Lions Scout Notes: 12th February


Stuart Hogg
Before the start of the Six Nations Hogg’s selection would have been met with raised eyebrows, but after the first two rounds he is looking more and more likely to be on that plane. If he continues in this vein, he may even be pushing for a starting spot. What he has shown is that he has a very well-rounded game, mixing electric breaks with a booming boot that is also unfathomably accurate. Two tries in two games is a healthy strike rate, too. Sadly for him he faces stiff competition for the full-back berth, with Halfpenny in fine form and Kearney returning to fitness and having done it all before. He could, at the very least, make an excellent impact sub.
Verdict: in the departures lounge

Ryan Jones
Ryan Jones made a name for himself on a Lions tour once, and there’s absolutely no reason why he shouldn’t re-make that name on this tour. Recalled to the Wales team on Saturday as captain, he pulled his nation out of a losing slump in one of the most difficult places to win in the Six Nations. Ironically, something that has perhaps held him back in the past could assure him at least a spot in the touring party – his versatility. Able to cover lock, blind-side and no.8, he would be invaluable if only as cover for injuries. If he carries on this form, however, he can hope for a lot more.
Verdict: frantically looking for his passport

Mike Ross
Sean O’Brien would perhaps have been a more obvious choice from Ireland’s performance on Sunday, but Mike Ross deserves recognition for the quiet but impressive progress he has been making. With all the controversy that surrounds the scrum these days, who covers the front row spots is always going to be one of the greatest points of contention. However, what can be said for sure is that Ross won’t let you down. Last year, against England at Twickenham, he was forced off with an injury and the Irish scrum fell apart. This year he played 79 minutes and the Irish more than held their own against what is a formidable English pack. Dan Cole is probably nailed on for the Test starting spot, but Ross is certainly making a case for his inclusion.
Verdict: frantically looking for his passport

Ben Youngs
Owen Farrell and Chris Robshaw were both excellent on Saturday, but the man who put himself to the front of the queue in his position this week was undoubtedly Ben Youngs. He completely outshone his opposite number and probable rival for the shirt Conor Murray, playing the conditions superbly well. It was great to see, as everyone knows how good Youngs can be on the front foot – what we’re not used to seeing, however, was the level of composure and precision he showed on Sunday behind a pack that wasn’t always getting its own way and against the elements that conspired to ruin any attacking play.
Verdict: already on the plane

By Jamie Hosie

Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

9 thoughts on “Lions Scout Notes: 12th February

  1. Really enjoyed this. I think I commented on here yesterday about how impressed I was with Mike Ross. I think he is a very good player.

    I would be surprised in Ryan Jones went. I really like him as a player; I just think that there is too much competition in the back row and he may be left at home.

    Youngs would be my first choice at 9, and I would definitely have Hogg on the plane!

  2. How is Mike Ross even being considered? clearly not much clue about the front row. He was shafted by Joe Marler all game, on scrum was so bad Marler had his head perfectly under his sternum, the ultimate aim of any prop. The only reason he didn’t concede more penalties was the referee’s lack of an understanding about scrummaging as well as Cian Healey coming to his rescue and having a good 20 minute phase in the second half.

    Little bit shocked that no English front row members are being mentioned despite the fact that they have the best scrum in the world currently and in Dan Cole poses possibly the best prop in the world.

    1. Can’t have too many English players apparently. Gatland has said in ES interview that the’re not liked and would bring too much media pressure. Gatland is such a tool.

      1. Strange comments being reported by Gatland though I suspect some artistic editing by the London Evening Standard -why an interview with this paper is it known for it’s Rugby reporting ?

        I’d rather Gatland shut up until he’s actually picked the squad and that includes commenting on individual players (like his positive ones on Robshaw ) .In fact I’d prefer a Papal type conclave where they put up the white smoke once they have picked the squad.

  3. How about this for a potential Lions team:

    1. C. Healy
    2. R. Best
    3. D. Cole
    4. G. Parling
    5. D. Ryan
    6. S. O’Brien
    7. C. Robshaw
    8. T. Faletau

    9. B. Youngs
    10. O. Farrell
    11. T. Visser
    12. M. Tuilagi
    13. B. O’Driscoll
    14. G. North
    15. L. Halfpenny

    16. M. Vunipola
    17. A. Jones
    18. T. Youngs
    19. J. Launchbury
    20. J. Tupiric
    21. D. Care
    22. J. Sexton
    23. S. Hogg

    1. I would back this team to win!

      Prefer Sexton to Farrell, but am very impressed that Farrell is pushing him close. I would have Philips on the bench over Care, I think the physicality he would bring off the bench could be game changing.

      With the likes of Lydiate & Ferris to come back and others such as Kearney, Gray and Ashton starting to show some form it’s going to be a tremendous team.

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