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Thursday, July 26, 2012

A look back at the successful 1997 British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa

There's just under a year to go until the next British & Irish Lions tour, which as we all know will take place in Australia. Total Rugby recently took a look back at what happened on the last successful Lions tour, which was 15 years ago in South Africa.

As with the 2009 tour, The British & Irish Lions of 1997 travelled to South Africa to take on the World Champions in their own backyard. The series will always be remembered for that moment of brilliance from Jeremy Guscott, a late dropgoal that sealed the win in the second Test.

"The Lions have provided most of my best moments in rugby, but that 1997 tour will always have pride of place. Nothing I could ever do will match the achievement of that tour, even if you rolled up all the Grand Slams, cup finals and league titles into one," Guscott said.

"If you'd seen me spraying drop-kicks all over the pitch in training during the previous week off the outside of my foot, off the inside of my foot, off the end of my toes you would have bet as much money on me putting it over as you would on a one-legged man in a backside-kicking competition.

"The moment is frozen in time in my memory. Probably because freezing was what was most on my mind. As the ball drifted towards me through the arc of the floodlights everything seemed to happen in slow-motion. I prayed it wouldn't miss. I prayed it wouldn't be charged down.

"The sense of elation I felt when I eventually looked up and saw the drop soar between the posts will stay with me forever," he added.

In 2013 the Lions face a different challenge as they take on the Wallabies, a team currently ranked 2nd in the world. As we saw with a strong Wales side recently, it will be tight, but at the end of the series it's the results that matter.

With the correct management team and player selection, the 2013 British & Irish Lions will have a good chance, but as Fran Cotton and Jim Telfer explain in the video below, to win a Lions series down south you have to have everything working for you, including the mental edge.

- What is your favourite memory from the 1997 tour?
- If you could pick the 2013 Lions side today, who would you choose?

Posted by Rugbydump at 7:56 am | View Comments (41)

Lions Memories - Selection

Looking back at the Lions' series win in South Africa in 1997

Lions Memories - The Captain

Brian Lima knocks himself out with crunching hit - 1997

Friday Funnies - Jim Telfers 'Speak English'

Richard Cockerill stands up to the Haka in 1997

Behind the scenes - British & Irish Lions Tour 1997 vs Natal

David Knox does a Hollywood, sending Os off in 1997

Viewing 41 comments

WelshOsprey July 26, 2012 1:20 pm

1- Gethin Jenkins
2- Ross Ford
3- Adam Jones
4- Alyn Wyn Jones
5- Richie Gray
6- Dan Lydiate
7- Justin Tipuric
8- Jamie Heaslip
9- Ben Youngs
10- Owen Farrell
11- George North
12- Manu Tuilagi
13- Brian O'Driscoll (c)
14- Tommy Bowe
15- Rob Kearney

That'd be my team on current form anyway

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BarryT July 26, 2012 1:24 pm

1. Cian Healy
2. Ross Ford
3. Dan Cole
4. Paul O'Connell
5. Richie Gray
6. Sam Warburton
7. Sean O'Brien
8. Jamie Heaslip
9. Ben Youngs
10. Johnny Sexton
11. George North
12. Manu Tuilagi
13. Brian O'Driscoll
14. Leigh Halfpenny
15. Rob Kearney

Picking the backrow was the toughest part, gonna be an interesting selection!

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Steve July 26, 2012 1:54 pm

1. Cian Healy
2. Ross Ford
3. Adam Jones
4. Alyn Wyn Jones
5. Richie Gray
6. Ferris or O'Brien (I think Ferris if he's on form and not injured)
7. Warburton or Tipuric
8. Toby Faletau
9. Ben Youngs
10. Jonny Sexton
11. George North
12. Jamie Roberts (if he gets back on form) otherwise probably Tuilagi
13. Brian O'Driscoll (if he's still going by then!)
14. Tommy Bowe
15. Rob Kearney

OK maybe a couple aren't based on form today as such but I'd love to see Roberts/O'Driscoll in centre again

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GunshowMckenzie July 26, 2012 3:06 pm

1. Cian Healy (Gethin's great too, think Healy's a better ball carrier).
2. Ross Ford (everyone else is saying Ross Ford, I think hooker's up for grabs)
3. Adam Jones
4. Alun Wyn Jones (maybe Luke Charteris)
5. Richie Gray
6. Dan Lydiate (Welsh bias! Hard choice, could see Ferris or O'Brien starting potentially)
7. Sam Warburton (on form, if not O'Brien or Tipuric)
8. Ryan Jones or Ben Morgan (Faletau anonymous in Aus I thought, Heaslip is good too)
9. Ben Youngs (Mike Phillips if you want someone to start incidents!)
10. Johnny Sexton
11. George North
12. Manu Tuilagi (Jamie Roberts if on form, think he's better defensively)
13. Jon Davies (controversial, but I really rate him. O'Driscoll possibly)
14. Tommy Bowe
15. Rob Kearney or Leigh Halfpenny, both playing really well.

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Welshlad July 26, 2012 3:48 pm

Some very tough choices and if fitness and form allow I would go for :

15. L Halfpenny (Wales)
14. G North (Wales)
13. B O Driscoll (if still playing!) (Ireland)
12. M Tuilangi (England)
11. T Bowe (Ireland)
10. O Farrell (England)
9. B Youngs (England)
1. G Jenkins (Wales)
2. M Rees (Wales)
3. A Jones (Wales)
4. R Gray (Scotland)
5. P O'Connell (c) (Ireland)
6. D Lydate (Wales)
7. S Warburton (Wales)
8. D Denton (Scotland)

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Mask498 July 26, 2012 3:48 pm

1. Gethin Jenkins
2. Ross Ford
3. Adam Jones
4. Richie Gray
5. Courtney Laws
6. Sean o Brien
7. Sam Warburton /
8. Dave Denton
9. Mike Phillips
10. Toby Flood
11. George North
12. Jame Roberts
13.Manu Tuilagi
14. Left Field but should be a definite on the trip Tim Visser
15. Rob Kearney or leigh Halfpenny.

Relatively Young team with a few experienced heads around. A few surpises for most people but thats my suggestion.

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Bowhay July 26, 2012 4:26 pm

1. Cian Healy
2. Ross Ford
3. Adam Jones
4. Alyn Wyn Jones
5. Richie Gray
6. Sean O'Brien
7. Sam Warburton
8. David Denton (great ball-carrier)
9. Ben Youngs
10. Jonny Sexton
11. George North
12. Manu Tuilagi
13. Brian O'Driscoll
14. Tim Visser (great finisher)
15. Rob Kearney

Bit of Scottish bias but this team could do well

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roryboy99 July 26, 2012 4:53 pm

1.Gethin Jenkins
2.Ross Ford
3.Mike Ross
4.Richie Gray (My HERO)
5. Paul O'connel
6.Stephen Ferris
7.Chris Robshaw
8.David Denton(My OTHER HERO)
9.Chris Cusiter(He has lots of experience)
10. Johnathan Sexton
11.George North
12.Manu Tuilagi
13. Brian O'Driscoll
14.Tim Visser
15.Leigh Halfpenny

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stroudos July 27, 2012 11:23 am

You're not Scottish by any chance are you Rory!? Not that I'd object to the Scottish players you mention - in fact Gray and Denton are conspicuous by their absence in the majority of the other picks on here so far.

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roryboy99 July 27, 2012 11:39 am

Yes I am Scottish and I realize I may be a bit bias towards them but I think this team could do well in Australia.

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Reality July 26, 2012 6:51 pm

I'm going to go for an Irish-centred team, but I actually think they're the best players; I'm not meaning to be biased:

1. Cian Healy - best loosehead in the world in my opinion; can do everything excellently
2. Rory Best - has been simply fantastic since the WC, and there's no one else decent in Britain or Ireland anyway
3. Adam Jones/Dan Cole
4. Richie Grey
5. Paul O'Connell - assuming that he's not injured
6. Ferris - by far the best in Europe; Dan Lydiate is actually inferior in every way
7. Robshaw - I don't think he's great, but Warburton has been a bit crap, and who else is there?
8. Heaslip/Morgan - Heaslip has been very good lately after a bad patch; Morgan is a bit of a donkey, but he's effective

9. Mike Philips
10. Sexton - Farrell had a good first few games, but he's not Sexton, and neither is Flood
11. North/Bowe
12. Roberts - if he's on form
13. Tuilagi
14. Bowe/North
15. Kearney - the thought of Halfpenney playing there and being better than Kearney is just laughable to me

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Eggman July 26, 2012 7:04 pm

1 Cian Healy
2 Rory Best
3 Dan Cole (Adam Jones seems to be past his best, so I'd probably give Cole the nod. Close one though
4 Richie Gray
5 O'Connol / Allyn Wyn Jones (depending on injuries, tending towards O'Connel though
6 Sean O'Brien or Ferris, depending on form. Both on the tour though, one as replacement
7 Warburton if fit, otherwise Robshaw. However plays should be captain
8 Falatau or Morgan, depending on Six Nations form

9 Ben Youngs
10 Johnny Sexton
11 George North
12 Roberts if fit, otherwise Tuilagi
13 O'Driscol if fit, otherwise Tuilagi
14 Cuthbert
15 Kearney. The only reason I'd give Halfpenny the nod over Kearney is his kicking. However Sexton's already a fantastic kicker. I might choose Halfpenny if both Sexton and Farrel were to be injured (very unlikely though)

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Canadian content July 26, 2012 9:19 pm

15 Kearney, Foden, Scottish boy
14 Visser (has to be, ask Fiji) Ashton
13 BOD or Manu (maybe a dethroning?)
12 I'd play Manu here, Scott Williams, Jamie Roberts
10 Sexton, Welsh boy
11 North, Cuthbert
9 Blair, Youngs, Phillips
8 Denton, Heaslip, Obrien (cover flank)
7 Warburton, Rennie
6 Robshaw, Lydiate
5 Gray,
3 Adam Jones, Cole
2 Best, Ford
1 Jenkins, Healy


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Reality July 26, 2012 11:37 pm

The lack of Stephen Ferris on people's teams is quite disturbing. Am I wrong in saying that he's by a country mile the best blindside in Britain and Ireland? I think Lydiate is so anonymous during matches. I mean, Ferris is stronger, faster, a better ball-carrier, a better tackler...need I go on?

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Facepalm July 27, 2012 6:26 am

Yes, you are definitely wrong in saying that. Ferris is a good player but not the best in Britain & Ireland and certainly not "by a country mile". I feel he offers very little at the breakdown and at international level he seems to have many 'off-games'. Upon saying that I haven't really seen him play at Ulster so maybe I need watch him play there to understand the hype.

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stroudos July 27, 2012 11:29 am

Both are very good players in my opinion - I'm neutral in every sense and would be happy to see either/both playing for the Lions.

I don't think Lydiate is any way anonymous in matches, but I would understand people not seeing much of him. He's always in amongst the mass of bodies, smashing players, clearing rucks, securing quick ball - all the essential behind-the-scenes stuff that's inconspicuous when it's done well but see the negative impact on the whole team if it's not done well.

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GunshowMckenzie July 31, 2012 10:21 am

I have to say, I think people sell Lydiate short. He always plays well for Wales, and I agree with you that Ferris is a better ball carrier (stronger, probably faster too) but I think the last six nations showed that Lydiate is a ferocious tackler.

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rugby08 July 27, 2012 8:06 am

Shut up i'm a Welsh supporter and even i can see that Ferris is a superior player to Lydiate. All that Lydiate does at the moment is tackle and clear out, against Australia we will need more than that.

You obviously should watch him for Ulster he is an excellent player, when on form right up there with the best in the world.

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Ratirugbier95 July 27, 2012 12:25 am

1.Cyan Healy (IRE)
2.Rory Best (IRE)
3.Adam Jones (WAL)

4.Paul O'Connell (IRE)
5.Richie Gray (SCO)

6.Sean O'Brien (IRE)
7.Sam Warburton (WAL)
8.David Denton (SCO)


9.Ben Youngs (ENG)
10.Rhys Priestland (WAL)

12.Jamie Roberts (WAL)
13.Manu Tuilagi (ENG)

11.George North (WAL)
14.Chris Ashton (ENG)
15.Rob Kearney (IRE)

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silasvb July 27, 2012 1:20 am

1. Cian Healy
2. Ross Ford
3. Adam Jones

4. Richie Gray
5. Ryan Jones/Courtney Lawes (or another tall back-row hiding as a lock. Against an underpowered Aussie scrum I think having a mobile lock will be a necessity)

6. Sean O'Brien
7. Sam Warburton
8. Dave Denton

9. Ben Youngs
10. Jonathan Sexton

11. Tim Visser

12. George North (I think he might get quite a lot of game time at centre this season, and be rather good at it!)
13. Brian O'Driscol

14. Chris Ashton
15. Lee Halfpenny


16. Dylan Hartley
17. Dan Cole
18. Alun Wyn Jones
19. Justin Tipuric
20. Manu Tuilangi
21. Owen Farrell
22. Rob Kearney

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stroudos July 27, 2012 11:33 am

"12. George North (I think he might get quite a lot of game time at centre this season, and be rather good at it!)"

Where did you hear that? Would be interesting to see, for sure.

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loosegoose July 29, 2012 3:45 am

North at 12 would actually be interesting. I know he played there at school and could see him fitting if not improving the boots of jamie roberts quite nicely. Did you actually here that anywhere?

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Facepalm July 27, 2012 6:20 am

The slash indicates my second choice in that position. My view will almost certainly change by next year.

1) Cole/Healy
2) Best/Ford
3) Corbisiero/Jenkins
4) Gray/Charteris
5) Lawes/Croft
6) Lydiate/Haskell
7) Waburton (C) /Robshaw
8) Falatau/Denton
9) Youngs/Care
10) Sexton/Laidlaw
11) North/Ashton
12) Tuilagi/Roberts
13) Davies/Williams
14) Cuthbert/ Foden
15) Kearney/ Halfpenny

Ok, so maybe as an Englishmen I've been slightly bias here. But I see that as a team to be reckoned with.
On a side note... I'm not convinced by the amount of people choosing an Irish backrow. Heaslip and O'Brien certainly don't get my vote. I'm also pretty baffled by the amount of people who choose Owen Farrel. He was shocking in South Africa and hardly inspiring in the 6N.

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stroudos July 27, 2012 11:35 am

Nice. Fair play for being the first so far to include Corbisiero, who in my opinion is awesome and arguably the most under-rated player in world rugby. (BTW you've got him and Cole the wrong way round position-wise, but I'd like to see them both on the tour anyway).

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Facepalm July 27, 2012 6:20 pm

Oops! Good spot there.

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rugby08 July 27, 2012 8:37 am

1.Cian Healy
2.Rory Best
3.Dan Cole (Adam Jones needs to up his work rate to make the test team)
4.Richie Gray
5.Alun-Wyn Jones
6.Stephen Ferris
7.Justin Tipuric
8.David Denton
9.Ben Youngs
10.Johnny Sexton (Needs to start playing well for Ireland, not just Leinster)
11.George North
12.Ashley Beck (Don't call me crazy! But i think he could take the Wales 12 jersey, and from then on who knows)
13.Manu Tuilagi (BOD's past it, we can do better)
14.Tommy Bowe
15.Rob Kearney

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rugby08 July 27, 2012 8:56 am

I'd love to see Jonathan Joseph outside of Roberts, but early days he hasn't shown that much for England yet.

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stroudos July 27, 2012 11:36 am

"12.Ashley Beck (Don't call me crazy! But i think he could take the Wales 12 jersey, and from then on who knows)"

Surely Gavin Henson will be wearing the Wales 12 jersey this season... ;-)

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rugby08 July 27, 2012 2:51 pm

Hey you never know! I'm wishing him all the best at London Welsh, granted he won't have much chance to shine since they'll be at the bottom of the table all year but all he has to do is the basics.

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hingwy24 July 27, 2012 12:58 pm

15 Rob Kearney
14 George North
13 Manu Tuilagi (maybe Jonathan Davies)
12 Jamie Roberts
11 Tim Visser (assuming he continues to bring club form into test games, otherwise Bowe or Ashton)
10 Jonathan Sexton
9 Ben Youngs
8 David Denton
7 Ross Rennie (unless Warburton returns to form)
6 Stephen Ferris
5 Richie Gray
4 Donnacha Ryan
3 Dan Cole
2 Rory Best (Ross Ford if he sorts out his throwing by then)
1 Cian Healy

Wouldn't pick Tuilagi at 12 because he's not much of a passer and they're going to need a decent distributor against the Wallabies. Also can't for the life of me understand the amount of people on here and elsewhere picking Faletau, the guy has been inconspicuous for a No.8 for ages now, and even on form he's nothing special!

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rugby08 July 27, 2012 2:30 pm

If you're not picking Tuilagi at 12 because he's not much of a passer, why have you chosen Roberts? He can't pass a rugby ball to save his life

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Brick Shithouse July 28, 2012 2:39 pm

1. Cian Healy
2. Dylan Hartley
3. Adam Jones
4. Richy Gray/Courtney Lawes
5. Paul O'Connell
6. Stephen Ferris/Sean O'Brien (I'm Irish, can't decide!)
7. Sam Warburton
8. Jamie Heaslip/Faletau/Morgan/Denton
9. Ben Youngs/Mike Phillips
10. Jonny Sexton
11. Geroge North
12. Jamie Roberts
13. Brian O'Driscoll
14. Tommy Bowe
15. Rob Kearney

Bench: 16. R.Best 17. D.Cole the others mostly have options above, in the backs would have Laidlaw for versatility, J Davies and Halfpenny.

People talking up Tipuric and Visser I feel are being very premature, neither have proved themselves internationally. At the end of the day though, as with all Lions tours , form will be the most important factor when it comes to selection

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ConorL July 29, 2012 1:00 am

1. Healy (Jenkins is still world class, but by this time next year Healy will have overtaken him, if he hasn't already, as the premier loose-head in the NH)

2. Ford
3. Cole
4. Gray
5. O'Connell
6. O'Brien
7. Warburton
8. Denton/Heaslip/Morgan/Faletau/Anyone else you care to name. (Seriously, nobody has even come close to really nailing down this position.)

9. Youngs
10. Sexton
11. North
12. Roberts
13. O'Driscoll (if he's still playing)/Davies
14. Bowe
15. Kearney (On current form, I honestly can't see how anyone could even consider Halfpenny over him. If Wales had an outhalf who could kick worth a damn Halfpenny wouldn't be nearly as highly rated.)

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loosegoose July 29, 2012 4:02 am

1. Cian Healy
2. Best/Ford- neither of which compare to Stephen Moore or Polota Nau
3. Dan Cole
4. Richie Gray
5. POC
6. Ferris
7. Warburton/Rennie
8. Heaslip

9. Conor Murray -Cannot understand why i am potentially the first to mention him!
10. Jonny Sexton
11. Tommy Bowe
12. Owen Farrel/ Jamie Roberts(or George North if he does play there this year)
13. Manu Tuilangi/BOD
14. George North/Tim Visser
15. Rob Kearney

My centres are dependant on combinations. Would have farrel at 12 if Tuilangi played at 13. Depends where they want to put their steamrollers.

As a Scot i would also like to put a section in which i put the Scot who should go on tour. Please comment if you agree/disagree:
1. Ross Ford
2. Richie Gray
3. Jim Hamilton
4. Ross Rennie
5.Dave Denton
6. Greg Laidlaw
7. Tim Visser
8. Stuart Hogg (Rash)

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UlsterJoey July 30, 2012 1:12 am

Yeah well chosen team there, kind of echoes what I would've chosen if asked to choose now, I'd like to see Visser in there, Ulster played against Edinburgh 5 times last year and whenever Visser was there he was a real threat!

Disagree with Murray at scrum-half though, as an Irish fan, I just can't honestly say he's been all that so far. Buckets of potential and he's been thrown in the deep end and survived but he hasn't honed his game as much as say Phillips, would like to see him on tour though.

Ross Ford and Richie Gray would be good to see on tour, Gray is an absolute animal, might be hard for 6'10" to pack down alongside 6'6" O'Connell, Ryan or Jones though.

My €0.02

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Reality July 30, 2012 11:19 am

You have some decent Scottish players, there, but you also have some not-so-decent ones.
Ross Ford - fair enough, although he wouldn't be my first choice
Richie Gray - definitely yes
Jim Hamilton - really? He's a bit of an oaf, don't you think? I think there are many, many better options
Ross Rennie - he's ok but I'd hardly says he's one of the best around
Dave Denton - you're right; he's been very good
Greg Laidlaw - he's been all right in attack, but he is such a Ronan O'Gara in defence; teams constantly steamroll over him
Tim Visser - can't complain there
Stuart Hogg - rash, yet a very interesting choice

Regarding your 15, I disagree with Murray. I wouldn't mind him being the second choice, but realistically, Philips, even if he seems like a complete knob, is the best around. Also, Owen Farrel at 12 is crazy in my opinion. He's been hyped up far too much by the English media, like countless other English players before him.

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loosegoose July 31, 2012 12:14 am

Yeah i agree with the idea that Murray has not fulfilled his potential. And maybe starting 9 is a rash choice but i feel like Philips is just too selfish a player for me. In terms of Jim Hamilton, i really think that he has proven himself in recent years in the international game that he can outplay the best. And i also dont really think that there are many better option at all! Perhaps Botha or Charteris? Ross Rennie is a bloody class act and a consistant performer who has proven that he can play in a team that did beat Australia recently. Laidlaw i am peronally not a huge fan of but he can bring a player onto the ball and i believe his versatllity would make him a strong touring candidate.

In terms of Owen Farrel, i too believed he has been far too over-hyped by the English media (Next Jonny Wilkinson chat is ridiculous). I think he lacks serious flare as a 10 but as a playmaking 12 with the likes of strong runners like North, Tuilangi, Visser and Bowe outside i think he could fit in well. I am a strong believer that one of your centres should be able to distribute. I think a Robert/Tuilangi combo would be terrible espcially against centres like Mccabe or Faingaa who are defensively minded players who really would not mind being run at all day.

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red July 31, 2012 5:51 am

As an australian, it is fair to say...whatever team you pick, you will smash us 3-0

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rugby lad 2012 September 02, 2012 1:25 pm

1. Healy
2. Ford
3. Jones
4. Gray
5. POC
6. Lydiate
7. Warburton
8. Denton
9. Phillips
10. Laidlaw
11. North
12. Tuilagi
13. Davies
14. Visser
15. Kearney

no matter what anyone says, Scotland have far better individuals than England atm, they just have numerous positions which let them down

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Anon19493 September 22, 2012 12:01 pm

5.Paul o,Connell
9.Conor Murray
10.Rhys Priestland
12.Owen farrell
13 Brian o driscoll(Johnathan Davies)
14.Tommy Bowe

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