Bearing in mind the cries of foul that went up against the Lions in Australia in 1989, it might turn out to be highly beneficial that, beginning with North Auckland in Whangarei on Saturday, only the tour management, the host union or the New Zealand Rugby Union - rather than any old Kiwi with a down on the Lions - can cite alleged offenders.
The Lions will hesitate before they officially point the finger. 'Any citing action of ours would depend on the circumstances,' Geoff Cooke, the manager, said yesterday. 'I know it is our responsibility and if there were an incident we would want to do the right thing for rugby.
'The agreement for the tour is that we follow the International Board regulations on citing so that in our case the citing can only be by one of the participating organisations involved in the game, whereas in New Zealand it's much more open. Any complaint has to be lodged in writing within 12 hours of the end of the game.'
Citing has become the vogue in New Zealand. The best-known culprit / victim is Richard Loe, the All Blacks prop. This week he filed legal papers with the NZRFU demanding a judicial review of his suspension, which has already been reduced from nine months to six on appeal. Alan Whetton and Andy Earl are other All Blacks who escaped the referee but not the disciplinary process.
Of more immediate concern is the case of Charles Going, the North Auckland centre who will face the Lions before facing the NZRFU on Friday week. One letter from a member of the public was enough to cite him for stamping during last Saturday's victory over Taranaki.
Going, 36, is among three members of the illustrious Northland rugby family chosen for the tour opener, and the most conspicuous Going of all, Charles's uncle Sid, is the provincial coach. As a 20-year-old, Charles played against the 1977 Lions including one Ian McGeechan, who is back in New Zealand as Lions coach.
As this is North Auckland's first Saturday match against a touring side, the interest in the game is the greatest since John Dawes's triumphant Lions were here in 1971. The province will field one international: their captain, the current New Zealand lock Ian Jones.
Sid Going had a shock yesterday when North Auckland's Tongan wing David Manako was exposed as an
illegal immigrant three days after playing in the All Blacks trials. This is evidently a murky business but police will not haul Manako - a cow- milker also known as David Vaikeli - off Okara Park because by law his application for residency has to be processed before he can be expelled.
Martin Bayfield is doubtful after again failing to get through yesterday's training because the hamstring twinge he had first felt on Tuesday recurred. Damian Cronin took his second-row place in the practice team and will replace Bayfield if necessary.
After holding previous sessions at Kawakawa, south of Paihia, the Lions switched to the Bay of Islands resort of Kerikeri to the north-west yesterday - which made the Ireland forward Michael Galwey feel doubly at home. Mick, you see, is a Kerryman.
North Auckland (v British Isles, Whangarei, 22 May): W Johnston; T Going, C Going, M Seymour, D Manako; A Monaghan, R Le Bas; L Davies, D Te Puni, C Barrell, I Jones (capt), E Jones, G Taylor, K Tuipolotu, A Going.Reuse content