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Hartley and Stevens?! I'm cheering on Australia.
Warburton captain. No Wilkinson or Robshaw
Was expecting a couple of X factor picks like Wade and Madigan.
Wonder how the Welsh players will react to Warburton as captain when he refused to take the Welsh captaincy against England
Did Warburton refuse or politely decline to captain against England as he'd been injured and not captained the other games ?
All that's really known is he was asked to retake his role as captain for the England game and he said no
I think he was coming back from injury and asked to get his game back on track first
Leigh Halfpenny, Stuart Hogg, Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe, Alex Cuthbert, Sean Maitland, George North, Jonathan Davies, Brian O’Driscoll, Jamie Roberts, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray, Mike Phillips, Ben Youngs
Dan Cole, Cian Healy, Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, Matt Stevens, Mako Vunipola, Dylan Hartley, Richard Hibbard, Tom Youngs, Ian Evans, Richie Gray, Alun Wyn Jones, Paul O’Connell, Geoff Parling, Tom Croft, Toby Faletau, Jamie Heaslip, Dan Lydiate, Sean O’Brien, Justin Tipuric, Sam Warburton.
15 Welsh, 10 English, 9 Irish and 3 Scots
Croft over Wood/Robshaw? REALLY? Heaslip lucky.
STEVENS? Over Paul James???
I will geniunely struggle to cheer the Lions on.
Absolutely detest that man
some really strange favourites picks in there, presumably stenvens is a farrell pick
He's also not available for the entire tour, as more than likely be playing for toulon in the Top 14 final on June 1st
Jenkins is one of the best looseheads in world rugby. Sheridan is a one trick pony
& sheridan scares the aussies
it may be one trick, but he is very good at it
it isn't one trick though
i was a member at bristol when he came through the under 21's & he was a monster then when he was a second row, he could run with people hanging off him faster than most other second rows
Although Sheridan's stronger scrummaging seems to fit with the style of play in French club rugby.
Geth is like a 3rd flanker, he is brilliant
but destroying the aussies up front has been a very succesful tactic in the past
Turnovers are key
for our turnovers, then we are in trouble
but if you have 3 turnover specialist instead on 2, it gives better odds
Jones is such a world class tighthead, he has to start. I think at loosehead healy/jenkins are so close in terms of scrummaging that it much of a muchness
Jones is light years ahead of Cole
just hope he's stopped giving away cheap pens
will all depend on how it's reffed though, need strength in depth in case the ref takes a dislike to one particular prop
Jenkins is always solid, but Healy will have a day where for no rhyme or reason he'll start getting turned inside out
Healy needs to watch his discipline
Though it should be Ben Morgan of any English backrows making the flight. Especially since the competition for 8's not as strong.
A show pony
seems to be that the interest is based more around the selection of the squad/team than the performance of a disparate group of players plucked from their national teams to play together for a few matches before splitting up again. Why is more credence given to the Lions, than say, a Barbarians team?
The Barbarians is just a laugh.
The Lions is a once in a generation chance for a group of players who usually smash the shit out of each other to try and come together and beat one of the greatest teams in the world in their own backyard and make history.
When it goes wrong (2005) it stinks sure, but I remember the 2009 series, one of the greatest if not the greatest test series of all time, all my friends English, Irish, scottish and Welsh all coming together, cheering on the same team, realising how good each other's players are. It's truly, truly wonderful. It's probably rugby's greatest tradition
with the best of the Tri-Nations teams playing the Lions. Weird that it's never even been proposed as far as I'm aware
I believe the 1989 Lions played them
Think that was a one-off. Plus obviously didn't include the Saffers who were still being too racist to play at that time
could really see how enzed worked them out between tests
I think they're the best thing outside of a World Cup. And I say that as a sort-of "neutral"...
Best was an outisde bet for captain a year ago, stinking form played himself off
Ross has single handedly held Ireland's scrum together and destoryed teams for Leinster, passed over for a cokehead who doesn't even play international rugby any more
I'm not saying he should be in the squad, but you gotta feel for him too.
He's seemed almost nailed-on for a Lions shirt for years, even while he was still waiting to qualify for Scottish residency, and then Maitland's just strolled in and snatched it away from him.
and what time they on..?
guessing sky have the rights..?
Yes, on sky
the Oz matches are in the mornings, Australian time. Because I'm really dim, what time does that mean it'll be here? I don't have the brain capacity to work it out.
But... still plenty of good stuff in there too. Great set of backs.
TOMMY FUCKING BOWE!!!!!!!!!!
Means that they'll have to be in the match day 22 for every game. High risk. I'd have taken Hook
He covers 10, 12, 13 and 15. Madigan is behind Hook and Wilko IMO
And brings a youthful confidence which I feel this squad is lacking
Has he had an Ireland cap yet?
hodgson or hook would be a better back up
or one of the scotch blokes
wilko over farrell though really, as sunday so perfectly demonstrated in the presence of gatland
Doesn't suit Wilko's strong suit
& the grounds in france are so soggy...
He won a tournament there a decade ago.
The man himself said his knees aren't up to it.
Probably why he said no
Jonny Wilkinson has spoken of his immense disappointment at not being able to take up an offer to player for the British & Irish Lions this summer.
Coach Warren Gatland offered the former England fly-half the chance to tour Hong Kong & Australia but he had to turn it down due to a fixture clash between the date of the Lions' first game against the Barbarians and the culmination of the French domestic season - the Top 14 final - on June 1.
so gatland wasn't blind to it then
"Warren did mention the opportunity to come out to Australia as a replacement if needed," Wilkinson said. "I told him where I am at the moment, that there's a bit of day-to-day management where my body is concerned. I said that I would still be more than interested in having a chat nearer the time if needed. I'll see how I am at the end of the club season and if Warren needs me and I am able to get involved, that would be fabulous."
another strange pick as he has been out of form for both club & country this year
some people played themselves out of contention, did his injury keep him in contention?
But who instead? Lauchbury?
probably talking midweek team anyway
I think he's also a political pick as he's one of those players that people remember as being good, so he's an easy Scottish pick. I think Hamilton is a little unlucky and I was worried about lacking an enforcer in the locks but looking back there's Evans and AW who can both do that
but yeah, jim is another one for the hard yards, though launchbury had done enough to put himself above gray in terms of the speedy second row option
jackson & laidlaw are unlucky
ryan grant too
but think the biggest thinng is warburton at captain
as stated above he turned down the captaincy at wales' biggest game of the year & he is not guaranteed his test spot
poc would be my choice, his performance in the last two games of the hc showed exactly what was needed
presence, performance, reassurance, total respect from his players
warburton is good, but he isn't a lion captain yet for me (i mean i know he has been given it, but he wouldn;t have been picked as captain if it was not gatland picking, atleast woodward didn't pick an england player when he did his england heavy squad)
It won't have hurt the latter's chances that Gatland saw him do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7TWCyFGKpo
A lot more English than I thought there would be tbh. And four Welsh backrows just shows how obscene their talent pool is - the thing is, Warburton wouldn't even make their best line (which is surely Lydiate-Tipuric-Faletau).
Matt Stevens will play the Phil Vickery role of throwing the series by giving away penalties and getting carded.
And since the France game, and especially the last two HC games for Munster Conor Murray has been exceptional
If he played for Wales, he'd be on the plane.
4. O'Connell (c)
9. B Youngs
16. T Youngs
19. AW Jones
(Not sure if it's gonna be 22 or 23, if 22 then drop Vunipola)
and 5 English and 3 Welsh on the bench. Hard lines, Scotland.
They're his homeboys. Nailed on test starters
Though I was torn between Parling and Alun Wyn myself. And if AW makes the start, I think Richie Gray would make a better impact sub than Parling so it might not be a direct swap.
Alun Wyn IN. Geoff OUT. And we've got a Scot in the matchday squad!
Jones for Cole - Jones is the best tight head in the world
Warburton has to start
Falatau or heaslip - SOB on the bench
Phillips for youngs
Has a whiff of 2005 about it
The Lions will win 2-1
Gray maybe, Croft?
There is no way Stevens would've been picked if a Saracens coach wasn't on board
Bowe and Lydiate much as I respect and admire both players have been picked immediately after return from lengthy lay offs (same could've been said about Paulie if it wasn't for how fucking good he was against Quins and Clermont)
I've had a think about it. Sarries have been playing well, he is looking fresh and playing well. Covers both sides. Good bench option.
You and I agree on Croft being a crock of shit, but he does give a different option from Lydiate/SOB/Warbs at 6. Tom Wood must be gutted
Don't think it'll matter though
Are you saying there should have been a few bolters?
It's only the midweek team, fuck it
The mistake Sir Cliff aka Mason Verger made in 2005 was picking two squads, fucked up the dynamic straight away
as he has recently confessed himself
But yeah, the squad dissolved before the final test
that made a big difference
Went down under for that series and was at all three tests. For 120 mintes we battered them, then wilko threw that interception and the aussies cynically took out our best player (Hill) with an elbow to the face
And yet we still should've won the series
we're almost at that point in all lions tours discussions where we mention *that tackle*
always wanted to do a lions tour
But it has to be the best one
NZ to too cold and wet in June, Sa is full of Saffers
It's not got the bloated sense of self importance from that tour
No past it players being brought back into the fold
No clear bias
No 2 separate squads
i'd be over the moon if my club signed bod, but after a great start he had an average (poor by his standards) 6N
his defence is still brilliant, but he's lost that sparkle & is it just me or has he got injured every international he's played for the last two years (don't watch the rabopro12 or whatever it's called)
also lol at no clear bias
let us not forget that wales have a very poor record against australia, the enemy here
I'd love to see it. Best 37 players have been chosen. Wales won the 6 nations, therefore would always have had the majority
Wales record v Oz is irrelevant IMO
with wilkinson being a case in point, he was offered a place but turned it down
i don't think the record is irrelevant, it's those last two inches
none of the welsh team were playing, some of them not even born, since they last won in australia
Wilkinson was asked and said NO
If you can show me adequate replacements for any of the 15 Welshman in the squad, I'd be interested to see your workings
wilko was just one EXAMPLE
you said adequate replacements, but that would just be a question of naming any player in the 6N in that position, they would be adequate, wouldn't be the best though, so
tim visser over cuthbert
hamilton/ launchbury/ ryan over evans
robshaw over tipuric
(add almost anyone over hartley)
Visser is unlucky, but instead of Cuthbert??
Robshaw over Tipuric? Good one
Hamilton - nah, too many penalties. Launchbury is again unfortunate, but has apparently stated he is worn out. Ryan is not better than Evans
you said instead of welsh players
& yes robshaw over tipuric
where are you playing warburton, he's captain so has to start, robshaw can play six or seven
not sure why you are so down on him?
Robshaw is unlucky. In my book he should be ahead of Croft. But Wood should be ahead of robshaw and croft
Tipuric and Warbs are out and out 7's. You need to play one (or both) if you are to win the contact area. Oz rely on turnovers for quick ball to their fast backline. Lions to to nullify that. And as good a player Robshaw is, he is not a 7
not disagreeing on the turnover being the critical area
you may not like him but i see barnes has come out with this (he was a greatplayer though & knows his onions, remember that try for the lions started when he got the ball in his 22 above head height?)
"I personally think that Justin Tipuric is a little bit lucky to go. He does some great things. He is a headline No.7 and in time I think he will be wonderful. But is he really that much better than Robshaw over the ball, does he have that experience? I think the answer is no on both of those and I think Robshaw is unlucky to miss out. There has been a tide wave of media opinion that he wasn't going to go and that he shouldn't go and sometimes selectors are human as well and these factors come into it. I think if you asked: who is the unluckiest person in the British Isles and Ireland? I would say Chris Robshaw."
Is the day I start watching football
it was sarcastic in regards to the fact that Tipuric and Robshaw were not competing for the same spot in my eyes
i apologise for the offence
i have softened on him after speaking to him a few times post games, as a bristol supporter he was known to me as judas ever since he left us to go to that club down the road & so i had more reason than most to dislike him.
then he started coming to watch us a few years back, standing in the same part of the ground as us
Along with alot of their commentary team. Which, given that they have (had) teh rights to the premiership and european cup is understandable to an extent.
His comment about Tipuric/Robshaw is just daft. Tipuric has arguably been the best 7 in Europe this season, so was always going to go.
As I said before, Robshaw is more like a 6, but competition there is even fiercer
England may play a back row of all 6.5s but that's now how Gatland plays and that's why he's lost out.
Also if we look at Robshaw's two biggest games of late - vs Wales and vs Munster in the first Tipuric absolutely destroyed him and in the second he got owned by Munster's third choice blind side.
I think he'd be a great character to have in the tour but in personality stakes. In rugby terms, I can see why he's lost out (Croft may be annoymous but he is goodat lineouts)
hs last few games for quins have suffered
but look at his england performances over the season
dont forget tipuric was having an arm chair ride & robshaw wason the back foot for the last game & robshaw did pretty well imo given that
I'll give you Hartley, but the other three, you couldn't be wronger
Robshaw over Tipuric, someone get me a chair
Wilkinson kicks a couple of penalties and suddenly he's the greatest player in the world again
in the semi final
if you watched it
ireland - 28.6% success 4 wins
england - 26.3% success 5 wins
scotland - 18.2% success 2 wins
wales - 14.3% success 2 wins
scotland 5/6/12 6-9 in hunter stadium, newcastle - games played since then - zero
ireland 17/9/11 6-15 in eden park, auckland (nz) - games played since then - zero
england 19/6/10 20-21 telstra stadium, sydney - games played since then - zero
many years pass
wales 18/6/87 21-22 rotorua stadium, rotarua (nz) - games played since then - nine
going with players he knows/ trusts based on results in the 6N/ RWC
He paid no attention to the 6 nations from that season. Wales won a slam that year if you remember. Hill and Back had retired from international rugby. Dawson, Greenwood, Robinson were shadows of their former selves. Wilkinson was injured and hadn't played for a year. All of those (bar Wilko) were over 30
This squad is very young, especially the Welsh contingent. Only the props are over 30, and the backs are under 25. The only injury worry is Lydiate, and I'd accept him as a valid player to have been missing.
i'm english! ;-)
nevertheless, he went players he knew/ trusted
(& he almost killed the lions)
I can see Gatland has favourites and I can see issues with that, but in his defence they won the 6N this year. Woodward took a load of trusted lieutenants 2 years past their best. He gave Steve Borthwick Lions caps for gawd's sake!
the aussie press seem to have picked up on it
say we left best scrum half at home, call warburton over-rated whilst being impressed with poc (who should have been captain)
& more often that deans will
this is their media
their own kiwi reject does seem a rather bizarre thing to do
4 wins in the last 12 games (5 if you include one against a provincial team)
the loss at home to samoa with a team containing 10 lions was only 6 months ago
that cant be irrelevant
wales are not a team of world beaters & the lions needs a blend of all countries to really work
regardless of who makes the test team i will be shouting them on (especially as there are no bath players)
Scotland and Ireland certainly aren't either.
And what have England done of note beyonda New Zealand team with the shits? An Australian team in rank form made England look pretty ordinary last time out.
Yeah, there's an overrealiance on Welsh players because they're Gatty's trusted men, but they're also in top form, they won the 6N. There are issues with the number of Welsh, but historic results are utterly meaningless really and I'm deeply confused by how much stock you're placing in them.
Lions do need a blend of nationalities but when it's forced it's a disaster. I'm not over enamroured by the squad selection, but as long as the test team is picked on form, it won't matter
how recent are you going with form?
also wondering about the centre selection, only 1 12 of the ones named, will they switch one of the 13's in? i mean he has to try the combinations out to give them time to get used to each other, but were there really no other 12s that could be selected?
farrell could play there but with only 2 10's that's out
so is roberts nailed on at 12, or will someone like bod switch?
of note? well they have got rid of johnno as coach
that has to count ;-)
3 A Jones
5 AW Jones
allowing for injuries etc during the opening games
Dan's a great player but he's only played 2 games both in the RABO all season!
I put that post title and then ignored it! This is my starting XV
SOB is definitely part of the match day 23, but surely a bench/impact player who covers 6, 7 and 8?
but from sporting life 'An early poll on Australia's chances of winning the series in the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that Wallabies' fans shared such concern, with 55 per cent suggesting the Lions would triumph.'
that doesn't even look real - more like something done with movie wires for exaggerated effect
You look tired
1) There's an ESPN fantasy team thing for this, they're always fun (though this one's a little different).
But most importantly, 2) no way is Hartley gonna be touring now. So who'll be coming in d'ya think? Gotta be Rory, no?
In other news, Karney may be a doubt as it sounds like he's pulled a hamstring warming up before the Pro 12 final.
That's a shame, I like Kearney a lot, and he's really been getting back to his Lions best of late.
It does provide an opportunity to see if my "the first call-up for an injured back will be a flyhalf, whatever position the injured player was" theory holds any water though. A theory that arguably warrants a more catchy name...
Though we can all remember the Parisse farce in the 6Ns where the ref ended up looking like a prize cock. Wayne Barnes has form for looking like a tool when everything plays out so Dylan may yet be on the plane.
Extra worry for Gatland as Tom Youngs ability to hit his jumpers goes up in smoke again. Best's throwing in was dodgy for most of the year too so we could be left with a terrible line out if Hibberd picks up a knock.
Ben Youngs can't pass but they knew that and picked him anyway.
Dan Cole's scrummaging has looked better for a couple of weeks now. Must finally be getting over the inevitable damage inflicted by that tool Healy.
Unless he successfully appeals. 11 week ban and no Lions tour. What an absolute plonker.
rather than the ref, right through to the end.
so couldn't get any reception...which meant we had no clue why hartley had been sent off until we were on our way out of the stadium. It's bullshit being the last to know what happened in the key moment of a game you're at. ANYWAY by all accounts there's footage of him saying it directly to Barnes' face?
P.S personally not unhappy that someone called Barnes a bellend to his face, just wish it was someone who was less of a bellend themselves than dylan hartley
he clearly said it at youngs, why you call the ref a cheat? how can a ref cheat?
a player on the other hand, especially one that is being held back because of it at the moment the red card is being presented to that twat, they can cheat easily
let's not forget which club youngs plays for either, they have more previous at doing this than hartley does at being a muppet
first off, a punch/elbow to Farrell's face
can't send a 10 off for standing up to a punch from a hooker.
game was never going to be the start of the cheap shots. Would be surprised if we didn't start to see guys having a pop at Jones, Cole, Sexton and Roberts from Wednesday's game onwards.
Cracking first half.
Injury to Robinson looks a bit nasty. Out cold before he hit the ground. At least he was conscious when being stretchered off.
The sort of game that was needed, too; a proper contest unlike Wednesday's game, which was a bit of a waste of time.
Kick chase was poor, there was some terribly clumsy stuff at the breakdown, a few players lacked a bit of mental sharpness.
Got to admire the Reds for the way they ran at us.
Vunipola, North and O'Connell as a sub.
Bowe's injury, Lack of attacking penetration from the back row and locks, Cuthbert looking like he was in a daze in defence.
Still that is the end of the really scratch Lion's sides. Need to start pulling together some cohesion, starting on Tuesday.
Love morning sport. 9am-11am is the optimum time to take in something from the couch.
I think if North had landed that second it would've been a romp. All credit to Aus for getting back into it, their record in tight games is very impressive. Thought the game deserved a better ending than that kick, really felt for Beale, especially after his off field issues.
The scrum fell apart without Corbs and AWJ but given the issues what the hell were Heaslip and Youns doing at the end?! That said once Youngs came on Sexton absolutely sang. Phillips was v poor. Also thought Warburton and Croft were pretty anonymous
Murray, the Lions, Froomey to do the business in the Tour de France later. so proud.
I was surprised by the margin of victory given how close the other two tests had been. Excellent performance, though, particularly in the scrum, and they didn't panic when Australia brought it back to 16 - 19. Halfpenny's just excellent, isn't he?
If he didn't drop O'Driscoll then we could have won the series.
Congrats to the Aussies, but all they had to do was turn up.
Considering the gap in quality, a 2-1 series win is probably par for the course, but to put 40 points on the Aussies in a decider, when the momentum seemed to be going away from the Lions after a storming opening 20 minutes, is hugely impressive. Massive games from Corbisiero and Adam Jones up front and Sexton, Roberts and Halfpenny in the backs.