Potential Lions XV: January 2013


It’s Lions time again.

The pre-Six Nations buzz is deafening, and with it being a Lions year it is arguably even louder than normal. Here’s our team for January – we’ll publish a post-Six Nations team too, to see if form over the tournament has had any bearing on selection (which, of course, it will).

15: Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)
One of the most fascinating aspects of this Six Nations is set to be the battle between Kearney and Halfpenny for the Lions spot. Although one of the three English fullbacks could still make a late charge, you sense it is between these two. With Kearney having been injured and Halfpenny in, arguably, the form of his life, it is his shirt to lose at the moment.

14: Eli Walker (Wales)
Everyone loves a bolter. This is quite a brave selection, given that he is far from guaranteed to get game time for Wales over the Six Nations with the quality they have in this department, but if he does he will surely show that he can dazzle on the international stage too. Every time he plays he shows why, if he isn’t there already, he has the potential to be one of the most dangerous wingers in Europe. May not be ready for this summer, but if he has a good few games in the red of Wales he could well find himself wearing an even more prestigious red soon.

13: Jonathan Davies (Wales)
Probably one of the most underrated players in the Northern Hemisphere, Jon Davies has become crucial to Wales’ hopes of reversing the slide they are in. A powerfully compact player, he has a deceiving turn of pace that has caught defenders napping in the past. He also knows how to cut a good line, and is just the type of player who is capable of popping up on Tuilagi’s shoulder should he make one of his half-breaks.

12: Manu Tuilagi (England)
As big an injury blow as England could have had pre-Six Nations. He should be fit again for the second game, and will have the opportunity to lock this shirt down before the summer tour. Centre is not an area of great strength for the Home Nations, and if he can show a bit of the consistency that is perhaps lacking at the moment, he can become a vital part of the Lions team. He could yet have a future at 12 – it would certainly get him into the game more – and has been shifted inside to make room for Davies outside him. Given time to gel, it could be a potent midfield partnership.

11: Alex Cuthbert (Wales)
An all-Welsh back three is completed by the giant Cardiff winger. Narrowly shading George North, who hasn’t been in great form, Cuthbert’s power and offloading ability would be the perfect foil to Walker’s dazzling feet and outright pace. In an area of fierce competition, Ashton, Bowe and Visser (not to mention any of the other less experienced wingers) will provide competition.

10: Johnny Sexton (Ireland)
The position that so often divides opinion is ironically one of the most straightforward selections this year. England can’t decide who their man is for the future, Wales have Priestland injured, and Scotland haven’t had a commanding fly-half for years. Sexton has the composure and the experience to lead a Lions back-line. For all the talk of Jonny Wilkinson, it would be madness to select him ahead of the Irishman now.

9: Connor Murray (Ireland)
With Mike Phillips currently enjoying a little too much wine and cheese down in the South of France, the Irishman Murray has emerged as one of the favourites for the scrum-half berth. His game is similar in nature to that of Phillips, in that he can be very abrasive, and he has been in good form for Munster recently. Once again, a good Six Nations showing is vital, as he will be pushed all the way by England duo Youngs and Care.

1: Cian Healy (Ireland)
Another Irishman that is rapidly becoming one of the first names on the teamsheet, Healy has been a revelation over the past few months. Now with newly-consolidated scrummaging, he has lost none of his bite in the loose. Consistently at the forefront of barrelling forward runs over the gain-line for Leinster, if Healy can have a solid Six Nations in the scrum and finally silence the critics over this area of his game, he will be considered the favourite. Having said that, if Alex Corbisiero can get himself fit, he has the potential to challenge him.

2: Richard Hibbard (Wales)
The Ospreys hooker has been the form player in his position over the past couple of months, with some fine outings in the Heineken Cup propelling him the the top of the list. Rory Best and Dylan Hartley will provide stern competition, but with Matthew Rees off the boil Hibbard will expect to get plenty of game time over the Six Nations and cement his place both nationally and, possibly, for the Lions.

3: Dan Cole (England)
Completing what would be a strong front-row both in the tight and the loose is the cornerstone of the England pack, Dan Cole. Cole has thrived in the no.1 role at Leicester this season, and was in good form for his country over the autumn. It is something that is harped on about often when discussing this man, but his ability at the breakdown is crucial to his selection. He may not be as strong a ball-carrier as some of his competitors, but his ability to get over the ball and challenge for it on the floor is akin to that of a back-row forward. A newly fit again Adam Jones will provide stiff competition.

4: Joe Launchbury (England)
Stacking shelves in Sainsbury’s to Lions test starter would be one of the best sporting stories ever, and after the autumn Launchbury had, it is a distinct possibility. A powerful ball carrier, the Wasps lock also has an impressive turn of pace that would compliment an already mobile pack.

5: Geoff Parling (England)
Parling has quickly installed himself as one of England’s most consistent and important players. His partnership with the inexperienced Tom Youngs over the autumn showed what a composed figure he is, shepherding a man with a reputation for dodgy line-out throws to some excellent stats over the series. He showed against South Africa that he can be a handful with ball in hand, too.

6: Sean O’Brien (Ireland)
Despite usually starting at 7, O’Brien is just as capable of playing on the other side of the back-row. In fact, his style of play arguably suits this position more. With an out-and-out 7 also in the team, O’Brien would be freed up to play a game more oriented around ball-carrying, which is the strongest part of his repertoire anyway.

7: Justin Tipuric (Wales)
Another controversial one, given that he has been left on the bench by the Wales management for their opening game against Ireland. What exactly he has to do to get a start for his country seems to be becoming one of life’s great unanswerable questions. Anyone who saw his masterclass against Leicester in the Heineken Cup will know that he is by far the best player in his position in Wales at the moment. Rob Howley must have been absent that day.

8: Jamie Heaslip (Ireland)
The newly-appointed Ireland captain seems to be in a straight shoot-out with Wales’ Toby Faletau for the no.8 shirt, with England and Scotland’s offerings either too inexperienced or not performing well enough. Heaslip has been in marvellous form since being handed the national captaincy, and if he leads Ireland through a strong Six Nations he could well be in with a shout for the Lions armband, too.


So there you have it. 6 Welshman (surprising given their recent performances), 5 Irishmen and 4 Englishmen. Not even a token Scot, and this from a Scotsman himself. Of course a couple of those are unlikely to start, but on recent form they deserve their spots. As always, let us know what you think below.

By Jamie Hosie (Follow Jamie on Twitter @jhosie43)

127 thoughts on “Potential Lions XV: January 2013

  1. I don’t think this is a mile away – and is certainly very attack minded. Some of the teams I’ve seen from some ‘pundits’ are a joke (read Guscott and Dallaglio). For what it’s worth, this is what I’d go with:
    15) Halfpenny 14) Visser 13) Davies 12) Tuilagi 11) North 10) Sexton 9) Care
    1) Healy 2) Hibbard 3) Cole 4) Launchbury 5) Parling 6) O’Brien 7) Tipuric 8) Heaslip (c)

  2. Healey Vs Jones this weekend is a great match up to assess if Healey is now the real deal in the scrum or a flanker masquerading as a prop as he gets accused of. Personally I think his scrummaging has been very good over the last 12 months.

    I like the selection, I think I would have Visser over Cuthbert, but that’s about it. Lots of 9s there or there about but I can’t pick a clear favourite at the moment.

    1. RE- “if Healey is now the real deal in the scrum or a flanker masquerading as a prop”

      I’d like to see you say that to his face – or his back.


      1. I don’t think he is, a lot of people accuse him of being so on this blog. Every time his name goes into one of these Lions selections there are a lot of “we need a prop to scrum first and run around in the loose second” comments. I don’t remember a loosehead ever getting the better of Jones at scrumtime, so this weekend is a great test.

      2. Pretty ridiculous comment really DDD. I probably wouldn’t say any of the criticisms I say about players to their faces. Its a legit question as a lot of people question his scrimmaging as it was I little shaky at some points earlier in his career. It is his opportunity to put those criticisms to bed.

        1. Pretty ridiculous comment really Nick –

          “Its a legit question as a lot of people question his scrimmaging as it was I little shaky at some points earlier in his career.”

          It’s not really legit now. He is solid now. Unlike you -. I would criticise anyone to their faces if the criticism was fair. My money is on him and I predict a “man of the match” performance from Cian.


        2. Gee Nick, Cian was pretty good today! I think he is in his correct position. No? – suppose you won’t agree.


          1. DDD, while I’m happy to discuss the merits of Ireland and the paltry display Wales put up later, for now I do have to reply to your point about Healy. No, I’ don’t think yesterday changes the point made here. Healy was as expected – an extra flanker or centre but criminally underpowered the scrum. The problem is that this may be what we want against the Aus – a poor scrum to give us e luxury of an extra ball player. So he may still be the Lions loose head, but he is still not a world class scrummaging one.

    1. Brighty – Healy – “criminally underpowered the scrum” – how can you say that?! Thought Adam Jones was supposed to teach him a lesson??? Sorry – Healy was pretty solid in every facet of his game.


      1. Healy did step up and prove that he is the no1 loosehead for the lions. I think, even though there are options, that the 1 shirt may become a bit like the 10 shirt, we have replacements, but they are off the pace compared to the irishman playing there at the moment. I also thought that best was oustanding for ireland yesterday, and he is now my 1st choice 2. adam jones didnt look that great. i think that was in part due to healy, but he didnt step up like he should have done.

        after round 1 i would go for:

        Healy Best Cole
        Launchbury Ryan (ryan to run the lineout)
        O’Brien Robshaw (i think they would compliment each other on the flanks)
        not too sure on an 8, i think Beattie put in a goos shift though. Heaslip looked alright, but they showed his stats before the game, and they were surprisingly low.

        B.Youngs or Murray to play 9.
        Sexton – with Farrell to cover
        Tuilagi – i know he didnt play, but he has to be a frontrunner. he and BOD will be like roberts and BOD in 09.
        BOD – enough said.
        ashton – i know he is controversial, and i could probably happily have gilroy here, but i didnt feel many other wings (apart from the 3 mentioned) put their hands up.
        Halfpenny – Kearney as cover.

        regarding manu at 12. i think the selection of a big running 12 is important, as it will cause the aussies to pick someone like mccabe at 12, too be able to defend against us, therefore reducing the creativity that they can have in their backline. i think if it came down to an arm wrestle, the lions would win.

        alex goode looked poor yesterday, brown was not on too much form. i would like to see foden have a go. Hogg looked decent too, very pace, which will be good on hard grounds of Aus.

  3. I’d go:

    1. Healy
    2. Best
    3. Cole
    4. Launchbury
    5. Ryan
    6. Wood
    7. Robshaw (c)
    8. Falatau
    9. Youngs
    10. Sexton
    11. Cuthbert
    12. Tuilagi
    13. Roberts
    14. Ashton
    15. Kearney

    It seems we only agree on 7 out of the 15 selections. I think the core of the team tends to be the same.

    1. Youngs stands out for me in your team, the rest are all fair enough. As good as he is when on form, he hasn’t been on form for quite a while now. I think he has the potential to be significantly better than Care, as he was when he broke onto the scene, but he needs to rediscover that spark that’s been lacking recently. For now he’s behind Care for England, despite having a more rounded game, and that puts him behind him for the Lions too, in my opinion.

      1. I did think Youngs was the one people would notice. For me the 9 shirt is between Care and Youngs; right now I would pick Care, but in best form, Youngs can be the better player hence my selection there.

        And would you care to say more about the Robshaw selection? He has the best stats of any 7 in the Northern Hemisphere and has more than proved himself on the international stage. He is also an excellent leader; which will also carry a lot of weight.

    2. This is best team I have seen so far. My only argument with you JJ would be that Ashton is a luxery I wouldnt afford. I would have BOD instead of roberts to gloriously finish his career and Cuthbert on right wing with Zebo/ gilroy on left. I would also stick Ferris/ o Brien at 6

  4. halfpenny

  5. Walker??!! I can imagine the uproar if you had put Wade in the team. What’s the difference at this stage. Lots of potential but untested. There are a load of players in that category. Not sure any of them will be Lions.

    Tipuric got blown away at the breakdown in the AI’s and I think that probably sealed his fate for a starting Lions berth. Outside bet for a place on the trip though – depends on how Gatland wants the back row to play. Gatland hasn’t shown much faith in his ability to play in a welsh shirt to date, so can’t really see him as likely to go.

    I think that all of the others will be going bar injury or devastating loss of form, and will all be in with a good shout of starting.

  6. Looks like a good team to me – hence the odd accusation of Welsh bias in the comments. However, you could swap in 5 or so others and have an equally strong team I think.

    Fale for Heaslip would work.
    Kearney for 1/2p.
    Best for Hibbard.
    Care for Murray (actually I think this one is an essential switch, Care is the form B&I number 9 for me).
    Visser for Walker.

    Interesting to see the accusations of bias already – I suspect that anything less than an equal split across all 4 nations would lead to that – Cuthbert can make up the fraction?

  7. Good side, but I would contend that the form hooker is Tom Youngs. His lineout stats for England and Leicester this season are around 90% (higher at club level than both Hartley and Best) and is awesome around the park. I think he will go as a squadie, at least.

    Also interesting stat on Care. England have won just 33% of the games he has started, compared to 65% for Ben Youngs. Make of that what you will…

  8. Good talking point team but as a Welshman even I perceive some of the selections as more of a dig at Robert Howley’s abilities to pick a side by putting in 3 players he hasn’t picked to start for Wales.

    1. To be fair, Hibbard and Walker weren’t considered due to injury. I think the general consensus is that had they been fit, Hibbard would have started and Walker would at least have been in the squad. And I genuinely think Tipuric is one of the best 7s in the northern hemisphere, despite Howley’s baffling ignorance of him. I agree that they will need game time over the 6N to be considered for Lions, though, so we’ll have to see.

      1. Still think Tipuric is massively over-hyped.

        He’s yet to show that he can produce his club form at international level – although to be fair, he’s not being given the chance

        1. would have to agree, although he looked quite good yesterday, and upped the tempo.

          but if gatland and howley dont pick tipuric over warburton for wales, then why would they all of a sudden for the lions? this is something that is really getting to me when people keep saying tipuric to play 7.

          robshaw has been the best 7 on show recently, i think a couple of irish lads could do a job too. Rennie could be in with a shout if fit.

  9. As a Welshman even I think this is quite a biased list. There is no way Eli Walker should be considered there, despite his great potential. The fact that you imply Denton and Morgan are both too inexperienced to start but put Walker in the team is massively inconsistent.

    Hell, I wouldn’t pick Cuthbert either at the moment..

  10. Yeah to be honest I think heaslip at 8 isn’t the right selection I think that either falateau or even Denton should be there ahead of him as both would get right up in the face of quade on tour and cause some attacking problems for the Aussies

  11. After week 1 of the Six nations this would be my choice for the Lions

    1. Cian Healy (Ireland)

    2. Rory Best (Ireland)

    3. Dan Cole (England)

    4. Joe Launchbury (England)

    5. Donnacha Ryan (Ireland)

    6. Tom Wood (England)

    7. Sean O’Brien (Ireland)

    8. Jamie Heaslip (Ireland)

    9. Ben Youngs (England)

    10. Owen Farrell (England)

    11. Simon Zebo (Ireland)

    12. Billy Twelvetrees (England)

    13. Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)

    14. Chris Ashton (England)

    15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

    1. I think you have named a team Robert which i very close to what it will actually be. The pack is perfect IMHO (maybe Faleteau or Morgan for Heaslip)

      Not basing it on performances last weekend, I would say the backline could be:
      9.Care (could equally be murray or youngs)
      14.AShton (Maybe bowe or cuthbert)
      15. Kearney/ 1/2P

      1. I think the next few weeks could be very interesting.
        Looking forward to Seeing Haskell play this weekend against Ireland.
        Also Manu coming on as an Impact Sub could be entertaining.
        Might make the 15 by end of this Competition.
        Bring on the Rugby!!

    2. Other than Ashton, I think this is a more balanced line up – I would be looking to Liam Barry or Sean Maitland for Ashton’s wing berth. Maitland brings a lot of knowledge, Barry brings a lot of talent.

    3. just hahaha at dan cole.
      jones turned him inside out when they played us.
      Ashton is over hyped trash
      without a doubt Tupps is the on form number 7 in the norther hemisphere.
      Alan wyn jones and ianto evans should both be in the side.
      infact sir rugby isnt your strong point is it.
      i think you watch stuart (never god enough to get a welsh cap) barnes on sky to much

      1. Take it you’re welsh then Rob. ‘Tupps’ has not convinced me yet. But saying that its hard to be convinced about any of the Welsh team (A Jones excepted) with a 1 win in last 9 record.

        1. well put jw.

          clearly rob has a chip on his shoulder, and feels that the team should be picked on reputation/past form rather than people who are ACTUALLY playing well…

          Rob, which jones would you be referring to, when you say that he turned cole inside out?

          1. Well, Rob certainly can’t be referring to Adam Jones as he plays on the other side of the scrum from Cole. But then I’m not sure what Jones he is referring to.

            Certainly rugby isn’t someone’s strong point here, but its not JW

            PS – AWJ tends to disappear in the big games. Tipuric has yet to prove himself above club level – looked ok but not great vs France. And Ian Evans, whilst a good player, is not as good as Parling, Launchbury. McCarthy, Ryan, Hamilton or Grey.

          1. Pablito, I was agreeing with you until your idea that Evans isn’t as good as Parling, Lunchbury, McCarthy and especially Grey. Grey, apart from being big and blonde, has done nothing to distinguish himself since being tipped as one of the future some time ago. He plays for a rubbish English club and has been pretty anonymous in anything Scotland have done. Parling is ok, gets a lot of unreal credit for just jumping in the lineout and his “stats”. Launchbury is a new lad. I’d take Ian Evans over all of those.

          2. Pabilto
            duncan jones turned dan cole inside out and made him look amature
            i was at the game
            as soon as he come on cole was beaten

          3. Feel free to correct me Rob, but Duncan Jones’ last cap for Wales was in 2009. Cole’s first cap for England was in 2010. So, really not sure what you are talking about.

            Brighty – I’ve always seen Ian Evans as a solid player but nothing more than that. With the possible exception of McCarthy on those I’ve named, I believe all of them offer something above solid – Grey included.

          4. Pablito, looks like we’ll have to agree to disagree. I can’t remember a single memorable thing that Grey has done and Parling is the personification of ordinary.

            As for Jones I suspect Rob is referring to Ospreys v Leics in the HC. I don’t remember the game well enough to know whether Jones did indeed turn Cole inside out, but I do know that Jones did have a v. good game (when he came on).

          5. Fair enough Brighty.

            As for Rob, if that is indeed what he’s referring to, it seems pretty strange to judge Cole’s entire international career by one half against the Ospreys…

            PS – is there a reason D Jones no longer figures in Wales’ thoughts? I always believed he was an excellent prop

  12. After week two:

    1. I really dont want to say Healy, but I have too.
    2. Rory Best.
    3. Dan Cole
    4. launchbury
    5. Coombs
    6. Wood/Jones
    7. Robshaw
    8. No standouts here. I thought wood controlled the ball at the base of the scrum well, so mabye Wood to make way for Ryan Jones on the flank

    Nine: Ben Youngs
    10: Farrell
    11. Halfpenny
    12. 12×3
    13. Bod
    14. Visser
    15. Hogg

  13. Pablito / February 18, 2013
    Feel free to correct me Rob, but Duncan Jones’ last cap for Wales was in 2009. Cole’s first cap for England was in 2010. So, really not sure what you are talking about.


  14. Pablito
    i judge cole on his preformance in two games,
    you mention nothing about an entire lions team based on one game per side of the 6 nations by greener
    just lol

  15. It is without doubt that Gatland is going to have a selection headache with the form that certain players in certain positions are producing, whether on a winning or losing team. I think the biggest headache is going to be that of Captain. The Captains’ name has to be the first on the team sheet and Gatland cannot afford the same mistake as other Lion Coaches before him, ie. Ciaran Fitizgerald ahead of Colin Deans. On current captaincy form Chris Robshaw is the front runner but is he the outright 7 that will be needed in Australia? Warbuton is struggling with his form at this time, but along with Tipuric is the only outright 7 of the 4 home nations. So who else is in the frame as a possible Lions Captain, Ferris, very green as Captain and would he be number one pick at 8? Kelly Brown, same question. One possible solution pick a tour captain and leave the team captain choice until they arrive in Australia!

      1. BOD would be fine if you wanted a permanent mid-week captain, but if you took him then you would be leaving a better in-form centre behind!

        1. I cannot agree with that. BOD was the finest thing on the pitch in the 1st six nations match so he’s had 1 superlative match and 1 average match since he returned. If he maintains his fitness then he is on the plane.

          If he is on the plane then he is captain as he is the standout choice and also avoids the Lions headache of which of the national team incumbents to select. So we avoid any nonsense of Wales players now having to follow the English captain etc. We have a non-divisive captain who also happens to be on the best rugby players ever and is probably on his swansong. Perfect choice.

          And it’s nowhere near stirring to say so. Short witty responses are usually best if they are actually witty rather than lame regurgitation of something you heard in school.

          1. I can agree that if BOD maintains fitness then he has to be a contender to be on the plane, but I cannot agree to him having the captain’s armband. As much as it aggrieves me to concede that England are out and out favourites to win the Six Nations and every possibility of a grand slam, Chris Robshaw will be this six nations successful captain (and I do rate him as a captain), thus putting him in pole. My concern as with other Lion tours that young upcoming talent is denied the chance and opportunity to develop. When was the last time an un-capped player was included on the tour? All of the home nations have young talented centres who would gain more than kudos from being part of this Lions tour. NB no offence was meant re spoon.

        2. I agree as much as we could do with his knowledge and experience, he’s lost his pace and I just think that he’s as physically dominating as my choices for the 13 shirt. Y not use him as a waterboy so he could come on every so often and pick up the teams spirits.

  16. David, it’s tradition that every Lions tour takes an uncapped player, I suspect this one will be no different. Keith Earles on the last tour for example.

    Picking a Lions captain will be a more nuanced process than simply picking the captain of six nations winning team.

    As for developing young talent that never has nor never will be part of the Lions. This is a unique tour that has nothing to do with developing talent for countries. There isn’t another lions tour for four years so its irrelevant what the development opportunities are.

    1. IWhy are alot of people going on about hibbard in the 2 jersey? Lets be realistic there are far better hookers in the British isles and Ireland e.g best and ford even Mathew Rees is a better hooker I’m not saying he’s sh*t because he’s more than capable of getting himself on the tour he needs to up his game and make himself noticeable. Ireland are not doing anything special to have 80% of possession against Scotland and 80% territory and end up losing that’s something special, a few players have stood out for me like Heaslip, Marshall, Healy, zebo and paddy Jackson but have they done enough to get on that tour??? After beating the world champions in the autumn and fair play to them, England are really riding the confidence train through this 6 nations and it’s shown 3 out of 3 so far they’re looking favorites to win this year’s 6 nations with Robshaw as captain wether he’s having an influence on the team is debatable but 1 things for sure if they DO win the title he’s a sure bet for lions captaincy, but they’ve got the all mighty force of a proud celtic nation that is wales standing in their way of a triple crown and possibly a grand slam. Personally from a welsh perspective. I really hope Italy and ourselfs have enough drive and determination to put a stop to their dreams for the sheer fact that if they do win the grand slam nobody will hear the end of it how they beat current world champs the all blacks and off the back of that win the grand slam, I’m still hearing about them winning 2003 world cup for goodness sake it’s been a decade already get over it!!!! I believe there should be more teams joining together to form an elite team like the British and Irish lions and the pacific islanders, Russia, Spain, Romania and Georgia have an international rugby team why don’t they join with Italy and France to form an elite European team to bring the unnoticed teams onto the big stage perhaps the international teams might up their game because thered be something greater than international duties to compete for. Opinions anyone?????

  17. Wales have the new fresh and talented players at the moment and most of them their deserve a spot in the starting lions however many choices there are dabatable. Halfpenny is the leader in the backs for wales and deserves his spot, nobody can under estimate manu tuilangis strength and strides. The two wingers are in good form at the moment , cuthbert even more so, but i just dont think walker is ready for a responsibility yet although he is a great runner none the less. At number 10 which is always the hardest spot to get i believe sexton has what it takes although farell showing potential. Scrum half with connor murray is……ok however he has alot to do to take over mike phillips in this position. Cian healy at prop has always been a certain spot but his friend hibbard at hooker is a shock as he is not on form, rather mattew rees in the welsh squad take this. Dan cole is a choice which is hard as adam jones and gethin jenkins are the stars as today but england must take credit and the locks are the convincing pair showing great rugby at the moment. Heaslip has a major impact in the irish squad and is a great leader but at number 7 i really think sam warburton has rightly earnt a spot winning the six nations with wales in 2012. I really think scotland are improving and deserve at least a few of their players on the team if i may say so.
    all in all a great lions squad.

    1. “Halfpenny is the leader in the backs for wales” I don’t think so as a taff myself I think Jamie Roberts is the motivator in welsh backs when he plays well he lifts the team and you’ll always see him communicating with the other backs. However I do agree that Halfpenny has pretty much secured the lions 15 jersey unless Hogg or Kearney pick up their game to a substantial level.

    2. “but at number 7 i really think sam warburton has rightly earnt a spot winning the six nations with wales in 2012.” I just don’t know this is a new year and a new tournament yes we won a grand slam in 2012 but we also lost every test match in our tour down under last summer and lost every game in the autumn internationals. Warburton hasn’t really done anything spectacular to catch Gatlands eye, that’s why I pick Robshaw over him but we’ve still got two more games for him to prove himself

  18. Scotland managed to beat Australia in their back yard last year without any help from England Wales or Ireland.(Go on mention players missing and poor weather if it makesyou feel any better).
    As a result i for one will laugh my head off if the Lions end up shorn of Scots(As suggested here) and get humped by the Aussies.
    However Gatland is an astute manager and will recognise the quality offered by Gray,Hogg Maitland Brown et al.

    1. I don’t think many people are suggesting that there won’t be a number of Scot’s on the plane. Entire front row, Gray, Brown, Harley, Laidlaw, Scott, Maitland, Visser and Hogg all have a real shot of going. Even Hines has been mentioned!

      1. I think a good few joc’s are in for a shout like Hogg, visser, Lamont, Laidlaw, gray and Hamilton have done well so far in the tournament. personally I want Denton to get more game time he’s a cracking player but needs game time to show Gatland what he’s about.

  19. Some very interesting comments being made and it’s thought-provoking to see how many variations are being talked about from the original suggestions made on the Potential Lions XV Jan 13, Jamie Hosie.
    There are still a number of ‘shoe-ins’ Halfpenny, Tuilagi, Cuthbert, Heaslip, Parling and Hibbard.
    I believe that 13 and 14 are very much undecided as none of the players in these positions shone on the weekend. As for the rest, Farrell along with Care and Youngs have to be leading contenders for 9 & 10. A complete Welsh front row of Jones, Hibbard and James with Alun Wynn-Jones partnering Parling, and a back row of Heaslip with Robshaw at 6 and Warbuton at 7.

    1. Not sure about Heaslip as a shoe-in – pretty poor on Sunda

      Also, wouldn’t have AWJ near the lions. He’s prone to stupid mistakes and a tendency to go missing in the big matches

      1. Have to agree with pablito here.

        Also I don’t think that warburton has done enough to deserve the lions 7 shirt over any of robshaw, o’brien or brown. That is a selection purely on reputation and not form.

        Also the entire welsh front row is a little dismissive of the likes of Healy, cole and best (who other than the odd blip have all been exceptional).

        Again, agree with pablito on AWJ for the points stated, but also it is another selection on reputation. Launchbury, Ryan, McCarthy and more recently Gray have all been doing well and not had long absences from rugby.

  20. 15-L Halfpenny (S Hogg, R Kearney) 14-A Cuthbert (T Visser) 13-M Tuilagi (J Davies) 12-J Roberts (L Marshall) 11-G North (S Lamont) 10-O Farrell (D Biggar,J Sexton) 9-M Phillips (G Laidlaw, D Care) 8-J Heaslip (K Owens, T Faletau) 7-C Robshaw [C] (S Warburton, K Brown) 6-T Croft (R Jones, J Tipuric) 5-J Hamilton (D O’Callahan) 4-R Gray (AW Jones, A Coombs) 3-A Jones (D Cole) 2-R Best (R Ford) 1-C Healy (G Jenkins). A big heavy pack formidable scrumagers, good at the break downs and plenty of height in Gray and Hamilton for the lineouts, a unstoppable front row and plenty of experience in the pack. The backline is a force to be reckoned with with a evil half that’s diverse, with Tuilagi AND Roberts in the centre on the the crash ball theres not much that would be able to stop that and Cuthbert and North on each wing need I say more?? Halfpenny at full back got a good boot on him and excellent under the high ball no other choice for me. A young back line but plenty of guts. A formidable squad would you agree????

  21. I seriously can’t believe that you just put Farrell ahead of Sexton for the No.10 shirt. As for No.13. I just cannot see anyone ahead of Brian O’Driscoll with Tuilagi at No.12. It just makes perfect sense to me for Dricco to play AND captain the Lions this Summer. He’s the most experienced, the best leader and yes, despite his loss of pace, still an amazing player that is capable of producing a bit of magic! And I would further echo what somebody said – O’Driscoll is coming to the end of his Career now. He may never play for Ireland again after this 6 Nations and he certainty won’t play in a Lions shirt again! So – Warren Gatland knows exactly what O’Driscoll has to offer to the Lions team. Mentally and physically. And personally, as a 17 year old Irish Leinster fan. I cannot think of anyone more suitable to do the job of No.13 at Centre. And I see nobody fitter as a captain of such a prestigious team of players.

    That is all, gentlemen.

    Bring on the Tour!

  22. my lions XV

    15. Leigh Halfpenny and rob kearney / stewart hogg on the bench. I suspect Gatland will go with halfpenny being welsh the on form player and of course the kicking boots he also has.

    14. Alex cuthbert and tim visser in the replacments Gatland likes a bit of size and power and cuthbert is the form player.

    13. Brian O’Driscol and Manu Tuilagi/ jonhaton davies. Being irish im going with brian but i have a fealing Gathland is going to shock us all and put a roberts tuilagi partnership for atleat a trail if nothing else imagine that.

    12. jamie roberts although under proforming still just about shades it for me although tuilagi could also fill in here.

    11. Craig Gilroy this one is a bit of a long shot lacking in experience but i think with a good pack and majority or posesion there will be space and i think given the chance he could rely be dangerous. However i think gathland will pick North and shurly wont let us down. hes on my replacment bench tho.

    10. Johny Sexton knows how to run a back line experienced under pressure heineken cup finals ect great goal kicker and soild defeneder. Closly follower by england beloved andy farrel cant argue with his stats only makes the replacments for me tho.

    9. Mike philps closely followed by connor murray Im sorry but no place for the two english boys talented as they are just not doing it enough in my opinion.

    1. cian healy has proved to be soiled in the scrum and out matches any other prop in ball carring and tackles made can last full 80mins. Closly followed by ether Mako Vunipola if fit or Joe Marler

    2. Rory Best on form but would closly consider tom youngs i think he is a player with alot of potential mabye not quite up to it this time?

    3. Adam jones very tight call between him and dan cole but i think in a loose game he has the slight edge and matches cole in the scrum so thats my choice cole on the bench.

    4. Alun Wyn Jones best tackler and around the park lock soild in the line out followed by Joe Launchbury

    5.Richie Gray altough if launchburry were to start id have Geof parling his english counter part in also but he only makes the bench today

    6. Stephen ferris if fit althouh unlikly other wise id have sean o brien in there were going for ball carriers and work horses in this team!!haha. must mention tom croft great tallent but i want a out and out ball carrier here.

    7.Sam Warburton / Justin Tipuric im goin for a true no. 7 here .altough at the moment tipuric is the better player. i think when wales win the championship next week and sam warburton puts in a man of the match proformance he will be back at no.7. Has to be said an on form warburton is twice the player of tipuric and thats not to take away from him he is fantastic but warburtons work rate in the world cup was un-belivable.

    8.Sean O ‘ Brien if ferris is fit. if not O ‘ Brien goes to 6 and Toby Faletau comes in at 8 either way the two of these will be on the plane.

    As far as captin when i look back through this team there is only realy one choice and thats o driscol. Now if he were not to go or start that would probly mean robshaw will be in the team which would be a sin! I have no problem with his captincy i think he probly is a good leader but how can you justify his selection what else will he bring if he put him in will he improve turnover ball, will he make more metres than the above is he a lineout option the answer to all these is no so on that basis there is in my opinion no place for him. A good soild player tho has to be said just to much other talent in the back row to include him.

    1. On current form Roberts shouldn’t be on the plane, let alone the starting 12. Zebo has shown more than gilroy to deserve that wing spot. Andy Farrell is the coach, Owen is the player…
      Phillips has been poor all tournament, and Murray has been blowing hot and cold.
      Croft gets a menthion for his little cameo, but no mention for wood? He has probably been one of the best options for 6 all 6Ns. Ferris won’t be fit for the tour.
      I called it on another post that 1 good game back and all of a sudden warburton is going to be back in the lions 7 shirt… We need to wait to see what else he can produce before that choice is made. Robshaw regularly hits the top of both tackles and carries when he plays, and he is a lineout option. Also I notice no mention for Kelly brown? He has been consistently better than warburton all tournament, but Sam has one good game and suddenly he is the best 7 again?

      Also Wyn-Jones hasn’t been back long enough to justify straight back in to the test XV. I would be looking at someone like Ryan of Ireland before Wyn-jones.

      I agree that SOB would be a choice at 8, but faletau admitted this week that he is out of form. In that case I would have to go for a fit Ben Morgan, or Beattie, who I think could cause some real damage in Aus.

      Going back to your 7 comments, the loss of pocock is huge for the lions, because although the wallaby backups are good players, none are as much of a threat over the ball, thereby reducing the absolute need for an out and out 7.

  23. Simo i dont know why your complaining i would have that team any day (thankyou karl)
    Also your bringing unexperienced players into discussion when this team could easily destroy australia on form.

    1. Your last sentence just completely supported my point. “When on form” a fair few players that Karl picked are clearly in there due to their reputation and past performances, but at the moment they are not playing well. You cannot pick a team on people who have played well. The lions will have to pick the best performing players, not those who have been really good and may be able to get form on the tour. By all means, if they regain form by the time the lions comes then they should be in. But Roberts and warburton have been so poor recently that (excluding warburton’s last game) you could argue that they have been the worst in their position out of the home nations.

      Don’t get me wrong, I would love an in form warburton and Roberts, it would only be good for lions. But right now there are a number of players that Karl picked who have not been playing to a high enough standard to warrant being selected, and yet other players are.

      Which “inexperienced players” are you referring to?

  24. Simo i do agree with your piont about warburton and roberts and inparticular roberts hasnt realy shown much form but he bring a presence with him just the fact that he will draw the attention of atleast 2 tacklers every time he gets the ball will only create space for others. there are a couple of other options at 12 but it depends what type of rugby you want to play but yes i agree with your point and would be interested who u would have at 12? I picked warburton because i belive after the proformance against the scots at the weekend he is finaly finding form and won the batle with kell Brown. There are alot of games between now and the tour enough time for any player to step up and i just think he has had his bad patch and is on the way up and will hopfuly prove me right. On the no.8 pos i agree ferris was unlikly to be fit in time to get a place so O ‘ Brien would go to 6 and its a tight 1 between ben morgan and Toby Faletau im going for falatau but i wouldnt make that call this the last minute both would be in the squad. Faletau on form is more the modern type no.8 that i prefere. Tom woods is a good player honest hard worker hardly ever makes a mistake i would have him in the squad as can cover almost anywhere in the back row. I just dont think he is a game breaker thats why hes not in my starting team.

    Thanks for the comments lads cant wait for the big day in cardiff next weekend.

    1. K, I would go with tuilagi at 12 at the moment. I will cause the same problems that you feel Roberts will. It will allow BOD to play 13, and run off Manu.
      Also manu’s pure physicality will cause the Aussies to pick a bigger guy at 12, therefore reducing the creativity in their backline.

      I would love for warburton to be back on form, so here is hoping.

      I would like wood at 6, because he does all the hard work in the rucks, allowing someone like o’brien to run free out wider. A backrow with faletau and o’brien put too much on the plate of the 7 to do all the dirty work.

  25. Reflection on possible starting Lions line- up following Saturdays Six Nations Games.
    North and Cuthbert
    Tuilagi and Like Marshall
    Farrell (know he didn’t play,) with Either Cares or Young.
    James, Hibbard and Jones (best front row unit)
    AW Jones and Parling
    Warbuton, Beattie and Robshaw (Captain) at 6.

    No place for sentiment, need a team that can deliver a 3 Nil withwash.

  26. having watched the italy game
    can you imagine what the iozzys are thinking

    they are saying bring on the poms
    i told you COLE is useless and this was shown again against italy
    i realy hope all the nupties you want from england are picked and then i can sing and dance told ya so lol


    1. warbs at 7???
      your changing yrou mind right?

      tips is by far the best 7 at the moment
      and he proved hes physical enough

  28. Well well well whoever picked sexton for their no 10 better replace him completely, with his new foot injury I’d consider him a definate NO for the lions tour. He hasn’t had the game time in this tournament to make himself a REAL contender and he sure ain’t gonna get any now

    1. He played two matches? You seem like some sort of weird dreamer if you think Sexton isn’t a REAL contender. I’d say he has a REAL chance of starting.

  29. He’s a decent player don’t get me wrong, but is 2 games really enough to make you a leading runner? Look at Farrell for example and Biggar who have played every game and especially after Saturday’s game where it’ll show true character and capabilities to play under championship deciding pressure. Even Laidlaw would get a spot before sexton. But that’s just a matter of opinion.

    1. Sexton has pretty much been the form 10 for all the home nations since about 2010. With the exception of the period where priestland was doing no wrong, sexton has always been the front runner. He has proven himself in much more than just two games.

      If fit, Jonny sexton will be the lions 10.

    1. That’s why I said “if fit”

      Your initial point was that he had only had two games to prove himself. That was the point that people disagree on. He has proven over the past few years that he is the leading NH 10.

      So as I said at the end of the last post IF FIT sexton will be the lions 10. Obviously if injured then he won’t be… But that is still to be seen

    2. Wales would have won the GS if they had sexton instead of Biggar (who is a distinctly average outhalf). Look how Ireland did after he got injured.

      No other 10 comes close in the NH and that is why Racing Metro have paid through the roof to get him.

  30. like i said
    DAN COLE who?????

    when hes up against decent props, hes an amatuer

    and dont say hes good in the loose etc, hes a prop

    flankers and number 8s job is the loose.

    COLE is without a doubt the most overated prop in the world

  31. Cole was totally outclassed on saturday …slow in open play and pissed off the ref ,,,,, not lions material at all

    Both English second rows never showed up on saturday , not big game players at all

    George North will start in the test 15 so will Mike Phillips ,,,

    Heaslip is hopeless at the moment …
    didyou even watch the 6 nations this year
    Im glad your not picking the team

  32. with pocock’s injury likely to rule him out for the lions, i cannot see Deans overlooking George Smith.

    Sure Hooper and Gill look like great young players, and we know hooper has proven himself, but this is George Smith, the guy is a freak!

    i think the lions will need to have at least one man charged with shadowing smith if the wallabies do pick him, just to try and nullify his impact.

    Having thought about it, this would probably be my Wallabies 23 to play the lions, assuming all are fit. (also this is an ideal team, not one to counter the lions):

    Robinson, Moore, Alexander
    Horwill, Tiamani
    Higginbotham, Smith/Hooper, Palu/Smith (not sure if having Smith at 7 or both Smith and Hooper is better…)
    Cooper… cant believe i am choosing him…
    O’Connor – probably wasted on the wing, but is a good player.

    Hooper/Gill – (if i go with the Hooper 7, Smith 8 option i would like gill on the bench, to option to have 3 7’s on at once would blow the lions away – tops wales putting 2 out against england! Plus i dont think we need Palu on the bench, because higenbotham can cover 8 in an injury)
    Cummins – would consider swapping him and O’Connor. Have james as impact, and also Cummins for some bulk.

    I know i lack cover for 10 on the bench, and usually would look to someone like Mike harris, but with Cooper, Barnes, Beale and O’Connor, i think that 10, 12, 15 are all pretty covered. So i have gone for Cummins (big lad, also plays a bit of 13, and Digby can cover there too) and Mitchell to cover the wings. would look to guys like A. Faingaa to be around the squad too as back-ups for injuries. Guy like Tapuai and McCabe may likely feature.

    The reality is though that the Wallabies probably can’t pick this team, because they will have to counter the threats of the lions.

    They will have to go for a big pack (i kind of chose as big as i could, especially with the locks) but the backs may have to sacrifice some creativity for a bit of defensive bulk. we may likely see cummins on a wing, McCabe at 12, and possibly Cooper not playing 10.

    1. If Mogg keeps tearing it up at 15 for the Brumbies he has to be in. He may be the most lethal thing I’ve seen at fullback since Christian Cullen.

      1. i always forget about Mogg!!!

        he has been great recently, and definitely has to be an option at 15. i gather he is also not too bad a goal kicker, which is always handy.

        the wallabies actually have a pretty decent amount of depth. However, the majority does seem to be in the backline. I think the lower the numbers on the back, the fewer options they have available.

  33. The lions need to get their heads screwed on and analyse the aussies key players such as genia who likes to take the ball forward around the breakdown, Barnes – we need fast players ready to charge his kicks down coz he stands off alot deeper than our outside halfs in the northern hemisphere. And with the likes of cooper, beale and O’Connor they’ll defiantly have their work cut out for them however saying that personally I think if Gatland chose an all our (welsh) pack of forwards we’ll dominate the scrums and with the likes of Warburton and Tipuric in the squad the wallabies will struggle to keep possession.

    1. I think picking entire groups of one nation is very short sighted. If this were the view then we might as well just send Wales and not bother with the lions.

      You have to pick the best players in each position. If that happens that a number end up being from one nation, then so be it, but to just simply say “let’s pick the whole welsh/English/Irish/Scottish pack, then you are asking for trouble”.

      Furthermore, the beauty of the lions is that you get to see guys okay together who don’t usually, and often they can bring something new out of a player. Take BOD with Roberts in ’09 for example. He provided the foil to Roberts that the welsh did not have. There will be plenty of new combinations that can ultimately provide better pairings than any national team has.

      The fact is, gatland has to pick players that he thinks will work well together. It’s why the test team can often end up looking nothing like expected, because some players wilt in the environment, and others bloom.

      1. Exactly, and although he played poorly for England this 6N; I have a feeling Ashton will go on the tour and end up starting alongside Roberts and North. 2 players who he will work hard to stay on the shoulder of, and 2 players who have the capabilities to offload effectively.
        BOD feeding him.

        1. good point Tom. I definitely think that either Halfpenny or Kearney at 15 would be a huge help to Ashton as well.

          However i think he has played himself out of contention because of how awful his defence has been. Had be not been scoring tries, but at least had been tackling people then i think we would have seen ashton go. Especially because he has always been pretty decent against the wallabies. also i think he is a bit of a character and could be a good tourist (the ’09 lions took Powell and O’Callaghan because they were decent players, but more importantly, they have HUGE personalities, this may be a possible reason for Haskell being a dark horse tourist – although i think he is unlikely)

          1. Yeah, sadly for Haskell, there is too much competition in the back row.
            I know what you mean RE his tackling, but with Andy Farrell having a say on his defensive capabilities Gatland might be persuaded.

          2. i think the big problem for haskell is how his style of play has changed in recent years.

            when he first started out he was a big ball carrier. very dynamic off the base of the scrum, and hugely interested in getting good go forward for his team.

            in paris he had to play 6, due to parisse playing 8, but the biggest change has come since then. while in NZ he ended up playing a fair bit at 7 due to the guys in the backrow at the highlanders. and in his time at wasps he has played 7 because of vunipola and johnson being the heavy carriers at 8 and 6 respectively. this has meant that haskell’s game has become more about ruck work, work rate and making defensive contributions. his ball carrying has suffered, and this is probably why he is not really considered an option at 8 by the england management anymore.

            i think that the haskell of old would have filled in quite nicely at 8 during the 6Ns for england. but unfortunately he spent too much time trying to emulate McCaw they he fell out of his path of becoming the next Dallaglio.

    1. Could you argue though that the failure of that tour is a sign some changes need to be made?
      Obviously some things didn’t come off….

  34. i find it astonishing how 6 has gone from being arguably our strongest position, to possibly one of the weakest.

    A year ago you would have looked at Ferris, Lydiate, Croft, Wood, Brown, O’Brien, R. Jones, Denton and maybe Haskell to be guys considered to play 6. Now with so many injured, and a number being out of form, we start to look at shifting 7’s over. Robshaw, O’Brien even Warburton. These 3 are probably joined in contention by Wood, Brown (another who has been playing 7) and Ryan Jones if fit.

    This means that it weakens our options at 7 too. again, a year ago we were looking at Warburton, Rennie, Barclay, Henry, Tipuric, Robshaw and O’Brien to be in contention for just the 7 shirt. Now with Rennie, Henry and Barclay not having the time to prove themselves (if they even get fit in time) we are left with Tipuric as the only 7 not being considered to fill a possible void at 6.

    Similarly, 8 has become a possible problem. Faletau and Heaslip have improved in recent weeks, but neither really looked like a lions test 8 during the 6Ns. Morgan seems to get injured too much. Beattie blows a bit hot and cold. other options were Denton and O’Brien. The former being out of form, the latter already considered an option at both 7 and 6. Some people are turning to the unknown quantity of Billy Vunipola.

    Ultimately i think the selection of the backrowers on tour will set the tone of the type of game gatland is looking to play. and this selection will clearly be the most fascinating of them all.

    1. Tipuric had hell of a game at 6 against england. Realisticly I’d have all our front row ( Wal )with Healy ( Ire )and best (Ire), on the flanks Tipuric, Warburton ( both Wal), robshaw (Eng) and brooke (Sco), second rows AW Jones (Wal), Gray (Sco), Evans (Wal) and O’Callahan (Ire), no8 Heaslip (Ire) Faletau (Wal). Backs- scrum half Phillips (Wal) and Laidlaw (Sco) outside half Farrell (Eng) and sexton (Ire), centers Roberts (Wal), Tuilagi (Eng), BOD (Ire), Davies (Wal), wings Cuthbert (Wal), Visser (Sco), North (Wal), Earls (Ire), fullback Halfpenny (Wa) and it’s a toss up between Kearney (Ire) and Hogg (Sco). I’m aware there’s alot of welsh in there but if you want to beat such a class aussie side you’ve got to pick by form.

      1. tipuric played 7.
        who is brooke from scotland?

        I also agree that you have to pick players on form, which is why i am hugely surprised to see that you have gone for O’Callaghan (a man who didnt start for Ireand) and Earls (a man who shouldnt have started for Ireand)… there were plenty of better options available from all of the other nations than these two players.

        Just over O’Callaghan i would take Coombs, Laucnhbury, Parling or Hamilton, maybe even Lawes too.

        Over Earls i would go for, Brown, Maitland, Gilroy and Zebo. not to mention plenty of class injured players who may be back in time.
        O’Connell and Bowe just to name two.

      2. i think that with Jenkins, Jones, Wyn-Jones, Heaslip, Phillips, Roberts, BOD, Halfpenny, Kearney there are a number of previous lions.

        not to mention that other former lions can still return, in o’connell and bowe. i dont think it would warrant taking guys who are not up to the standard of others on offer.

        agree that o’callaghan didnt do much wrong, but i really dont think he did much at all. there are too many locks performing better than him to justify his inclusion purely for the “been there done that” factor. similar to be said about earls. except for the fact that he has been pretty awful recently, so would be even harder to argue a case for than o’callaghan.

        1. Personally I BOD shouldn’t be on lions tour he’s lost his pace and is not as physically strong as others on offer however he does know the game better than most and has the ability to read the game well and is a formidable leader and has the ability to command for those reasons I picked him not for his form. Are you English by the way?

  35. Aswell as O’Brien (Ire) on the flanks and Morgan (Eng) as a personal favorite of mine for no8 but Jr handy proven himself yet

  36. Brown (Sco) typing off my phone with predictive text it’s doing my nut in lol. All good players bowe being one of my favorite to watch but if gets fit will he be as match fit ad others? Coombs was at the back of my mind but not quite there for me. O’callahan didn’t really put a foot wrong. There’ll be alot of uncapped for lions players on tour so you’ll need players that know what it’s like to play alongside people they’ve never played with and to pass down the knowledge e.g BOD and the backs, Adam Jones and Rory best with the forwards

  37. Cam you see BOD, Adam Jones, Jenkins, Heaslip, phillips and Roberts on the next lions tour in 2017? All the lions capped players are not far off coming to the end of their international careers. Kearney, Halfpenny and AW Jones will probably last until the next tour but who’s to say that better youngsters won’t come through then before we know it come 2017 there’ll be 33 uncapped lions that have no idea how to gel as a unit with complete strangers.

    1. What’s that about? The Lions is a one off, not a team where we have to develop youngsters for the next tour four years away.

      1. exactly brighty. older players will teach any youngsters, who are lucky enough to be chosen, the ropes of it all, you dont just pick youngsters for development.

        also rhys, you take the best 33 players on tour. if it is an entire uncapped team then so be it, as long as they are the best. part of the coaches’ job is to help the players integrate. (although lets be honest, that is hugely unlikely).

        also i am getting a bit confused here, initially you said you would take O’Callaghan because he is a previous lion. but now you are pointing out that taking other previous lions (jones, BOD etc), who have justified selection, is pointless because they wont be around for the next tour…

        the point i am making is that players have to be justified on form. sure you need to take capped lions with you, but there are enough who are still playing great rugby that settling for o’callaghan, who is not on a par with his rivals, would be ludicrous.

  38. i think that BOD’s understanding of the game will put him in places that other players do not go. He is an outstanding rugby player, and that brain will know rugby better than most until the day he dies. He may not be as fast as he was, or even as strong as some of the others. But the wallabies are not the most bruising backline in the world, and in fact they are the team that BOD will still be the most effective against.

    Plus with Roberts/Tuilagi, North, Cutherburt and others around him, he is the creator, not the battering ram.

    Again, with your comments on players like BOD, Jones, Phillips not making the next lions tour, you are right. but it is their job to teach the George North’s, Joe Launchbury’s, Mako Vunipola’s (and even Halfpenny’s, who isnt that old) how to be lions. and in the future it will be them who passes it on to the next lot, when they are the older statesmen.

  39. How many more Lions tours do you all think are left in this profesional climate, players return battered mentally and physically, some of which are never the same players again. As all home nations play SH Teams on a regular basis now do you feel there is a need for a Lions touring party, especially as unions, clubs and players alike are saying they are playing too much rugby.

    1. just take a look at how much it is being hyped up in Australia and you can begin to see how special the lions are.

      yes its every 4 years for us, which is relatively rare, but for them its every 12 years. that is a once in a career type of thing. in fact, the BaaBaas have named some big names in their team to play the lions in Hong kong. why? because these guys (people like parisse) realise that it will be the only time in their life that they will get to be involved with the lions.

      the tickets for the lions tests sold out within 15 mins of going on sale.

      the lions is special. there is no other team in the world like it. in fact, i dont think there is anything like it in any sport. unions, clubs and players may say that they play too much rugby, but i bet if you told a player he could have a break, but it would mean missing a lions tour, he wouldnt think twice about touring.

      the lions is a piece of history. it is a chance to become a legend. no player will ever want to miss out on that.

      1. The history of the lions is second to non – and players deem it as their highest accolade and quite rightly so, but i have my suspicions that in the future clubs and Unions may begin to not release their players for such a tour, i hope i am wrong but just interested in peoples views.

        1. The IRB has a clause about the lions. Basically it says that players who are selected (and consent to going) must be released for them.

          I think this came to light with the whole Toulon fiasco. But basically, if gatland wants a player for this lions tour, and the player has made themselves available, then the club has to release them.

          Clearly we get into a grey territory, where we see French clubs offering money to players not to go (much like they did for Fijians and the RWC), but I think that it won’t be as easy. The lions players will be getting much better money, and won’t come from as financially poor backgrounds as the Pacific Islanders, so they won’t give in to the pressure.

          The lions will always have a place in rugby, the IRB has made sure of it.

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