments in tours but it didn’t feel there were too many. It’s unfortunate because, for me, it is the best Lions tour. To have to wait another 12 years for those players to get to experience what South Africa has to offer, they were in a bubble and it wasn’t a Lions tour as we know it, it was just a version of it. But we have got to make the most of the time we are living in and that, unfortunately, was the best version we could achieve.”
Of course, one of the biggest talking points of the tour was SA director of rugby Rassie Erasmus’ hour-long video highlighting the inconsistent refereeing decisions made by Australian ref Nic Berry in the first Test between the Lions and Boks.
And O’Driscoll believes Erasmus broke one of the game’s sacred unwritten laws.
“I’m not waiting with bated breath as to what World Rugby will do,” he said on the Erasmus referee-berating issue, now eight weeks old and seemingly in limbo.
“Because it has been drawn out for as long as it has you would have to anticipate it will be a minimal issue from their point of view with what Rassie said, it will be a slap on the wrist perhaps. Unfortunately, he maybe has changed things and not for the better. He definitely questioned the whole respect for the referee conversation that we are so proud of as a rugby community.”
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