When a draw feels like a win

Draw 2

I am sure I’m not alone in wondering why drawing the test series against the All Blacks is a bad thing for the Lions , for Britain , for Ireland or for rugby.

The British and Irish Lions is one of the least homogenous units you could put together. Britain and Ireland is a construct of marketing. Why doesn’t New Zealand annexe Samoa? Why don’t we annexe France – what does this phoney nationalism have by way of historical or geo-political authenticity?

If we disengage all the tribalism , we are left with a series which clearly did exactly what it should have – produce three matches with a win apiece and a decider that couldn’t be decided.

This is a life lesson for the over-achieving Dads who tend to dominate my rugby acquaintances. Life is not always about putting one over on someone else or about blaming the hopeless inadequacy of your lot (which is what happens when there is a loss).

The life lesson is a simple one, games are just that – and sportsmanship is the same win lose or draw!

Had the Lions kicked one more penalty, could we have said that Northern Hemisphere rugby had come of age, if the All Blacks had taken more of their first half chances, would we be berating our system for not even producing a home-grown coach? I suspect the answer to both those questions is “yes”. Though either conclusion would have been equally spurious.

I didn’t see the game, not having easy access to Sky TV when on Lady Lucy. I didn’t even listen to the commentary which strangely was on BBC only in Welsh! Instead I watched live text on my phone while preparing the boat.

We had 13 people on Lady Lucy yesterday and not one of them was faintly troubled by the rugby (which doesn’t surprise me as we were mostly Asian).  While the rugby world draws breath, our wonderfully diverse Britain, carries on as usual. The beauty of that draw is that it puts the whole supremacy argument to bed – winning really doesn’t matter!

I’m writing from a sun-drenched mill-pond in Hurley. New guests will be arriving in a couple of hours, they include my son Olly who I haven’t seen for a couple of months. We will have two of one of my best friends parents on the boat, possibly our oldest every  guests, and we’ll have an array of other good friends and soon to be good friends.

I hope we’ll have a good argument over the rugby and that the Australians who will dominate will cast a plague on both our houses. Whatever- nothing happened and everything happened. We have just witnessed a truly great series of rugby which (unlike the America Cup) was the better for its mesmerising swings of fortune.

If you can’t enjoy the irony of a tied series, you have no sporting sense, and very little sense of humour!




About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to When a draw feels like a win

  1. George Kirrin says:

    No Scottish players picked for any of the three Tests (starting XVs or bench “finishers”), Henry, so I found myself supporting the home team.

    Lions not rampant, you might say.

  2. John Mather says:

    Henry as one who enjoyed the breakfast hospitality of an Irish doctor with a NZ guest and myself (I have residence in the UK NZ & Portugal) you would have enjoyed the match for it seems that the texts did not do the occasion justice

    Not unlike full appreciation of a pension when directly involved rather than through the filters of vested interest

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