Austin Healy Believes It’s Time To Put The Lions Out To “Pasture”

Austin Healey, Damian McInally

Austin Healey offered a controversial opinion in The Telegraph this morning.

Over the years Austin Healey has never been afraid to voice his opinion or take the flak that would inevitably come his way. This trait has made the former Leicester Tigers utility back a divisive figure in rugby circles.

Nevertheless, although many fans might not like what he has to say, most listen to Healey. Indeed, as a 51 times capped England international and two time tourist with the Lions, he is far more qualified than most to offer an opinion on the future of the Lions as a touring side.

Sadly for traditionalists, it’s not what they want to hear.

In an article published in The Telegraph, Healey argued that Lions tours have become ‘stale’ and that there is no longer a point of difference between them any ‘any other southern hemisphere tour’ – apart from the personnel involved.

In Healey’s opinion, the 1997 tour was the last traditional series, and since 2005 any connection with the past had been lost.

Such a view is expected from someone who ‘wanted to play for England over the Lions’ and is of course a subjective conclusion to draw, but where I do agree with Healey is in his description of the Lions ‘cash cow’. It’s hard to ignore the amount of money each series generates, with every commercial opportunity taken advantage of.

Indeed, while Healey described the sense of pride he felt when he first wore the Lions jersey, the former England international feels it has been diminished as the ‘Lions evolved into a purely moneymaking scheme’.

Although I agree with Healey in that regard, I don’t think it is yet time to put the Lions out to ‘pasture’. Instead they should be looking to pre-empt the awkward questions that will follow the inevitable series defeat in New Zealand, and re-imagine what the Lions stand for in the professional era.

Read next: Why Greed Has Put The Lions Brand At Risk And In Danger of Humiliation

Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena

Read More About: All Blacks, Austin Healey, British and Irish lions, england rugby, ireland rugby, leicester tigers, new zealand, scotland rugby, wales rugby

Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. View all posts by The PA Team