Without Warburton, what will the Lions’ back-row be?

Sam Warburton’s injury has not only deprived the Lions of their captain, but it has also thrown a spanner into the works regarding the selection of the back-row. Finding the right balance in this area is of vital importance, and in the first two tests Warburton combined well with whoever filled the 6 and 8 shirts.

With his absence, however, what is the right combination in the back-row? Would Croft and Tipuric both starting be too lightweight? If so is Lydiate the answer, or did he not show enough last weekend to keep his spot for last week, especially given the line-out issues that Croft could go some way towards helping? Is O’Brien at openside the answer, or is the need for a specialist seven (especially against Hooper and Gill) too great to ignore Tipuric?

And then at number eight, has Heaslip played well enough to warrant selection for the third test? Or would the work-rate of Faletau be a better option? Does that decision depend on who is selected at flanker?

Certainly there are plenty of questions to be answered, but what would your back-row combination for Saturday be? Make your selection below, and leave your opinions in the comments section.

Which flankers should start in the final test?

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Who should start at no.8 in the final test?

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40 comments on “Without Warburton, what will the Lions’ back-row be?

  1. O’Brien is an option at 8, he’s spent plenty of time there. Would still rather see a more specialist 8 on when the option is there to use one.

    All this “Parling isn’t physical” stuff I find a bit odd. Bear in mind he’s been part of the Leicester scrum which has been pretty dominant all year. He doesn’t look it, but I think he offers plenty of strength in the second row in the scrum and the loose. I’m afraid Evans and Gray offered nothing in any of their performances, except against the Rebels and that was a dire one sided affair. It would be akin to swapping George North for Christian Wade because he’s quicker.

    As for Tipuric, I thought he was one of few players to come out of the Brumbies game with credit, effecting turnovers and attacking threateningly.

  2. So the vote has it as SOB, Fale and Tipuric. Exciting. I’m happy with that. Should give the Aussies some trouble.

  3. We are going to get a lot of welshmen in this team, Gats will play safe and play the guys he knows, Tupuric will not be one of them as I don’t think Gats is a fan of his style, plus the lions don’t play that way.

    If we are going to power the AUSSies out of the game starting Gray should be an option, he is biggest @row we have, he is great in the lineout and on his day is amazing around the park, not saying he deserves it but we need to take a risk or 2.

    As for Croft, I know he is great in the lineout and we need that but he does do other things to, he carried a lot in the first game, his defense is good, especially cover tackling, he wins restarts, he’s got game.

    Power pack


    Phillips in is a joke, the guy has done nothig apart from against the barbars, and he is unfit, Youngs shut Genia down far better than Phillips. Shutting Genia down is more important than any tackle statistic.

    Hogg should be on the bench –
    1 he is the most flexible player we have.
    2 If we are losing and need a miracle he is an option.
    3 i we are winning he has the biggest boot in the team and can pin AUS back in the own 5 metre line with is kicks from hand.
    4 He has been abused on this tour and deserves a shot, at least he is young and will get another shot.

    I am not scottish.

  4. Just saw the team for the weekend.

    Can I remind people that IT WASN’T ME. I didn’t pick it. Please direct your opprobrium elsewhere.

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