Lions team to play New Zealand in 1st Test

Warren Gatland has named the Lions team for the 1st Test against New Zealand this weekend.

British & Irish Lions (v New Zealand, 1st Test, Saturday, June 24, 7.35pm NZST, 8.35am BST)
15. Liam Williams – Scarlets, Wales, #833
14. Anthony Watson – Bath Rugby, England, #816
13. Jonathan Davies – Scarlets, Wales, #778
12. Ben Te’o – Worcester Warriors, England, #815
11. Elliot Daly – Wasps, England, #822
10. Owen Farrell – Saracens, England, #780
9. Conor Murray – Munster, Ireland, #790

1. Mako Vunipola – Saracens, England, #787
2. Jamie George – Saracens, England, #819
3. Tadhg Furlong – Leinster, Ireland, #818
4. Alun Wyn Jones – Ospreys, Wales, #761
5. George Kruis – Saracens, England, #817
6. Peter O’Mahony (capt) – Munster, Ireland, #832
7. Sean O’Brien – Leinster, Ireland, #796
8. Taulupe Faletau – Bath Rugby, Wales, #779

Replacements
16. Ken Owens – Scarlets, Wales, #829
17. Jack McGrath – Leinster, Ireland, #827
18. Kyle Sinckler – Harlequins, England, #814
19. Maro Itoje – Saracens, England, #825
20. Sam Warburton – Cardiff Blues, Wales, #800
21. Rhys Webb – Ospreys, Wales, #820
22. Johnny Sexton – Leinster, Ireland, #791
23. Leigh Halfpenny – Toulon, Wales, #775

What do you make of this lineup? How does it compare to all the teams you have picked yourself over the last four years?

79 thoughts on “Lions team to play New Zealand in 1st Test

    1. Brave of Gats to ignore the Itoje camp. The youngster is a fine player and his day will come; but as a NZ pal said to me, ‘he’s good but green, isn’t he?’.
      Look at AWJ’s stats; even an England supporter can see the experience and sheer all-round ability shine out.
      I acknowledge there’s still a lot of hurt about because of the World Cup damage Wales inflicted at Twickenham in England’s own party – unforgivable, and people like AWJ who were at the heart of that will no doubt never be forgiven! But the rest of us just know. Great pick – I believe with this team we could do it.

      1. If you look at AWJ´s stats on this tour Taliesin, he has made less than half a yard with each of his carries, missed several tackles and given away more penalties than anyone else in the entire squad. He is not even in front of Henderson, never mind Itoje statistically, and has looked half a yard slower than he used to be throughout the tour. I hope he has a couple of big games left in the tank, but fear that he has too many miles on the clock.. Not sure why Warburton is on the bench as he has done nothing to justify being anywhere near the squad. Surprised that Gatland has gone for Williams over Halfpenny, but at least the back three now offers an attacking threat. Feel sorry for George North who is a terrific player on form, but has not been the same since his concussions. Hope he gets it back soon.

        1. Saints fan here but fear George is only going South :(
          It is a sad shame but he is too inconsistent

      2. Itoje may be green, but AWJ is past his best and Itoje’s is still to come. If AWJ is not the captain there’s no point him starting, because apparently even with all AWJ’s experience, Gatland has realised that O’Mahony is a better and smarter leader, who will make better and smarter decisions on the pitch. Like taking easy points when they’re on offer instead of continuously kicking to the corner when your line out and set piece is not functioning and you’re being driven back in rolling mauls.
        Itoje is a better, fitter, hungrier and smarter player than AWJ (in my opinion!!)

        1. Funny how some of you guys seem so blinded by jingoism. Why do you think Gatland picks AWJ then? Is he (G) a mug? Also if POM is as smart as a tack, why did Joe Schmidt not pick him for Ireland over Heaslip? POM only got into the Irish team due to the latter’s injury. Maybe Schmidt is a mug too then? Warburton, Gat’s captain, is likely out due to a ? over his being fully fit due to injury, but his IS on the bench. Poss the 2 Welshmen have tried & tested exp!? And where was Itoje v Ireland in Dublin with the slam @ stake? Nowhere, that’s where. Better off on the bench.

          1. POM was only out of the Irish team because of his own injury. When he got his chance to claim his spot back, he smashed it.

            1. JK
              So Heaslip has been usurped by POM then? I can’t recall the composition of all of the Irish team all of the time, but I don’t recall Heaslip not being an integral part of the set up(?). Personally I’ve have had him in the Lions’ party for his ability, exp. I don’t see him as any less of a player than say, O’Brien, for instance, although you likely know the Irish team more intimately than me.

              1. Well Heaslip and POM aren’t/weren’t in direct competition.

                If I recall, Ireland were chugging along with POM at 6, O’Brien at 7 when fit and Heaslip at 8.

                POM got injured, CJ the Bok emerged at 6 (to fit him in with Heaslip) and that was that until Heaslip got injured and Stander shifted to 8 to accommodate POM against England.

                POM played a blinder and at this point I suppose the Irish back row is O’Brien, Stander and one more. In that sense POM and Heaslip are in direct competition. Advantage POM on relative youth at least.

      3. How on earth id Wales’ defeat of England in the World Cup in any way relevant to this Lions selection?

        1. Because some people are still clinging to that victory, because it’s all they have to cling onto!!

  1. AWJ over Itoje is unsurprisingly daft from Galtand but I am surprised by the back 3. I can’t see what HP offers from the bench (unless Farrell has an off-day with the boot). Equally, I can’t really see Warbs as an impact player. I had North nailed on but clearly even Gats thinks he’s lost his mojo. Glad to see Daly playing but I still think he’s a better 13 or 15 – will be fascinating to see how he goes agains Israel Dagg.

    1. I had the same thought about Halfpenny. Can’t see him being brought on if Farrell’s having an off day – when does he ever have such a bad day that the cavalry is needed? More likely, if the back 3 have a bad time defensively he might come on to try to steady the ship.

      I’d have been worried about Daly up against Savea or Naholo but he won’t be trampled by Dagg or Ioane, so a good call.

      Fair play to Gatland, other than AWJ that looks like the form team. If AWJ doesn’t go well, surely it will be two from the English locks with the other on the bench for Test 2.

      1. Come on, JK, it’s not just AWJ who needs a good game (and I’ll bet he’ll give us one), it’s every single one of them otherwise there will be wholesale changes – eg. Sexton for Farrell etc. – in the 2nd test.

        1. Sure, but my point is that 14 of that 15 would be the form choice, whereas AWJ is there for reasons (good ones) you’ve given elsewhere, so he has more to prove.

    2. Scrappy, that is a surprisingly churlish and, if I may say so, silly comment. Itoje is a superb and promising lock, but not yet in quite the same class – he’ll get there. It would be good to get behind this team now instead of silly partisan swipes.

  2. We don’t all get what we want in selection but overall I like the look of the team.
    Good Luck Lions

  3. Good looking starting XV bar AWJ. Travesty he is in over Lawes/Itoje. Bench looks to offer next to no impact?

    1. Travesty, Smithy? That is really a very dumb thing to say. If you really think the selectors will deliberately pick a lesser player for a game like this, then….
      Put your arrogance and ignorance to one side and admit these guys might – just might – know a little more about rugby than you do. I know we don’t all agree with everything, but ‘travesty’ is just overkill! Sorry.

      1. Less of the personal attacks bud if you please. Everyone is allowed an opinion, and mine is that AWJ is past it, and doesn’t warrant selection ahead of Itoje or Lawes, who have had far better tours. Sorry if I upset you just before bedtime, princess.

          1. Fairly sure in your assertion that AWJ should be in the side, but can you explain how is picked despite the following:
            Most missed tackles on tour
            Least yards per carry on tour
            Most penalties given away from the pack

            Great player in his day but you can not slate anyones rugby knowledge for questioning his inclusion.

            1. Thank you Jacob, the voice of reason. All the reasons why AWJ should not be starting ahead of Itoje.

              Funny, I notice you didn’t get another rely!?!?

              1. Because there is no reply which helps his arguement. Better to just ignore it and continue replying to every other post on the site with the blind assertion that AWJ is the best choice and everyone else doesn’t know anything about rugby

              2. I can’t say I’m expecting one!

                4 years ago AWJ was one of the first names on the team sheet, but I’d have Lawes, Henderson and the Gray brothers before him on this tour. Really can’t work out why he is starting…

          2. Taliesin: no-one’s saying AWJ is a bad player but he hasn’t performed to the same level as Itoje. It may be that he has the nous and attitude that Gatland wants (just I assume Eddie Jones sees in Hartley). No-one is wishing him ill and Itoje coming off the bench makes for quite an impact player. For me, the question is who is the best for the shirt and I think Itoje has the right to feel a little hard done by. Don’t forget Gatland has form here – as demonstrated by the absence of Christmas card from BOD every year!

  4. Wow, few surprises there, very exciting looking back line but I am surprised that L Williams & Daly are starting, a full game on Tuesday then a start against the AB’s on Sat ? just hope they are up to it. With the conditions expected to be wet I thought he would have gone with North for the extra muscle & defensive qualities he has, he hasn’t done much in an attacking sense but has been great in defence, Gats has surprised a lot of pundits with this call, hope he has got it right. The call on AWJ is correct I believe, he has the experience & leadership qualities that will be needed in the first 60 or so, then Itoje to come on with a point to prove & cause havoc !!. That is not a bad bench is it ? all capable of making an impact, though must say I thought Lawes was worth a bench place after Tuesday, wonder if his HIA has done for him ?.

    1. Stesco, I think you’re right about Lawes’s HIA – otherwise he’d have been benched for sure. Brilliant and brave.

  5. Really, really irked over Williams inclusion, hope this isn’t the case but I believe he is more likely too lose us the rest rather than win it. Like others surprise to see AWJ starting, would have expected him on the bench if he was going to feature. Can’t agree with Smithy, think the bench is strong. So apart from Williams strong side with a realistic chance of winning the first test. Come on the Lions.

  6. From an admittedly narrow English perspective, I’m grateful to WG for giving EJ a chance to see how well a Farrell, Te’o combo goes with Daly and Watson on the wing. Honestly, I’d rather see JJ at 13 (or Daly) but that might be asking too much. Will be interesting to see how EJ responds, especially given the impressive form of Ford in Argentina.

    1. Scrappy -As to what Eddie Jones will do the answer is simple- Nothing.To have two big boshers at centre clogs up the midfield and England thrive on speed and space.Good player though Davies is he butchered two scoring opportunities against the Maoris because he doesn’t have the pace of Joseph or Daly.AS to the rest of the selection I fail to see what Halfpenny brings as an impact sub and I think that AWJ has been extremely fortunate.He owes Gatland a very big performance !.

  7. As always I shall start by saying I don’t care for the Lions much so I’m really not bothered which country the guys play for. I do like a good debate though and the test team is as good as any at the moment.

    I think the team looks pretty good, there are only 3 changes I would have made. I wouldn’t have included AWJ as he is nowhere near the player he used to be and as for leadership that really didn’t work out for him too well as Wales captain. (I do though understand due to fatigue/injuries he might have been one of the only options therefore starting him with Itoje on the bench makes sense).

    I would have started Owens as I think George is a better impact player.

    I don’t understand what Halfpenny brings from the bench. I would have put almost any other back here. I could understand starting him (although he wouldn’t be my first choice) but a bench player seems really odd.

    So that’s it from me.

  8. yeah-some surprises. Sends good message out the squad I think -plenty of test slots up for grabs if you show the form. Great looking bench – just need to stay in the game fir 50/60 mins. Time to get behind the team now

  9. Agree with the general comments, specifically those regarding AWJ and ‘The Bench’.
    AWJ – love the guy and the player but (for my opinion – less worthy than international coaches as it is – only) 5th of 5 on current form.
    The Bench. I understand the idea between start conservatively and add a touch of maverick creativity as/when required but not the other way round. In what circumstances would there be a tactical replacement of HP for LW for example. If, for example, LW made a mistake which meant Lions were chasing the game, which player would you need at FB ..err, Williams

    1. The only argument would be that he intends to build a 8+ lead and then bring Halfpenny on to defend it.
      Doesn’t tend to work but ho hum

  10. I’m not sure what Halfpenny brings to the bench. No doubt he’s a rock and would steady any ship, but he’s not going to come on a score a try from nothing. What’s more likely playing against AB’s, we have a healthy lead and we want to just play for territory or they’ve scored several tries from nothing and we’re chasing the game?

  11. Hell of a team. I’d have Itoje over AWJ but I can see the reasons for picking him. Other than that, it’s pretty much the XV I’d have gone with.

    For all stick he gets, fair play to Gatland for dropping Warburton, North and Halfpenny. Certainly disproved a few opinions by dropping a few of his “favourites”.

    Question is now, when the going gets tough (and it will), will he default back to them again?

  12. AWJ is in for his experience, and I am not against it. Once the decision on SW and Sexton were made that left few players who had played Lions tests before. This is a young team at this level.

    He will only play 50 min and then Itoje will come on for impact.

    I like this team.

  13. Looks like most of us (Taliesin aside) are aligned on this squad :D
    It doesn’t surprise me at all AWJ got picked, however Itoje was so impressive against the Maoris (TBH he impresses me greatly every time he plays lock, club and country) it is certainly not the pick i would have made. Picking up specifically on a comment Taliesin made, I am surprised a NZer would claim Itoje is “green”, unless tongue was firmly in cheek. He is young, but he is far from “green”.
    On the bench, it is an odd one for me with Warburton (my guess is Gats just wants him in the squad for leadership, as CJ Stander (etc) would be a more impactful sub) and Halfpenny (no idea what he is thinking here – JJ or North (or even Payne) seem more logical choices for 23).
    All that said, to only have one quibble with the starting XV is soooo much better than I had expected, I am super excited (albeit still fearful) about Saturday.

    1. You’re right about Warbs. Seems an odd choice for the bench as far as playing ability goes. Stander can cover all back row options, but if Faletau gets crocked which one of O’Mahony, O’Brien or Warbs steps in at 8? I’m guessing O’Brien?

      1. My guess is he wants Warbs in for later tests but he knows he needs minutes. He won’t want to risk playing him 3 days before a test (his body is notoriously fragile!), so he’ll give him half hour here and then I’d expect to see him start next week…

  14. That the fans are only really debating about one player and a couple of bench places shows that this is a good selection.
    If the lions don’t win then it doesn’t look great for the series

    1. Good point Leon and I agree however the sticking points (notably AWJ starting and the couple of non-impact subs) are very sticky indeed.
      The starting xv has 13 of the personnel I wanted so can’t grumble too much

  15. Well it’s a very good 23. Not the starting line up I was expecting (or wanted), but Gats has been quite clever in this 23 selection. He’s gone with a couple of Welsh friends in the 15 who probably have better options on the bench, but maybe they will bring better impact from the bench and change the game.

    Gatland was always going to start with either AWJ or Warbs but I’m surprised (but happy) that O’Mahony has been given the captaincy. Does this mean that Gats is not expecting AWJ to last long? With Warbs on the bench one would assume that AWJ would start as captain and Warbs would take over when he goes off?

    Well done to Itoje and Sinckler for their getting themselves in the squad. What a massive achievement for these two youngsters.

    I guess on reflection it would be a tad unfair to have Itoje starting as it would mean that Saracens would make up one third of the starting 15!!
    Oh hang on, Williams is a Sarries player now, so we’re still making up one third of the starting 15!!

    1. LMAO Dazza, and if Billy was there we’d be pushing for half the starting XV.

      As Leon said it does speak volumes that fans are only quibbling about 1 starter and 3 from the 23. Personally I think Gats is backing the team to build up a lead and will bring HP on to close the game out which is the right way round. We shouldn’t go into a game trying to work out how to play catch up in the last Q.

      On AWJ, he was always going to be in the squad so makes more sense for him to start, empty the tank and let Maro run riot in the second half.

      I for one am far more optimistic than I had been. Lions by 3 RRRROOOOOAAAAARRRRRR

      1. Another good reason for starting Itoje over AWJ is that AWJ played on Teusday, whereas Itoje will be completely fresh as he hasn’t played since last Saturday. I really hope that AWJ has his best game ever, because if he’s even slightly off his game (which he has been so far) you can guarantee that NZ will pull him to pieces and exploit it. I suppose the saving grace is Kruis partnering him! Can’t think of anyone better!!

  16. I think Itoje is a bit like hooky I.e. Losing out by his perceived versatility. Personally I think he’s not a great back rower but quality lock, but he is an option there if we’re forced in to it. Gatland wanting to cover multiple positions from the bench?

    Same with HP in my eyes. HP/Daly/Williams all interchangeable at wing or FB, with Daly also able to cover centre. Again think he wants that versatility on positions from the bench should someone get crocked. HP can kick a goal as well if required.

    1. Surely if you have 3 players who can play fullback already on the park (you forgot Watson normally plays fullback for Bath) the last thing you need on the bench is more fullback cover. What you need is an exciting attacking winger or centre on the bench (JJ, Nowell or North)

      1. Would agree on having an attacking player such as you mention, on the bench. However, for all of his attacking limitations, Halfpenny is a very good defensive player, possibly one of the best – and that is no bad thing to have in reserve.

        1. I think the argument is you either start 1/2p or you don’t play him at all. We are more likely to need the backs sub to add flair to chase the game rather than dependability to close it out. Then if its close or we need to close it out you can leave 1/2p on for the full 80

          1. I understand your logic however, it would be wrong to pick a 23 on the assumption that the starting XV won’t perform well enough and will need help to rectify the situation.

            New Zealand is well know for scoring a lot of points in the last quarter, so the selection seems to be countering this threat, not necessarily the “threat” of being behind the game at this point.

  17. I completely get (and agree with) wanting to cover positions, but I am not 100% aligned with that needing to be via bench players being versatile vs. starting players being versatile. (Also worth noting that the only #8 in the 23 is Faletau, which is unusual.)

    IMO 1/2p doesn’t add any versatility over (say) North, as North goes to wing and Daly moves to OC/FB as needed.

    Yes North is out of form, but if we need 5 points to win the game I know who I’d rather bring on between 1/2p and North…

  18. Didn’t say I agreed with the Halfpenny call, was trying to come up with some reasons for it, as it isn’t obvious! even less so after being reminded that Watson also provides cover…

    I’m ok with AWJ/Itoje call. Maybe Gats just thinks Itoje can provide a spark off the bench (and it isn’t to do with versatility at all). AWJ is unlikely to let the side down, I’m sure he’ll get up for it, and who better to bring on as his replacement!

  19. From a selfish POV, I really wanted to see Itoje and Kruis going toe to toe with Whitelock and Retallick from the start. But Itoje does offer far more from the bench than either Kruis or AWJ.

    Regarding the comments that Itoje is ‘green’, he’s won 2 6N, 2 premierships, 2 euro cups, a whitewash tour in Aus, an U20 WC in NZ, numerous MOTM along the way and a Euro player of the year. That’s more than most will get in an entire career!

    Not sure about Warburton and Halfpenny on the bench. If Faletau goes off early, Lions could really struggle. Would have preferred to see Stander.

    With halfpenny, he either starts or doesn’t play, would have liked Joseph on the bench, just to offer something different in the centre, and could also cover wing in the event of injuries.

  20. I like Warburton on the bench.

    He is very quick to reach, and effective at the breakdown both offensively, ensuring quick/clean ball and defensively slowing it down, whilst rarely getting into trouble.

  21. For me if AWJ does not start, then he does not make the squad because he cant provide a bench impact. He’s in there because world class players not only provide leadership but can raise their game when it counts. If he doesn’t, he won’t play another test.
    J.J offers more in defence/attack because of his foot speed and deserved a bench spot.
    Overall a good selection of intelligent ball players in the backs. Can’t help thinking we’re a bit light on the bench for a backs impact.

    1. We can make a huge bench impact by bringing Sexton on at 10 and shifting Faz to 12 but we have seen that Gats is reluctant to do so unless his hand is forced by injury.

      1. Jazus! Are all you festering SHITEHAWKS still here??

        Just a note to let you know I’m still alive – well sort of.

        Good point Leon –
        about The Floating Turd’s hand being forced by Andy Farrell. Glad someone mentioned it – I totally agree this disgusting selection has the imprint of Andy “Vampire Squid” Farrell’s testicles all over it. I have it from a “very good source” that Farrell is choosing the team. Can anyone explain, to me, the selection of Owen Farrell??!! Thought not. It’s obvious Sexton’s MOJO flop coincides with Farrell joining the Irish set-up.

        “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there” NOT

        5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 Incoming

        Your friend and fair-weather IBL supporter

        DDD

        1. Hi DDD good to see the drink hasn’t killed you off yet
          Of course we are still here where else would we get the insights of DonP (three weeks after the event), the latest Sarries alerts from Dazzle and The Rabid Welsh ravings of Tallesin

  22. So cuffed to see Williams in, defended him after his critics in his first outing he has shown a little of what he can do ,…rip teams apart and creat where others cant see a gap, …if he keeps fit my money says he will be player of the series, ..exciting good looking back line. as far as the anti AWJ lobby, if we are going to use stats then Tipuric is the best wing forward in world rugby {maybe he is} missed one tackle in over 100 now I believe , over 99% nailed and keeps a game alive, easily the best link player and always in the right place at the right time , best BR in 6N,brilliant hands and quick feet , more of an argument as to why he is out that why AWJ is in imo , that said I think itoje deserves to play .My fears are that Farrell,{good as he is} is a bit slow and will look to the centres to make a break , if he kicks too much the lions will have it back at them big time , same Re Murray, it won’t be about box kicks it will be about tenacity and vision , Farrell has that but not sure about Murray , if Webb gets any time I think he will oust Murray . Right decision reg North &1/2p imo, …pity there’s no Scots incl, busy flying up the rankings good for them,.. and best of luck Lions !

    1. I think with Tipuric, he is a bit lightweight for the light exchanges and that is what holds him back. I agree his link play and tackle count/stats are great, but ultimately someone like O’Brien that can put in huge hits, get them over the gainline in tight exchanges and hammer into rucks is going to edge him out at this level…

    2. With regards to Murray when he box kicks he either finds touch or puts it high enough and short enough to allow the chasers to compete, Webb on the other hand kicks lower and longer giving the oppo 5-10 meters of space in which to field the ball and counter attack running at a fragmented defensive line. While Webb provides a far better sniping capability Murray undoubtedly provided you with more structure and stability and a lower chance of being ripped apart by NZ plethora of broken field runners.
      Again with Farrell the key is TACTICAL kicking to turn the defence. If the ball finds touch or turf or gives the oppo competition for the ball then it is a good kick if it finds the NZ back 3 with space to counter it is bad

  23. I’m going to say a few things about the ItAWJ debate.
    Excluding Itoje surprised me and even though I’ve grown up watching AWJ (as a Welshman) in his prime I would say the Englishman has surpassed him.

    Before Taliesin goes off on one, I’m bridging opinions. There’s no way AWJ can play at a good intensity for 80 minutes, but he can play 50 and he can put his experience to good use. Itoje is an important impact player to be brought out of Gatland’s sleeve. He’ll come on 50/60th minute just when the All Blacks are looking to pile the pressure on, Itoje’s impact will mash their plans and preoccupy. Itoje can start but I feel that Gatland thinks he’s even more valuable off the bench and I’m inclined to agree, at least for a nervous first test.

    To be honest, it’s Lawes who misses over AWJ’s selection. I’ve been really impressed with Lawes having not really paid him any attention recently with Launchbury and Itoje. A boss in the lineout, turnovers and body on the line (head too).

    But you look at AWJ’s contribution when Lawes went off for an HIA. First lineout at five metres, and AWJ coordinates the maul that wins a penalty try. Warburton’s try came from shrewd (and legal) AWJ play. It might not be skill, but that’s experience and in this pack for the first half, they only have two veterans in the Irish flankers.

    1. Well from an English perspective Dave, I agree with you. I am not overly bothered by Jones starting ahead of Itoje, as I do appreciate what Jones brings, which is not necessarily measured in facts and figures.

  24. This English Saints fan is en route to Sydney from Seattle. Got my shirt and just need to let Garland know I’ll be in the region so expecting a call up. I’m ready!

  25. Interesting (?) as to how many concentrate so much on individuals instead of the team. In the end it’s going to come down to how it plays as a cohesive unit, what type of game it will play & whether these efforts will overcome the ABs or not. Sure some individuals can make a difference, but when a coach picks his side does he do it as an accountant? Weighing up the individual stats of each player & pick his side only on this basis? Don’t think so. Exp & some instinct must surely come into the equation as well. Personally I’d have gone for Sexton, 1/2penny & Warburton, with O’Brien @ 6 & prob North due to their exp as this 1st game will likely be the Lions’, relatively stating, best chance of a result. Start with the tried, then if they ain’t working, bring on the cav after 20 +. On the other hand, Hansen picked Ioane & dropped Savea, 3rd top (?) AB try scorer!? Maybe he trod on SH’s shoes? Anyway, when all the opinions are done & dusted, they may/not count for much by the time the match is done. AB’s by 10?

    1. A counter argument there is that by picking Itoje over AWJ you tap into a cohesive unit with George and Kruis, so it isn’t just about the individual.

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