A mighty fightbcak from the Lions fell just short on Saturday as South Africa held on for a 26-21 vicotry in the first test in Durban.
The South African sporting public were a little underwhelmed by the early stages of the Confederations Cup and the British and Irish Lions tour but the last few days has seen a major turnaround and there is now something in the air.
One of the most painful memories from my schooldays was the prolonged torture of being left in the playground on my lunch break, looking on as the cool kids picked all my friends ahead of me for the lunch break football match desperately wishing I could be selected.
The rarity value of the Lions’ tours adds to their romance. Once every four years they travel, alternately, to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and, every four years, the temptation for pundits to choose a Lions All Time Best XV becomes irresistible.
England’s recovery was always on the cards International rugby is a small pond with the same big fish taking it in turns to swim at the top. The bonus for those lurking just below, and even for the minnows in the depths, is that unlike in many other major sports they never disappear into the silt completely.
Gone are the days when top French rugby players such as Philippe Sella, Thomas Castaignede and Raphael Ibanez were crossing the Channel to improve their skills and make their fortunes, writes Jean-Paul Couret.