British & Irish Lions Selection – April

With less than one week to go until Ian McGeechan names the squad that he’ll be taking to South Africa, here is my latest view on the Test team.


Following the 69 comments on the March selection, I have pored over your suggestions and updated the team accordingly. Have a look at the video and let me know what you think.

There was vocal support for Adam Jones over both Euan Murray and Phil Vickery, owing to his mobility and contribution in the loose. I’ll need to bow to others’ knowledge of his scrummaging ability, since this will be key against the Lions.

Stephen Ferris has usurped James Haskell at blindside flanker to complete an all-Irish back row, and McGeechan has a history of maintaining key units that play together regularly, so this may well be the Test back row.

Dwayne Peel comes in at Number 9, which still appears to be a problem position with no outstanding candidates. Tomas O’Leary had a strong game for Munster, and the choice of scrum-half could depend on McGeechan’s preference at fly-half.

The other change sees Riki Flutey selected at 12 and is the solitary Englishman in the side (even though he’s a New Zealander soon to be playing in France) – he finished strongly in the Six Nations, but I have a feeling that this could be another position where the Test berth goes to a player that impresses on the tour.

Let me know what you think of this selection. Who do you think will be missing out on the squad altogether?

56 thoughts on “British & Irish Lions Selection – April

  1. Great team not many qualms, I would still pick Murray over Jones as he is a better scrumager and has the edge over the boks since the autumn test, this is one of few areas the lions are stronger. It is tight between croft and Ferres, that position will be decided on tour who wants it most, the chances are they will both figure in every test (one as substitute). It has to be Peel at scrum half, he has the skills and experience and it will be a pack often in retreat, with Peel at 9 that gives Jones the edge at 10 due to familiarity. Flutey is a good choice at he moment but if Henson is fit I would play him, his absence has been the reason for Wales lack of creativity this year.

    I wouldn’t choose him but don’t count out Patterson, Geech loves good kickers and in 97 he played jenkins out of position just for his kicking, lets face it his kicking is not normal, his percentage is obscenely high, he was on 100% for like 18 months thats unheard of. Patterson is a good man for the bench as he can come on a slot crucial kicks.

  2. I think Martin Williams is there or there abouts, and Wallace will probably slide over to 6 to accomodate him. It would also be good to get some more solidity and weight in the 2nd row, perhaps bringing Simon Shaw in from the wilderness to bolster the engine…?

    Apart from that all looks good based on recent performances. What’s certain though is that the tour will come, some injuries will hit, and some late-runners will put their hands up for starting test berths from some gritty early-tour performances. These aren’t the Woodward days of 2 Lions touring squads, so everyone should be in with a chance should they impress in the warm-up games.

  3. Could this be more anti-English? Particularly with the comment at the top. Too many players from the team ending up in 4th, with the second worst defense and pretty poor try-scoring stats: Wales.

    – Fitzgerald? Puhlease, over someone like Cueto who’s been on fire all season?

    – What’s Shane Williams actually done this season? Nothing. Why not pick on form. Ditto for Lee Byrne.

    – Peel will get eaten alive in SA and it’s one of those pie in the sky ideas whereby people see him for his 2005 form. It’s 2009 guys.

    – Adam Jones? Dear oh dear.

    Put Cueto, Croft, Ellis and potentially Armitage in (with Vickery, Mears and Flood on the bench) and you’ve got yourself a test team.

  4. Cueto – not an ounce of football in him. Will not go.
    Mears – too small
    Vickery – too slow, bad handler and a liabilty at the breakdown.
    Flood – lightweight.
    Croft – a definite
    Armitage – tends to fade in and out of games. Possible for mid team.
    Cipriani – will go
    Ellis , Flutey, Monye, Hartley, Shaw – outside chances

    Face facts Steve, England were crap this season.

  5. agree with grubber jonny, England were crap this year. Only Flutey and croft have a chance of making the test team and they are not certainties, Ellis kicks all over the place and his service to 10 is below adequate, Cipp, flood can’t negotiate traffic or kick at goal, Tigers are better without him, Mears is to small but a good technician to be fair, vickery is late everywhere, past it. Armitage should tour and will come back a better player for it he has a big future. On that point England need to hope as many people tour as possible, they will return far stronger, lets face it, it was the 97 tour that built players like Back (he has said it himself) they went on to win the world cup. Johnson is hoping for a repeat. Picking a Lions team will sho how weak the English pack is.

  6. Just a thought

    We all agree the Geech will pick the meanest heaviest pack he can find and try to win the scrum. But what if he does a 97 in the backs; pick an inside center at 10 say Flutey (97 Townsend), advantages are Flutey is a better tackler than any of our 10’s and a bigger running threat putting boks defense on the back foot, disadvantages he can’t run a game or kick goals. Geech might pick a tackling backs and dare the boks to run over them, something that the boks generally like to do anyway, maybe 12, Roberts, 13 BOD 14 Bowe, 11 Evans.

    And finally a fullback who is there solely to kick penalties, Patterson (97, Jenkins)

    The plan being to slow the game down lure SA into a tackling contest which they love, pressuring their scrum into giving away penalties and MR 100% Patterson kicks us to a boring but highly satisfying victory.

    The trick is that Flutey can attack close to the fringes with Gibbsy style crash balls, a game plan that simple doesn’t require a mastermind of a flyhalf, it also doesn’t require a fullback running carving lines, he’s never going to get the ball baring a 5 man overlap.

    Counter attacks ain’t going to happen either, every time 15 gets the ball he will hoof it (lets face it with ELV’swho counter attacks) and since we are planning to have possession for 90% of the game then 15’s lack of tackling skills are no problem. It is custom made for Patterson. In Henson, Roberts, Shanklin and BOD we have excellent tacklers, Bowe and Evans are both 95 plus kilos, Flutey has played 10 before (for Geech) and he’s from NZ and loves tackling.

    Plus their pack is more mobile than ours so why get into a running battle, just as they were shocked in 97 when Tiechman and co got stopped by our backs so will they be this time if Spies and Burger are.

    Not my cup of tea, I would try something else but it has worked for Geech before and he might just have the personnel to do it and the more I think of it the more it sounds plausible.

  7. I think it is safe to assume whomever mad this video is welsh….some of the selections are just trivial.

    11. Williams: We shouldn’t judge by the 2008 6 Nations, 2009 williams was off form.
    10. Jones: I don’t care about his tackling, ROG is the most consistent place kicker in
    the Northern Hemisphere.
    09.Peel: I don’t care how well Scotland did ever, Mike Blair is the best scrum half in the
    world right now.
    01.Jenkins: Bench?Yes. Starting XV? No. Horan has the pace of a winger over short
    distances and he is a strong scrummager.

    Other Discrepancies:
    06. Ferris: Even though Croft replaced him with England, Haskell is the best No. 6
    in the British Isles and should definatly start the Lions XV.

    Byrne, AW Jones, and A Jones are the only Welshman who deserve starting slots for this Lions tour. A few Bench players like M Williams, S. Jones, and Jenkins but thats about it.

    And Unfortunatley England have wrestled their way out of a few slots for this Lions Tour.

  8. edit:
    09. Peel: I don’t care how BAD Scotland did ever, Mike Blair is the best scrum half in the world right now.

  9. RECAP

    15: Lee Byrne
    14: Luke Fitzgerald
    13: Brian O’Driscoll
    12: Rickey Flutey
    11: Mark Cueto

    10: Ronan O’Gara
    09: Mike Blair

    08: Jamie Heaslip
    07: David Wallace
    06: James Haskell
    05: Paul O’Connel (Cpt.)
    04: Alyn Wyn Jones
    03: Adam Jones
    02: Jerry Flannery (this one is a toss up because no #2’s impressed this year)
    01: Marcus Horan

    You can disagree if you want but don’t flame about me being biased towards one country I am from America so my opinion is purely strategic.

    Based of Flexability

    16: Lee Mears (can do hook or prop if needed)
    17: Gethin Jenkins
    18: Tom Croft (can do back row or second row if needed)
    19: Martyn Williams

    20: Stephen Jones
    21: Tom Shanklin (good midfield player at 12-14)
    22: Rob Kearney (Can go fullback or wing if needed)

    Extra or Injury:

    John Hayes
    Donnacha O’Callaghan
    Ryan Jones
    Nick Easter

    Harry Ellis
    Toby Flood
    Matthew Tait
    Delon Armitage

    England Finish Strong Off the Field and Bench
    They will get their chance only if permanant injurys occur.

  11. Peel goes AWOL when the pack are under pressure – I wouldn’t even consider him for the party.

    By and large, this selection shows what is wrong with democracy – the unqualified get to rule.

  12. How on earth can anyone pick Horan over Jenkins? Jenkins is a good scrummager, strong, very fit and his work rate is awesome. Nailed on test spot.

  13. Why do people insist on saying that England players should not be taken on tour? Yes england did have a dreadful start to the season, and yes wales did have an excellent 2008. However, if Geech is meant to be picking on CURRENT form then why on earth would english players not be selected. england finished 2nd (albeit on points difference) and scored the most tried by quite some way. what gives the welsh players the right to go on reputation when they had a disappointing season.

    If england had lost their games at the end of the 6 nations rather than at the beginning then they would have been in the same boat as wales. just because wales could have won the six nations against ireland its only because they played them at the end. they lost as many games as england did. iv even read reports that wales were unlucky not to beat ireland. they were but england lost by fewer points to ireland than wales did (even though they played dreadfully against them).

    All that being said, i agree that ireland should make up the core of the lions side. i agree that tommy bowe, BOD and ROG should be in the backs (ROG only because of lack of competition). I also agree that the back row should be the irish lads and o’connell should be in there also. that is the core of english players.

    as for lee byrne. i still think he has the edge over armitage. i think he has had a slump in form, the last few games, but i still feel he has the most complete fall back in the northern hemisphere (closely followed by armitage). i feel that shane williams is living off his 2008 reputation, and although he would be a shoe in for my 22, i do not feel he warrants a place in starting XV until he rediscovers his form.

    I am no front row expert so will stay well away from that.

    all that has been said in this post is my own opinion, as is everyone elses obviously. therefore my starting XV would be:

    15. Lee Byrne
    14. Mark Cueto
    13. BOD (Capt)
    12. Riki Fluety
    11. Mark Cueto
    10. O’Gara
    9. Philips

    8. Heaslip
    7. David Wallace
    6. Ferris
    5. O’Connell
    4. Kennedy (has been outstanding for London Irish recently – possible drop kick winner also)
    3. Hayes
    2. Flannery
    1. Jenkins

    I must also say that there will definitely be some players who perform well on tour that will shock a few, including myself, and I am looking forward to seeing who those surprises are.

    No matter who wears the Lions jersey, I cannot wait and hope we can repeat the feats of 97

  14. hahaha sorry yeah meant to be tommy bowe at 14. good spot. although i think two mark cueto’s would confuse them

  15. Interesting selections and comments. Would have to agree, England were really crap this season weren’t they? They were the top try scorers in the 6 nations (only having 2 good games), conceded the least amount of points in the 6 nations and finished 2nd in one of the greatsest rugby tournaments in the world (well above Wales – who seem to be dominating most peoples team). Now yes I’m English, but on the whole I would agree that since winning the world cup we have probably only played about 6 good games, however give these boys some credit. England are on their 4th manager in 6 years, hit rock bottom after the Autumn internationals, but yet managed to rise up and finish the 6 nations stronger than anyone else considering the start and expectations. If we are going to talk about taking a team solely on form and not reputation then I think you would find a lot more English in there than what is being suggested and lets face it, I’m sure that Geech’s will surprise us all with his selection.

    15. Byrne/Armitage/Kearney. Anyone of them could start. Armitage looks the most exciting at the mo, but Byrne is still my choice to start. Do like the idea of Patterson as an outside bet though.
    14. Cueto. He has the experience and has been on fire this season. Other options for either wing are: Evans/Bowe/Monye/Fitzgerald.
    13. BOD. No arguments but who could fill his boots in the case of injury. Max Evans? Tom Shanklin? Delon Armitage? Mike Tindall?
    12. Flutey. I know he’s technically not British, but he is definitely the best we have at the mo and will keep the Bok defence on their toes. Jamie Roberts would be my other choice but doesn’t have the flair of Flutey.
    11. Williams. I don’t even like him and granted he had a very dull 6 nations, but he can turn bad situations into 5 points in seconds. Just needs to learn to pass from time to time.
    10. Jones. I simply rule O’Gara out because of his defence which the Boks will exploit over and over again. Cipriani will tour, and I wouldn’t surprised to see him start a test match – he has talent, flair and Geech’s loves him.
    9. Ellis. Peel would be my 2nd choice. Phillips is big and strong, but is otherwise found lacking. Blair is a contender, but I thought he had quite a dull 6 nations. Care – too inexperienced and tempermental.
    8. Heaslip. Jones is a very close 2nd. Powell simply looks one dimensional.
    7. Wallace. Simply better than every other 7 will we have to choose from. Williams will tour but unlikely to start.
    6. Worsley. Highest tackle rate in the 6 nations, very good ball carrier + Geech’s wants a strong, aggressive back row that will knock the Boks back all day long. Look no further. Croft/Ferris/Haskell may be unlucky and left out.
    5. Alun win Jones. Kennedy is better in the line out but maybe considered a little light weight for this pack.
    4. POC. Simply the best 2nd row we have. Possible captain. Simon Shaw as an outsider to tour (adds strength and bulk to the pack). Borthwick will probably tour due to politics.
    3. Jones. Other possibilities are Jenkins, Hayes, Vickery.
    2. Ford. Mears is my 2nd choice. Flannery is still in contention.
    1. Sheridan. Simply for his brute strength.

  16. 15. Lee Byrne (best fullback currently in the NH but in great competition with kearney and armitage)

    14. Leigh Halfpenny (very tough to call but i believe on current form he just aobut shades it due to his great kicking game and change of pace)

    13. Brian O’driscoll (a shoe-in for outside centre after a great six nations and finally gettin back to his best, world class player)

    12. Gavin henson (extremely debatable with his injury woes and with competition from the likes of flutey and roberts, but I’ve gone for “Gav” due to his great tackling ability and his legendary kicking game, talent abound)

    11. Shane Williams (it suprises me how many have taken shane out of there lions 15 claiming that hes had a terrible season, i agree he may have had a bad season but with the hard south african ground he has nailed down the 11 spot NO DOUBT ABOUT IT)

    10. Stephen Jones (had a good six nations, consistent player and a good kicking game makes him just about edge it it front of none consistent O’gara and inexperienced Cipriani or Flood)

    9. Mike Phillips (no stand out characters in the scrum half position but im expecting mcgeechan will want a physical side against the springboks so Phillips fills the role nicely)

    8. Andy Powell (big Physical man with the physical attributes to combat the springboks and the hard ground will be great opportunity for Powell to show what hes capable of)

    7. Martyn Williams (A master of the breakdown who gets around the park quicker than any other, those who havnt got him in there starting 15 are fools, a true welsh legend)

    6. Stephen Ferris (a cat burglar at the breakdown more than anything and a big, strong back-row forward who can surely bring havoc to the springbok forward pack)

    5. Paul O’Connell (Awesome lineout jumper, will be very valuable to the lions in that perspective, also a great commanding presence on the field)

    4. Alun-Wyn Jones (Strong second row who always leads on the front foot, like O’Connell, he is a strong lineout jumper, a player with great potential and also able to flanker if the needs be)

    3. Adam Jones (great tightead who has improved his fitness hugely since issues with his weight arose when he first started, will be invaluable to the lions at scrum time)

    2. Jerry Flannery (no individual hookers stand out at the moment but the Irish hooker is a reliable lineout thrower and is useful all around the park)

    1. Gethin Jenkins ( Great scrummager, gets around the park and tackles like a back-rower, a shoe-in for loosehead at the present)

  17. Adam Jones?! Seriously?! If you know anything about front row play then you’d be picking Euan Murray

    You can’t argue with the dominance of Irish players but not Welsh I’m afraid.

    The only Welsh players that should be in the team are –
    Shane Williams,
    Martyn Williams,
    Alun Wyn Jones,
    Simon Jones
    and Lee Byrne

    That said none of those players had an amazing 6 nations so we shall have to see. Geech said he’s picking on form so they may have a tough time.

    I think the pick of Peel is madnessm he’s barely played all season and hasn’t been starting for Wales so how can he expect to be picked for the Lions. It’s a straight toss up between Blair (whose normally very consistant but had a mixed 6 nations) and Phillips (whose passing can let him down but is still formidable).

    15: Armitage (tough on Byrne but he needs to get back to the AI form)
    14: Tom Evans (Played very well in a poor team and is the fastest winger available)
    13: BOD
    12: Flutey
    11: Shane Williams
    10: Jones
    9: Blair
    8: Healsip
    7: Williams
    6: Wallace
    5: O’Connell
    4: Alun Wyn Jones
    3: Euan Murray
    2: Ross Ford/Flannery (too tough to call)
    1: Sheridan

  18. Gethin Jenkins had an amazing 6 Nations particularly against England but was excellent in all othe other games too .

  19. james
    your team couldnt get much
    better apart from jenkins for sheridan
    but other than that its the team
    that i would definetly pick

  20. If Geech Gatland & Co are picking on form….. how about

    Keith Earls – great footballer and good rugby brain. Play anywhere in the backs
    Jordan Turner Hall – aggressive, not as one dimensional as Jamie Roberts
    Alan Quinlan – hard man
    Joe Worsley – ditto
    Ugo Monye – genuine pace, played well against Leinster
    Riki Tiki Flutey – better in attack with one leg tied behind his back than ROG or Jones
    Tomas O Leary – quickest SH in the 6 nations

  21. McGeechan

    1 – Gethin Jenkins
    2 – Jerry Flannery
    3 – Euan Murray
    4 – Alun Wyn Jones
    5 – Paul O’Connell
    6 – Keith Ferris
    7 – Paddy Wallace
    8 – Jamie Heaslip
    9 – Mike Blair
    10 – Stephen Jones
    11 – Shane Williams
    12 – Ricki Flutey
    13 – Brian O’Driscoll
    14 – Tommy Bowe
    15 – Lee Byrne

    Subs – Adam Jones, Dylan Hartley, Tom Croft, Joe Worsley, Thom Evans, Mike Phillips, Delon Armitage.

    Other players to make the squad
    at 1 – Andrew Sheridan
    at 2 – Ross Ford
    at 3 – John Hayes
    at 4 – Doncha O’Callaghan
    at 5 – Ian Gough
    at 6 – James Haskell
    at 7 – Martyn Williams
    at 8 – Ryan Jones
    at 9 – Dwayne Peel
    at 10 – ROG
    at 11 – Luke Fitzgerald
    at 12 – Jamie Roberts
    at 13 – Tom Shanklin
    at 14 – Leigh Halfpenny
    at 15 – Rob Kearney

    I have a feeling that I might be one heavy but there you go. Certain people who have been mentioned repeatedly on this blog haven’t made it for the following reasons.

    Cipriani – a future talent without a doubt but not good enough yet and against the Boks you can’t afford a player who although he may create scoring opportunities is almost certainly going to give them away too.
    Ellis – just not good enough or consistent enough.
    Vickery – Doesn’t deserve a spot on form. A shadow of the player he was 5 years ago, doesn’t get round the park like he used to and also a penalty liability.
    Mears – Too small. Technically accomplished but because he is so much smaller than his props leads to an unbalanced front row. When Hartley replaced him in the 6Nations England’s front row immediately became more solid and more competitive in the scrums.
    Cueto – with out a doubt has had a good year but others have had better.
    Marcus Horan – good around the park but far too weak a scrummager to risk in South Africa.
    Andy Powell – although had a good Autumn series hasn’t really carried on from there. In danger of looking one dimensional. Would probably make the standby list though.
    Henson – unfortunately an injury liability but a quality player and would probably make the standby list.
    Alistair Strokosh – A human wrecking ball who is unlucky that he plays for the large part with an average Scottish pack.
    Simon Taylor – a talented footballer but hasn’t had enough game time to warrant selection.
    Matthew Tait – an extremely talented footballer who won’t make the cut purely because he has not had the game time he undoubtably deserves.

  22. Donald, I’m sure Paddy Wallace would be delighted to hear you are considering him for your Lions Test team. However, when he finds out you want to play him at wing forward he may rather watch it all from the safety of his living room.

    Keith Ferris, who he ? Stephen’s older brother ?

  23. From an englishmans view:

    Nick Easter (starting)
    Lee Mears (starting/ sub)
    Harry Ellis (reserve)
    ROG (starting)
    Matthew Tait (sub/reserve)
    Delon Armitage (sub/reserve)
    Mark Cueto (starting – get Shane out of the team!!!)

    Should all be in the Lions tour. Anybody who says lee Mears is too small hasn’t seen him play, he’s awesome. Nick Easter has played very, very well for both club and country this season, and should definitely see some game time, as should Armitage. Tait has been playing well, too, and Cueto is majorly on form. Lastly, O’Gara is awesome. His tackling may not be amazing, but he is still (IMO) the best Fly Half out the possibilities.

  24. Given the importance of a lifter in both securing and contesting lineouts I would think that John Hayes is peerless in this regard. Scrums generally go with put in but posession from lineouts can be very important in terms of winning and losing. I don’t think O’Connell would secure so much ball without Hayes. Flannery the best option at hooker, good darts and great in the loose. Sheridan to complete the front row as he’s a hard b***ard.
    Second row needs a partner for O’Connell (captain). Shaw is past it, Alun Wyn Jones is a possibility but I would go with O’Callaghan as he and O’Connell know eachother inside out with both Ireland and Munster (Kennedy has an outside chance) – The whole is probably better than the sum of the parts in this case so I’d stick with the two O’C’s. No. 6 goes to Alan Quinlan, Haskell or Worsley, take your pick. No. 7 Wallace or Williams. No 8 Heaslip, Jones or Wallace (Powell is a one trick pony). Wallace has to make the back row at 7 or 8 as he’s just too good to leave out. Scrum half goes to Blair or Peel with Phillips or O’Leary as possibilities. Outhalf os a no brainer with O’Gara and Jones or Hook as understudy. 11 Williams. 12 Flutey or Shanklin. 13 O’Driscoll. 14 Rob Kearney or Leigh Halfpenny (Cueto is useless but just hasn’t realised it). 15 Lee Byrne. Wild card – at centre, wing or full back Keith Earls (resembles a mix of a young Christian Cullen, O’Driscoll and Brian Habana). That’s it. Based on my selection there might be very few english watching the test matches.

  25. First of all, we are going there to defend, nothing else, if you can’t tackle you don’t make the team. Secondly goal kicking is essential in ‘SA, high altitude means the kickers have 10 meters extra range, the danger zone is anywhere within your own half. Thirdly we have to win the scrum in order to avoid the lineouts and win penalties. With all that in mind my team is as follows

    1 Murray (simply the best scumager we have, has beaten this SA front row before. tackles his share)

    2 Mears (is small but will allow our front row to push theirs up, lack of hight can help. They will try to steel our lineout ball, he is the best thrower)

    3 Jenkins (Great in the scrum and makes huge hits)

    4 O’Connell (the best player we have, will have to be extra incredible in the lineoout)

    5 Hines (adds weight in the scrum, weaker in the lineout but will jump against Mayfield, ain’t nobody winning that match, the most aggressive lock we have, wonderful hands)

    6 Croft (we will be throwing to the back a lot, he has to be there, his tackle count is high, second behind Worsley against France)

    7 Wallace (great at everything, bigger than williams, means heavier scrum, sorry)

    8 Powell (the only man to challenge the Boks athletically, will benefit from the hard grounds, the best ball carrier we have, must bring his A game)

    9 Blair (Phillips is stronger but we need a decision maker, struggled during 6N but so did the whole Scotland team, will come good)

    10 Flutey (it is a problem position, he hits hard in the tackle, really hard, will make their defense think because of his step, strength and passing, he can do a Townsend 97. O’Gara can’t tackle, Jones is a good tactician but is slow offers no offensive threat, his kicking under pressure can go to pot)

    11 Fitzgerald (great defense, hits above his weight and is a great finisher, Williams off the bench, I love him but like I said we are there to defend)

    12 Henson (if fit, big man can take the crash ball, tackle anything and take the pressure off Flutey with the defensive kicks, will offer extra range on the goal kicking, probably from 60m in SA, if injured Roberts)

    13 O’Driscoll (Best Defender we have, will be the heart of the team, loves to take it hard in attack)

    14 Bowe (Big man 98kilos, will come inside and take the crash make his hit and has good positional play)

    15 Patterson (If your going there to kick for victory, pick the best kicker. He is not as good as Byrne, Kearney or Armitage, but he kicks 100% of his goals, 90% on a bad day. That is unheard of. Our defense will frustrate them and he will pop over the goals, Jenkins did it in 97, we can do it again, only chance we’ve got)

    Not the best team, there are far better players not in it but it is a team with a specific built function, I believe they have the personnel to pull it off. Boks don’t naturally look for space like All Blacks they look for contact and they are good at breaking tackles. We knock them down at the point of contact and fan out, my suspicion, the very next attack the Boks will run at us even harder and we do it all over again. This SA is super big and amazingly fast but they do lack in imagination, usually they don’t require it against my team they will. Patterson is good for 15 per game easy.

  26. Look at the caption on your video clip “British Lions XV – April”. If you want to insult an IRISHMAN just call him British (800 years of occupation and all that goes with it). We Irish do not live in Britain. Come on, it’s the British and Irish Lions.

  27. Fascinating stuff but is anyone else female? Here’s what I think!
    15 Too close to call between Kearney and Byrne. Armitage good but his turn will come.
    14Bowe or Monye. Interesting that so little mention made but I think he is a superb defensive tackler with great speed and perfect for SA pitches.
    13O’Driscoll – nuff said!
    12Tough! Like Flutey but agree with previous comments. Fitzgerald, Shanklin, Roberts all in with a shout as superb and consistent tacklers and all capable of a swift break.
    11Williams! Will admit to being Welsh and have read previous comments but still think he is too good to leave out. Looks for the ball, quite happy to retrieve it from the scrum if necessary and perfectly built for SA pitches.
    10Too close too call between O’Gara and Jones. Much will depend on 9 where there are no outstanding candidates
    9 See above. Probably O’leary but would love to see Mike Blair there! Would pick Phillips over Peel who is not the player he was in 2005.
    8, 7, 6 – Irish back row strong favourites but can’t leave out Martyn Williams and I like Tom Croft.
    5,4 Pick themselves ! Wyn Jones and O’Connell !! Nothing more to say!
    3Very undecided on this one!!
    2Flannery or Ford. Two good strong candidates.
    1Jenkins. Fast and mobile prop – should do well on hard pitches.

  28. The starting 15 for the first test in June will not be the strongest side the Lions could pick. Reason is you have to have national representation. If only one Englishman and one Scot starts, the Scots and English fans and unions will scream. So you may have to have two from each of those two countries. A combined Welsh/Irish team would be the best bet but this is a Lion tour, so….

  29. 15 – Byrne – Didnt have the best six nations but i think he deserves a shot
    14 – Kearny – Absolutely class
    13 – O’Driscoll – It’s O’Driscoll (Capt.)
    12 – Shanklin – Got more experience than Flutey or Fitzgerald
    11 – S Williams – Had a poor six nations but thats because the he had to come in field hunting for ball where he just didnt have as much space as he needed in the middle of the pitch.
    10 – O’Gara/S Jones – Really not sure but whoever is picked will decide the scrum half
    9 – O’Leary if O’Gara at 10/Blair if S Jones at 10
    8 – Heaslip (if Joe Worseley could play 8 id put him there)
    7 – Williams – Probably the sharpest 7 in NH at least, not as big as Burger but much more intelligent at the breakdown
    6 – Wallace – Moved him over to 6 to allow for Williams to come in to the XV
    5 – O’Connell – Absolute Tank (Gough most underrated second row, work rate is phenominal)
    5 – Wyn Jones – Class Hands, better in open play than Croft, although hes got a very good chance aswell.
    3 – Murray – Immense scrummager and great in open play.
    2 – Mears/Flannery – No idea who will get this, probably Mears so that England feel included
    1 – Jenkins – Same reasons as Murray

  30. grazzer ur of ur head.the team should be mainly dominated by are completly over raited.they have 5 good players not 10 u biased freak.byrne/jenkins/m williams/s williams/shanklin
    15 byrne
    14 l fitzgerald
    13 bod
    12 shanklin
    11 s williams/bowe toss up
    10 rog
    9 blair
    8 wallace
    7 m williams
    6 s ferris
    5 poc
    4 nt sure donnacha or a jones
    3 hayes or murray 2 flannery 1 jenkins

  31. first of all great team…u make much more sense then all the pundits out there…

    15 bryne
    14 fizgerald
    13 odriscoll
    12 flutey
    11 bowe(williams in bad form-bowe playning best he ever has)
    10 jones
    9 oleary(much more physical then peel and better allround then phillips-munster v ospreys)
    8 heaslip
    7 wallace
    6 ferris
    5 oconnell
    4 ocallaghan(does more work then jones and works with oconnell)
    3 hayes(oconnell needs hayes and ocallaghan 2 be the [player he is)
    2 flannery
    1 jenkins

    16 ford
    17 vickery
    18 alun wyn jones
    19 williams
    20 phillips
    21 ogara
    22 kearney/williams

  32. Anyone in the UK help me get(just one) ticket for the Munster and Leinster game on the 2nd of May?

  33. braz. mears hines henson patterson nd powell are shit. lets b honest they have as much chance of starting in the lions 15 as you do which im sure is none.I AGREE WITH NEIL HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT UNLIKE gazzer braz nd will


  35. 15-rob kearney, lee bryne
    14/11-bowe, fitzgerald, williams, evans, cueto
    13/12-o’driscoll, shankalin, flutey, earls
    10-jones, ogara, hook
    9-phillips, o’leary, peel
    8-heaslip, jones
    7-wallace, williams
    6-ferris, haskell
    5/4-o’connell, o’callaghan, wyn-jones, white
    3/1-jenkins, horan, sheridan, vickery, hayes, murray
    2-flannery, ford, mears

  36. why are people picking sheridan , hes terrible and hasnt adapted to the new rules at all, he goes in the rucks off his feet wayyyy too much. and he cant scrummage for shit

  37. i think o gara should be fly-half, most of the team should be irish as they are the best at the moment

  38. Some interesting comments, which i think are a fair call. I take no pleasure in not picking more English players but this is about form. I think it is important to pick the most mobile pack. Going back to 97 there were some surprises in the side from front row, which the boks did not expect & Jermey Guscott couldn’t get in the England side but made the test side.
    For that i think we need a few surprises within the side.

    15 Byrne (Patterson on the bench Delon 3rd test.
    14 Leigh Halfpenny
    13 O’Dris
    12 Riki Flutey
    10 Tom May (Idea being here we have two players who can inter change Tom is my surprise pace, raw power , tackles like back row player)
    9 Mike Blair, Dawin peel off the bench with 20mins to go can change the game help keep us going forward
    8 Heaslip
    6 Alwyn Jones/Ryan Jones option
    7 Wallace
    5 O’connell
    4 Hines/
    3 Euan
    2 flannery
    1 Jenkins

    The reason i have kept Alywn is is because of his pure athletic abilty around the park pure ball player plus he gives us three line-out options in the pack.
    He has played back row and gives us the option of nullifying Smit who has tremendous work rate for a big guy. I think Alywn could be our secret weapon.

    Tom May I think, has the abilty to step up to be a full international and yes I think he can be our secret,which no one but geech could see. England, played with a system, under Woodwood, having two people who could interchange at fly half, this opens up so many options, which keeps the Boks guessing.

    The ground will be hard and we need ball players as well as scrumgers.
    Hence Hines being picked for his abrasive game however I see him as a 50/60 minute player. The option then is we can bring on Ryan Jones or Haskell or Williams. however there could be a surprise from Gatland !!

    I do agree tours have a habit of some players steping up and becoming big names on tour. Will Greenwood, Ryan Jones,Martin Corry, Dawson to name a few.

    Can we beat boks twice on their turf ???!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. flutey shouldn’t really be considered, he is a kiwi, not a Lion. If 15 kiwis were eligible to play rugby for england due to stupid rules, should 15 kiwis represent the Lions??? International rugby is NOT club rugby. I wouldn’t like to select a kiwi for the Lions, no matter how good he is or if the “rules” allow. The British and Irish Lions should be reserved for British and Irishmen.

  40. Scotland players who should be picked:

    >Alaistair Sctrocosh – Very good at taking the ball forward for Scotland
    >Euan Murray – has been impressive for Northampton
    >Chris Paterson – a player who can play in manyu postitions and is a great kicker and good players behind a pack going forward
    >Max and Thom Evans they have been brilliant for Glasgow
    >Mike Blair probably only a sub after a pretty average 6 Nations but will be better behind a good forward pack

    Rory Lamont should have been going but is still injured

    The team will probably be filled with Welsh and Irish players though unsuprisingly

  41. Mike blair chris paterson alistair strocosh and the evans brothers should be picked from scotland

  42. Typical English, terrible six nations, underperformed and your all still picking them to be in this Lions squad. i can only think of maybe 1 ENG player that deserves it and if they act like they did in the six nations – yellow cards everywhere, no respect!


    15. Lee byrne/Kearney/Armitage
    12.Flutey(not ENG)
    10. o’Gara/jones

    5.o connell
    4. a w jones

  43. Said Monye was good enough!! Would have picked Ryan Jones over Andy Powell though. His selection did surprise me. Am also disappointed for Blair and Patterson of Scotland.

  44. theyv selected powell due to his power game and being best at wat he duz in the NH
    monye was a real suprise but in the end i supose he can only help the lions with his quality
    strangely no 3rd choice fly half picked?

  45. That’s because Riki Flutey can cover that postion
    P.s it wouldnt surprise me to see flutey at fly half with Roberts & ODriscoll center partnership tried on this tour !!

  46. Nice to see the “Taffia” comment brings home the fact that we are all in this together ;-)l I for one would have taken Ryan ahead of Powell or Worsley for that matter . As for the hooker berth for the tests well that is one that is wide open as I can’t say that anyone has laid down a real strong case for inclusion yet .

    Plenty of bish and bosh there but I’m glad that sense prevailed and that Shane is there for flair as the squad is a bit light on that our South African friends bile aimed at him says a lot really methinks he does protest too much.

  47. o yh forgot

    y is every1 pikin all the irish grand slammers over players like halfpenny, m williams and powell, hasnt any1 bin watchin d blues lately?

  48. Well with selections now actually anounced I’m going for this selection:
    15 Byrne
    14 Halfpenny
    13 O’driscoll
    12 Flutey
    11 Monye
    10 Stephen Jones
    9 Phillips
    1 Jenkins
    2 Flannery
    3 Murray
    4 A W Jones
    5 O’connell
    6 Ferris
    7 Worsley
    8 Heaslip


    I’ve gone for Worsley at openside as I think he has been selected to do a marking job on the springbok’s hinge ahead of Martin Williams and David Wallace and can also play at 6 if we want to open it up and bring either of those 2 on. I’ve gone for Halfpenny and Monye for the wings as Halfpenny has an alternate long range kicking option to Jones and I think Monye may be the only player to be able to catch Habana in the lions team.

    Still I expect things will change once the tour gets going

  49. too many bloody irish in the squad. do people forget that the paddies choke on the big occasions , as in the rwc , dont even think of considering a first grandslam in 61 years as an achievement , its just pathetic.

  50. smith must be english it kills you to see us irish do well very sad!!!! what about munster and leinster been champs of europe last to years grow up and unlike you english we dont predict we will win everything we enter in every sport and then mess up like you lot.well done in the cricket yday ha ha tought yous had that rapped up as well.lets all change it to the irish and sometimes there british lions.

  51. From what I have seen so far, my test team would be:

    15. Byrne
    14. Bowe
    13. BOD
    12. Roberts
    11. Monye
    10. Jones
    9. Phillips
    8. Heaslip
    7. Croft
    6. Ferris
    5. POC
    4. Jones
    3. Vickery
    2. Mears
    1. Jenkins

    16. Ford
    17. Sheridan
    18. Powell
    19. Ellis
    20. Hook
    21. Flutey
    22. Kearney

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