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Monday, June 08, 2009

Ian Mcgeechan adamant the Test side is still undecided

Ian Mcgeechan adamant the Test side is still undecided

British & Irish Lions coach Ian McGeechan is keeping mum about his Test team plans for the upcoming matches against the Springboks. He says that nothing in planned yet, as they're currently working on combinations.

The Lions have won all three matches on tour so far, but with differing results and totally different starting fifteens on each outing.

On two of the three occasions, theyve come close to losing, despite a few impressive individual displays. James Hook is one player who stood out for the experienced coach. He is now the leading points scorer on tour.

I thought James kicked us really well and helped us win the game. In fact in the three games to date, our goal-kickers have been significant.

But I also thought James played well in general and gave us a chance to play in the right areas, the Lions coach said.

Geech has stated that its unlikely that his starting fifteen will play as a unit before the first Test, keeping his players on their toes, testing combinations, and keeping the opposition in the dark.

"The main thing was to get everyone playing in those first three games," McGeechan said. "Now, in the next three games it is to look at combinations.

"There are some risks, but I think what we get out of it as a squad far outweighs that.

"The only other way of doing it is you separate the teams and you say to half the squad 'You are not going to be involved in a Test match,' and I am not prepared to do that."



British & Irish Lions team to play the Sharks in Durban on Wednesday:
15. Lee Byrne 14. Shane Williams 13. Brian O'Driscoll 12. Jamie Roberts 11. Luke Fitzgerald 10. Ronan O'Gara 9. Mike Phillips 8. Jamie Heaslip 7. David Wallace 6. Tom Croft 5. Paul O'Connell 4. Alun-Wyn Jones 3. Adam Jones 2. Lee Mears 1. Gethin Jenkins
Replacements: 16. Matthew Rees 17. Phil Vickery 18. Simon Shaw 19. Joe Worsley 20. Mike Blair 21. Riki Flutey 22. Leigh Halfpenny

Posted at 9:43 pm | 55 comments

Viewing 55 comments

Leinster fan 4 life June 08, 2009 8:37 pm

15. Lee Byrne 14. Shane Williams 13. Brian O'Driscoll 12. Jamie Roberts 11. Luke Fitzgerald 10. Ronan O'Gara
9. Mike Phillips 8. Jamie Heaslip 7. David Wallace 6. Tom Croft 5. Paul O'Connell 4. Alun-Wyn Jones
3. Adam Jones 2. Lee Mears 1. Gethin Jenkins
This is the test team without mabye Murray and Bowe but otherwise its spot on

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Paul Gormley June 08, 2009 8:40 pm

1.jenkins
2.mears.
3.murray
4.jones
5. o connell
6.ferris
7.wallace
8.heaslip
9.philips
10.jones
11.monye
12.roberts
13.o driscoll
14.bowe
15.byrne

now that is the staring 15 for the 20th. no doubt

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Simon June 08, 2009 8:44 pm

I wonder if he's going to keep playing Williams until he finds his head...so far, it's been dismal, but I think everyone knows what the little winger is capable of.

Nice to see ROG again; hopefully, he can do some good.

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themull June 08, 2009 9:00 pm

How much is Williams paying him to keep playing him??

Lasst few performances have only warranted him a subs place so I dont see why he should be starting...

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Ben Kirby June 08, 2009 9:41 pm

What does Geech have against Kearney is what i want to know.
This is Lee Byrnes third match so far and hes given Keanrey 1 and hes not even on the bench for this game. So far Kearney has impressed me more than Byrne.

Hes faster, runs just as good lines, better under a high ball
(only marginally) and is much better in defense and he has a better boot on him.

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Anonymous June 08, 2009 10:11 pm

What does Williams have to do to not get picked?

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cheyanqui June 08, 2009 10:25 pm

Got to agree that Byrne and Williams are below expectations.

I would also say Kearney and Bowe are playing above expectations.

Also, couple that with their strong play under the high ball (part. Kearney), and I think they deserve to wear the starting jumper until someone takes it away.

The high ball will be particularly important when you factor 2 of the 3 tests will be at altitude (JoBurg and Pretoria)

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HKboy June 08, 2009 11:22 pm

I think we should play Sheridan, as with an unexpierenced tighhead for the boks, he could potentially cause a nightmare for Smit but at the same time, I think Jenkins should play as well... what does everyone think about the idea of moving Gethin to tighthead? as on his wikipedia page it does say he can play either head.

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Fark June 08, 2009 11:56 pm

Williams is easily the best winger out there. One good game and he'll start the tests regardless of other wingers form, simple as that.

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Anonymous June 09, 2009 12:00 am

I cant believe people are putting kearney infront of byrne (obv irish supporters). Byrne is far superior in every aspect of the game.

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Mark June 09, 2009 12:55 am

Fark,willaims might be the best winger out there if he was playing like he was a year or two ago,but the truth is he hasn't been performing at all.bowe and halfpenny etc are having far better seasons and deserve test places more.Paul Gormley's test team looks good,although fitzgerald could sneak in ahead of monye if he plays well this week

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Anonymous June 09, 2009 2:01 am

cheyanqui how exactly does the altitude affect the high ball?
And your clearly irish with those views.

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cheyanqui June 09, 2009 3:08 am

I guess the altitude doesn't affect garryowens as much. Thinking aloud really. Point taken.

And actually, I really like the way Byrne and Shane Williams play. I just don't think they are currently playing up to snuff.

However, it may be an issue of "upstream backs" (i.e. 10-12-13) needing time to gel so that they can put Shane into space. I noticed he hasn't gotten the ball as cleanly as he's used to.

I will also admit that Byrne is superior to Kearney in terms of kick from hand. Kearney is a great catcher of the ball, but he's not "better" than Byrne kicking it.

As for reading people's background in their commentary, I am about as "Irish" Waisale Serevi.

Perhaps sign with something than anonymous. Should I assume you are Greek?

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jamestheconvict June 09, 2009 7:11 am

as if he doesnt know

biggest b*llshit artist around

Lions are going to get their arses handed to em

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Scotsdale June 09, 2009 8:13 am

Yeah, as much as our friend jamestheconvict likes to cause trouble and rip into the NH on here, I think he has a point.

Most international coaches have their big game team set out in their heads (and on paper) months before the first test. They HAVE to have an idea. Sure everyone is different and has their own methods, but I'm not sure I believe Geech.

I know Jake White for example, had his preferred 15 set out about two years before the WC final.. and simply allowed for minor tweaks due to injury or youngters (francois steyn) coming through.

So, yeah, I think Mcgeechan must know his 15 at this stage, particularly after three matches.

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Anonymous June 09, 2009 9:02 am

1.Sheidan
2.Mears
3.A Jones
4.AW JOnes
5.POC
6.Ferris
7.Wallace
8.Heaslip
9.Phillips
10.Hook
11.Monye/Fitzgerald
12.Roberts
13.BOD
14.Bowe
15.Byrne

16.Rees
17.Jenkins
18.O'Callaghan
19.Croft
20.O'Gara
21.Fitzgarld/Monye
22.Kearney

I would like to see Kearney start but i dont know if thats going to happen. Also Williams isn't performing I love watching him play but at the moment he isn't

Conor

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Kearney for tests June 09, 2009 10:08 am

I have to agree with the other comments about Kearney. Only playing one match out of four, and playing it very well, while Byrne is doing well, but nothing more, seems a bit unfair. And for people who say that Byrne is better than him in every way, Kearney is by a mile the best player under a high ball in world rugby. Did you not see Byrne in the last match drop an easy one that nearly cost them the match at the end? Kearney would never do that. And didn't Byrne do that against SA in November at the end when Wales had time for one last attack?

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Fintan June 09, 2009 10:10 am

just echoing what someone else has said about byrne ands kearney. as an irishman i prefer kearney but byrne is better than kearney in just about about everything. also im looking forward to see croft play tomorrow because apart from being sin binned i think ferris has been excellent.

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Marts June 09, 2009 10:18 am

1.Jenkins
2.Mears
3.Murray
4.Hines
5.POC
6.Ferris
7.Williams
8.Heaslip
9.Phillips
10.Jones
11.Monye
12.Roberts
13.BOD
14.Bowe
15.Byrne

16.Ford
17.Sheridan
18.A W Jones
19.Croft
20.Ellis
21.Hook
22.Kearney

Shane Williams is living on past glories and if we are going on form (like Geech seesm to be doing so far), then he won't get near the test team.

Stil not sure why Kearney isn't getting more game time? Maybe he wil play again on Saturday?

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goodNumber10 June 09, 2009 10:23 am

is anyone else getting tired of the constant trolling by certain members of the Munster fan Club?

Kearney is being rested, he'll get his chance on Saturday.

Lets not forget Byrne has had to play two games behind below average backlines, he deserves the chance to play n BOD's shoulder and kearney can have a jog out behind a less then ideal center pairing of Fitz and co......

This is a lions tour not a Munster tour so is there any chance you guys could at least stay objective and moan once the test sides been announced?

You're supposed to be supporting the lions not waving the Munster flag.

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David June 09, 2009 10:23 am

Shane maybe, although he hasn't played that well he hasn't had a decent midfield inside him, so this is perhaps his last chance to impress. I got the feeling that his intercepted pass came because he'd been starved of any opportunity for so long and he just tried to force something, this is his last chance, on form he is after all, lethal.
Kearney has done nothing wrong, but to say he's better than lee byrne is a bit much i think!

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Hackney Griffin June 09, 2009 11:06 am

The Kearney brigade on this blog are living in an alternative reality (a red and green hued one). There is no better player under the high ball than Byrne. Watching the last game in an Irish pub (the Auld Sheilelagh on Church Street) and not a single viewer could belive he dropped that ball - it just doesn't happen. What's more he is in a different league from any other player in world rugby when it comes to claiming kicks under pressure/in competition.

As an Englishman I was amazed Kearney got the nod ahead of Armitage (although fairly relieved as I think Delon is crucial to any chances England have of claiming the series win against Argentina - while Byrne would always be my Lions pick).

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Hackney Griffin June 09, 2009 11:09 am

I also don't subscribe to the notion that McGeech has his test team inked in. Sure the centers are picking themselves, as have the half backs. And Bowe looks set.

But Fitzgerald or Monye? Sheridan or Jenkins? Vickery or Murray? AWJ or Hines? Wallace or Williams? Ferris or Croft?

The performances these players put in in the next two matches will determine who starts (injuries aside).

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Anonymous June 09, 2009 11:41 am

Good question re Kearny. Nothing against Bryne, in fact I think he's been consistent, I don't recall seeing Kearny.
My team will look like:
1.) Jenkins
2.) Mears
3.) Murray
4.) Hines
5.) POC
6.) Ferris
7.) Croft
8.) Heaslip
9.) Philipps
10.) Jones
11.) Monye
12.) Flutey/Roberts
13.) BOD
14.) Bowe
15.) Byrne
16.) Vickery
17.) Ford
18.) AW Jones
19.) Worsely
20.) Ellis
21.) Jones (or Flutey)
22.) ??? Luke Fitzgerald/ Kearny

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Anonymous June 09, 2009 12:56 pm

1. Jenkins
2. Mears
3. Murray
4. Jones
5. POC
6. Ferris
7. Wallace
8. Heaslip
9. Philips
10. ROG
11. Fitzgerald
12. Roberts
13. BOD
14. Bowe
15. Byrne

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Anonymous June 09, 2009 1:04 pm

Cant leave someone like jenkins out, 16 tackles a game is a norm for the guy, sheridan gets no-where near that number !

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dr June 09, 2009 1:40 pm

If I were one of the other wingers out there I would be seriously pissed off at williams continous selection, seemingly irrespective of his continous dreadful play.
Not only has he been absent for large parts of matches but when he has tried to get involved he has be a weakness and even a liability to the rest of the team.
I cant work out why he is being given special rights. Is it his sad little face?

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mark June 09, 2009 2:30 pm

"is anyone else getting tired of the constant trolling by certain members of the Munster fan Club?"
"This is a lions tour not a Munster tour so is there any chance you guys could at least stay objective and moan once the test sides been announced?
You're supposed to be supporting the lions not waving the Munster flag."

Who said anything about munster or a munster player in this thread?!kearney plays for leinster.
they're both brilliant players but i think lee byrne is slightly better than kearney at every aspect of the game,including under the high ball.those who don't agree probably don't watch lee byrne much

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H June 09, 2009 2:57 pm

"Cant leave someone like jenkins out, 16 tackles a game is a norm for the guy, sheridan gets no-where near that number !"

In fairness, Sheridan makes plenty of tackles, just never on anyone who has the ball...

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goodNumber10 June 09, 2009 3:03 pm

Mark, sorry i actually meant Irish - tired and had a long day.

The unobjectivity of it all, It's like the leicester fans on the 606 forums =D

Kearny will get his chance to play, geech jut wants to see byrne outside BOD thats all.

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Kearney for tests June 09, 2009 3:31 pm

This is actually outrageous! How can people say Byrne is better than Kearney under a high ball? If you say he runs better lines or something, then at least you can have some credibility, but Byrne knocked on at the vital moment in that match, and Kearney never, ever, drops balls. I admit Kearney hasn't been counterattacking very well for the last while, but he is without a shadow of a doubt the best player under a high ball in the world.

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Donkey Punch June 09, 2009 3:42 pm

cheyanqui said...

"However, it may be an issue of "upstream backs" (i.e. 10-12-13) needing time to gel so that they can put Shane into space. I noticed he hasn't gotten the ball as cleanly as he's used to."

Funnily enough although the "upstream backs" as you put it mightent have gelled it didn't seem to effect bowe or monye scorning tries or any of the other wingers playing well. stop looking for excuses williams is playing shit. i'd prefer to see him playing well but the team should be picked on form not reputation

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What was he thinking June 09, 2009 3:47 pm

Does anybody else think that some of the players picked for this tour are just crap? I mean Andy Powell proved himself to be a Chabal in the Six Nations and couldn't even get his game for Cardiff. And Matthew Rees is no good as a hooker. I mean you'd think after all this time playing rugby that he'd be able to throw the ball straight for God's sake. Even Bernard Jackman is better than Rees. I've never seen Joe Worsley play well, except at tackling, Shane Williams has been useless all year, and Simon Shaw is a complete has-been. I actually should have been in charge of selection for this.

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Paul Gormley June 09, 2009 5:24 pm

dont agree atal with ben kirby when he think kearney is better than byrne? i cannot remember a single break from kearney in the 6 nations, he was just extremely solid. and im a limerick man born and bred and this isn an anti leinster rant! byrne is a much better player. also i guarantee you byrne and kearney will have played the same amount of warm up games before the 20th. and thanks mark!
re the good number 10, am i think if you type in rob kearney into google u will find he is indeed NOT a munster player! typical of your shit from the last lions post as well

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Anonymous June 09, 2009 5:27 pm

agree with the above comment except about Shane Williams. He could be the difference between winning and losing these tests and people should not forget what he did to the Boks last summer with a weak welsh team.

HUGHT

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Anonymous June 09, 2009 5:36 pm

Shane, BOD and Hook are the only real individual game winners. Dont give me crap about Monye being quick, so what? Habana and peterson are quicker. Monye is the less talented Habana.

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David June 09, 2009 5:37 pm

In Shane's case i think Geech is giving him one more chance with a decent midfield.
they'll judge him, but when he can actually get some decent ball.

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Paul Gormley June 09, 2009 6:43 pm

i cannot believe ferris is out, what a sickner he was in incredible form

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Kearney for tests June 09, 2009 8:09 pm

I can't believe this. First O'Leary, who arguably would have got in ahead of Philips, then Flannery, who is the only hooker in Britain and Ireland who can throw the ball straight, then Quinlan got cited, and now Ferris, Europe's best blindside. I don't see the tests going well.

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Donkey Punch June 09, 2009 8:16 pm

well o leary and quinlan were never goin to make the 1st 15 quinlan not even the 22 but certainly flannery and ferris are huge losses

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con bons June 09, 2009 8:34 pm

i dont rate hook at all as much as most comment here...a previous comment said he was a game winner but in all the games i have seen him in i have seen him play really well but not a game winner i dont think well not in the same level as BOD or williams. i think jones coming in for ferris could be a good thing aswel...

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Ted June 09, 2009 8:40 pm

With Ferris out I guess they'll have to play Croft now - not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion. And with Jones now with the party too, at least they have some decne tcover at 8 in case Heaslip picks up an injury.

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Mark Rooney June 09, 2009 9:26 pm

test team will be
1.Jenkins
2.Mears
3.Sheridan
4.A.W.Jones
5.P.O'Connel
6.T.Croft
7.M Williams
8.J.Healslip
9.M.Philips
10.R'OGara
11.L. Fitzgerald
12.R.Roberts
13. Not even going to mention his name
14.T.Bowe
15.L.Byrne
16.M.Rees
17.P.Vickery
18.N.Hines
19.J.Woresly
20.H.Ellis
21.J.Hook
22.R Kearney

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Mark Rooney June 09, 2009 9:28 pm

My mistake, D.Wallace instead of J.Woresly for no 19.

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goodNumber10 June 09, 2009 10:35 pm

"re the good number 10, am i think if you type in rob kearney into google u will find he is indeed NOT a munster player! typical of your shit from the last lions post as well"

Typically you don't read the post where i said i meant Ireland and not munster.

Typical trolling from you agian.

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themull June 09, 2009 10:48 pm

Big blow to lose Ferris as he wass playing extremely well.....I fear for Croft in the test mathces as I dont think he is physical enough to match up with the Boks back row....I hope he proves me wrong but on present form he is more suited to a free flowing open game, which the tests will not be...

The other alternitive would be to play Wallace instead of him but Wallace hasnt been playing out of his skin lately either, just solid performences...

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goodNumber10 June 10, 2009 6:34 am

The Mull, Lots of rugby press had Wallace down as a possible 8 for the test series, so not impossible for him to move to 6.

I think Worsley will be the most likely step in at 6 - his best position, and Croft will be on the bench to cover back 5.

Geech and Gat's will want to keep the backrow physical and fast, and although not playing that well right now, Worsley can do a similar job to Richard Hill in the 97 lions, by shutting down the blindside.

IMO, the best and most balanced backrow will be, 6: Worsley, 7: Wallace, 8: Heaslip

With Croft and Williams on the bench to cover all events.

Real Shame Ferris is out.

But i really can't see Williams playing openside as Wallace is just immense in the contact, always getting over the gainline - he's really a quite exceptional talent.

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themull June 10, 2009 7:53 am

The only thing is though No 10 that Williams is much better at stealing ball and upsetting opposition ball come ruck time than either Wallace or Worsely adn fromt eh first three games this is an are which really needs to be adddressed...But in picking WIlliams then he give up the physsicality of the otehrs....

Personally I'd agree with you but I've a feeling Geech will go with Williams...

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Jacques June 10, 2009 9:29 am

All of you are just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. 3 zip.

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Anonymous June 10, 2009 10:15 am

might sound like a strange question but was at a funeral yesterday and never got the news of ferris till now!! what happened to him??

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Kearney for tests June 10, 2009 11:08 am

A funeral? That is strange. He twisted his knee in training.

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themull June 10, 2009 4:51 pm

strained or tore his medial ligament in his knee at training...

Went for a scan that afternoon and turns out he'll be out for about 4-6 weeks I think...

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Colum Leen June 11, 2009 1:05 pm

sheridan has to be their,for his scrummaging alone.he can be a bit lazy in open play,but on form he's one of the best tightheads in the world.he'd put huge pressure on the 'boks scrum,which would deny them good ball.
the out-half position is also intriguing.ROG,on his day,is definitely the best,though he is unrelible.Jones is the most consistent,and Hook is the most exciting.you'd have to pick ROG though,cos if the game isnt going well,his ability to put the ball in the corners is unreal
finally,Kearney is by far the best player in world rugby under the high ball,but in every other aspect,byrne is superior.he runs better lines,is abetter tackler,an
1.Sheriand is a better tactical kicker(although kearney has a huge boot).and i'm irish
2.Mears
3.Murray
4.A-W Jones
5.O'Connell
6.Wallace
7.Williams
8.Heaslip
9.Phillips
10.ROG
11.Fitzgerald
12.Roberts
13.BOD
14.Bowe
15.Byrne

16.Ford
17.Vickery
18.Hines
19.Croft
20.Blair
21.Jones
22.Williams

p.s.Ellis is possibly the worst scrum-half to ever wear a lions jersey.

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Colum Lenn June 11, 2009 1:14 pm

got a bit mixed up their!i meant to say that byrne is a better tactical kicker,not sheridan!

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Colum Leen June 11, 2009 1:15 pm

and then i spell my name wrong

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