With two rounds to go in the Six Nations, the British and Irish Lions squad is beginning to emerge. There has been plenty of debate over the last few weeks – I’ve read your comments, listened to your arguments and updated my team selection accordingly. Watch the video, then let me know your thoughts.
In terms of the changes made, Dylan Hartley has hardly had any game time in England’s struggling side, so I’ve picked Jerry Flannery instead – Ross Ford could still get the nod if he has a strong showing in the last couple of rounds.
Alun Wyn Jones has been one of the outstanding players for me so far in the Six Nations and edges ahead of Nathan Hines who hasn’t had a chance to prove his value to the team.
Martyn Williams is putting forward a strong case for selection, but David Wallace has been at least as good, and offers additional weight to the pack.
Andy Powell has been dropped this month, with Jamie Heaslip coming into the side because he seems to offer more than just a battering ram option that the Springboks will learn to deal with very quickly.
Mike Blair retains his place, marginally ahead of Mike Phillips – although the Welshman enjoyed their Murrayfield encounter more than his opposite man, I believe this has more to do with the performance of the pack and Frank Hadden’s lack of options in the second row.
Jonny Wilkinson almost got the nod at fly-half, and this suggests that it could be a problem position for the Lions. Ronan O’Gara’s kicking against England takes him out of contention for me, but he or James Hook could play themselves in over the next couple of weeks.
Jamie Roberts comes in for Gavin Henson, which means we’ll miss the booming boot, but it’s hard to pick Henson when he hasn’t been playing and Roberts has been in great form.
You’ll also notice that I’ve changed my mind on captaincy – McGeechan likes a forward and O’Connell must be the man.
The Wales versus Ireland game will be fascinating to watch. Many of the decisions to be made are between Welsh and Irish players, and they’ll be going head-to-head in Cardiff in a couple of weeks’ time…I can’t wait!
Let me know what you think, and if you make a strong case, your man may get included in April’s selection. Additionally, I don’t usually do requests, but if you have any suggestions for next month’s song, I’d be happy to hear them.