No-one on tour so far has disgraced themselves in any position but some of the starting berths are a bit more clear cut than others. The question of who will play tight-head prop and anchor the scrum is one of them.
The frizzy-haired Welshman has only made one start this tour, being subbed on against the Barbarians and subbed on against the Reds before playing at the weekend against the Waratahs. But Warren Gatland knows and trusts Jones more than the challengers and has the advantage of showing up well in Lions test matches when he replaced Phil Vickery against South Africa in 2009. Jones has established himself as one of the world’s best props and has been solid on tour so far. One gets the feeling he is being kept as fresh as possible for a starting berth come June 22nd.
Verdict: nailed on test starter
Matt Stevens has the ability to play either side of the scrum, and if there was only one prop on the bench then Stevens would make the cut here. But Cole gets my spot on the bench due to his superior all-round game. Again, the Englishman has shown up well when called upon so far despite the lack of really testing opposition. If the Lions dominate the Aussies in the scrum as many people expect then a fresh Cole coming off the bench will not be welcomed by the men in gold. He will also be keen to banish the memory of a disappointing scrummaging performance against the Australians for England at Twickenham in November last year.
Verdict: on the bench for the first test
He was picked as the utility prop with his ability to play loose-head and tight-head but the problem with that label is while you are an asset over the length of a tour, you are unlikely to be in pole position for a Test shirt. Stevens has not done much wrong, but a few mistakes here and there go noticed when the rest of the squad seem to be firing. A couple of dropped balls (he is not the only one) and a bit of trouble keeping up with the speed of play means Stevens will be the midweek man.
Verdict: not in the test squad
Over to you now – who would you start at tighthead in the first test?
By Tom Macleod (@TMacSport)