Alec Swann - It is just a big game of rugby

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
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The game of rugby union has led an on and off existence in my 30-odd years.

I played a bit at school where my catching and kicking - full-back was where I generally found myself - was decent enough but my defensive work was somewhat lacking.

That got knocked on the head once I reached sixth form age, better things to do obviously, before it came back into view when my job at the time had me reporting on the goings on at the Bedford Blues.

There was the experience, sandwiched inbetween, of being the only Englishman in an Australian pub while Martin Johnson et al claimed the Webb Ellis Cup in Sydney back in 2003.

And that, a preference for rugby league hasn’t helped, has been it.

My links to the game are now confined to watching the odd game on television, internationals mainly and the Saints every now and then, and because I can take it or leave it, the Lions’ first Test against the Wallabies in Brisbane this Saturday isn’t likely to cross my radar.

Without Sky Sports dominating my TV like it used to, I’ve been protected from the incessant coverage afforded the tourists and I’m not too disappointed about that.

I realise it’s a pretty big deal, it’s scarcity sees to that, but there is a mythical element given to the whole concept that is baffling.

The way in which the tour is advertised and refered to by commentators and past players is similar to the documentraies about the Second World War that appear from time to time.

Individuals staring into the middle distance while atmospheric music envelops the image is an Americanisation that I could do without.

All that’s missing is a gently waving flag over a former battlefield - come on Sky, you’re missing a trick here - and the scene would be complete.

It’s a game of rugby, yes a big one, but a game nevertheless.

I reckon the Lions might have just a bit too much for the home side and a 10-point victory is on the cards.

If that happens then we can all be transfixed by a 70s Welsh player telling us how it will mean so much to the current group.

And I hope that I miss it.