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Gerry Thornley Has An Interesting Idea To Improve Home Nations' Chances In The World Cup

Gerry Thornley Has An Interesting Idea To Improve Home Nations' Chances In The World Cup
By Conor O'Leary Updated

It's time to scrap the Lions.

Probably not a popular idea, and one that the rugby traditionalists will scoff at. But that's the argument that Gerry Thornley passionately presents to us in the Irish Times today.

Does Gerry have a point? Absolutely he does. Central to Thornley's idea is how the home nations fare in the World Cup.

Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales will do better at the World Cup if there was no Lions tour.

It's quite a statement. It's almost the most controversial thing surrounding the Lions since Brian O'Driscoll's dropping in 2013 reminded Irish fans that we only like the concept of the Lions because of its relationship to fantasy rugby.

In an age when the northern hemisphere rugby calendar is already too long - a brutal ten-week tour down south is too demanding - it's really hard to argue with Thornley on this one. His examples are compelling: think of O'Connell's form in 2010 after captaining the Lions in South Africa, or how the last of England's golden generation fell away after 2005. Most obvious is the example of how Wales struggled after winning the tour for the Lions against Australia in 2013.

But being physically too demanding isn't the only good cause to scrap the Lions. Would a joint Tri-Nations team ever tour the Northern Hemisphere? Why would they? They regularly complete Grand Slam tours every November - they don't need to compile the best of the best to beat us.

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Finally, think of the psychological scars for the northern hemisphere's finest after being swept aside by New Zealand. Our players will come back home broken physically and mentally. When the World Cup comes around they have it in their minds that they aren't good enough with the best of the home nations - why should they win as individual countries?

Will Thornley ever get his way? €57 million raised from the 2013 tour to Australia will say absolutely not. But if the home nations want to improve their World Cup record then perhaps Thornley's on the right track.

Wanna win a World Cup? Scrap the Lions. No chance. But just an idea.

[Irish Times]

See Also: Sky Sports Pundits Pick 2017 Lions Team And Paul O'Connell Is Still Getting The Nod

See Also: Wales Online Are Complaining There Isn't Enough Welsh Lions

See Also: Brian O'Driscoll Dropped From Lions Squad

Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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