Poll: Pick your Lions Test XV

Now that Warren Gatland has narrowed down the list of players from which to pick a Test XV, here’s your chance to have a go.

Use the polls below to make your selection for that first Test in Brisbane, we’ll see what the general consensus is and then compare that to the actual starting team in June.

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How do you think the team is shaping up?

61 thoughts on “Poll: Pick your Lions Test XV

    1. Hutch – or anyone, can some explain why Maitland is in there?
      i watch as much rugby as anyone (= too much) and im underwhelmed by his selection.

      A back three of Hogg, Bowe and North is mouth wateringly good.

      Heres my Lions team:

      Vunipola –
      Adam Jones

      Alun Wyn



      I think Vumipola is going tour v well and surprise some with his ability on hard grounds.

      1. I think you’re spot on about Big V. He’s been on awesome form this season, and is getting better all the time. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him starting ahead of Healy or Jenkins after the warm up games. Just hope Gatland didn’t just take him as a midweeker.

  1. Starting XV:
    Healy, Hibbard, Jones
    AW Jones, O’Connell
    Lydiate, Warburton
    Tuilagi, O’Driscoll
    North, Bowe

    Jenkins, Youngs, Cole

    could easily swap b. youngs and phillips and maybe SOB and Lydiate. i think phiilips and SOB bring more physicality and abrasiveness off the bench. i think youngs and sexton could make a killer halfback pairing.

    1. I’m almost totally in sync with your team Simo, I’d just change Warburton for Tipuric (I know, that’s not gonna happen now with Warbs being Capt and all) and I’d swap Cuthbert in for North. Otherwise you read my mind completely.

  2. Subject to injuries and by the 1st test that will mean at least 10 not available, I suspect that Gatland will write down the team that beat England (other than Biggar) and will then compare the Welsh incumbent with others playing his position to see if they justify breaking up an existing proven unit. I seriously think we will see 12 Welsh starting (if whole squad by some fluke happen to be available) BOD might sneak in as might O’Connell and of couse Sexton must start. Basically a Welsh/Irish starting 15.

    1. Fortunately Gatland isn’t that stupid!

      He will undoubtedly look at combinations but not in the rather simplistic and one eyed way you are suggesting.

  3. Time will tell and I hope you are correct but the old adage ‘to the victor the spoils’ looks very much in place for the overall squad selection. If we (English supporters) are honest if Wales could replicate the ‘white eyed’ commitment that blew England away they could beat Australia without any other tourists, unfortunately beating (stuffing?) England is something they can rarely replicate when playing other sides.

    1. I’m glad you made that last point as it was something that I was mulling over. Apart from one half against Ireland, Wales had been pretty abject for quite some time. They do always manage to play their best against England, I think for national psyche reasons. Prior to that game plenty of the commentators on this blog had been calling for the likes of Phillips, Roberts and even Warburton to be dropped. Now they are being lauded as world beaters. As ever the truth is probably somewhere in between.

      Admittedly as a number of their players got fit after injuries (or tackle bag practice in Jenkins case) the team improved, but I can’t help feeling that this is a squad picked partly on the basis of one game. If we had picked a combined England NZ team after our last match, it might have been top heavy with Englishmen but to be honest that would have been wrong. NZ are the best team in the world, England had a good day.

      Am worried as I think that the best Hooker and No 8 have been left at home, although to be fair that would have displaced one Irishman and one Englishman and replaced them with one Irishman and one Englishman.

    2. “unfortunately beating (stuffing?) England is something they can rarely replicate when playing other sides.” – yeah, cos we lost to all of the other sides when we won the Grand Slam last year… It’s a tired old cliche. Two 6Ns tournaments, 1 loss against Ireland, a team we had beaten in our 3 previous matches against them. We’re top dogs in the NH so to say we can only beat England is tosh. It’s the SH teams we have a problem with so if you wanted to bring that up as a rationale for selecting the Lions then I’d start listening but it’s boring old balls to bang on that we only wheel it out when we play England.

      Would it be fair to say England only play when they’re up against anyone except Wales?

  4. Healy
    Jones/Cole (if we’re getting scrum dominance, cole should be in as offers more around the field)
    Warburton (should have been tipuric)


  5. Healy

    Youngs, Vunipola, Jones, Gray, Faletau, Phillips, Farrell, Hogg

  6. are we all forgetting the talent of jamie r and jonathan davies i would put one of them in for tuilangi any day,

    1. Only if you don’t want to score.

      Manu Tuilagi – 21 tests 10 tries

      Jamie Roberts – 55 tests 5 tries

      Jonathan Davies – 36 tests 9 tries

      A combination of Roberts and Davies is not going to do the job against the Aussies

      The physical abilities of Roberts and Tuilagi might well hurt Aus. Just the threat they pose should open holes for runners like North

      1. I would really like to see a combo of Tuilagi and BOD. Tuilagi can make big holes in the defence and create space for BOD to exploit, which is what he’s good at. He can also put other people in exactly the right area if an overlap is created.

        1. Agree with you Dazza, the Sexton try at the weekend (where BOD put Kearney through a gap) is exactly what Tuilagi and BOD could offer as a combo (probably with BOD kicking inside defensively).

          Also with North likely to start (but hopefully not Cuthbert) that gives you 2 players who can be dominant on the gainline (GN and MT).

          I think Maitland would be the best accompaniment to that group as, besides ashton, he runs the best supporting lines in the NH.

        2. Agreed. I would have them interchanging, with Tuilagi at 12 in defence and 13 in attack. I think Tuilagi is too threatening in attack to put him at 12. He is best when attacking the outside channels, which BOD was so good at in his prime. If you want a battering ram at 12 then Roberts is the better option IMO, but I would put BOD at 12 and Manu at 13. IMHO, I would have preferred a playmaker at 12 to make use of the strike runners in the outside backs like Manu, North, Halfpenny, Maitland etc. Will never happen but I would like to see Farrell at 10, Sexton at 12 and Manu at 13! Sexton tends to move to 12 whenever ROG came on for Ireland, so not completely new to him.

  7. Wow – i just tried to pick the team that i think Gatland would start with tomorrow and it had 11 welshmen plus O’Connell, O’Driscoll, Sexton and Maitland. Weird.

    I also realised that we have an immense second row and great ball carriers in the centres and wings which will allow us to select a second fetcher/jackler at 6, i.e. Lydiate.

    The squad available on 22nd June will be a fair bit different to the list above. Whatever happens i hope i can say i was there when the Lions smashed the Aussies!

    1. sounds like another one of those inverse reality comments. watching sextons running, try scoring and interpay with nacewa showed a punch to leinster i havent seen in a while. not surprising that biiarritz should be taken apart to coincide with his return.

  8. Now this is done, can we start guessing who will be on their national summer tours? Because the Welsh and English ones could look very interesting!

    1. Good idea.

      England have lost quite a few in the front row – so I’d assume Corbs will be fit and other than that, Marler, Wilson, Henry Thomas? Nick Wood? at prop and then a combination of Webber, Buchanan and Gray at hooker?

      Perhaps Slater and Robson will get their chance at lock or Attwood might get to re-state his case.

      Assuming that Robshaw is rested, back row from – Fraser, Ksevic, Vunipola, Wallace, Morgan, Wood. Anyone else?

      Simpson / Care at scrum half?

      Flood and Burns at fly half?

      12T, Barritt, Eastmond, Tomkins, Joseph, Daly in the centres?

      Ashton, Wade, May, Brown, Goode, Foden in back 3. Perhaps Yarde or Biggs?

      Any other suggestions?

      1. I’m loving some of your options here, but I think on some of them SL will go for more experienced players, and the more conservative approach. Simpson at Sh for example could be swapped with Wigglesworth or Disckon, second row we could see Botha back in the frame, or maybe Palmer? Back row and centres are where it gets exciting though, and the names you’ve got down are a nice selection. Is Callum Clark fit again, if so I think SL will definitely take him. B. Vunipola must be given his chance, as must Fraser and/or Kvesic. A centre combo of 12T and Tomkins would be very interesting. Both big guys without being too bulky, and both with great hands, vision and offloading skills.
        This is could be more interesting than the Lions selection!!

      2. Is this the time to give Goode a go at 10?
        May, Knowles, Wade, Atwood, Fraser, Kvesic, Yarde, Armitage.S, Burns, Thompston, Slater, Thomas.H, Care, Wood, Vunipola.B, Marler, Gaskell.J, Ford

        Just some of the names I think would really benefit from Argentina.

        1. you ask if goode shot get a shot at 10, and then go on to name burns and ford in your list of players who could benefit?

          if i was to shift goode it may be to one of the centres, allowing him to continue in the ball playing role, but also it means a harder runner at 15. however i hesitate at this, because i think this has to be a tour to let 12Ts have a go at proving himself for england.

          chances are we will see barritt at 13, but i would much rather have any of Daly, Tomkins, Eastmond or Joseph in the 13 shirt. I would even consider Goode to play here, outside of Twelvetrees.

          we all know what barritt brings to the table, and he has had a long, busy season. i think he should be allowed a rest. the same should maybe be said for robshaw. it gives us a chance to look at another option at 7, maybe let Wood have a go at captain (incase robshaw gets injured in the future).

          here would be my squad, with 2 options for each position (a 3rd added if someone is a known struggler with injury).

          1. Corbisero/Marler/Mullan
          2. Webber/Gray
          3. Wilson/Thomas
          4. Launchbury/Slater
          5. Lawes/Attwood
          6. Wood/Haskell
          7. Kvesic/Fraser – Robshaw rested
          8. Morgan/Vunipola
          9. Care/Simpson/L. Dickson
          10. Burns/Flood
          11. May/Strettle
          12. Twelvetrees/Eastmond
          13. Tomkins/Daly
          14. Wade/Ashton – (ashton should try to find form here)
          15. Brown/Foden/Goode

          1. Not keen on Haskell. Is there anyone else who plays blindside and looks promising?

    2. Wales squad:

      Forwards: Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Rhys Gill (Saracens), Sam Hobbs (Blues), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Emyr Phillips (Scarlets), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Scott Andrews (Blues), Craig Mitchell (Exeter Chiefs), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Bradley Davies (Blues), Lou Reed (Blues), Andrew Coombs (Dragons), James King (Ospreys), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Dan Baker (Ospreys), Rob McCusker (Scarlets), Andries Pretorius (Blues), Josh Navidi (Blues).

      Backs: Lloyd Williams (Blues), Tavis Knoyle (Scarlets), Aled Davis (Scarlets), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Ashley Beck (Ospreys), Owen Williams (Blues), Jonathan Spratt (Ospreys), Dafydd Howells (Ospreys), Liam Williams (Scarlets), Harry Robinson (Blues), Tom Prydie (Dragons), Steven Shingler (London Irish).

          1. @Anarky

            The IRB made the decision for him. He is just a kid who wants to play international rugby. And after Wales blocking his chances, it’s only right that they have finally got round to picking him.

      1. have to agree with Blub. Adam is a prop, and with the way the game has changed, is guaranteed not to play for a full 80mins. Your captain should be on the field from start to finish (excluding injury or the very rare poor game)

  9. …. I think there must be a mistake, I havent seen James Haskell mentioned n the Lions squad ?

  10. With halfpennys goalkicking not needed thanks to sexton being a test kicker. Is his place warranted given how good Stuart Hogg looked going forward in an average Scotland team. I think his strike running will edge halfpenny out unless gatland wants two kickers

    1. It’s not all about going forward James. I remember seeing Hogg being a bit dodgy under the high ball and in defence (fofana try), although as you say he can attack with gusto.

      However, the myth that surrounds Halfpenny as not being able to attack is simply that, a myth. The way Wales set up is to bring in North & Cuthbert to use as the strike runners this doesnt afford Halfpenny as many opportunities as others. When he does, he very often beats the first man. He is completely solid under the high ball, and will tackle anything put in his path. The opinion that he is only there as a goal kicker is absurd.

      Halfpenny will make the test side.. but not because “Gatland wants two kickers”

      1. Totally agree regarding Halfpenny. Pretty much the first name on the team sheet. Does everything including attacking brilliantly, and this from an envious Englishman!

      2. Lets not get too carried away regarding halfpenny. I am a fan of his, and he is very solid.

        However looking at the wingers selected, I would expect them to be used as the strike runners, so yet more chances for halfpenny to not see the ball much. Also he is good under the high ball, no question there. But as for will tackle anything that comes to his path… I recall him missing a tackle on Beale in the autumn which lost Wales the game.

        I am not trying to slate halfpenny, as I think he should be the 15 for the lions. But let’s not go picking certain tries scored against Hogg (fofana try that you referred to) because clearly it happens to everyone.

        1. Wow, he certainly will tackle anything that comes into his path. To call that a missed tackle is harsh – Halfpenny was miles away from it when he started as the ball shouldn’t have been coming down that part of the field from a Welsh attacking position. He busted a gut to even get near him. No way did he shirk that tackle and doesn’t shirk anything. He’s the best under the high ball, the best defensive full back and a lightning fast runner. He’s the best all round 15 we’ve got.

          1. That is precisely my point brighty. As I said, I am a halfpenny fan.

            But we cannot select a single tackle that we recall and label a player a bad defender.

    2. “given how good Stuart Hogg looked going forward in an average Scotland team” – doesn’t being half tidy in an average team give you more chance to shine? Would he look as good in a great team?

  11. It would harsh to rule out Hogg as a decent defensive fullback after that tackle on Fofana. Fofana is probably one of the hardest runners to bring down and the most lethal strike runner around atm. Missing a tackle on him is surely forgivable?

    Halfpenny is solid under the high ball and in defence. I also agree that Halfpenny not being able to attack is a myth. He is a strong runner and attacks well.

    However all this said Hogg can do stuff that Halfpenny cannot do. One on one with an opponent Hogg is much more likely to do one on his opponent. Hoggs attack and x factor I think is vital and he will change a test match in a second.

    Hogg would be the riskier option and I think Halfpenny will start in which case Hogg simply has to be on the bench.

    When the defence is tiring around the 60th minute mark bring Hogg on and he will cause havoc!

    1. Maybe i was a bit harsh on Hogg picking out one missed tackle but i didnt label him a bad player, he is a talented attacker as i acknowledged in my post and agree that a combo of the two could be excellent as Redlight suggested.

      Maybe the red mist descended a bit at the original posters suggestion that Halfpenny is there because he can kick a goal, which as i said at the time is absurd.

      1. For me Halfpenny starts but Hogg is the perfect impact sub. He can cover 13, 15 and also 10 (I read somewhere that he was considered emergency third 10 as cover) – and he is also that x factor player that can change a game. He is a shoe in for the 23 shirt for me – not the 15 shirt.

        1. Versatile impact subs are what every coach craves for their bench. Am more than happy with Halfpenny starting and Hogg on the bench, although never normally convinced that a coach would want to take Halfpenny off unless injured. Can’t remember the last time that he played badly although I am sure that it has happened.

          1. I agree with all of that staggy. The nice thing about Hogg is that I think we would all happily see him come on into any of the positions from 11 to 15 (and he can even cover 10).

            The beauty of the lions is that you can pick the no1 players from each nation, in each position. Therefore it is possible to start looking at players who lend themselves better to the role of “impact sub”.
            Tom Youngs seems to be the best impact option at 2.
            Any of the Looseheads (Healy, Jenkins, Mako) would do a good job as impact.
            Cole is probably the best suited to impact, so coming on for Jones.
            I would say that Gray fits the bill best for lock impact.
            SOB in the backrow.
            Youngs or Phiilips will bring a different style to whichever starts.
            Farrell is the least impact like player, but he will be able to come on and close out a game (although if Wilko ends up in the tour, then this is his job)
            Finally Hogg. He is versatile and has great pace and X factor.

            These guys would make up the most effective bench in my mind.

        2. I agree with you Jacob. 23 shirt seems good for Hogg. He is a utility (I also think he could cover wing) and he brings x-factor that is perfect for an impact sub.

          You are correct that Hogg is the player to cover 10. This worries me, because apparently he has not played there since school… 12Ts, Hook, Laidlaw and Madigan have all played 10 at club, if not country level, so I can’t help think they would have been safer options.
          Having said that, I am 99.9% sure that if a back gets even a slight niggle after the 1st June, then we will see Wilkinson in Australia as a 3rd 10.

          1. Completely agree with you r: Wilko – I am almost 100% sure that he will end up on tour one way or another.

            In regards to the bench – I can see it being very English. It looks to me that there is a good chance that none, or even very few England players will start – but many of them are good impact players.

            16. Youngs (best impact hooker)
            17. Vunipola (very good impact player) – for me here in is between Jenkins and Healy to start, and the other will jump to third choice because of Mako’s impact.
            18. Cole (just because Jones will be first choice and the other choice is Stevens)
            19. Parling (I saw your comment about Gray but I am not a fan, and Parling is third in line behind O’Connell and AWJ in my mind.
            20. SOB/ Croft (one of them will play 6, and one will bench.)
            21. Youngs (Phillips will start and Youngs is an excellent impact player)
            22. Farrell (only other 10 after Sexton)
            23. Hogg

            So it looks to me to be very conceivable that we have an all English bench (baring Hogg). I am not sure that this is a good or a bad thing – it just seems that we have good, but not first choice players in almost every position!

  12. I have to say that the one position where I am not happy with an impact sub is FH. Having say a Cipriani off the bench just fills me with dread! With FH I think that you are really looking for someone to exert control and so would rather have a steady FH on the bench than a maverick, who admittedly could change the game, but you just don’t know which way!

    On this basis Farrell is fine for me. Let him do his thing and let all of the talent around him play their game. We’ve got plenty of strike power.

    1. All very good points staggy. After all, Sexton is the “exciting” flyhalf. If we want to try and chase a game then he should start playing a bit fast and loose, he is the best option to do it. Having Farrell or Wilko means they are the kind of guys to close a game out.

      Having said that. You would usually bring on a Cipriani style player when you are behind. Sure, he could have a stinker and throw the game away fully, turning a loss into a demolition, but he can also come on to change a game. If you have a guy like that, then you tend to avoid using them unless you know the game is already lost without some change.

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