Hereâ00s a brief round up of the goings on in and around the Lions camp on the eve of the first Testâ0¦
Skype has been the greatest technological advance on this Lions tour compared to four years ago. The internet video system has enabled the players to keep in touch with loved ones and avoid getting homesick.
But Harlequins wing Ugo Monye has been using the system to conduct prayer meetings with his family while he has been away. Monye has also been in regular contact with his Pastor at his local church, All Saints in Brompton.
No wonder then, when asked in his column in the Evening Standard what he would advise anyone who wanted to follow his example of playing for England and the Lions within eight months to do, he said: â00Go to church.â0
The old boys are back in town
Lions spotting is becoming a favourite past time of the hordes of fans booking into Durban. Gareth Edwards, Gavin Hastings and Jason Robinson are here as HSBC Ambassadors, Willie John McBride joined them this week and David Duckham is another big name waiting to roar on Paul Oâ00Connellâ00s men.
John Taylor, Paul Ackford and Eddie Butler are all part of the press corps, and ex-Lions, while Sky TV have a plethora of Lions among their panelists â00 Dewi Morris, Ieuan Evans, Jeremy Guscott, Will Greenwood, Stuart Barnes and Paul Wallace.
Former Irish international Roger Young, who now lives in South Africa, was a tourist in 1966 and 1968 and was spotted having a coffee with his former Ulster team-mate McBride on the eve of the Test, while Phil Vickery spotted the 1993 tourist, Ben Clarke on the beach front.
Three times Lions tourist, and 1974 coach, Syd Millar, is another star name on parade, but top marks must go to the hookers Mark Regan and Shane Byrne. They not only came to Durban to support the Lions, but also got their kit on play for the Classic Lions against the Classic Springboks. Some old habits die hard!
Lion cub on the way
James Hook is battling to stay on the tour after taking a heavy knock against the Southern Kings, but he has a very good reason to head home to Wales.
For shortly after kicking the winning penalty goal against Western Province in cape town the Ospreys outside half heard from his girlfriend, Kimberly, that he is due to become a father for the first time in December.
James Hook deserves congratulations outside of his match-winning penalty
Sticks and stones
Nicknames are a standard part of every sporting team, but the Lions have run into a few problems separating Cardiff Blues and Wales prop Gethin Jenkins and London Wasps and England flanker Joe Worsley. Why? Both are affectionately known as â00Melon headâ00 back home.
In the rough
Ronan Oâ00Gara has enjoyed forming a new half-back partnership with Mike Phillips on the tour, but he hasnâ00t been too impressed with the Welsh No 9â00s golfing skills.
They paired up to take on the might of Matthew Rees and Andy Powell, but crashed to a humbling defeat.
Not surprising, really, given that Phillips managed to lose 20 balls during the round â00 and that was a conservative estimate! The penalty for the losers was the cost of lunch for four. Cue the lobster, said Powell!
Andy Powell enjoyed lunch courtesy of Ronan O'Gara and Mike Phillips
It seems that the Lions music committee have finally got the rhythm going ahead of the first Test against the Springboks.
Rikki Flutey and Jamie Roberts copped a bit of flak early on for their lack of taste, but theyâ00ve now got the whole team jumping.
Returning from training in Port Elizabeth they ordered the coach driver to do an extra lap of the team hotel because the players were still dancing to â00Sunchymeâ0 by Safri Duo. Not only that, they stopped the bus at some roadworks and invited a local worker to get on board and join them.
Letâ00s hope they can waltz through the Springboks defence at the weekend.
Boweâ00s band of â00merryâ00 men
The Tommy Bowe fan club is growing on this tour. Ulsterâ00s finest has scored four tries to date and has had everyone following the tour toasting his success.
But it seems some of his fans are taking things to extremes. Eight Irish fans from Omagh introduced themselves to Bowe in Cape Town where they produced the previous night's bar bill.
It started with 90 gin and tonics and then went onto 20 whiskeys. What price a few extras to be added to that total if Tommy comes up with the goods in the first Test!