Let me help you

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Dear visiting Lions fans

Welcome to New Zealand! We know you are here to enjoy some quality rugby, and no doubt many of you will be looking to do a bit of sightseeing along the way. New Zealand is full of things to see and do. Pretty stuff. Green stuff. Wet stuff. Various craggy bits. You can even jump off things, if that’s your buzz.

But I’m not going to offer advice on how to make the most of your trip, other than to recommend that your do your very best to empty your wallets in our various hotels, bars and shops. Would you like a sheepskin rug with that flat white?

Anyway, you’re here for the rugby, so let’s focus on that topic. How are you feeling today? How about that match-winning try from the Blues? What? Too soon?

I don’t wish to write your team off entirely, because sport’s a funny thing, and a team that seems hopeless one day can dazzle the next. But the signs aren’t promising this early into the tour. If you thought the Blues were tough, wait till you play the mighty Crusaders.

By all means you should continue to support your boys, and hope they can turn things around. And, hey, who knows? Maybe they will. On the other hand, the Blues are generally regarded as the weakest of the five New Zealand Super Rugby franchises, so you would be well advised to prepare for the worst. The next few weeks could be very painful.

We like to make our visitors feel at home, and nothing would sadden me more than to see you in a state of confusion and despair, tearing at your hair and demanding to know why your gods have forsaken you. For that reason, I have created a checklist of things for Lions fans to do in preparation for each big tour match. I promise that if you follow each step you will feel so much better, because your team’s defeat will be put in its proper perspective. Just as the Lions team will be training furiously before each game, so will you! You’ll be hoping for the best, but prepared for the very worst.

Here is my 10-step programme:

1. Complain about how mean the local press are being to your boys.

2. Despair about all the dirty tactics and off-the-ball thuggery by New Zealand teams, and how referees always seem to turn a blind eye to it all.

3. Bemoan the lack of respect displayed by Kiwi rugby fans towards British rugby.

4. Point out all the players New Zealand teams have stolen from the Pacific Islands.

5. Complain about the Haka.

6. Pin the blame on your Kiwi coach.

7. Blame the inability of referees to follow the rulebook.

8. Complain about the tour itinerary.

9. Keep talking about what happened in 2003.

10. Don’t allow yourself to sober up.

Remember to follow my ten-step programme, and that way even if you lose you will still win!