Lions roar in brilliant Test victory

Alun Wyn Jones, Captain of the Lions

Alun Wyn Jones, Captain of the Lions - Credit: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

After what was a brutal, physical test match on the weekend with the Lions coming out on top, there is one question that really stands out for me. What is Alun Wyn Jones made of? 
Iron, steel, or Welsh granite? All I know is I’m pretty sure he’s a good deal more resilient than I was as a rugby player. Four weeks out from a dislocated shoulder, and he’s playing in probably the most physically testing environment imaginable.  
It all comes back to the forwards vs backs argument, and when it comes to grit, determination, and disregard for their own safety the pack win every time. You need only look to the 5-metre penalty tap and go’s, not many of the backs are stepping up to the ball. You get the odd time where a back will join in with the forwards, the odd time, the self-proclaimed Jack ‘pick and go king’ Nowell joins in but few and far between.  
Luke Cowan-Dickie gets talked about a lot in rugby circles because he simply does things that others don’t. The man is literally leading from the front, and hopefully he will solidify himself as a Lions legend after this tour. 
Tough as teak, it once took me several weeks and a heap of painkillers to get over a popped rib before I could play again, only for Dickie to rock a week or two after with the same injury and carry-on training. Taking part in scrummaging and mauling, only stopping at the point in which his rib would pop out again to stretch above his head until it popped back in. 
Toe to toe at the weekend, a proper test match. Not the style of game you would like to see week in week out at the Blackmore with lots of kicking and defences on top, but for the rugby purist, a physical, highly tactical game with fine margins.  
With the official return of full contact rugby in the community game, my excitement grows for the commencement of our season with it being 16 months since a lot of the squad played any proper rugby. We need to go about returning the group to contact safely.  
The act of simply being tackled to ground feels strange for the first few weeks and we need to build back in the muscle memory and contact readiness. On top of that establishing the brand of rugby that the Blackmore faithful can enjoy week in week out. 
All of those involved in Sidmouth rugby to this point have shown remarkable resilience. The rugby volunteers, coaches, players, and officials have shown this in spades along with patience during a challenging 16 months. We can all now prepare for and get excited about what’s set to be rugby as normal when the new season starts in September. 

Luke Cowan-Dickie of Exeter Chiefs and British Lions

Luke Cowan-Dickie of Exeter Chiefs and British Lions - Credit: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

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