Lions legend wary of foul tactics
September 16, 2012
Ronan O'Gara was left battered and bloodied by McRae's punches © Getty Images
British & Irish Lions legend Willie John McBride has warned next summer's tourists to be wary of Southern Hemisphere "bully boys" that could wreck their hopes of winning the Test series.
The Irish lock, who played in five Lions series, captaining one, called on referees to clamp down on foul play, citing incidents in the previous three Lions tours that have hampered the Lions chances as they have lost crucial players to nasty injuries.
Ronan O'Gara was the victim of a series of flying fists from NSW full-back Duncan McRae during the 2001 tour of Australia; Brian O'Driscoll was dumped out of the 2005 series in New Zealand by a combined spear tackle from Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu and Luke Fitzgerald was the victim of eye-gouging from Schalk Burger during last series in South Africa.
"Unfortunately the bully boy stuff still seems to be around in the Southern Hemisphere," McBride told the Rugby Paper.
"In my book it (McRae's assault on O'Gara) was a physical assault, a court case. As for the tackle on O'Driscoll it could have killed him and Fitzgerald could have lost an eye - it happened right in front of me. It was definitely a red card.
"There's something terribly wrong with the game if you have all manner of people looking into this type of thing (ill-discipline) yet incidents like this aren't being dealt with properly. These things have such a bearing on the whole game.
"This non-sense happened in my day, too, but we were able to take the law into our own hands and put a stop to it. But there shouldn't be any necessity for that now because we're supposed to have strong officials and rules to deal with it.
"We turn a blind eye to it because it is in the Southern Hemisphere."
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