There were claims from many corners that Farrell would prove a liability in Australia after his minor dust up with Schalk Brits in the game against the Barbarians, but he redeemed himself well with an impressive performance against the Queensland Reds. Farrell looked to lack composure at times against the Barbarians, but his first game nerves looked well and truly gone a week later against the Reds, showing improved distribution, decision making and ball carrying. Coupled with his known qualities – highly accurate goal kicking and ferocious defence – the Lions have themselves a useful option from the bench. His performance against the Reds wasn’t perfect, and a couple of kicks from hand were poorly judged, but criticism of him being an ‘unworthy Lion’ are very far off the mark.
Verdict: in the test match squad.
Barring a tour-ending injury, Sexton is the nailed on test match fly-half. His distribution skills and decision making are a significant upgrade on Farrell’s (and Hogg’s) and with Leigh Halfpenny an almost certain starter too, and therefore the Lions’ goal kicker, any worries over the inconsistency of Sexton’s boot in comparison to Farrell’s will likely be laid to rest. He was almost faultless against Western Force, and then performed well after coming off the bench against the Reds, finding holes against a defensively strong centre pairing of Anthony Fainga’a and Ben Tapuai. Outside of injury ruining his chances, it would take a drop in form of cataclysmic proportions now to deny Sexton the 10 jersey when the Lions travel to Suncorp Stadium for the first test against the Wallabies.
Verdict: nailed on test match starter.
Over to you – vote in the pole below, choosing your test match fly-half, then leave any justifications/comments below.
by Alex Shaw (@alexshawsport)