Notes Information Apocalypse

The sound of the wheel turning full circle

There is a story about a senior England player who was asked to speak at a corporate seminar soon after the 2003 World Cup. He spoke the day after Woodward had spoken to the same audience and was asked by the convenor to decide how the credit for the World Cup victory should be divided between players and management.

"I would give 90% of the credit to the players, 10% to the management," said the player.

Clearly taken aback, the man asking the questions couldn't hide his astonishment. "I asked the same question of Clive Woodward yesterday and he said the credit should be given 60% to the players, 40% to the management. How can you give just 10% to the management?" The player replied that he gave the management 10% of the credit because he wanted to be generous towards them.

The best prepared Lions team in history turned out to be utterly unprepared for the reality of fast, open southern hemisphere rugby. But the thing that struck me the most about this game was how gutted Tana Umanga seemed afterwards. He said all the right things, but he was looking visibly dejected, nothing like the charismatic and positive figure we're used to seeing on the mic after Hurricanes games. A bizarre situation for sure - the kid from Wainui' facing the full force of Tony Blair's former spin doctor and the baying of the British tabloids...

You can't fault the Lions players. They played their hearts out, but it was obvious they had never come up against such a skillful and consistent force, both attacking, and defensively. What is really striking then, is just how much this Lions tour failure is first and foremost, a failure of management.