Alan Brazil: Lions climax shows the way to go

Alan Brazil: Lions climax shows the way to go

    Alan Brazil was talking to Alex Griffiths

    The subject of what lessons football can take on board from other sports has become a recurring theme and you could not ask for any better an example than the thrilling end to the Lions tour of New Zealand.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t even pretend to know the rules of rugby!

    With seconds to go of a hard-fought series, however, we witnessed a call which would have decided the overall winners without a shadow of a doubt in my mind. Although there were plenty of kicks missed in the game, I could not have seen the All-Blacks missing the penalty everyone was expecting from the position it would have been given.

    For a moment you really had to feel for Ken Owens, whose infringement it was, before referee Romain Poite referred his knock-on to those watching with the aid of a multitude of video angles.

    The verdict? Accidental knock-on, no penalty and no change to what turned out to be a historic scoreline with honours shared across the board.

    The essential point I am making is that, whether or not the decision was correct, there were only two men in discussion with Poite on the field of play while deliberations took place, and those men were the respective captains, Kieran Read and Sam Warburton.

    Had this been a decision thrown to the VARs during a football match of similar profile, you just know that there would have been 20 players mobbing the man in the middle, if not worse.

    And no one can excuse that by telling me there was any less passion on display among these players than you get in your average Premier League footballer by the way!

    It was an incredible shout given the circumstances and a great call, which only underlined that the ref is the boss and there was nobody left in any doubt, regardless of the delicateness of the scenario that had developed, and at such a critical stage, too.

    Both these leaders set a fine example to the millions watching worldwide as well as to fellow professional athletes who will have seen their own hopes dashed and probably not have managed to maintain such outstanding composure.

    Alan Brazil

    The reaction of Read was equally admirable as he faced up to the media afterwards and took a situation where he could justifiably have felt hard done by squarely on the chin.

    On a more general level I wholeheartedly welcome the bringing in of retrospective action for successful deception of officials in England, and in a recent conversation my old mucker Gordon Smith personally confirmed the benefits of this kind of initiative following his successful experience with the SPL north of the border.

    Back down under again, they used technology to good effect in the Southern Hemisphere over the course of the Lions tour, with the red card for Sonny Bill Williams and the yellow for Jerome Kaino illustrating how vital the cameras can be when the game simply gets too swift for the officials.

    Ultimately, it’s pure common sense to follow rugby’s lead, in my opinion. It all goes to show, once you recognise that no one has called the referee any names as a result, that we have to acknowledge what a tough job they have at the very highest level by making use of all the tools at our command.

    Until next time you can catch me on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast every week day on TalkSPORT, 6-10am.