Lions scrum swallows pill to prove a lasting headache

Such is the spread of rugby intellectual property these days (for example, there can be barely a player in the Wallabies or Lions camp not coached at some level by a New Zealander) there are plenty of similarities as well as differences between the hemispheres.

One distinct contrast that will have a significant bearing come Test time was evident in the Reds versus Lions on Saturday: the willingness of northern hemisphere packs to hold the ball in the scrum. In the Wallabies-Wales series last year, about one-third of scrums ended in a Wallabies infringement indicating the trickiness of switching from a Super Rugby scrummaging mindset to a Test one.

The Wallabies’ set-piece improved as last year went on, but during the Six Nations we saw how sides use it as a tool to force a sanction rather than restart the game. The scrum has not yet been a story of this tour but it’s only a matter of time: at 114 kilograms Richard Hibbard is a big hooker and we already know all about Adam Jones.Out for rare treat

Nick Farr-Jones’ talented 13-year-old son is recovering from a lacerated kidney suffered playing representative rugby in Sydney, AAP reports. He had hoped to take Josh to watch the Lions play NSW Country in Newcastle on Tuesday, but had to return home to Sydney instead to care for his son. ”I wanted to take Josh to a few of the games because he’ll be 25 by [the time the Lions next return to Australia in 12 years],” Farr-Jones said after Australia’s 1991 World Cup-winning captain attended a sportsman’s lunch in Newcastle. ”Who knows where he’ll be then. That puts it into perspective and is one of the reasons these Lions series are so special. People don’t realise how rare it is until you talk about it.”Tourists keep their heads

The Lions could be excused for scratching their heads. They had been warned of a vicious, snarling Australian media only to discover there is more interest among locals in sticking the boot into Michael Foley or pushing around a guillotine for Robbie Deans.Press watch

The Irish Independent ran a great story on newest Lion Simon Zebo, the lively winger who recently generated this headline: ”I thought USA Rugby leprechaun was [teammate] Paul Marshall.” (search for ”Todd Clever takes on Lucky” on YouTube). It seems news of Zebo’s Lions call-up was delayed by a technical hitch. ”Zebo, you see, jumped into a pool with his mobile in his pocket last week and when the Lions came calling they got a dead dial tone,” wrote Ruaidhri O’Connor.Across the ditch

No doubt Deans and Warren Gatland are keeping one eye on the All Blacks-France series. New Zealand coaches don’t choose to harbour desires to coach the All Blacks – it’s in the DNA. What would they have learnt from game one? A familiar theme this year – a Kiwi side beaten at the breakdown. Steve Hansen has a tough job on his hands. It’s not a total rebuild, but there are a few pressing renovations.

Twitter – @whiskeycully

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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