British and Irish Lions 2013: Sir Clive Woodward slams quality of Barbarians and questions point of fixture in Hong Kong
The Baa-Baas were ripped apart by England
Friday 31 May 2013
Sir Clive Woodward believes taking on the Barbarians in Hong Kong on Saturday will do little to help the British and Irish Lions prepare for their Test series against Australia.
Woodward saw the Barbarians ripped apart 40-12 by England at Twickenham on Saturday and the former England and Lions head coach believes the Baa-Baas - who have introduced an alcohol ban following the heavy defeat - just aren't good enough.
"To be blunt, playing the Barbarians in Hong Kong on Saturday will do absolutely nothing to help them prepare for the pace and professionalism of the Wallabies," Woodward wrote in his Daily Mail column.
"When the Barbarians lined up against England last weekend they were clearly dishevelled and uninterested - it was a waste of a fixture for an England side about to tour Argentina and a match that the RFU should seriously reconsider if it is approached in such ridiculous fashion.
"It was a hot, sunny day at Twickenham and the Baa-Baas paid a heavy price for their self-proclaimed 'team bonding' drinking sessions in the week building up to the match. I just hope the same mindset does not apply on Saturday.
"Professional players preparing with beer-fuelled 'bonding sessions' is a million miles away from the image the game should have in the 21st century. It frustrates me to think about the young fans at Twickenham hoping to be inspired by the Barbarians' trademark style of free running, skilful rugby, who were instead presented with players clearly unfit for purpose."
Woodward believes the Lions should have taken on an international side as preparation, believing they would take the contest more seriously.
"When you step off the plane for the rugby Sevens tournament in Hong Kong there is a buzz about the place, but that simply isn't here yet," he added. "Why not invite a Test team such as Tonga or Fiji, who would relish this honour in their 100th year as a union, to face the Lions? Even better, playing England or France would bring this fixture so much spice and be infinitely more valuable to players and coaches.
"This tour to Australia is a potential banana skin for the Lions because everything suggests they should win the series. But this first game against the Barbarians is not a step forward in the right direction. It is simply a sidestep."
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