Irish Examiner view: Lions party for South Africa an example of the power of unity

Irish Examiner view: Lions party for South Africa an example of the power of unity

British and Irish Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland

At a moment when so many of the relationships underpinning the stability enjoyed across these islands are threatened by everything from the possible election of anti-science fundamentalist Edwin Poots as a Northern Ireland political leader to the excesses of the unanchored Downing Street incumbent Boris Johnson - and almost everything in between - anything that reminds us of our common purpose must be welcomed.

Yesterday's announcement url=of the 37-man Lions squad to tour South Africa is one such moment. It, albeit in a minor key, reminds the English, Welsh, Scottish, and Irish sports fans of how the sum total of talent is often far greater than the sum total of individual talent. 

The value of this lesson is its universality, and that it is applicable in nearly every aspect of life.

One aspect that may be missing from this truncated Covid-19 tour are the verdicts on Warren Gatland's selection that would be, in normal circumstances, so freely offered from clubhouse highstools. 

Though eight Irish players have been honoured one decision seems to, or at least it should, sound the last post on a wonderful international career.

Johnny Sexton, 35, has been stood down from contact work by Leinster as he suffered three head injuries in nine weeks. 

Johnny Sexton during Leinster rugby squad training. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Johnny Sexton during Leinster rugby squad training. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

No one can fail to be impressed by Sexton's determination but no one, especially his family, could have relished the prospect of him facing the power and traditional brutality of the world champions on their home grounds. 

Though contracted by the IRFU for another year Sexton has nothing left to prove other than an understanding that time and tide wait for no man.

 

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