Richard Hill’s British & Irish Lions starting XV Prediction

World Cup winner and British and Irish Lion Richard Hill has picked his starting XV for the Lions.

*Caveat – this team was picked after the first round of the 6 Nations. Richard Hill has said it would look a lot different now!

33 thoughts on “Richard Hill’s British & Irish Lions starting XV Prediction

  1. To be fair Richard Hill did tweet yesterday saying that this was done after round one of the six nations and that it would be very different now!

      1. Yeh. I saw it last night and thought it was a crazy selection and then quickly saw his tweet.

        It is a very good example of how quickly things can change.

  2. I doubt anyone would pick the same team now, but it does show how things can chaqnge very quuickly.

  3. Doesn’t this just go to show how UTTERLY POINTLESS all of the Lions XV picks that were made starting in June 2012 were? They changed in the space of 6 weeks, let alone a year. Will we remember next time? Will we feck…

    1. Absolutely right Geat, though one point to picking these teams of course, is for a bit of fun.

      There was a discussion one evening last week on RadioFive, with some ex players (Bayfield, Hastings, Wood, Moore etc) who all agreed that the starting XV could not be envisaged now, and does not rely on current form.

      There was a phrase, I think coined by McGeechan, of a “Lions animal” which described a player who rose to the Lions challenge, and often these are the players we can least expect pre-tour. Apparently some great internationals fail to raise their game in the Lions environment.

      If we read McGeechan, or Henry, or even Woodward, their varying experiences all suggest that the real XV only makes itself know during the tour, and that mistakes have been made in assuming that the best fifteen/twenty players during the domestic season are naturally the best options for the test team.

      97 Lions – the last winning Lions team (I think); Townsend at Fly-Half, and Jenkins at FB? Paul Wallace wasn’t even picked at the start of the tour. Howley was by far and away the best SH (but got injured). John Bentlety???

      89 Lions – Guscott was uncapped, Teague was a bit of a “club” No8, Chalmers the obvious “form” FH.

      93 Lions – Gibbs (who?) keeping the England captain out of the side. Johnson (who?) replacing Dooley and going straight into the test team.

      I am sure there are plenty more, and for one, I am looking forward to the unexpected this time around.

    1. Richard Hill’s Lions XV: Kearney; Zebo, Tuilagi, O’Driscoll, North; Sexton, Care; Vunipola, Best, Cole; Launchbury, Gray; O’Brien, Robshaw, Heaslip.

      1. doesnt it just show how concieted some people are.. i mean picking a lions 15 on the strenght of 1 game,, did hil watch a differnt second half to the rest of us in the wales ireland game?

        1. Rob, I am not sure that conceited is the right word is it?

          Loads of us were picking teams after the first set of games, and indeed before the 6N started. Thats not conceit, thats just a bit of fun.

        2. You have to remember, however well Wales played in that second half, it took their losing tally to 8 on the trot.

          1. Rob is probably;

            – Upset Hill picked only one Welshman
            – Welsh (based on above)
            – Would like an all Wales Lions XV because of 1 game (the one that finished 30-3)

        3. A near full strength Irish beat a nearly full strength Welsh side. I am not saying we should have 13 Irish, I think the number will be about 9, possibly less. However, to dismiss players like Sexton, Zebo and O Brien would be unfair.

          This team isnt a million miles away. I would go with:
          15 Halfpenny 14 Zebo 13 BOD 12 Roberts 11North 10 Sexton 9Youngs 8Faletau 7Tipuric 6wood/robshaw/wood (tour form will decide) 5Jones 4Launchbury 3Jones/ cole 2 Best/ Hibabrd 1 Healey.

  4. Sorry, past performances are worthless. From that logic we’d see an all English XV due to the demolition of NZ. Then an all Irish XV because they beat the supposed current number one team at the start of the 6N. However wakes then thrashed the team that butchered the all blacks. So now we’re looking at an all welsh XV. Sometimes I do think some of the selection debate is ridiculous. What happened to picking an excellent combo of players that feed off each others playing styles. Just how Ben Young’s is the best scrum half in the NH but mike Phillips is in pole position and plays in a similar way to Connor Murray, sextons half back partner for Ireland. Albeit at the moment Murray just looks like a sub par Phillips. This is of course based on sexton starting at FH. I’m not saying that any of the aforementioned players are rubbish, but Ben Young’s blowing hot is better than an in form Phillips or Murray. Blah blah physicality, extra flanker bull. When you’re on the front foot you need speed and threats. When was the last time Phillips fleet footed his way to the line? Or gassed a defensive line? However Phillips is the form SH at the moment but it wouldn’t surprise me if the half back partnership is different again come tour time.

    1. Phillips is easily better than Youngs when they are both at the top of their game. To dismiss his physicality as “blah blah” either indicates you didn’t watch the last weekend of the 6N or you’re unable to take in the evidence from your own eyes. Wales were on top, Phillips played excellently, Wales scored tries and kept England out. That’s what you need a scrum half to do, produce a winning performance, not quick tap penalties every single time.

      1. Phillips played excellently for one game. The other games he was well below par. Youngs played excellently for all but one game. And even then I don’t think it was his fault as Wales outdid England up front, and Youngs had no decent ball to play with. Phillips and Youngs play very differently, and it really depends how you want to play. Start with Phillips and have Youngs on the bench, or vice versa. Either one is a luxury option.

        1. In that one game though Dazza, Phillips played better than Youngs played all tournament so to me it comes down to whether you pick the guy who achieved the best level once or the guy who achieved a lesser level but was more consistent. Given Phillips’ record of stepping up when it comes to big tests I’m inclined to expect we’ll see more of his Eng form than his other matches form.

        2. Personally, I’m not a great fan of either Youngs or Phillips, but the adoration being draped over Phillips after one good game is pretty absurd.

          Prior to that last game, Phillips was a major weakness for Wales and had been for some time. He often moves with the slowness of tectonic plates shifting and whilst his physicality can be a boon, too often he ends up at the bottom of rucks when he should be behind them, distributing the ball.

          I’m not a fan of Youngs either. His timings on when to tap and go are often incorrect, he can also be slow to the breakdown and his decision-making when there is often poor.

          Unfortunately Care has failed to show his Quins form internationally.

          So who should the Lions take? Conor Murray seems a cut-price version of Phillips. I rather like Laidlaw, so will go with him and if they take three scrum halves, Youngs and Phillips just through sheer lack of options.

  5. well mine would be completely different to that this would be mine:
    1.jenkins 3.adam jones 4.grey 5.O’callaghan 6.tipuric 7.robshaw 8.heaslip 9.phillips 10.sexton 11.north 12.roberts 13.O’driscoll 14.ashton 15.halfpenny
    many changes i would have made, dan cole and his other england mate at prop are not as good as jenkins and jones together by a mile also launchbury is not experienced enough yet and, O’callaghan has been playing good for ireland. Tipuric has put in a massive six nations performance and we have not seen a lot of O’brien but he must be on bench. Mike phillips is one of the best scrum halfs in the world at the moment undoubtable, but sexton i agree with at 10. The centres BOD deserves one last shot. However all tuilangi is good at is big hits, but roberts can match this and has a better all round game anyways. Although ashton had a bad six nations i think he could show is skill in the lions tour, and no one is stopping george north. Fullback is a hard place to get, but overall halfpenny is amazing, instoppable and a legend, not missing a tackle in like 2 1/2 years. I would also put young hogg on the bench as he is a new fresh fullback ready for a challenge.
    bring on the hsbc world lions series!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Anyone know the date when the squad will be announced. I’ve searched various sites, but can’t find the actual announcement date.

    1. Wales Online: “Gatland will announce his squad and the captain for the 10-match tour on April 30 after a final selection meeting with his coaches Graham Rowntree, Andy Farrell and Rob Howley.”

  7. I would have thought that the amazing track record Wales have against SH teams would make them likely to make up the entire 35-37 man squad.

    1. Good point – we should pick an English dominated Lions because they beat the All Blacks.

      Seriously though it’s amusing to see people tie themselves into knots trying to view SH performances, 6Ns performances, etc. and tie it all into their worldview e.g. if you want to put the boot into the Welsh and go for more English you emphasise the Welsh results against Aus (results only, nobody doubts the quality of the performances, but it is results that count), big up the All Blacks win for England, keep quiet about Eng’s last home loss to Aus and completely discount that shaming that Eng were handed by Wales. On the other side if you want a Wales dominated side you discount the AIs as injury hit, discount last summer as “oh so close” and point out that we’re sitting here now with a WC semi and 2 6ns trophies inside 2 years, a record that is top out of all of the B&I teams in terms of competition results…

      So my point would be that all this attempt to apply “A never beat B so can’t be in team C” or “team A beat B who beat C so…” type logic is daft – especially when you add in another axis full of people pointing out that theirs is a “new team” or “an injury hit team” thus making it meaningless to compare all of those results achieved with different players.

      So I say go with the recent evidence of your eyes when these boys all played together and to me that tends me to expect Wales to have the largest single representation in the squad closely followed by Ire/Eng with more Scottish players in there than there have been recently. We’ll learn the test team then as time passes.

      1. I am not even sure the best team is relevant. If we are honest; Wales and England are very close in terms of quality (I am fully aware of the score the other week but any Welshman can see this as fair).

        Ireland and Scotland are slightly behind and also relatively level.

        It would be naive and narrow minded to suggest any result – the England against NZ, and Wales’ 6N success/ Aus results – as massively relevant.

        My guess on representation would be (based on 37 man squad):
        Welsh – 13
        English – 11
        Irish – 7
        Scotish – 6

        Or something like that is a fair representation of where the teams sit in terms of quality.

        If you asked me to put a squad together based on that then it would be difficult to work out, but I think it would be pretty close to that.

      2. Brighty I understand your frustration when Wales won the 6 nations, were good in the WC and have generally been the top team in the NH over the past few years.

        I remember on message boards prior to the last Lions tour the winging about Ireland players getting picked. Comments like “they only beat Engalnd by a point”, etc.

        Wales won the 6 nations with a sytlish performance in Cardiff, they didnt win the GS but were undoubtedly (by teh end) the best team. They should make up the bulk of the lions team and will.

        The test squad will pick itself out there. That is the best bit about teh Lions tour, nobody knows who will come to the fore by the time of that first test.

  8. Wales did really well against Australia last year. Those three defeats against an injury ravaged Wallabies side were really impressive. Gatland must take a squad of 35 – 37 Welsh players.

    1. Sigh. He said this after the first round of the Six Nations, when Wales had just lost to Ireland – their 8th loss in a row.

  9. Well Johnathan Davies picked his starting 15 six months ago and hes got so close I think he must have a crystal ball

    1. You must also have a crystal ball to know he was close – the starting 15 hasn’t been picked yet!

      1. The fact that nearly all his selections made the plane shows hes a better judge than any other Ive seen. I reckon hes there or thereabouts and for a guestimate 6 months ago its remarkable.

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