Going on the Lions tour to South Africa in 1997 was the most thrilling experience I could imagine from a commentating point of view, but as a member of the travelling retinue it was apparent it could only really happen abroad, not at home. The top priority for any national coach in the British Isles is to create a side capable of beating Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in their own right and to have a chance of doing that they need fixtures on a home-and-away basis. To lose those games would be a devastating blow.
ALASTAIR HIGNELL BBC radio commentator
You can make a case to play a one-off Test as a finale to any tour by a southern hemisphere country, but finding time to get the players together would be difficult. It would be terribly sad if the Home Unions no longer had these tours because part of being an international is to want to pit yourself against the best. The traditional end-of-tour Barbarians game, which seems to have fallen by the wayside, showed that good players don't need too much preparation time together, but the game is now more about split-second timing than ever before.
MICKEY STEELE-BODGER Former RFU president
This has been suggested many times. However, I suspect that previous Lions would object because they earned their selection for a summer tour mainly as a result of their performances in the Five Nations' Championship, whereas in November a Lions squad could only be picked on club form. To my knowledge, the Lions have actually only once played at home, and that was in 1977 when pounds 100,000 was donated to the Queen's Silver Jubilee fund. The famous Barbarians of 1973 were like a Lions team, but they fielded two uncapped players.
BILL McLAREN BBC TV commentator
Realistically, Scotland would regard it as a tremendous result if they held South Africa to a 10-point margin of victory. The same is undoubtedly true of Wales and Ireland, but if the opportunity was taken away from them to test their mettle against the best, and at the moment South Africa are the best, then depriving them of their chance of glory might do even more harm. I think South Africa would rather play the home nations than the Lions. On the other hand, Barbarians games have produced some of the finest rugby I've commentated on.
JOEL STRANSKY Former SA international
There should be a mixed combination. Not to play against the Home Unions would be very sad for both the tourists and the home players. At the same time it would be great to see the British Lions play some home Tests, and the crowds would love it. A happy medium could be achieved at the end of a tour with one, or ideally two, games against the Lions. The Lions would need a week together but it would be interesting to see how a squad assembled from scratch on the Monday fares in a big game the following Saturday.
ROGER UTTLEY Former Lion
It's amazing how often the Home Unions have countered the might of the southern hemisphere. England see themselves as South Africa's equals, despite last summer, and it's up to the other nations to close the gap. The Barbarians' fixture with the tourists is unfortunately a casualty of the new era - some of my best rugby was with invitation sides. Ireland, Scotland and Wales did their bit for the Lions in South Africa - that must have encouraged their countrymen back home. Question and Answer: Platform for your sporting queries
Q. In terms of size of population, which is the smallest place with a football team ever to reach the FA Cup first round proper?
A. May I nominate the small village of Emley in West Yorkshire. The village has a population of no more than 3,000.
In last year's FA Cup they got as far as the third round, in which they played West Ham. In goal was the former Derbyshire wicket-keeper Chris Marples
Emley play in the Unibond League, and the village is rather more famous for its huge television mast than its football team.
Kevin Maguire, Batley
Q. In a football match when a team wins 1-0 the goal is, obviously, the winning goal. But in a 3-0 victory, which goal is the winning goal?
A. My view is that none can be really described as the winner, because the differential between the two teams is three goals. Therefore any of the three goals could be described as the winning goal - or none of them.
Frank Walker, St Andrews
Q. Attending matches at all 92 English football league clubs is now relatively common, but who was the first person to achieve the feat?
Stephen Magill Huddersfield
Q. What is the least popular sport, in terms of viewing figures, when it is shown on ordinary - rather than satellite - television?
Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby
Q. Following Tim Vickery's piece on Brazilian football and the decline of the Fluminense club last week (1 November), how on earth did Exeter City become Brazil's first ever opponents?
Q. Is Tiger Woods the longest hitter tournament golf has ever known?
If you know an answer to this, or have a sporting question of your own, write to Question and Answer, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square London E14 5DL. Fax: 0171-293 2894.Reuse content