Potential Lions XV: October 2012


The start to the domestic season has been exhilarating, so you could be forgiven if you had forgotten about the small matter of next year’s Lions tour – we haven’t though, so to get you all back in the mood, here is our team taking into account the first few weeks of action.

1: Gethin Jenkins
There’s a lot of controversy flying around at the moment about whether or not French players will be available for the beginning of the tour, but regardless of how that situation resolves itself you can’t imagine Jenkins not being there in Australia. He has been streets ahead of most other looseheads in the hemisphere for a long time.

2: Dylan Hartley
The gnarly hooker has been leading by example for Northampton Saints. Often criticised for his temperament, Hartley has been channelling his aggression in all the right ways and causing destruction all over the park. A recent eye injury could open the door for a young wildcard over the Autumn internationals, but if Hartley manages to maintain his current form then he will be difficult to overlook.

3: Dan Cole
The Leicester tight head has made a storming start to the season. Strong as always in the scrum, what has been particularly eye-catching about his performances has been his work in the loose, be it ball-carrying, tackling, or the nitty-gritty stuff on the floor. Along with Jenkins the Lions would have a dynamic combination of props, which is always likely to be key against the Aussies.

4: Jim Hamilton
Most of the focus recently has been on another Scottish lock plying his trade in the Premiership, but while Richie Gray seems to be taking time to find his feet at Sale, big Jim Hamilton has relished his role as captain of a young Gloucester team. A shoo-in for a Scotland spot in the Autumn internationals, he is the form second row in the Aviva Premiership thus far.

5: Alun Wyn Jones
Another front-five forward offering valuable leadership skills. Jones had the better of Lions rival Donncha O’Callaghan in the Ospreys’ 30-15 victory over Leinster last weekend and the second row has been demonstrating his impeccable line-out skills for the Welsh side.

6: Stephen Ferris
One of the most talented blindsides in world rugby, Stephen Ferris is an all-round wrecking ball. The Irishman recently made his 100th appearance for Ulster in their 20-19 victory over Munster. Gatland will have to keep a close eye on Ferris’ fitness; with Sam Warburton nailed on at seven, ongoing injury problems could see Chris Robshaw sneak in at six.

7: Sam Warburton (c)
One of the first names on most people’s team sheets. If he is fit, he will play, no questions asked. He has proven himself on the international stage as not only a world class openside, but also a leader of men, as he has guided a young Wales squad through a phase of great transition to become a team genuinely capable of mixing it with the best. With Gatland at the helm, it is hard to fathom anyone else taking the capataincy or the no. 7 shirt.

8: Toby Faletau
The young number eight has made his name with some barnstorming performances for Wales and the Dragons alike. Faletau’s tackling and turnover work has been earning high praise from Dragons’ coach Darren Edwards, combine these with a Colin Jarvis ‘fro and Faletau is an ideal candidate for the job.

9: Danny Care
Scrum half will be a hotly-contested position among the Lions but, based on current form, Danny Care has the edge. Care has been one of the standout performers in a marauding Harlequins side, demonstrating his burning pace off the mark, strong distribution and a lethally sharp eye for a hole. Ben Youngs will be on Care’s tail when he comes back from injury, while Mike Phillips will be keen for a look in, too.

10: Jonny Wilkinson
A controversial choice at 10, but Wilkinson is a genuine match-winner. If Gatland wants a cool and experienced head then the former-England fly-half is his man. Wilkinson has been orchestrating Toulon to some fine form in the French Top 14, and Gatland has not ruled out his selection.

11: Tommy Bowe
Wing will be another hotly contested spot, but Tommy Bowe is bound to be in the mix come selection time. He returned to Ulster colours last weekend with a bang, bagging a brace and reminding everyone that he is a world-class finisher. Gatland will have an incredibly tough time picking the wingers for his squad, never mind for the starting XV.

12: Jamie Roberts
Roberts makes the team almost by default, due to a glaring lack of quality across the nations in the inside centre position. That is not to say that he doesn’t deserve the spot – we all know how destructive he can be, and he has proven himself before on this stage. Should he get injured, however, there will be an interesting decision to be made.

13: Manu Tuilagi
Youth could be a telling factor in Tuilagi’s inclusion ahead of the Irish maestro, Brian O’Driscoll. Manu is one of the most devastating runners in world rugby and could cause havoc if the Australian defence is not at its best. Some doubts over Tuilagi’s handling skills could open a door for Jonathan Davies, but Tuilagi is still the most positive selection at 13.

14: George North
The Australian defence has struggled to keep a grasp on the George North in the past and with the youngster’s constant improvement, expect to see nothing less this summer. Tim Visser’s fine form will provide some competition, but North is currently Britain and Ireland’s number one winger.

15: Rob Kearney
The full-back position is likely to be a direct head-to-head between Kearney and his Welsh opposite number Halfpenny. Both are quality players, strong under the high ball and quick in open space. Almost an impossible selection to make, Kearney makes our team by virtue of offering slightly more counter-attacking potential, as well as a booming left boot.

By Jamie Hosie & Nik Simon

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

102 thoughts on “Potential Lions XV: October 2012

    1. Wilkinson was a nominee for ERC European Player of the year, he clearly still has the ability. He has been in-form for a Toulon side which sits joint top of the French League, I would not rule him out.

  1. “Gethin Jenkins – He has been streets ahead of most other tight heads in the hemisphere for a long time.
    Dan Cole – The Leicester tight head has made a storming start to the season.”
    2 tight heads? Not a specialist lose head?
    “Rob Kearney – as well as a booming left boot to complement Sexton’s right.”
    But you haven’t selected Sexton

  2. As a Glaws fan, I like Jim Hamilton, but I’m not convinced that he is first choice Lions at the moment (or ever!). Good solid player but not good enough for this team.

    1. Staggy, we picked Big Jim on merit of his current form. Paul O’Connell haven’t been getting a lot of game time and Richie Gray has been part of a faltering Sale side. You are probably right that he will not feature – but we are just trying to keep things interesting!

  3. I’m not sure Jonny will make the plane to be honest. It’s a great thought to have the 2003 vintage in the side, but Sexton and Priestland will battle it out for the 10 jersey.

    As for second row, everyone in the world had picked Richie Gray a month ago, but he’s had a pretty shocking start to the season and Hamilton would probably be the form pick. Not sure he’s Lions class, but an interesting shout.

  4. I opened this looking forward to seeing the selections, but half of them are so ludicrous that I can’t take it seriously.

    Warburton: “One of the first names on most people’s team sheets.”

    I completely disagree, in fact, I would say he is not even a shoe in for the Wales no.7 shirt against Tipuric. Yes he burst on the scene and looked class, but his form has not been good since the world cup a year ago. So I actually think he is hardly a shoe in for the squad, let alone the starting 15 or the captaincy.

    I won’t even dignify the Wilkinson selection with a response. And I find it hard to believe that Foden will not be considered for the 15 shirt as you suggest?

    1. In defence of the article, I wouldn’t call the selection of Warburton or Jenkins ludicrous. I agree that picking Jonny is slightly far-fetched and Jim Hamilton probably won’t be in the mix, but I think you are being a little harsh!

      1. I do not think their selection are ludicrous, I think that the suggestion that they are obvious starts were strange. There is a lot of competition in every position. They may well both start come next June; but to me it seems strange to call Jenkins “streets ahead of anyone”, and Warburton, “if fit, he will play, no questions asked.”

        Both comments just seemed a bit too far in my opinion. Neither are as sure on as the article suggests.

        I love Wilko, and I would love to see him there. But I doubt it unfortunately.

  5. Sorry forgot to carry on my rant.

    Hamilton is not really Lions class, I would be disappointed if he was wearing one of the lock shirts when I go out there next year! I hope we will be more positive, I’m thinking Lawes or Gray. AWJ I think is a shoe in.

    And also, Corbisiero has been class for a year or so now, making Jenkins far from a guaranteed starter (although I do believe Jenkins edges it currently).

  6. Samu Manoa is the in form lock in the premiership IMO. By a considerable distance too, although it’s tough to call between him and Lawes (if you’re counting him as a lock after starting all matches at 6 thus far).

  7. Gethin Jenkins is not even first choice at Toulon edged out by a certain Andy Sheridan. Faletau was nearly dropped from the Dragons for inept performances & has put in one good game Roberts hasn’t even played this season!

    If you are really choosing on form at the start of the season.

    Marler for Jenkins

    Robshaw for Warburton

    Easter for Faletau though I accept Easter wont be selected but he is the best on form at the moment.

  8. That centre partnership lacks any creativity. They might be able break through the first line of defence but then what – oh yes – a knock on!

    1. Roberts & Tuilagi could be devestating. They’ve both got the ability to offload – it just isn’t neccessary that often!

  9. I think if you swap Jonny for Jonny (Sexton) and probably Richie Gray for Jim Hamilton, this is a pretty decent side.

    There will always be contentious selections, even when Gatland names the team, and that’s the beauty of the Lions!

    Feel free to share your own team selections.

    1. If it was choice between sexton and Wilkinson anyone who has watched any top 14 this season knows Jonny is in some excellent form. I still can’t see past priest land for fly half unless one of the new young fly halves from any of the home nations gets some decent game time. I wouldn’t say Warburton was nailed on. He’s only just started to come back into form and gatland said selection would be purely form based. Hence why I’m being very harsh criticising any selection based on previous merit. Ie I agree with Jim Hamilton instead of gray. Yet to see him galloping in sale colours like we know he can. Yet no one has mentioned the destructive Courtney lawes. Gatland could, potentially, pick a team that might even be able to bully the boks. Never mind the wallabies who have never really had a revered pack.

  10. I think that the selection has fallen between two stools to a certain extent in that Hamilton hasm been picked on form, despite the fact that he has little or no chance of actually going, whereas Warburton has been picked on reputation rather than current form.

    However it is all good fun to get the debate going!

    1. I agree form in australia was not the best but I think warburton has been looking fit & destructive this season even in a hot and cold Blues side

    2. It’s always going to be a tricky to find the right balance between form and reputation. If we were going to select a XV based purely on current form then we could have selected a side which would look almost non-resemblant of what the actual Lions side will be.

      Saying that, I would not be surprised if Gatland selects one or two ‘form’ players based on who is playing well at the time of selection.

  11. Back three is strongest. We could see quite a few players going to compete for those shirts. Gatland could take north, and an extra winger knowing north is big enough to play centre (or even back row haha). Would love to see a Christian wade or harry Robinson supporting big wrecking balls like Roberts and Tuilagi. Hell, Kyle eastmond would work well with two lumps like that. Shame he’s only played a handful of games.

    1. Back 3 is going to be a very interesting area. The two big Welsh wings, Bowe, Ashton, Max Evans, Kearney, Halfpenny, Foden- and that’s before we even consider the bolters who are likely to feature in the AIs and Six Nations. Tasty.

  12. I think the thing about warbuton is that he has almost always delivered on the biggest stage. He might not have a game changing performance every week, but when it’s mattered for Wales he’s stepped up. That’s exactly the kind of man you want leading a test side, and I just can’t see anyone else displacing him.

    Hamilton was picked on his PL form as a bit of a wildcard- George Robson is someone who could be considered in the same category, if he gets a bit of game time for England (which he may well not when you consider England’s strength in that area). Anyway, the idea of this team was to provoke debate so it seems to have been successful…

  13. I’m in favour of as many Welshmen as possible (to state the obvious!)but press reports in Wales have been saying that Andrew Sheridan has been getting the starting position at Toulon not Gethin because his scrummaging style suits their game more .If Jonny is up for selection then why not Big Ted.An added headache would be if Toloun reach the French final and both of these props will then miss the start of the tour.

    Tipuric also has his supporters for the no 7 shirt for Wales in fact on form he deserved to have it on the Australian tour and put in a stormer last week against Munster. In fact I can see Tipuric and Warburton both being with the Lions.

    Lydiate being out could possible see Warburton and Tipuric packing down at 6 and 7 respectively in the Autumn at some stage in the tests though Ryan Jones is the natural replacement at 6 . So even Warburton isn’t nailed on yet as a test starter which is essential for the tour captain.

    1. If Sheridan is being picked because his style ‘suits Toulon’s more’, that doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything wrong with Jenkins’… I think after the AIs people will realise that he is the front runner for the no.1 shirt.

      1. Jamie,

        Simple as this, you want to destroy the Aussies up front and dominate them at scrum-time, you DON’T pick Jenkins. He’s a great flanker, puts in lots of tackles, but a scrummager, he ain’t. It’s why Toulon don’t pick him, he’s struggling with the French game.

  14. Tuilagi is a one-trick pony and shouldn’t even be on the plane, unless Gatland wants someone to “get their retaliation in first” should there be any aspiring Nathan Greys or Duncan McRaes about.

    I don’t subscribe to Premier Sports, so I haven’t seen Jonny W much this term, but last (When Top 14 was on ESPN) he looked well past his best. Not only would his selection be controversial, it would also be disruptive to the tour party, given Toulon’s hardline stance toward player release.

    I’d have Tommy Bowe at 13, and Sexton at 10, though I hope that Priestland will regain his form in time to claim the spot.

    1. It may only be one trick, but it’s a very effective one. With both Roberts and Tuilagi to defend against it’s unlikely they can be waiting with a 2 man tackle for both of them.

    2. I don’t see how selecting a winger at 13 is going to improve things… and if you think Tuilagi’s a one trick pony you haven’t seen him play enough. Also I agree with Matt, he is very effective at what he does best. Roberts and Tuilagi would be enough to scare any midfield. What are your thoughts on Jon Davies though, as a Welshman? He always looks good to me but I only really see him during international periods.

  15. “He has been streets ahead of most other looseheads in the hemisphere for a long time.”

    Come on guys. Times have moved on. Andrew Sheridan is starting almost every game for Toulon with Jenkins on the bench, the French prefer playing a prop, not a pretend-flanker.

    You want to beat up Australia up front? You don’t play Jenkins!

  16. If Sheridan stays fit (which he may be able to do as part of the giant Toulon squad) and continues to play well I would pick him. He, along with Cole, has done more damage to Aussie scrums than any other prop in world rugby I can name.

    I like the idea of a Roberts and Tuilagi pairing. Knowing what is coming and being able to stop it are two different things. As well as punching the holes I think it will create space elsewhere as they will be forced to defend narrow and also potentially leave gaps round the ruck.

    Although still early stages in his comeback I would like Lawes in the team. He is the ultimate deterrent to side FHs that want to play flat and SHs that want to take a few steps.

    In general I wouldn’t be adverse to a game plan that is based on smashing them up front and running over them in the backs. I think we have the players to implement it. It may not be the most exciting, but it’s a long time since the last Lions series win, and for them to continue as a credible force I think it’s important we get this one, especially as next up is NZ. With Aussie player depth also a major issue I just don’t see they can compete over 3 brutal tests.

  17. For my money:

    1. Healy/Jenkins
    2. Hartley
    3. Cole
    4. Gray
    5. Lawes (if fit)
    6. Ferris (possibly Lydiate if fit)
    7. Robshaw (c)
    8. Denton
    9. Youngs/Care (on form)
    10. Sexton
    11. Ashton
    12. Tuilagi
    13. JD2 (or Roberts at 12, tuilagi 13)
    14. North
    15. Kearney

    S. O’Brien

    1. @robbo robshaw instead of sam warburton. fat chance.
      cournety lawes and ashton!?! im guessing you’re english.

  18. @Alex, Lawes is a class act when fit, his mobilty around the park is invaluable, agree with you about warbuton , Robshaw isn’t the best 7 in england never mind the lions.

    1. @Alex Fair points. Haven’t been following the Pro 12 too closely this season so can’t comment on Warburton’s recent form. However, Robshaw has similar leadership qualities, has fine hands in attack (e.g. just see this weekend’s game against Sarries), and competes very well on the floor winning turnovers – you only have to look at how he largely bossed the breakdown in the first SA test. Seems like a fine 7 to me.

      Agree Patrick, Lawes v.good when fit, but needs to be fit.

      Ashton’s a class act when actually getting the ball and confident – scored plenty vs Australia at home and away. Bowe would be accpetable.

  19. I think that Richie Gray will come good when Sale find their feet. He is a class act and always remember that form is temporary but class is permanent.

    On that vein, my Lions team based on record, form and presumed full fitness would be:

    1. G. Jenkins
    2. D. Hartley
    3. D. Cole
    4. C. Lawes
    5. R. Gray
    6. S. Ferris
    7. S. Warburton
    8. J. Heaslip

    9. M. Phillips
    10. J. Sexton
    11. T. Bowe
    12. J. Roberts
    13. B. O’Driscoll
    14. G. North
    15. R. Kearney

    16. A. Jones
    17. R. Best
    18. A. W. Jones
    19. D. Lydiate
    20. D. Care
    21. R. Priestland
    22. T. Visser

  20. Also, as a rugby league fan as well, I would like to suggest two players who I think would be ideal Lions players in the future as well England stars.

    First – Ryan Hall

    He plays for Leeds Rhinos as well being a England permanent fixture. His nickname at the club is WBW which stands for worlds best winger. That may be a tad strong but I fully believe that this guy is the best finisher in world rugby and in both codes. He is phenomenal! Plus the fact that he is 6ft plus and weighs over 16 stone with raw pace. YouTube his name and you will see him finish tries for England vs Australia that begger belief. He can get the ball down whilst in mid air, body completely out of play and land the ball on an area the size of a six pence without ever missing- or alternatively, he runs over defenders. What a great asset to union he would be.

    Second: Joel Tomkins

    In a totally different class to hits brother Sam who is plying his trade with Saracens currently. Joel is a world class full back with soft hands, a great boot, never drops a high ball, can tackle like a bull but has a turn of a pace, jink, side step and then unbelievable flat line speed. His line break out rate on a game on game basis out performs the likes of Foden, Kearney and even Dagg and Habana. Currently the holder of the coveted Super League Man of Steel award for this season. Wouldn’t he be a nice option with Ryan Hall outside?

    Such class, world class players who hardly get a look in against current converts such as Eastmond who, although good, pales in comparison to these two.

    Check them out on YouTube – you will be impressed!

  21. Given how well Andrew Sheridan is playing at Toulon, with six starts ahead of Jenkins one so far this season and his proven appetite for Wallaby flesh I am surprised he isn’t mentioned as a potential Lion. Jenkins is a great prop but how often has he destroyed a tight head?

    1. That is a very good point Eamonn – I agree that Sheridan is a good option against the Aussie’s but for some reason I feel that if a player has retired from internationals then they shouldn’t be on a Lions tour. Could be seen as a bit controversial but I just can’t get rid of the feeling that it it is like taking a backward step.

      1. Players may retire from international rugby because they aren’t going to be able to last a 3 or 4 year cycle building to a world cup. Lions is a little different and about picking the best players/team at that point in time. If Sheridan stays fit and is in good form I’m all for his inclusion. With his workload managed within the vast Toulon squad he may in great shape at the end of the season (despite it’s length)

  22. I think these are all very harsh comments. Roberts started on the wing until his skills were given time to develop. Tuilagi can pass and offload, but it needs time to develop. Plus Tuilagi won the battle last time him and Roberts met, so if he could develop his skills to the level of Roberts than he would surely be nailed on too? The only players I couldn’t go without if I were warren gatland would be Dan Cole and George north.

  23. Like the look of Paulo’s team, with the exception of Heaslip – not had a stand out game for a while and there are plenty of world class number 8s like denton, morgan and faletau.
    J Davies would be a better choice at 13 and is a more likely selection given age and form.

  24. I agree with the pro-Sheridan camp. At his best he is the most destructive scrummager in the NH, and the Wallabies are his favourite meat. Imagine him for 50 minutes at full bore- let’s see how he goes though. Gray and Lawes are also two shoo ins for the squad. They offer so much to the dominant physical aspect of the game.

  25. Call me biased, but O Driscoll should be in. He is a big game player and had a great rapport with Roberts last time out. Rory Best is a better player than Hartley and Sextons all round game should give him the nod over Wilkinson. Just to show I am not totally biased Richie Grey should also start. Any ways a lot of rugby to be played between now and then.

  26. On the subject of English players getting into the side: Danny Care stands as good a chance as any other 9s. Dan Cole is excellent in the scrum and proved himself against the Saffas. Chris Robshaw’s stats for the 6 nations were off the charts in terms of tackles made and turnovers won – not a flashy player but a great work rate and gets the results. Other possible English forwards are Lawes, Hartley, Croft. Apart from Care I can’t see any English backs starting but I would be surprised if Ashton, Tuilagi and Foden (when he returns from injury) don’t get into the squad – also would like to see Christian Wade get some game-time in the upcoming tests. Rory Best is overrated – Ross Ford should have the 2 shirt.

  27. One possible bolter could be Richtard Strauss. He is qualified to play for Ireland now. assuming he plays fir Ireland he could be in the mix. He is a very dynamic player and good scrummager.

  28. funny if steffon armitage got in this team and not englands. funny or tragic that is. also sheridan is in with a shout surely. number 8 could also be really competitive after the six nations after seeing denton and morgan arrive! i love lions time!

  29. 1. Jenkins
    2. Hartley
    3. Healy
    4. Lawes
    5. Gray
    6. Lydiate
    7. Warburton (c)
    8. Morgan
    9. Youngs
    10. Sexton
    11. North
    12. Roberts
    13. Manu
    14. Halfpenny
    15. Kearney

    1. Healy is a loose head so cant play three.

      11. North
      12. Roberts
      13.O Driscoll
      15. Kearney

      1. Wouldn’t choose Healy over Jenkins, Marler or Corbisiero anyway – all three of whom are better props and as good around the field

        Whilst Lydiate does nothing wrong, would prefer Ferris or O’Brien on the blind-side for their physicality. Think Warburton has lost his form so would go with Tipuric or Robshaw on the open-side – Robshaw probably just swinging it due to his captaincy abilities

        Care over either Young or Philips for me.

        And if BOD is fit, I’m not sure how you can leave him out. Wouldn’t make him captain though as he is relatively likely to get injured and may not last the full 80

    2. I agrre with you on that except for two, sexton in my opinion is not great I don’t know who to put there instead but not him and war burton I think Robshaw but apart from them that’s a perfect team :)

  30. A few lively debates will no doubt ensue from the nominations above – but can you really be serious about suggesting Wilkinson for the number 10 spot? Why is it northern hemisphere selectors are so reluctant to opt for younger players on form? No harm to Jonny but he has had plenty of opportunity to shine at this level and recent outings have only highlighted that even the slightest lack of pace or precision at this level turns matches. Look elsewhere please…

    1. I have to agree. Any suggestion of Wilkinson is ridiculous as far I am concerned. Only two out-halves went last time and this time, it will surely be Sexton (especially as he is about to be named Ireland Captain), and either Priestland or an english 10 (flood/farrell/burns?) or maybe three.

      In terms of BOD, for about 5 years now, people outside Ireland have been saying he is past it. You only have a watch a few highlights from the end of last year and this year to realize as long as this man is fit, he is in. WOuld be a fitting end to his test career to win a Lions tour in Austrialia.

  31. I think a main worry atm is that Warburton has lost his form. The way he’s currently playing, I think even Gatland would struggle to find a reason to pick him. If he picks up his form again, he’ll be right in there, but currently? No way.

  32. 1.gethin jenkings
    3.adam jones
    5.alyn wyn jones
    6.dan lydiate
    7.sam warbatan
    8.ben morgan
    9.mike philips
    11.tommy bowe
    12.jammie roberts

    1. like this team but to me, you choose mike phillips v the all blacks or S.A, we should be looking to plat rugby v Oz,so need a quick and long pass, only other change would be warburton cos loss of form and i heard kearney is out for the season.

  33. Jenkins or Roberts for captain; who has the skills?
    (Warburton not sure of place (Rennie can nullify Pocock), and North right spirit but too young and proby wrong position.)

  34. 1. Jenkins
    2. Hartley
    3. Dan cole
    4. Gray
    5. Lawes
    6. Lydiate
    7. Warburton
    8. Faletau
    9. Phillips
    10. Wilkinson or farrel
    11. Bowe
    12. Roberts
    13. Manu tuilagi
    14. North
    15. Halfpenny

  35. would always pick gethin over sheridan due to his work rate, the time sheridan has got back on his feet gethiin is putting his 3rd tackle in !,have to be mobile as well as big n’ brutal. ive read that kearney is out for the lions tour due to injury so to me that leaves foden and h’penny, i like foden with ball in-hand, but hes not as brave as h’penny not as good under a high ball and not to keen on tackling as him either.i think and hope we will see the emergence of two second rows during the AI for wales that may suprise a few, ian evans is playing his best rugby ever IMO, and the ospreys just beat the european champions AGAIN ! I also see that luke charteris is playing better than ever and would not be suprised to see a couple of welsh second rows on the flight at least.phillips was a hero for the lions last tour but for me if the pack holds its own a quick pass is more important,youngs and/or care deserve a place and imo you cant leave hook or bowe out of any squad if your looking to play any rugby.tualagi is always a threat and has to go too, after some warm up games we will soon know the best combos

    1. I’d argue about Foden. He’s always seemed pretty safe under the high ball and a good tackler as well. I like Halfpenny, but not much between them. Assuming both are fit and in form, the warm up games could decide that particular battle.

      1. Think Foden is the better counter-attacker but Ha’penny offers you an extra option for taking penalties

        Foden certainly isn’t shy under the high ball

        Would be surprised if Brown didn’t make the grade for the Lions. He’s a strong tackler and runner and has an immense boot on him

        Still, the autumn internationals should leave us all with a clearer idea

  36. gareth craig Ben Foden is the best defensive full-back in the world. He is a very strong ball-carrier and will definately be one the tour and I wouldnt be suprised to see him start, along with chris ashton. Wilkinson wont be picked end of. Hooker, second rows, number 6 and 8, 9, 13, 15 are the interesting decisions. Jenkins will be loose head if he’s there, cole tight head, warburton 7, Sexton 10, North and either aston or bow on wings. Roberts 12 with either o’dricsol/davies/tualagi. Hooker is anyones guess. Full back is between halfpenny foden and kearney. Scrum half bewteen care and youngs, 8 between falateu and heaslip with potentially morgan if he’s playing well. Second row most likely o’connol and gray.

    1. will, to say foden is the best defensive fullback in the world is ONE BIG call, he is one of the best attacking , but would he have stopped strettle winning the game with a tackle as h’penny did ?? probably would not have had the pace to get there to start with , bisides this point i think that australia have the best FB in world rugby, in beale , different class to any in NH,just my opinion . and as far as morgan is concerned pure class , speed and agression What a player , and getting better, obviously from welsh stock , lol

    2. BTW Will, if foden is the best in the world , why are you undecided if it will be him, h’penny or kearney ?

  37. ok boys, we are here here for our opinions afterall , ..for me h’peny is a more of a complete player , can play and has played in 3 posisions for wales and 4 if u count u 20s and he can place kick too, so if it comes to a choice between them for gatland , i say he will go with h’penny , i think if england win the 6N it will prob change some selections even if its won thru the boot so hope it doesn’t change gatlands choice on attacking players as was woodwards mistake b4,players like wilko are great if you plan to play negative rugby .

  38. Kearney will be fit and is the current European player of the year. Assuming he keeps his fitness once he gets back he will start ad he is the best of the bunch. Nevermind the full back position, what about the captaincy? Options muted so far include Warburton who is out of form or BOD who has fitness problems. Robshaw might not even get in the test side!

    1. Well, nice to hear that , i remember kearney took his chance in a lions test due to injury and has never looked back, grwat player, i dont kno gethin jenkins personally but imagine he would be a good captain , a suprise but welcome one i hear {from a welsh prospective } would be ian evans, but not sure he wil even be selected, but watch him this season !

  39. I agree captaincy a key issue.
    Warburton persistent injury issues and Rennie may be selected as may do a better job on Pocock (as he did in the summer?).
    North good attitude but too young and wrong position.
    So it’s Jenkins, or possibly Roberts if he is a certainty in the side. I know nothing about their leadership qualities; any views?

  40. BOD is a great leader and is very well respected throughout the world. If fit he would be my choice. I also like Robshaw. Dylan Hartley is an abrasive character but leads Northampton well. Anyhow there is a bruising season to get through yet and some of these options might not be available.

  41. gareth i didnt say he is the best in the world, i think beale is the best in the world. But foden is the best one on one defender from full back, he is rock! Good in the air, great running lines. Also halfpenny’s tackle on strettle …..well for one it was a try, if u looked on the reply it was grounded just, and second it was only because of the other welsh player covering strettle bounce……basically if halfpenny had no cover it would have been written down as a miss-tackle. Look dont get me wrong, i’ll be happy to have any of those 3 as our lions full back, i hated kearney before the 09 lions but after that he proved he had skills.

    1. btw will, i didn’t say that you said foden was the best in the world either, i repeated what you said, BEST DEFENSIVE,…In which case i would put him behind h’penny,kearney,beale & isreal dagg , ..as an attacking fullback MAYBE only behind dagg,beale,and kearney .

  42. For me it will something like this

    1. Jenkins/Marler – If jenkins isnt there
    2. ??????? The form hooker of the home nations
    3. Cole or Jones – 50/50
    4. Grey
    5. O’Connol (Pack Leader)
    6. Ferris – Possibly Croft/Robshaw/Lydiate
    7. Warburton (Captain)
    8. Faleteu – Possibly Denton/Morgan/Heaslip
    9. Care or Youngs – Whoevers on form
    10. Sexton
    11. North
    12. Davies
    13. Tualagi
    14. Ashton/Bowe – From will be key
    15. Any of Foden Halfpenny or Kearney, all quality.

    1. good team of coarse will, but my biggest problem would be even taking POC , dont want to take over the hill playes as woodward did before, taking an english based past their best players, only other real disagreement would sexton, a good fly half but not creative enough, here is my choice, though i might add, cant see it being picked for reasons you prob know !
      1 jenkins
      2 hartley
      3 cole/jones
      4 gray/hamilton
      5 aw jones
      6 lydiate
      7 tupiric
      8 morgan
      9 youngs
      10 hook
      11 north
      12 roberts
      13 tualagi/o’driscoll
      14 halfpenny/bowe
      15 kearney
      difficult choice was halfpenny wing , but without him there is no BIG p-kicker, other choices for wing for ME were cuthbert and ashton, cant choose them all !

  43. A fine selection in the Article. Surprised at Wilko’s inclusion but watching him at Toulon he is as good if not better than when he was younger. Not surprised at some of the comments as people will naturally want players from their own country. Young Stephan armitage is another at Toulon to watch if French playing players are to be considered. By the way not French and a sarries supporter

  44. Surely if the criteria does not exclude the Toulonnais (Gethin Jenkins), then Andrew Sheridan is the No1 No1 ?

  45. 1 g jenkins 2 r best 3 a jones 4 a w jones 5 I evans 6 d lydiat 7 bread man 8 faletau 9 phillips 10 sexton 11 visser 12 tuilagi 13 j davies 14 north 15 kearney

    1. yeah, good,….whos breadman ?….falatau has lost a bit of form, i think wales will start to use him as an impact player, …i dont see many people choosing ryan jones, i didn’t even pick him myself , but he MUST surely be on that plane , second or back row , CLASS !

  46. Jonny wilko ??, he’s a flyhalf and cant even sidestep and hes always been too slow ….one break a season if your lucky….DO ME A FAVOUR !

  47. Yes fair selection in my opinion its correct to put most welsh players in as they are the best home nation so far.Where is Adam Jones, you really cant miss him out of the selection.Just as well as at lock you just cant miss out Richie Grey. I think sexton should be at 10, wilkinson you got to be joking. so mine would be. 1.Jenkins 2.Hartley 3.Adam Jones 4.Richie Grey
    5. O’ connol 6.Ross rennie 7.Sam Warburton
    8.Heaslip 9.Mike Phillips 10.Sexton 11.North
    12.Jamie Roberts 13.Earls 14.Bowe 15.Kearney

  48. Jenkins looked overweight yesterday?; less impact in loose = not a certainty for selection.
    So for captain I actually go for Rees at hooker; I think he probably has the right stuff.

  49. Autumn Internationals should be the start of establishing who should be considered for the Lions.
    After the welsh performance a lot of potential players have done themselves no favours & I’m sure a lot of the Lions teams selected earlier will have to be revised.
    Quality players aren’t out of form for as long as some of the welsh players have been for their Regions this season & it has now spilt over into the national team.

  50. Following the argentinian match i thought the welsh team looked totally unfit, with the exception of Faletau.
    We don’t ned a dominant scrum to beat Australia so less emphasis should be put on that.
    If fitness levels are up then:-Jenkins, Hartley,Cole,Parling,Croft,Warburton,Faletau,Robshaw,Care,Sexton,Bowe,Tuilagi,Roberts,North,Halfpenny… Sorry Scotland, can’t seem to see anyone good enough in your squad.

  51. @digger you’re obviously another clueless rugby pundit. Croft over Richie Gray or Courtney Lawes at second row, who are the prime example of modern day second rows. All players will find form for Lions, they always do, making your selection questionable…

    1. I hope you’re right about everyone finding form.I was at Murrayfield last year for the England game and Ritchie Gray was completely outshone, apart from his mop of hair his actual input was minimal and yes, I am a Laws fan but he fades after half an hour,spending a lot of time in a tea pot position around the second and multiple phases.
      Tom croft brings an element of continuity as well as being a great line-out exponent.If croft was a New Zealander he would be an all black, rest assured about that.

  52. Croft hangs out on the wing more than he does his day job. O’Brien, Lydiate and Ferris are all better than him. He has the odd good game, but is so inconsistent. Lydiate was the most consistent out of the 6n, but injury has been his downfall as of late…

  53. 7 English,6 Welsh, 2 Irish….But a lot could change. History tells us there are always a few stars who appear from off the radar in Lions tours.
    Although a tour to Australia should never warrant taking a lions party.
    There are only two countries strong enough for traditional lions events…..NZ and SA.

  54. We need to be able to beat NZ.

    What they do well: see below.

    If we pick players who can do this, we can beat them.

    If we can maintain an edge in power forward play as well, we will definitely beat them.


    1. Basic skills excellent: very few errors

    2. High resources
    – if on ground quickly back on feet and back in game
    – don’t commit men to the ruck or maul unless necessary.

    Everything done very quick

    High tactical awareness; kick into spaces
    Slow ball; kick for position
    % rugby; if under pressure kick for position
    No dumb charging into opponents: always try to spread ball wide

    Probably fouls professionally

  55. I know it is a throwback to days gone by, but the only hope we have of giving them a game is to stay on our feet and maul. This will commit them to the contact area.Two of their back three are the best in the game under a high ball so we must kick intelligently. We need to put our lineout ball in the area where Mcaw is to enable us to get him on the deck and out of the way.
    All this is easier said than done against a side with class players like Conrad Smith and Dan Carter.

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