Lions XV to take on Australia 2013

With the RBS Six Nations done and dusted for another year, thoughts are already turning to the Rugby World Cup in just a few months. But we’ve always been forward-looking here at The Rugby Blog, and so we’ve been reflecting on a potential Lions XV to take on Australia in 2013.

In the front row, Cian Healy is continuing to mature at loosehead, and his performance against England was particularly impressive and smacked of Lions potential. Alongside him, Matthew Rees and Adam Jones have already proved their Lions credentials – admittedly, there is a nod to previous form in this selection, particularly in the case of Rees. Dan Cole should be in the mix, as well as Mike Ross of Ireland.

In the engine room, Richie Gray is a standout candidate after impressing in a most unimpressive Scotland outfit, and Bradley Davies just gets better and better, particularly in the loose where his ball-carrying is usually superb. If injury hadn’t ruled him out, Courtney Lawes would have been a contender, whilst Alun Wyn Jones is another candidate.

As always, competition in the back row is looking fierce. Sean O’Brien is a shoo-in for me with his strength with ball in hand, as well as defensively at the breakdown. Sam Warburton of Wales is a similar call at openside, and he was consistently one of Wales’ best players. Tom Croft should give them a run for their money, and with the likes of Stephen Ferris and John Barclay also in the mix, things are looking good for the Lions.

Then at Number 8, Jamie Heaslip gets the nod as a marauding back rower and as a leader, and could even be captain potential.

At number 9, Ben Youngs will learn from his schooling in Dublin, and should be the better player for it. There’s no denying that he’s a livewire that can cause Australia problems behind a dominant pack.

Each of the home nations is having a debate about which is the best fly-half, but Jonny Sexton gets the nod in my team, with youth on his side and an obvious ‘big-game’ temperament which will serve him well over the next few years. Toby Flood briefly emerged as a contender, until he reminded us all of his tendency to wilt under pressure, whilst James Hook could be in the mix if he plays at 10 for the next few years.

In the centres, Jamie Roberts hasn’t quite hit the heights of his previous Lions form, but I’d still want him in my side at 12. Jon Davies was occupying that position for Wales, and could be a contender, but otherwise there aren’t many standout candidates in this position on current form.

Joe Ansbro‘s star continues to rise at outside centre, and having tipped him on this site nearly three years ago, we’re still backing him, and he deserves the jersey at the moment. James Hook could be an option here, but trying to work out how the Welsh midfield will line-up between now and then is not easy.

On the wing, Chris Ashton is top of the list as a deadly finisher at the moment, and as defences work him out, he should be able to adapt to continue beating defenders. On the other side, Tommy Bowe, who made an impact on the tournament despite only playing a couple of games. Two deadly finishers and I’m getting excited about the tour already.

Then at full-back, Rob Kearney and Lee Byrne will be in contention again, but Ben Foden gets the jersey at the moment – he’s a dangerous runner, deceptively strong and safe as houses under the high ball.

A strong team, I think you’ll agree, made up of three Englishmen, five Irishmen, two Scotsmen and five Welshmen.

Who else do you think will be in contention? What would your first-choice line up be and why?

Lions XV 2013 to take on Australia:

1. Cian Healy
2. Matthew Rees
3. Adam Jones
4. Richie Gray
5. Bradley Davies
6. Sean O’Brien
7. Sam Warburton
8. Jamie Heaslip (c)

9. Ben Youngs
10. Jonny Sexton
11. Tommy Bowe
12. Jamie Roberts
13. Joe Ansbro
14. Chris Ashton
15. Ben Foden

63 thoughts on “Lions XV to take on Australia 2013

  1. Id have Courtney Lawes (fully fit) over Bradley Davies, not a huge fan on Sexton but right now he would have that spot.

  2. Some interesting choices – my main argument would be that I don’t think Ansbro will achieve those heights. He looked good in the Six Nations and will get more game time at London Irish but I’m not convinced. You can’t have a Lions team without some “bolters” though, and the presence of two outside centres in my list may be a reason for my thinking on Ansbro!

    My suggestions:

    Graham Kitchener (4) – A lock of tremendous potential. I had him down as the better prospect over Courtney Lawes and Dave Attwood, but Kitchener showed tremendously loyalty in remaining with Worcester when they were relegated. Saying that, he now looks likely to be joining Leicester for next season and after putting some outstanding displays for the Saxons I’m confident he’ll make an immediate impression.

    Nevin Spence (13) – Made Manu Tuilagi look incredibly naive in the battle of the second string Irish and England teams just a couple of months ago. Looks-wise he’s not the type of player to strike fear through the heart of the opposition (think more milky bar kid than Jonah Lomu) but this shouldn’t matter and at the age of 20 he’s already been called into the Irish training squad. Earls seems like the naturally heir to O’Driscoll’s throne but Spence won’t make it easy.

    Manu Tuilagi (13) – Had to be mentioned. Needs little introduction or explanation. By the time 2013 comes around hopefully Tuilagi will have improved his defensive imperfections and, if he can do this, he’ll be world class.

    James Short (14) – I’ve rarely seen his name mentioned in England circles, but that’s probably because England’s back three is so settled and there’s a big queue ahead of him. Charlie Sharples of Gloucester is also worth a shout but Short is capable of scoring tries in all situations. If Saracens are heavily beaten with only one try to their score sheet – do not be surprised if it has come from James Short. He’s still young so not always playing but I think he’ll have a big future.

  3. I think largely I agree with your forwards except I Think i’d use Dylan hartley and gethin Jenkins in the front row with Adam Jones.

    I think i’d prefer Mike Phillips at 9. He had a bad 6 nations but I think he’s solid. I think hook at 10. He’s more creative. With a solid kicker on the bench to shut the game out. 12 and 13 gotta be Roberts and BOD if he’s still playing. On the wings Ashton and I think George North will only get better. At the back Foden seems good to me.

    Job done.

  4. We’ve got a surplus of world class blind sides and unfortunately I’m not sure any of them could potentially play 7 or 8. Still not convinced O’Brien will hold off Ferris’s challenge for Ireland when the latter comes back from injury and Croft has the tools to be one of the outstanding players of the next decade.

    Alan Wyn Jones has long been my tip for the next Lions captain but with competition from Gray, Davies, Lawes and Palmer his test place may not be assured enough.

    Elsewhere if he gets a run in the team I’d pick Hook at 10 every day of the week. Also not convinced by Ansbro – useful player but doesn’t always get a start at Northampton and those he gets are generally on the wing. Plenty of promise though. If Jamie Roberts comes back to form we could be looking at an all Welsh 10, 12, 13 with Jonathan Davies and Hook. And although he’ll be 33 or 34 by then, don’t write off BOD.

  5. Healy might be looking pretty good but Gethin has shown himself to be world class on a pretty continual basis.

    Youngs at 9? Is 9 really that poor? A couple of good games but as soon as pressure is on he wilts – we saw it vs Sa, we saw it vs Scotland and we saw it vs Ireland. Need to prove he can cope behind a pack not in 100% control – his ‘lions form’ games are two wins vs the aussies with forward domination, 1 win vs each of the welsh and italians with forward control and a pretty good game vs the french with some control. If questions are being asked of Flood surely they are being asked of Youngs?

    Ashton also has to prove he is not the one trick wonder he is starting to look. Stop the support line and he has little impact. Outside of that his awareness and defensive position are suspect. VERY promising player, just not yet the finished article that so much of the press are claiming. Right now I would select the more proven halfpenny (with the added advantage of an additional goal kicker since Sexton can wilt there – assuming you have sexton at 10)

  6. Not sure I agree with some of these choices.My thoughts:

    Hooker slot is a weakness for sure, but don’t think Matthew Rees is the answer. On this tournament would go for Hartley and not just because I’m an England fan. Think he really developed this 6 nations and will continue to do so.

    Bradley Davies had a good tournament, but Courtney Lawes is a far better player. Aggressive, destructive, athletic, great ball skills and hits like a dump truck. Enough said.

    Thomas Waldrom at 8 anyone????

    Sexton at 10 is questionable. Had a great game against England, but that is his only complete game in an Ireland shirt. Harsh comments on Flood – think he showed what he can do in this 6 nations and didn’t wilt under pressure, I think the point is more that he has been given the job of distributor and has no help from anyone else. If you give him a good 12, he doesn’t have to do everything himself. If defences know they just need to shut him down to rule Ashton and Foden out of the game then he gets a lot more attention.

    Will reserve judgement on Ansbro at 13 until we have seen Manu Tuilagi play international rugby. If he brings anything like the game he plays for Leicester to the international scene then the 13 shirt is his.

    Other guys to look out for: Graham Kitchener looks class, as does Charlie Sharples.

  7. Granted that Ansbro is a slightly leftfield selection, or a bolter you might say. I think he’ll get a lot more game time at London Irish over the next couple of years and is certainly one to watch.

    That said, I would like to see Manu Tuilagi coming through.

    Nick, thought you might mention the Youngs selection, but look at this pack – it’s phenomenal! How could it not be dominant against the Aussies and provide an armchair ride for Youngs??

    Hopefully Lawes will return as well and perform over the next couple of years, and there are some good options in the second row as well.

  8. Huge fan of Hook, but until Wales start smashing it up the middle a lot more, I’d hate to see the current Welsh midfield (as talented as it is) become the Lions midfield, if only because the Welsh attack is lateral at the mo’. Bit of an obvious thing to say, but nobody’s going to fill the void that BOD leaves behind him when he packs it in… though I have a feeling that he won’t do so until after the 2013 tour.

    Pack looks good, though one or two of them need to develop a little more – Warburton looking good for 7, Ferris or O’Brien at 6 and Heaslip at 8, which makes you wonder where Croft comes in… great talent, but he’s yet to show any great consistency at international level (granted, he’s had his injury problems).

    Hook or Sexton at 10 for me, with Flood in the mix, too. I do like the look of Jackson as well

  9. Agree on those who would pick Hartley over Rees – think Hartley matured a lot over the 6 Nations

    Any lock pairing that doesn’t include Tom Palmer at the moment is slightly insane. Gray is good but Bradley Davies can go missing a bit. When Lawes is back, we’ll be spoilt for choice

    Back row is spot on – with Croft on the bench

    Scrum/fly half – Youngs still only has a few caps but has terrorised the Aussies twice in that time. There really isn’t anyone else – Phillips has never really lived up to hwhat he could have been

    Flood/Sexton/Hook – really don’t know here. Would hope Flood and Sexton kick on a bit now – will Johnny still be around for a bench spot??

    Centres – Jamie Roberts seems to play his best rugby in tandem with a creative centre, so that’s a difficult one. Hopefully BOD will still be hanging around…

    Wings – Gotta be Tommy Bowe and Ashton. People used to claim Jason Robinson would be worked out by defences but he always managed to add value. I think Ashton will be the same

    Fullback – Foden at the moment. Like to see Earls play there more tho.

    As for bolters – agree with Kitchener and Spence. Joe Marler, Chris Robshaw and Mike Brown at Quins? Andy Saull at Saracens?

  10. Harley isn’t the answer for England so Lions selection is a def no no till he learns to take the ball into contact lower. Still he has at least learnt not to be a walking penalty machine so may-be he’ll surprise me!? Croft got to get in somewhere.
    Left field selection I can see Sharples & Jonathan Joseph putting themselves in the frame.

    Cannoot believe someone has put Mike Brown in the frame for f/b – apart from those already mentioned look at Morgan Bendy & Armitage Snr!

  11. Mike Brown!!!!!? I would want to see the Lions full back have gas. He picks good lines at times, don’t get me wrong, but he doesn’t have the pace to be an international full back.

    Think the centres in Northern Hemisphere rugby at the moment is the weakest area. Roberts could and should be great, but a Lions team needs a creative and threatening 13. Don’t see where that is coming from. Tuilagi is the threat in attack, but is he creative? Not so sure yet, but has time to develop.

    What about Brad Barritt? Any thoughts? Could play 12, better distributor than lots of the others, but also pace and power. Roberts at 13? Could work, but long way to go.

  12. Rugby Spectator – “Courtney Lawes a far better player than Bradley”? No.

    Bradley is superb, and I think Lawes is as well, both are top class players and my personal choice would be waiting to see if Gray can continue the form, Davies and Lawes to start. But to say Lawes is ‘far better’ is way off the mark, Bradley has been superb for a few seasons now.

    Hutch – Going in with a 9 that is known to go missing when playing a quick defence and getting in his face is asking the opposition to do just that. It could be he will improve on this and become a better player (in all my arguments before it was because he has never proved himself in that sort of game, and he has failed again twice now). He is a talent, no doubt, but tbh I am not 100% convinced he is the right choice for England yet given his problems when pressured – Simpson at Wasps produces some quality performances behind a pack that is regularly on the back foot.

    A few years yet so he can easily correct his mistakes/problems.

  13. In my defence, Mike Brown was picked as a “bolter” – and I don’t think a bad one either. Currently the best fullback in the premiership (whilst Foden is on international duty)

    He is deceptively quick, runs superb lines, is spot on in defense and has a bigger boot than Byrne. This year he tops the premiership for clean breaks and is in the top 5 or 6 for tries scored, defenders beaten and metres gained

    He blotted his copy book with England, but lions tours often see players picked out of the blue

    Some other “bolters” – Narraway at Gloucester, Faletau at Dragons and Turnbull at Scarlets

  14. Paolo – Brown’s good enough to play well at Premiership level, but he hasn’t the speed or step to excel at international level. Were in not for Armitage and then Foden I think Olly Morgan would have made a damn good international full back. He certainly looked good when he played for England, unlike Brown.

    Agree with person who said centres are a weak spot. I think Tuilagi and Spence have good futures, not sure about Barritt. Owen Farrel’s long term future I think may be at 12 but the current trend is for larger players in that position. Which leads me on to a certain Billy Twelvetrees! What are the odds on a Tigers centre partnership being the Lions’? It wont happen in 2015, but maybe 2019..

  15. I’ll take that back. Lawes is a better player than Davies, not “far” better. If you assume Gray can continue with his stellar performances, I personally would pick Gray and Lawes in the Second row. Think Lawes is more dynamic than Davies. Admittedly Davies been a consistent performer over past few years, but Lawes raw potential is huge. Will be an interesting couple of years to see if Lawes becomes the player I, and all England fans, hope he can become.

  16. think mc fadden could take the 13 jersey after world cup! strauss at hooker will be playing with ireland after world cup at 2 i think and he is a serious ball carrier and robber for leinster part of the trio of healy and sean o’brien for big breaks! healy is very young so is cole think both will be world class come lions tour! 7 could be ryan hes young now but he is a brilliant physical 7 think ireland will just get better after the world cup when some of the golden generation hang up their boots and the platinum generation move in!! bod only one hard to replace but mc fadden is a brilliant all round footballer who has developed his game to try and match bod any other club and he’d be startin week in week out!!! agree with the rest 15 could see felix jones from munster get a wild card been ruined with injury but a immense talent ! hope the coach picks a strong bench more important than starting 15 thats why we lost the last lions tour!

  17. Glad to see some Richie Gray love! While I would agree Scotland were unimpressive in the Six Nations seeing as the selections here have mostly been made on potential I reckon more of our guys could well go as utility/midweek players, the likes of Evans and Ansbro offer pace and a bit of spark plus the ability to cover centre and wing. A lot can of course happen in two years, and while the recent rise of Warburton has been sudden, Barclay has shown many times he could be the man for the job at 7… If you are looking for a scrum half who doesn’t go missing when his pack are on the back foot you could do worse than Rory Lawson too…

  18. Now whilst I think Richie Gray had a good six nations I do think that both his height and mad hair made him far more noticible on the field than would otherwise be the case. I would actually be very happy having Palmer and Lawes who I think will go on to become the new Botha and Matfield. Between them they have all the qualities you could ever want in the second row. I think the back row will be a nightmare to decide but in a good way.

  19. I think this selection could be a lot better, my team would be:

    1. Healy 2. Cronin 3. Cole
    4. Gray 5. Lawes
    6. Wood 8. heaslip 7. Barclay
    9. Youngs 10. Flood
    12. Roberts 13. Hook
    11. Evans 15. Foden 14. Ashton

    Sean O’brien, came close at 6 but you need a lineout forward in the back row and the way wood played during the 6 nations he just had to be included and i just think Barclay manages to shine at 7 while playing in an average scottish team.

    Cronin shades any of the others at hooker because he has a running game that none of the others offer and i just think he is quality.

    The Halfbacks have to be Youngs and Flood, Youngs is the only man in my opinion and is sure to get quick ball with this pack and flood comes in simply cos i couldnt decide between him and sexton and they play together at club level.

  20. I am in awe. Bradley Davies has consistently been superb, and everyone writes him off! Lawes better than him? I really don’t think so though I admit he is good. Gray? Not after a few games, we’ll see.

    Bradley had a poor tournament by his standards – and that rugby spectator and others suggested he had a good one shows what level his ‘poor’ performances are at. For me he has consistently been the best 2nd row in the UK for the last year or more.

    But what fun is the Lions when everyone agrees? ;)

  21. sorry guys but if we are talking about the next lions tour now then surely we might have to look at the under 21s because a constant performer in that was a young out half paddy jackson who will probably break through into the squad after the world cup and if there is also nevin spence who looks like he is going to be the replacement for brian o’driscoll once he retires and would certainly challange joe ansbro.

  22. All comments based upon original selection ad relating only to current International status (which is a bit off!!!)

    Well, let’s start from the front row: I’d go with Gethin Jenkins over Healey.
    Second row OK …

    Moving to back-row: Not totally convinced by Warburton…I think Croft would get that one.

    At 9 Youngs is a BIG question-mark but this is Britain’s and Ireland’s weak position. Mike Phillips has “lost it” and no one else is stepping up. I wouldn’t be confident about Youngs; although he has the talent not sure he has the psyche. Today – I’d go with Dwayne Peel but, in the real world (timeline), it might be Tavis Knoyle.

    10: Sexton is a quandary – brim-full of talent but shows it rarely. I think today Hook is a no-no. I’ve seen very little to impress me at 10 but Perpignan might bring out the latent talent… Would put Flood on the bench but that’s as far as he goes

    12/13: Huge problem area if BOD has gone. At international level – who? Nobody to compare. He’s first choice long with Roberts at 12. If he’s not there then we have to experiment. I’d go Sexton 10 and Hook 12 with Roberts/Davies at 13. Ansbro may in the real world may come close but not yet.
    By the way, Lamont is a definite option – in my opinion before the English where I am deliberately avoiding the English 12/13 as this was a train crash area for England all through.

    Wings OK!!

    Don’t forget the majestic Kearney at 15:- fully fit he walks it over Foden (who is the only other choice)!

    So let’s look at Rugby politics
    Ireland: 5
    Wales: 5
    England: 4
    Scotland: 1

    I think that’s not a bad reflection of a crap 6 Nations where Ireland were responsible for all the points (both ways) v. France, should have comfortably beaten Wales, never mind the “right ball” controversy and finally came good against England, who were simply “not at the races”. England won it by “default”.
    England beat a Wales team who on the night should have done better, were desperately luck against a plucky but limited Scots performance, beat a French outfit who, all season, were “away with the fairies” and caught Italy on their worst day.

    OK I’m very probably biased but over to all of you….

  23. Two past captains i.e.O’Driscoll and O’Connell shouldn’t be written off just yet. Earls is also one to watch.

  24. Callum – If you read up at my comments I mentioned Nevin Spence. Think he looks like a good prospect.

    Also you mention good young FHs, but I think England and Wales lead the way there. George Ford is a brilliant young number 10, he has such a mature game for someone so young and captains the U20s at only 17. Wales on the othe hand have Matthew Morgan – probably the most gifted runner at FH I’ve seen since Danny Cipriani.

  25. I think Ferris will be a definite starting 6 and i think you could see sean o’brien playing 7 for ireland in the next while to get everyone else so think he will start

    The comment about Strauss isnt he S.A and think spence will replace bod for ireland mcfadden isnt good enought and earls i dont think is a centre but could be fullback

    Also agree with people saying Gray and Lawes in second row

  26. matthew strauss is SA but hes a special project and made it clear he would wish to play for ireland if he got the chance been here for nearly 2 years now so will be able to play november window 2012! if u think mcfadden isn’t good enough watch him play! he is fast ridiculously reliable in the tackle brilliant passer smart rugby brain moulding him self like bod and offloads brilliantly in the tackle!! what more can u want or expect from a center? spence is a great talent but think he will be a few years before he gets into the system.

  27. Sorry. Ireland v England game demonstrated that Banahan is a one dimensional one trick pony (an ineffective battering ram).

  28. Dennis Eng did not win by default, they were the best team over the tournament period! Ireland were shocking the whole way through and lucky to escape against Italy. They pulled their socks up for one game, don’t kid yourself they deserved better!

  29. Wow, the Irish contingent have certainly taken over this debate. Mighty as well just pick the entire Leinster and Munster squads and leave it at that. By the sounds of it the rest of us may as well wave bye bye to the 6 Nations title for a decade or so. (I’m stirring before anyone gets too upset). And congratulations to Dennis Brennan for the most biased piece of sports analysis I’ve seen outside of the Indian cricket pundits. I assume it must have been tongue in cheeck. It has to have been. Wasn’t it?

    On other topics, nobody has written off Bradley Davies. He’s clearly not a shoo in but is a very good player. There are very good cases for Gray, Palmer, Lawes, Wynn Jones, Davies and the Irish O’s (although they may be past it by 2013). Great problem to have. For what it’s worth I’d have Lawes and Wynn Jones. Need to see more than one good championship from Gray but he certainly looks as though he’ll be there or thereabouts. And there’s Borthwick of course who could undergo a resurgence. I think he touched the ball a few weeks ago other than at a lineout so watch this space.

    And if anyone mentions Sean Lamont in conjunction with the Lions again we’ll have you banned from the site. Strong runner but a terrible rugby player. Think he topped the offload stats in the championship but on almost every occasion he landed the recipient in a whole world of trouble. No rugby brain at all.

  30. Healy would cope in Australia perhaps but not a good enough scrummager and not sure he ever will be. Once Stevens has had a few games he will be the best and will be 1st choice for Eng in NZ if Sheridan not fit. Would always pick Croft. If Hook was good enough for the Lions at 10 he would have started for Wales last season and this. Will Richie Gray continue to impress – remeber the ‘killer b’s’ 2 seasons ago – where are they now?

  31. SorryStuart, Even with a resurgence Borthwick would probably be as effective as a wardrobe in loose play.

  32. Borthwick?! Good lord. He’s past it now.

    Looking forward a few years… Fantastic players in the U21’s set up. Exciting prospects from the likes of Manu Tuilagi etc.

    Also I hear Waldrom can play for England now. He was one of the best signings in the Prem this season. What will he be like in 2 years?

    Exciting stuff

  33. Since this is 2 years away I’m still backing George North. Young, quick, powerful and adventurous. His runs do not always work but at least when the ball comes to him in his own 22 he doesn’t just punt it into orbit, he actually tries something. Who knows he may even grow across the field and become a solution to the Northern Hemisphere centre problem.

  34. One player that has been left out of the mix who did well this year, Sean Lamont. I think he was really impressive for scotland, broke lines and looked a real threat with ball in hand… exactly what you want and need in your midfield.

    Although i think BOD will still have another Lions tour under his belt in which case i’d love to see himself and Roberts play together again.

    I like flood but he does dwindle under the pressure unfortunately, Sexton with some more experience will be a strong contender, but who knows there is some good quality coming through youth sides.

    In the Pack I think an Irish back 3 could be a strong possibility again… would love to see wallace do it but probably not not Ferris and O’Brian as wing forwards to strong strong runners, then of course Heaslip. No one else comes close to contend for the 8 shirt.

    The welsh front row of the last lions tour was a cracker, but watch the space some awesome new players since then. If Gray keeps up those kind of performances just past… no brainer haha

  35. i think flood t 10 hartly at hooker cole at prop lawes and croft foden and ashton
    i think england were the best team by far in the six nations

  36. Youngs and Flood completely dominated again by Reddan and Sexton in the Leinster v Leicester clash at the weekend. It’s a no brainer. On current form it’s got to be the Irish halfbacks with the majestic O’Gara in reserve. Obviously form can change and probably will but on current form Youngs and Flood are nowhere near the mark.

  37. frank – you cant just compare half backs and say one set is better than the other. whatwoud they both be lilke behind the lions pack?

    I think youngs would be a better option than reddan.

    that said, Im not convinced flood has the minerals required for Lions.

    No mention of Matt stevens here, hes a bolter for the RWC and a defo lion contender.
    lawes is a shoe in Lion @ the mo.

  38. 1-Healy 2-Hartley 3-Cole
    4- Gray 5- Lawes
    6- Ferris 7-Warburton 8-Heaslip
    9- Youngs 10- Sexton
    12- Roberts 13-BOD
    11- Ashton 15- Foden 14- Bowe

    Left Field- Alex Goode, can play at full back and fly half. Very talented
    Manu Tuilagi- Not sure how good he can be just yet
    Thomas Waldrom- Consistent performer
    Jonny Wilkinson- wouldent write him off, experienced, good impact sub- metronomic boot, big tackles, good game control

  39. lests be honest, if the above Lions showed up today against the aussies, wed spank them off the park.their pack just isnt in the same power league.

    id love to see Quade cooper smashed about, really dont rate him.

    maybe things will have changed in 2 years!

  40. With two years to go a lot of players will go in and out of form – my side would be

    1 Jenkins
    2 Hartley
    3 Cole
    4 Lawes
    5 Gray
    6 Croft
    7 Warburton
    8 Heaslip

    9 Phillips
    10 Sexton
    11 Bowe
    12 Hook
    13 Ansbro
    14 Ashton
    15 Foden

  41. Just out of interest i was wandering what french players people think would make a northern hemisphere side, i think the front row, harinordoquy and the half backs would all definately start, aswell as medard on one of the wings, just wondering what people thought..

  42. By 2013 we’ll have Owen Farrell in the number 10 shirt.

    Isn’t Thomas Woldrum a New Zealander?

  43. I think it’s always a massive assumption to think that club and country combinations (Youngs/Flood, Reddan/Sexton, Phillips/Jones for e.g.) will make worthy Lions combo’s. The Lion’s pride themselves on gelling well before the 1st Test match starts, so I think any previous form for combinations gets thrown out of window come selection. If I’m picking the team I want the best possible player in each position.

    I can’t see anyone pipping Tom Croft in the back row. He has the full package and has already shown that he is a huge threat at the highest form of the game.

    The absence of BOD will be a concern in the centres, as I don’t see anyone coming through the roots with the same class and ability.

  44. Charlie – It’s wrong to liken any centre to Brian O’Driscoll, and this player is entirely his own man, but Nevin Spence is looking a bit tasty.

  45. Not far off the mark. Flood is a fantastic player, but he has shown inconsistency. Ansbro isn’t reaching the heights he should be, perhaps due to him being out of position. If this past 6n is anything to go by, This would be my XV, looking at the up-and-coming, mostly.

    1.Cian Healy
    2.Dylan Hartley
    3.Dan Cole
    4.Courtney Lawes
    5.Richie Gray
    6.Sean O’Brien
    7.Stephen Ferris
    8.Jamie Heaslip
    9.Ben Youngs
    10.Johnathan Sexton
    11.Max Evans
    12.Jamie Roberts
    13.James Hook
    14.Chris Ashton
    15.Ben Foden

    Also to be in the mix are Keith Earls, Toby Flood, Eoin Reddan, Tommy Bowe, John Barclay, Sam Warburton, Rhys Preistland amongst others, the 2013 selectors are going to have a headache.

  46. gotta be

    cian healey
    Dylan Hartley
    Dan cole
    courtney lawes
    richie gray
    6) sean obrien
    7) warbuton
    8) heaslip

    in the centre in will be jamie roberts and manu tuilagi

  47. How about some bolters? Nevin Spence of Ireland looks like a fantastic prospect, if not massively helped by being an Irish OC! I’ve also been so impressed by Joe Launchbury that it would not surprise me if he was in the Saxons team this time next year, and then who knows beyond that..

  48. 1. Gethin Jenkins (Corbisiero)
    2. Matthew Rees (Hartley/Best)
    3. Jones (Cole)
    4. Richie Gray (Wyn Jones)
    5. O’ Connell (Charteris)
    6. Lydiate (Croft)
    7. Warburton (Robshaw)
    8. Ben Morgan (Faletau)
    9. Phillips (Youngs)
    10. Farrell (Priestland)
    11. North (Ashton)
    12. Roberts (Barritt)
    13. Tuilagi (Jonathan Davies)
    14. Bowe (Halfpenny)
    15. Kearney (Foden)

    14 Wales, 11 England, 5 Ireland, 1 Scotland

    1. Kinda agree with Ted ….

      1. Gethin Jenkins (Corbisiero)
      2. Hartley (Rees, Best)
      3. Jones (Cole)
      4. Richie Gray (Wyn Jones)
      5. O’ Connell (Lawes)
      6. Lydiate (Croft)
      7. O’Brien (Warburton)
      8. Heaslip (Morgan)
      9. Phillips (Youngs)
      10. Farrell (Priestland)
      11. North (Ashton)
      12. Roberts (Barritt)
      13. Brian O’Driscoll (Tuilangi)
      14. Bowe (Halfpenny)
      15. Kearney (Foden)

      11 (6 in 1st XV) Welsh, 12 (2) English, 7 (6 in 1st XV) and 1 (1) Scotsman.

      Let me caviate this with:
      1) I’m English, and have much more of an understanding of their team so naturally I probably lean towards them.
      2) Requires certain players to return to fitness and form (BOD, O’Connell, Ashton, Youngs)
      3) Assumes the continued, rapid development of certain players (Farrell, Tuilangi, Morgan)
      4) There must be more than one Scots person in the squad – Lamont, Denton?
      5) There are just some players I don’t know enough about that are discussed elsewhere in this thread that may have significant merit.

  49. Even last year that is way off the mark! Ansbro? You gotta be joking? Anyways Now it should look more like this….

    1. Gethin Jenkins (Corbisiero Healy)
    2. Hartley (Rees, Best)
    3. Jones (Cole)
    4. Richie Gray (Charteris)
    5. O’ Connell (AW Jones, Ian Evans)
    6. Lydiate (Croft)
    7. Warburton (No One!)
    8. Heaslip (Faletau)
    9. Phillips (No one!)
    10.Sexton (Priestland,Farrell)
    11. North
    12. Roberts (No one!)
    13. Tuilagi (Jon Davies, BOD if fully fit)
    14. Bowe (Cuthbert)
    15. Kearney (Halfpenny)

    I was even tempted to go more Welsh. Faletau could easily find himself at 8, an all welsh front row AGAIN is a possibility. Players like Ashton, Youngs, Blair, Rennie will find themselves in the squad but at this moment I don’t think they come close to the starting XV. A lot could change between now and 2013 but I don’t think you can argue with a strong Welsh contingent with a mixture of Irish experience and English Youth. And the off Scottsman as they aren’t all awful!

  50. 1. Healy
    2. Best
    3. Jones
    4. Gray
    5. 0’Connell
    6. Ferris
    7. Warburton
    8. Faletau
    9. Phillips
    10. Sexton/Priestland
    11. North/Cuthbert
    12. Roberts
    13. o’Driscoll (if fit, if not Davies)
    14. Bowe
    15. Kearney

  51. 1.Healy
    5.paul o connell
    9.Conor Murray (Dont know why iam the first to mention his name)Phillips is out of date
    13.brian o Driscoll
    14.Tommy Bowe
    15.Kearney (foden)

  52. 1. Healy
    2. Rees
    3. Cole
    4. Launchbury
    5. Gray
    6. O’Brien
    7. Warburton
    8. Heaslip
    9. Youngs
    13 Tuilagi



  53. 1-Healy

  54. Healy
    A Jones
    D Ryan
    O Brien
    O Driscoll


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