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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Gavin Hastings picks his British & Irish Lions starting XV for 2013

Ahead of the Autumn Internationals and with seven months until the first Test, former British & Irish Lions captain Gavin Hastings has selected the players he would choose as the starting fifteen for the Lions tour of Australia next year.

Hastings, an official HSBC Ambassador for the 2013 tour, has picked a side based on players that have already played international rugby, and chose to mix youth with experience.

He's opted for five England players, five Wales, three Ireland, and two Scotland.

Former Scotland fullback Hastings - who played 61 times for his country and six for the Lions - has decided to take Brian O'Driscoll on tour, citing his experience as invaluable. He also opted to go with Danny Care at number nine, rather than 2009 starter Mike Phillips.

Other interesting calls are that he's chosen to bring in France based fullback Lee Byrne, but not select Wales captain Sam Warburton. Scotland's Dutch born winger Tim Visser, who scored two tries on his Test debut against Fiji a few months back, gets a starting spot on the wing.

The Gavin Hastings Lions XV:
15. Lee Byrne, 14. George North, 13. Brian O'Driscoll, 12. Jonathan Davies, 11. Tim Visser, 10. Jonny Sexton, 9. Danny Care, 8. Nick Easter, 7. Chris Robshaw, 6. Stephen Ferris, 5. Courtney Lawes, 4. Richie Gray, 3. Adam Jones, 2. Matthew Rees, 1. Joe Marler

What do you think of his selections, and how would yours differ?

Posted at 2:50 pm | 108 comments

Viewing 108 comments

Rob M November 08, 2012 4:51 pm

Had a bit of a shocker there Gav. Kearney for Byrne, Wilko for Sexton, Jenkins for Marler and O'Connell for Lawes. Robshaw is about 4th choice at 7 and Easter just isn't an option unfortunately (insert Denton, Heaslip, Faletau or Morgan!)... spot on apart from that!

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Jasper Sawyers November 09, 2012 12:29 am

Very easy to see which country each comment clearly supports... See if you can guess who where I'm from?

1 - Cian Healy
2 - Ross Ford
3 - Dan Cole
4 - Courtney Lawes
5 - Ritchie Gray
6 - Tom Croft
7 - Steffon Armitage
8 - Toby Faletau
9 - Mike Philips
10 - Jonathan Sexton
11 - Tim Visser
12 - Jamie Roberts
13 - Manu Tuilagi
14 - George North
15 - Rob Kearney

16 - Richie Rees
17 - Alex Corbisiero
18 - Adam Jones
19 - Alun Wyn Jones
20 - Sam Warburton
21 - Danny Care
22 - Toby Flood
23 - Christian Wade

I am happy to justify any of my selections...

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Rob M November 09, 2012 11:29 am

You have to be a Scot?!

I haven't got a massive problem with your team, though I don't know why you'd pick Lawes. The only real issue that I have is your back row. Scotland, Wales and Ireland all have great options. For me Warburton has to be the best at 7, Then you have Lydiate at 6! I like Faletau, but Denton looks like a monster so I think I'd go with him.

He's my team, let me know what you think;

1 - Gethin Jenkins
2 - Rory Best
3 - Adam Jones
4 - Richie Gray
5 - Paul O'Connell
6 - Dan Lydiate
7 - Sam Warburton
8 - David Denton
9 - Mike Phillips
10 - Jonny Wilkinson
11 - George North
12 - Jonothan Davies
13 - Brian O'Driscoll
14 - Tommy Bowe
15 - Rob Kearney

16 - Richie Rees
17 - Kian Healy
18 - Dan Cole
19 - Donacha O'Callaghan
20 - Stephen Ferris
21 - Danny Care
22 - Ronan O'Gara
23 - Chris Ashton
24 - Manu Tuilagi

I'm English btw!!

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Jasper Sawyers November 09, 2012 12:05 pm

Armitage because he is, currently, the form seven in Europe and Croft because he makes up for what Armitage lacks in the line-out etc. Its about getting a balance for me.. Although Warburton is high on my list for many reasons, Armitage's form for Toulon can't be ignored. I agree with you on current form about Davies and Lawes because of his outstanding tackling and work around the field.

I'm half English, half Scottish, but support England.

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DaRabman November 09, 2012 3:54 pm

You need a captain in there, Armitage is a great, agile flanker but we want to command at the ruck and have someone to keep the pack contingent, alongside that I don't think Armitage has been playing enough domestic rugby.
Bowe and North 100%!

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Fawkes November 12, 2012 11:25 pm

I think Alex Goode might need to go

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Gatland November 14, 2012 5:04 pm

Well then fawkes, your an f*cking moron...

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Jasper Sawyers November 14, 2012 5:08 pm

You got no idea mate if you think Goode should go in because of one solid performance against Fiji. He isn't even the form 15 in the premiership (Mike Brown is).

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Fawkes November 14, 2012 9:30 pm

I agree Mike Brown is a great player and has been the form number 15 in the premiership.
But we are not talking about the premiership are we?
Has he been able to date to translate that premiership form to international rugby?
Has Mike Brown been man of the match in any of his 8 caps so far?
Oh and how many of those caps has he come on to play on the wing anyway?
In his 3 caps all against SH opposition Alex Goode has class he might not make the Lions but it has been a while since England had a play maker that could play what was in front of him.


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Jasper Sawyers November 14, 2012 10:23 pm

I can't believe I am even dignifying that comment with a response... Okay, when in Mike Browns 8 caps did have the chance to start against a ranked 14th international team? Let me guess your a Saracens supporter?

Yes he did a great job on Saturday. Was it the correct balance for current England back line? Possibly. Is he a better all round fullback than Mike Brown? No. Will he play for the Lions next year? No.

Don't do the typically English thing of bigging up certain players on the basis of little evidence. If his international form continues against the likes of south Africa and New Zealand then you can justify a suggestion of a lions call up or even if he should stay at 15 for England when the backs shuffle and the likes of Foden come back.

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Fawkes November 14, 2012 10:54 pm

Pretty fair response Jasper
You are right time will tell
John Kirwan was recently praising Alex Goodes performances to date and he knows a bit about back play.
Agreed he has to show the same upward trajectory over the next 6 internationals to get into the Lions but they have a tradition of taking a bolter or two.

By the way I am not English nor a Saracens supporter neither am I suggesting you are a Harlequins supporter either

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DannyDC November 14, 2012 11:11 am

Think you're going to need to justify Mike Phillips' inclusion. Slow, cumbersome, innaccurate ball from the base of the ruck isn't going to do much good in Australia. Doesn't do much good in most games. Care is looking very sharp at the moment (occasional bran-fart aside) and is really dictating the pace of games for Quins. My XV would be:

1 - Cian Healy
2 - Dylan Hartley
3 - Dan Cole
4 - Ritchie Gray
5 - Donnacha Ryan
6 - Stephen Ferris
7 - Sam Warburton
8 - Toby Faletau
9 - Danny Care
10 - Jonathan Sexton
11 - George North
12 - Jonathan Davies
13 - Manu Tuilagi
14 - Chris Ashton
15 - Rob Kearney

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Hawkesy April 04, 2013 5:42 pm

Hahaha, I could almost accept Hartley's inclusion, then I got to 14. Until he learns some humility and how to keep his head in the game for the full 80 minutes, Chris Ashton (in my opinion) should not be selected to represent Britain in tiddlywinks, let alone rugby.

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babyface November 08, 2012 4:54 pm

I agree with alot of this team but Tommy Bowe will start instead of visser if you ask me! Also Warburton will play 7 great player!....And also easter will not start at all dont rate the guy tbh!!

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dave November 08, 2012 4:55 pm

15 kearney 14 bowe 13 o driscoll 12 davies/roberts 11 north 10 wilkinson 9 philips 8 healsip/o brien 7 warburton 6 ferris 5 o connell 4 grey 3 jones 2 rees 1 healy

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Steve H November 08, 2012 4:56 pm

Need a genuine open-side against Pocock. Stef Armitage has to be picked!!

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jjlm November 08, 2012 4:57 pm

As a dutchman i would of course love to see Visser play but i still think he has much to prove. Lets look at it again after the autumn tests and the six nations.

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CM November 08, 2012 4:57 pm

I think halfpenny over byrne, like the wing pairing and half backs, however in the centres i think you either go for the previous tours pairing of roberts and odriscoll , or if we wanted a monster backline 12 through 14, manu tuilagi in at 13. ford at 2, charteris at 5, 6 is the hardest descision, ferris or lydiate, 2 of the best in the world...id go ferris , 7 warburton, 8 ben morgan, for good balance in the back row.

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curates_egg November 08, 2012 4:58 pm

Obviously far too early to call at this stage in the season and everyone will have a different opinion. For me, its:

1 Healy 2 Best 3 Jones 4 Gray 5 Jones 6 O'Brien 7 Armitage 8 Heaslip 9 Care 10 Sexton 11 Visser 12 Roberts 13 BOD (if not fit then Davies) 14 North 15 Kearney

Bench: Strauss, Jenkins, Ross, Ryan, Tipuric, Phillips, Hook, Brown/Foden

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Michael Walsh November 08, 2012 4:58 pm

I'd have Heaslip @ no. 8 and Cian Healy instead of Marler anyway....both bring a lot more to the game though being Irish I am bias

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Cookies November 08, 2012 4:58 pm

Agree with some of the team but O'Connell will go and start, easter will not start dont rate him at all, warburton will play 7 and is a contender for 7, bowe will be on the team easily if fit and if kearney gets fit and back to his best he will start ahead of byrne!

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Lee G November 08, 2012 4:58 pm

I agree with Rob M. But of a shocker. I would put Dan Cole on front row, O'connel Second row, Denton / Morgan / Heaslip (all very good) at 8. Wilko at 10 and Foden at 15.

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SteveA November 08, 2012 5:11 pm

Cole over Jones, bigger work-rate, like a flanker in loose, monster at scrum-time.

Foden, Halfpenny or Kearney over Byrne

Anyone over Visser and Gray (token Scots)

No to Easter, or BOD. Corbs is better than Marler for a start.

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Linton22 November 08, 2012 5:13 pm

My list:

1. Healy 2. Dillon Hartley 3. Jones 4. Jones 5. Gray 6. O'rien 7. Warburton 8. Heaslip 9. Phillips 10. Sexton 11. North 12. Roberts 13. Davies 14. Bowe 15. Kearny

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The Green Mafia November 08, 2012 5:13 pm

Ok, from 1 to 15...
5- Lawes? I'd go with O'Connel or Brad Davies, either one a tough as nails, old school lock, to balance Richie Gray's natural athleticism
7- Sam Warburton for Robshaw, who is a much quieter leader, as oposed to Warburton, a Dusatoir type captain.
8- Easter? Don't know what have you been smoking, gavin, but I want some. I'd go with Faletau, Morgan or Denton, but not Heaslip. He is one of my favourite players, but he hasn't been imposing himself on his oposite number for quite a while and either on strength (Palu) or skill (Samo) he'll be left for dead.
9- Care? Have we forgotten what happened last time Phillips played for the Lions? No scrummie really stands out, but he seems slightly better, and has a better chance to contain Genia.
12/13-What?!?!?!? Playing Davies at 12 to accomodate Drico at 13? I've said it before, no disrespect, but Drico won't be starting in the tests, no way. Have you forgotten the 2 best centers in the NH? Roberts at 12 and Tuilagi at 13 might work like SBW and Nonu. Roberts certainly has the skills to distribute the ball instead of bashing all the time, and on size these two are a tough combo for ANY side.
15- Byrne? Aren't you forgetting a man that goes by the name of Rob Kearney? The standout fullback of the 6N? Hmmmm? Anyone?

8/7 Welsh, 3 Irish, 3/2 English and 2 Scots is heavy on the welsh side, but bar when france decides to click, they are the best NH side by a mile. I've allways been for picking the best player for each position regardless of the number of players selected by nation. No point in moking the saffa quota system if we do the same with the Lions, right? With this team the Lions can beat anyone, even the ABs. Their only problem will be injuries and time to glue the team together, and the nr of welsh players may actually help in that sense

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TeamTom November 08, 2012 9:36 pm

SBW and Nonu have only paired up together twice and that was when Conrad smith was injured for beginning of this years Rugby championship and Nonu needed game time to replace SBW when he headed to Japan. They didn't work very well togethe as they are two big men with same style, taking impact and offload you don't want that at 13, u want a ball distributer!!

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georgedean93 November 08, 2012 5:17 pm

Too Early to call but if all players are fit and available :


1. Cobesiero 2. Best 3. Cole 4. O'Connell (c) 5. Lawes 6. Croft 7. Armitage 8. Heaslip/Denton

9. Care 10. Sexton 11. Monye 12. Roberts, 13. Tualagi 14. North 15. Halfpenny

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Ratirugbier95 November 08, 2012 5:19 pm

1.Cyan Healy, 2.Rory Best, 3.Adam Jones
4.Richie Gray, 5.Doncha O'Callaghan
6.Sean O'Brien, 8.David Denton, 7.Sam Warburton

----------------------------------------------------------------

9.Ben Youngs, 10.Jonathan Sexton
12.Manu Tuilagi, 13.Brian O'Driscoll
11.George North,15.Rob Kearney,14.Chris Ashton

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Rob November 08, 2012 5:24 pm

I think what this forum shows is that the depth of GB & I is in good shape for the tour!! So many genuine options and combinations!!

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Dan C November 08, 2012 5:24 pm

As an Irishman, I hate to say this but Tuilagi over BOD is my pick... and where is TOMMY BOWE ?!?!

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Guy November 08, 2012 5:25 pm

As a clog, I would love to see Visser have a go.

But let's wait for the autumn internationals (can't wait for this weekend) and the Six Nations first.

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Number9 November 08, 2012 5:36 pm

Agree that there are a couple of Scots with a shout but not Visser. He looks good in struggling teams.

This is picking on who is available for Autumn tests:
1. Healy 2. Hartley 3. Coles 4. AWJones 5. Gray 6. Warburton 7. Armitage 8. Heaslip
9. Care 10. Sexton 11. Ashton 12. Roberts 13. Tuilagi 14. North 15. Halfpenny

FR: My pick of best players
SR: Mix of old and young
BR: Stand out players. Can't ignore Armitage. Poss Denton for Heaslip
HB: Haven't seen much of Phillips and Care is form 9. Sexton best 10 on Int stage
C: No one else close. 12 playing 12 and 13 playing 13 unlike others or 'fitting players in'
B3: Hardest to pick as most can pull the magic out when needed. North for strength, Ashton for that one moment (scoring a lot this season), H'Penny is old head on young shoulders, can attack and defend well. Brown and Foden haven't cemented position enough for me.

Eng: 6, Wal: 5, Ire: 3, Sco: 1

Wouldn't it be great if two potential Lions XV's played each other the day before final selection!

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TeamTom November 08, 2012 9:45 pm

Visser comment makes no sense! he looks good cos he is scoring tries against OTHER teams good and bad and because he has broken the magners/Rabo direct, most tries in a season two years in a row!

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WelshOsprey November 08, 2012 5:38 pm

We'll need halfpenny at 15 because none of our 10s are really good, reliable kickers. Robshaw is simply not a better 7 than warburton or tipuric but he could be a contender at 6.
Would love to see visser on the lions tour racking up tries but I think they'll start north and bowe.

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Reality November 08, 2012 5:41 pm

Is Gavin Hastings joking, or is a bit mad in the head? About half of the team is justifiable, but:

Byrne - is he joking? Kearney is far better, and actually plays international rugby
Tim Visser - has he even played for Scotland? Playing well in the Rabo 12 and in international rugby are two different things
Danny Care - there's already an arrogant scrumhalf who isn't a team player called Mike Phillips. Why go for Care?
Nick Easter - dear God
Chris Robshaw - dear God
Courtney Lawes - hasn't he been pretty crap for the last while?
Matthew Rees - since the world cup, Rory Best has been the only decent hooker in Britain and Ireland..
Joe Marler - what does Cian Healy have to do to get picked? He's better, stronger, and faster than pretty much any other loosehead in world rugby.

Gavin Hastings: he's surely having a laugh.

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Jonathan Sayer November 08, 2012 6:27 pm

Tim Visser has played two international games: His debut against Fiji where he scored 2 tries and he played very well in Scotland's win over Samoa.

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thegaffer89 November 08, 2012 7:46 pm

Excellent point Jonathan. Reality, get your facts right. Visser also scored 4 tries in the Heineken Cup last season (which is virtually at the same standard as internationals) and two tries against England in a one off game for the Barbarians.

Here's my XV: 1 Healy, 2 Best, 3 A Jones, 4 Gray, 5 O'Connell, 6 Ferris, 7 Warburton, 8 Heaslip, 9 Phillips, 10 Sexton, 11 Visser, 12 Roberts, 13 Tuilagi, 14 North, 15 Kearney. 7 irish, 5 welsh, 2 scots and 1 english.

Thoughts anyone?

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Reality November 08, 2012 8:55 pm

Get my facts right? Calm down friend. If you read my post, you'll have seen that I asked if he had played international rugby, and the fact that he has 2 caps gives the answer "just barely". And the Heineken Cup and international matches are the same? For Leinster vs Clermont, maybe. For Edinburgh vs some other half decent team, not so much. And doing well against Fiji and Samoa is hardly a perfect indicator. With respect, there's a big difference between Pacific island teams and a team like Australia.

Anyway, your team looks pretty good, except for Visser in my opinion. Realistically though, there'll probably be 10 Welsh and 5 everything else. I hope there won't, but there probably will.

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TeamTom November 08, 2012 9:53 pm

I am Scottish so biased but Edinburgh beat Toulose to get into semi- final (a half decent team?!?!) and they were incredible in the pool stages Beating racing metro 47-48 when they were 3 tries down with bout 15mins left. Haha I don't want to talk about this year though...

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Reality November 08, 2012 11:48 pm

They did well against Toulouse, yeah, but Toulouse barely looked interested for most of last season. The only reason they even got through to the quarter-final is because Connacht saved them in the final round by beating Harlequins in one of the biggest ever Heineken Cup upsets. And yeah, they played decent rugby for most of their Heineken Cup campaign, but they did lose to Cardiff, who aren't exactly great, and in the Rabo were way down at the bottom of the table. In summary, where it goes domestic league-Heineken Cup-international-Lions I don't think doing well in the first and reasonably well (in one season) in the second justifies going to the 4th. I think he's a fantastic player, but I think there are some even better players than him.

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Guy November 08, 2012 11:41 pm

@reality The answer to your question 'has he even played for Scotland?' is either yes or no. 'Just barely' equals 'yes'.
Besides: by the time the team is being selected, he might as well have 10 caps under his belt. Is your answer still going to be 'just barely' by then? Or will you come up with another crappy argument (e.g. nationality)?

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Reality November 09, 2012 8:00 pm

@Guy: Scott Hamilton got two caps for New Zealand. Does it mean he's a star All Black? No it doesn't. And Visser might have ten caps by next summer? Well, by the time the 2016 tour comes around, he might have 50 caps, so let's pick him right now for that tour. My question was a way of highlighting his lack of international rugby experience, and the fact that he has two caps does nothing to refute that point.

I can't believe you think lack of international experience is a crappy excuse. Is the fact that there are better players a good enough reason? Keith Earls did and does amazing things for Munster, but at international level he has not been good, which has been the case with innumerable other players. That's why he won't be a starter for the Lions. If Visser's by far the best choice, then I hope they pick him. As it stand, is he the best choice? Clearly not.

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Ricky Bobby November 08, 2012 5:43 pm

1. Marler 2. Best 3. Cole 4. Gray 5. Lawes 6. Croft 7. Robshaw 8. Faletau

9. Phillips 10. Flood 12. BOD 13. Tuilagi 11. Varndell 14. Ashton 15. Halfpenny

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Jimmy November 08, 2012 5:48 pm

1. Jenkins 2.Hartley 3. A.Jones
4. Gray 5. Alun Wyn Jones
6. Lydiate 8.Denton 7. Warburton
9. Phillips

10. Sexton 12. Roberts 13. O'Driscoll
11. Bowe 14. North 15. Halfpenny

Hard call at full back with Kearney being such a brilliant player, but Halfpenny is currently the most reliable goal kicker in the NH and they win you matches. Sexton at 10 for me, his big game experience at Leinster and in the Ireland games will count massively. I think of O'Driscoll is fit you HAVE to get him on the pitch, the guy is a genuis and linked up so well with Roberts last time. Phillips at 9 is crucial for physicality. Also in the running;

Cuthbert
Earls
Hook
Kearney
Hogg
Maitland (could have a great year)
Tuilagi
Farrell
Brown
Care
Faleteu
O'brien

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Guest November 08, 2012 6:30 pm

1. Healy
2. Best
3. Cole
4. Gray
5. O'Connell
6. Ferris
7. Warburton
8. Heaslip
9.Philips
10. Sexton/wilkinson/Cipriani
11. Wade
12. Roberts
13. O'Driscoll/Tuilagi
14. North
15. Kearney

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EligibleContenders November 08, 2012 6:42 pm

Think Ive cracked the winning code, guys!

(These are all still eligible, right?)

1-John Hayes
2-Richard Hibbard
3-Allan Jacobson
4-Steve Borthwick
5-Will James
6-Neil Best
7-James Haskell
8-Simon Taylor
9-Dwayne Peel
10-Andy Goode
11-Ben Cohen
12-Jamie Noon
13-Sonny Parker
14-Chris Patterson
15-Geordon Murphy

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Reality November 09, 2012 10:16 pm

Ridiculous! No room for Peter Stringer, Andy Powell and Vainikolo? Evidently you've cracked nothing.

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EligibleContenders November 13, 2012 1:10 pm

I dont think that would be fair on the Aussies to include them. :)

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Richard Hearne November 08, 2012 6:45 pm

Largely agree with Hastings side, but there is a long way to go and it depends on what sort of game you want to play. My side would be :

15. L Halfpenny
14. G North
13. B O'Driscoll
12. J Davies/J Roberts
11. A Cuthbert
10. J Sexton
9. B Youngs
1. C Healy
2. D Hartley
3. A Jones
4. R Gray
5. P O'Connell (c)
6. S Ferris
7. S Warburton
8. D Denton

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Ian November 08, 2012 7:00 pm

1 healy
2 up for grabs
3 adam jones
4 gary
5 o connell
6 o brian
7 warburton
8 motgan/heaslip
9 care
10 sexton
11 north
12 roberts
13 tuillagi
14 cuthbert
15 kearny
Bench
Cole, jenkins,jones, morgan/heaslip
Phillips, hook, halfpenny, and another no2

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Ottawa Rugger November 08, 2012 7:42 pm

Generally in line with what I would suggest, but I do take issue to some things.

I think it's crazy to leave out Warburton, and I don't think Lawes is playing to Lions standard at the moment. In the centres I'd for sure bring BOD along but I don't know if I'd give him the start. And as for the wing, I do think Tommy Bowe or maybe Christian Wade ought to be given more attention.

In pretty much all of these issues I think it comes down to being spoilt for choice - the wings he's got there would also be good, but putting in either bowe or wade would probably be just as effective. Six and one half dozen the other...

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Sean November 08, 2012 7:43 pm

15. Leigh Halfpenny
14. Tommy Bowe
13. Manu Tuilagi
12. Jamie Roberts
11. George North
10. Sexton/Flood
9.Mike Phillips
8.Dave Denton
7.Sam Warburton
6.Danny Lydiate who was player of the 6 nations so some great form this seaon books his place
5. Richie Gray
4. Alun Wyn Jones/Luke Charteris both strong line out jumpers and both very good around the field
3. Adam Jones if on form an fit but other wise Dan Cole has been a monster recently
2. Rory Best
1. Gethin Jenkins/ Cian Healy both very good !

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Jimothy November 08, 2012 8:04 pm

There are a few points on here that are well made but people are obviously not watching much Premiership rugby!!! Easter is clearly the stand-out 8 of the whole league. Against Gloucester he made Morgan look incredibly ordinary (which of course we know he isn't)

He plays week in, week out in the Premiership and doesn't get the rotation breaks like the Irish/Welsh teams.

He doesn't play in the Rabo 12 where (realistically) a possible 3 teams could win it, all Irish. Ulster look amazing at the moment, wish Ruan was English (best player in the world?; him or Schalk Brits?)

Gavin Hasting rates him! He's Scotish and therefore bred to hate the English so he must be good :) Plus he's been there and so his opinion counts for more than ours!

Finally I wouldn't pick him either! He may be the stand out player but that isn't all it takes to be a Lion. Apparently he is poison in the changing room, constantly negative!

I wouldn't choose Robshaw over Warburton either, that's just odd, but to say he isn't a good leader is a funny thing to say unless you've actually been lead by him! Guessing there aren't may Harlequins or England players commenting on here! Look at the transformation from WC to 6N's!

Finally, watch S Armitage in the Top 14, AMAZING! Play him or Warburton at 8 and let the other play 7. With someone like Lydiate, Denton or Ferris at 6 that would be an awesome back row!

Sorry it's a long one!!!!!!!!!

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phil November 08, 2012 8:12 pm

Cian healy for marler, charteris/o'connell for lawes, hahahaha robshaw and easter is too funny warburton/o'brien faletau/heaslip/denton, mike phillips over care, sexton for wilko, roberts for davies, kearney for byrne

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UKHamlet November 08, 2012 8:16 pm

On the basis that you want the best team, rather than just a collection of best players, you have to pick combinations as well as the best available players for each position.

Back three: Halfpenny (best goal kicker), North (easily the best winger), Bowe / Cuthbert
Centres: Brian O'Driscoll, Roberts / Davies
Standoff Half: Sexton / Flood
Scrum Half: Phillips
Back row: Warburton (Capt), Denton, Ryan Jones / Dan Lydiate
Locks: O'Connell / Gray or Evans / Gray - maybe Alun Wyn Jones and Lawes will get lucky
Front row: Jenkins / Healey, Best / Rees, Adam Jones

For me the combination of BoD and a big, hard, fast runner is essential, as is long range kicking, hence HP over Kearney (whose only attribute is catching high balls, his running is average at best). North will score lots of tries, as will Bowe or Cuthbert and having a third loose forward at scrum half is a major weapon - remember this is Aus, who are used to quick scrum-halves. Sexton is the form flyhalf, but I like Flood and he will challenge - his distribution is as good as the Irish fellah. Any British/Irish team without the best genuine openside flanker is just daft - Warburton is streets ahead of anyone else. The other loose forwards are moot, but Ryan Jones is in the form of his life right now. Denton gets the nod at 8 for his sheer enthusiasm. We're rich in locks, but Gray is the best we've got at the moment. In the front row, Adam Jones is peerless, the other two subject to form, but Gethin has a great engine and took the England front row to the cleaners in the 6N.

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Jimothy November 08, 2012 8:56 pm

You're spot on about combinations! BOD and Roberts were fantastic on the last tour! But think Davis would give you a better option at 12. Better runner than Roberts and less predictable. With a head like BOD outside him I think that would really challenge the Auz back line.

North is the first name on the team sheet along with Ashton (I know he's an idiot but he's a world class finisher and would follow North, BOD and Davis brilliantly.) But with Cuthbert, Visser and Half-Penny you're spoilt for choice. I say HP on the wing as haven't seen Goode play international yet but he is awesome for Sarries. Having played 10 for a long time he provides another attacking option.

If you're looking for an in form fly half you just need to look at the Top 14. Wilko might not make it to the next WC but he is certainly up to the job next year. Doesn't fold under pressure like Sexton (which is why Ireland always have O'Gara on the bench) and is much bigger in defense than Flood. Plus what a boot!!! With HP at full back (I agree with you about Kearney) you have two fantastic kicking options.

9 - Danny Care, Phillips and Youngs. In that starting order.

Front row is a difficult choice. Adam Jones is world class but Dan Cole forced him out of the HC game early against Leicester! Front row from Jenkins, Sheridan, Cole, Jones, Murray, Hookers - Best and Hartley.

Second row - Gray and O'Connell - Goldilocks and the big bear!

Back row - see comment above :)

I can't wait. Love the LIONS!!!!

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themull November 15, 2012 2:56 pm

Sexton fold under pressure?

He pretty much single handedly won that HC final against Northampton 2 seasons ago after being down big at half time...Every international team will have a back up fly half because its the most important position on the pitch...It's between Wilko and Sexton for me there and wouldnt complain at all if Wilko got it, but to claim Sexton folds under pressure is ridiculous.

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Rugbyforall November 08, 2012 8:21 pm

Australia: 15. Kurtley Beale/ Mike Harris 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13. Ben Tapuai/Fainga, 12. Pat McCabe, 11. Digby Ioane, 10. Quade Cooper/K. Beale, 9. Will Genia, 8. Wycliff Palu, 7. Michael Hooper, 6. Dave Dennis or David Pocock (if he can play number 6) 5. Kane Douglas, 4. Horwill, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1. Benn Robinson.

I guess this would be the probable team of Australia next year considering the comeback of many injured players. I would recommend Many Tuilagi for the Lions as he may be fundamental in breaking the Aussies line. Would advise Jonny Sexton to put lots of pressure on Quade so he can't play.


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Eggman November 08, 2012 9:06 pm

Not sure about all your Aussie selection. Barring injury and Robbie Deans I'd pick:
15: O'Connor 14: Mitchell 13: AAC 12: Tapuai 11: Ioane 10: KB /Cooper (if he gets his shit together, and that's a big if) 9: Genia 8: Palu 7: Pocock 6: Hooper (if he can adjust. Think Pocock's a better 7 than him.) Otherwise Higginbotham 5: Timani 4: Horwill 3: Kepu/Palmer 2: Moore (better in lineouts, otherwise equal) 1: Robinson

However, I'm almost certain that Deans is going to pick McCabe since he loves him. So probably AAC will have to move around the backs or Taps gets dropped.

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Rugbyforall November 08, 2012 9:52 pm

Totally forgot about Timani and OCONNOR! I think Ioane-Mitchell/Cummins/OConnor would really work out as they have great abilities and speed. Its a pity Nathan Sharpe has to retire, great second line. Im from Argentina and we`ll be playing Wales on Saturday, hope the Rugby Championship helped us to get better and we are able to beat the Welsh although they do have a very strong team and that George North is very dangerous!

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Prop4Life November 08, 2012 8:43 pm

Easter should'nt even be picked for the tour never mind the tests. He's extremely overrated... 15 Kearney, 14 North, 13 BOD, 12 Roberts, 11 Cuthbert, 10 Sexton, 9 Phillips, 8 O'Brien, 7 Warburton, 6 Ferris, 5 Lawes, 4 AW Jones, 3 Jones, 2 Best, 1 Jenkins. Reps: 16 Hartely, 17 Healey, 18 Cole, 19 POC 20 Heaslip, 21 Murray, 22 Priestland/Hook 23 Hogg

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j8a1f3 November 08, 2012 8:44 pm

The only shoo-ins for me are Best at 2, Sexton at 10 and North one one wing. A lot of depth for most positions:

15 Kearny/Halfpenny (Both great in counter, maybe Halfpenny for goal kicking)
14 North
13 Tuilagi (BOD will go but unlikely to start)
12 Davies/Roberts (Either but Roberts has had dire form so far this season)
11 Bowe (would love to see Visser challenge for a place)
10 Sexton (Wilkinson will go but not start, Flood/Hook on the bench for versatility)
9 Philips (Only cause Gats adores him, no real standout 9 right now imo)

1 Jenkins/Healy (Either would be great)
2 Best
3 Cole (A Jones has an injury habit, Rowntree as scrum coach will influence selection)
4 Gray/Charteris (Both very athletic and great lineout players)
5 Lawes/B Davies/AW Jones/O'Con/O'Cal/Ryan (Take your pick? Lawes if he fullfills potential)
6 Lydiate/Ferris (Tackling machines. Maybe Croft/R Jones on bench for versatility)
7 Armitage (I like to think so but Gats will go with Waburton if he sorts his current form out)
8 Heaslip/Denton/Faletau (Can't help but think Easter will tire at this level nowadays, Faletau's lack of height for lineouts hurts his chances)






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Jan November 09, 2012 11:14 am

Outcome of the Bowe - Visser challenge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWK5-tysb3I

I couldn't resist posting this...

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mskomu November 08, 2012 9:02 pm

Of course it's too early to make final calls, but I think Lions tour is way too much for players who don't have experience on really big test matches. Wade is good but hasn't played for England other than 7's and Visser has 2 caps and on the other hand Australia has a very solid and experienced back line. National team is where you earn your spurs and then go to Lions, not the other way around.

On the forward section, we're talking about the Wallabies, not Springboks. So I'd have a mobile pack that can disrupt half-backs, rather than big and heavy. We all saw how that worked in WC pool stage between AUS and IRE. So Healey definitely, I'd also go with Warburton.

Things that Lions must be able to counter if they want to win: don't let Genia get quick ball from rucks and DON'T let him break through the line from rucks. Also Ioane needs to be watched, who's up to it?

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BarryT November 08, 2012 9:08 pm

I'd try to pick a side judging on Australia's strengths and who would gel into a game style to that purpose, I don't think australia have much depth in the tight 5, and a bulky yet dynamic front row should do the trick there, i'd go:
1. Healy. 2. Rees. 3. Cole
As for the rows, Australia had to reley on Sharpe during the RC, so they might bring chisholm or someone (not up to speed on 2Rs in Aus) to cover, so i'd pick: Richie Gray, as he would thrive in a team like the lions, and his athleticism is a sure thing, tied in with O'Connell's experience and work rate on the ground would give me:
4. Gray. 5. O'Connell
Backrow for me is the toughest to select, especially with Pocock and Salmo on form down there, Ferris had a field day against Aus in the world cup and again, going for an athletic pack I'd pick him for 6, assuming Warburton gets his form back, he has to be the guy to contend with Pocock's incredible work rate on the ground, finally for 8, to tie in a physical but dynamic backrow, is Heaslip for me. Great lineout option, smart player and will tie in with Warburton on the ground getting turnovers and hopefully outmuscling Pocock) So:
6. Ferris. 7. Warburton. 8. Heaslip
Selection for nine, assumes that its Genia we'll be up against, probably one of the quickest and smartest 9 out there, and giving the current form, Danny Care has to get it, for his speed and his ability to ship the ball away from contact (i.e Pocock's playground) So:
9. Care
I hate to say it but Sexton at the moment takes it for me. I'd like to see Laidlaw get a shot with a team with the calibur of the lions but we can't just give him a chance like that, and looking to england only yields farrell and flood, which I just can't see having a good time against Australias BR, giving sexton actually can properly tackle and take a hit, it has to be:
10. Sexton.
For the wings, we have Digby to worry about, who likes to roam into the centres as a support runner, as well as being a threat outside, which is

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BarryT November 08, 2012 9:09 pm

half of my comment got cut out, i think there's a lesson here!

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Eggman November 08, 2012 9:10 pm

IMO the best 15 the Lions could play are:
15 Kearny
14 Bowe/Cuthbert (Visser)
13 Tuilagi
12 Roberts
11 North
10 Sexton
9 probably most difficult to pick, no real standout. Phillips was outclassed by Genia over summer, so maybe they should try something different. Care? Not really sure who to pick..
8 Denton (huge game against Australia), Heaslip
7 Warburton (if he gets back to his WC form), otherwise Robshaw or Tipuric
6 O'Brien
5 Lydiate
4 Grey
3 Cole
2 Best
1 Healy

If they play that side I think Australia will be in trouble. Should be an interesting series though

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SWaite November 08, 2012 9:18 pm

O driscoll is no longer fit to start at this level, put him on the bench for some new blood on the pitch
Id go
1. Jenkins 2. Hartley 3. Coles
4. Charteris 5. Gray
6. O'brien 7. Warburton 8. Ben Morgan
9. Phillips/ Ben Youngs 10. Sexton but one can't deny Owen Farrell is in good form
12. Roberts 13. Tuilangi
11. North 14. Bowe and 15. ben foden

That would be a squad worthy of the Lions

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Pretzel November 08, 2012 9:23 pm

What is this? I am no great follower of the build up of the Lions, is this a real preliminary selection or just "one mans opinion"?

I disagree with an awful lot of those selections... I don't see many of the players unless they play internationally, or unless they feature on RD, but I'd have picked Warburton over Robshaw, Nick Easter at 8? Really? Is he still around, I haven't heard of him in a long time (has he been injured? As others have said there are some perfectly "relatively" well established 8's around who are more dynamic, Faletau, and even relatively new Denton...

As for Lawes, he has missed a huge amount of international game time, I remember him being Englands sort of secret weapon...oh wait, he's injured... ok, well THIS match he'll...oh injured again...

As for BOD at 13... I'm sorry, but the guy is a brilliant player who still brings flair etc etc, but if the guy is still the first pick of the 13 shirt at his ripe old age then there are some big troubles ahead... granted I haven't seen a NH 13 play better than BOD did IN HIS DAY, but stamina, and that extra speed sure should count for a little more now that BOD has become a little more fragile, a little more weary etc....

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Svend November 08, 2012 9:33 pm

Is there anyone who isn't playing 'very, very well'?

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Dr4g0ns_F4N November 08, 2012 10:01 pm

Gotta love the Lions tour. Everyone has input and a different take on things.

My only big point would be that Paul O'Connell should not tour. BOD would need to prove himself in pre-test matches if he wants a place in the test squad - he wouldn't make my squad.

My XV:

1. Gethin Jenkins 2. Dylan Hartley 3. Adam Jones 4. Ritchie Gray 5. Luke Charteris 6. Danny Lydiate 7. Sam Warburton 8. Ben Morgan 9. Danny Care 10. Jonny Wilkinson 11. George North 12. Jamie Roberts 13. Manu Tuilagi 14. Tommy Bowe 15. Rob Kearney

Some places have lots of competition. Hartley, Jones, Gray, Warburton and North are probably some of the easier selections.

Injuries, poor form, players stepping up to the plate etc. should make for some interesting debates at the pub for the next few months.

I love the LIONS

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TeamTom November 08, 2012 10:09 pm

Hastings didn't say that BOD was going to start he said he was guaranteed to go due to what he brings to any team, passion and experience.....

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Jeff November 08, 2012 11:57 pm

This is the team i'd pick if all players were playing at the top of their game and to their maximum potential-

1. Cian Healy
2. Rory Best
3. Adam Jones
4. Courtney Lawes
5. Richie Gray
6. Stephen Ferris
7. Sam Warburton
8. Ben Morgan
9. Mike Phillips
10. Jonny Sexton
11. George North
12. Manu Tuilagi
13. Johnathon Davies
14. Tommy Bowe
15. Rob Kearney

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Benn November 09, 2012 1:12 am

Shocking team....on so many levels!!!

He seems to have forgotten the style of opposition he'll be playing. This (below) team has size in the back-line, strong defense (frustrate the Aussies), fetchers in the back-row and solid set piece. My t

15. Rob Kearney
14. George North
13. Brian O'Driscoll
12. Jaime Roberts
11. Tim Visser
10. Jonathan Sexton
9. Mike Phillips
8. Jaime Heaslip
7. Sam Warburton (c)
6. Stephen Ferris
5. Dan Lydiate
4. Richie Grey
3. Dan Coles
2. Rory Best
1. Gethin Jenkins

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iamashrimp November 09, 2012 1:59 am

15. Rob Kearney - Best fullback in the world.

14. Alex Cuthbert - Just pips Bowe due to having a lot more power which will be useful agains a small aussie side.

13. Manu Tuilagi - Unstoppable Centre Good Luck Rob Horne.

12. Jonathan Davies - Quality Rugby player, consistent & seems to get on the scoresheet frequently.

11. George North - Massive Force on the wing and the ideal no 11.

10. Toby Flood - Is everyone forgetting he can kick whereas sexton cannot kick!

9. Ben Youngs - Ripped aussies to shreds last time he was out there.

8. Jamie Heaslip - Proven international performances at 8 unlike most UK 8s at the moment who struggle for consistency on the international stage.

7. Sam Warburton - Best no 7 in the northern hemisphere

6. Tom Croft - Quality all round game and better line out than most.

5. Courtney Lawes - Can't see a better partner for Gray and essaintly puts 4 back rowers in the team, would be Lydiate but don't think he could play lock that well.

4. Richie Gray - Best Lock in the UK has to be on that team sheet.

3. Dan Cole - Quality blindside and can't be overlooked

2. Dylan Hartley - Hate him but still brilliant hooker if he can sort out his line outs.

1. Gethin Jenkins - Obvious choice if fit but that's a big if.

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Monty84 November 09, 2012 2:42 am

What a shit British & Irish Lions team...

They are made up of 4 nations yet they still suck and get spanked every time they tour by a single nation. What a waste of time...that's really the only way the NH can compete, but they still get hammered! Soft cock NH Rugby lol...

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Steak November 09, 2012 3:54 am

1. Jenkins
2. Best
3. Cole
4. Gray
5. O'Connell
6. Ferris
7. Warburton
8. Faletau
9. Phillips
10. Sexton
11. North
12. BOD
13. Tuilagi
14. Bowe
15. Kearney

16. Hartley
17. Healy
18. Lawes
19. O'Brien
20. Care (I'd have Care starting but Gatland is coach so Phillips will. And Care is a great game changing sub)
21. Flood
22. Halfpenny

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PaulOConnell November 09, 2012 3:54 am

15. Kearney
14. Ashton
13. BOD (depending on how he goes till the rest of season)
12. Roberts
11. North
10. Sexton
9. Phillips
8. O'Brien (Heaslips form hasnt been great and SOB was great against AUS in RWC)
7. Warburton (with Gatland coach nobody else will play 7 imo)
6. Ferris (When on form no better 6 and again destroyed AUS in RWC)
5. Lawes
4. Gray
3. Cole/Jones (Whoever is on form)
2. Best (Outside bet for captain)
1. Healy/Jenkins (Whoever is on form)

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Kettlerugby November 09, 2012 4:29 am

Why do we persist with BOD...jog on! Manu, Roberts, Anthony Allen, Matt Tait, Davies, Barritt, Evans...yes I am English...give a damn

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Ken4Eight November 09, 2012 4:31 am

Australias best possible team they could put out would be: 15 Beale, 14, O'Connor, 13 Ioane, 12 Giteau (If Deans has any brain, he'll recall him, absolute genius with a rugby ball) 11 Mitchell, 10 Cooper 9 Genia, 8 Pocock 7 Hooper 6 Dennis 5 Timani 4 Horwill 3 Kepu 2 Moore 1 Robinson.

Lions best possible team would be IMO: 15 Kearney, 14 Bowe, 13 BOD 12 Davies 11 North (Who played brutally against Leinster for Scarlets lately, so maybe Cuthbert in here, but I think he's a one trick pony) 10 Sexton 9 Care 8 O'Brien 7 Robshaw 6 Ferris 5 O Connell 4 Gray 3 Jones 2 Best/Strauss 1 Healy

Dark Horses for winger spots could definitely be Maitland and Visser but we'll see.

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Canadian content November 09, 2012 11:10 am

Back three: brown, visser, Hogg, north, kearney
Centre: Manu, Roberts, Davies, bod (mentor)
10: sexton, wilko, priestland
9: lee Dixon, Phillips, Marshall (this kid is good and crazy fast)
8: Heaslip, faleteau
6: ferris, lydiate, Obrien
7: Armitage, rennie, warburton
Locks: gray, poc (only if fit and in form), jones, lawes
Props: jones, cole, healy, marler, jenkins
Hook: best, young, cronin

Medical joker/ lions first non British isles player: Adam kleeburger

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BillyBig November 09, 2012 12:27 pm

Healy
Strauss
Jones
O'Connell
Gray
Ferris
Armitage
Denton
Care
Sexton
North
Tuilagi at 12?/Roberts
Davies/O'Driscoll
Bowe
Kearney

Centres are too difficul to call....

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Steve November 09, 2012 3:39 pm

As an Irishman it saddens me a bit to say I think the team should mostly be Welsh, then English then Irish, then Scottish. The only two Irish players who should almost be certainties if fit and playing their best are Bowe and Kearney. Bowe before Cuthbert or Visser or Ashton or anyone else because he consistently scores tries for a pretty poor Irish team where he has to do most of the work for himself (look at Ireland vs France last 6 nations for example). Plus last Lions tour he was one of the standout players.

No way should BOD be on the team unless some sort of miracle happens. He hasn't done much on the international stage since the last lions tour and has got pretty slow. As much as I love Ferris, and I think if he's fit and playing his best he would get on any team in the world, his knees are a mess and he spends more time injured than fit these days. Healy and Best are maybes, and Sexton would need to do something good on the international stage and not just for Leinster. I would put O'Brien at 8 before Heaslip as well

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FatProp November 09, 2012 6:06 pm

My personal opinion is that we need to have centres that can tackle well and have pace, people keep talking about Tuilagi but Ioane will just come infield and just burn him for pace on the outside. This I feel is the same for BOD so at 13 I think that we could have a winger like North. He has the skill to play 13 and will have the pace for Ioane. So my team would be

15. Foden/Kearney both brilliant but Foden has the pace and hard surfaces will favour
14. Ashton/Bowe ashton has better running lines and on norths shoulder with the offload would be deadly
13. North
12. Roberts though people think he is boring Barritt could stop a range rover going over the advantage line rock in defence and needed if tuilagi plays because the understanding
11. Cuthbert personally like him more than north
10. Wilkinson is the best stand off
9. Care has amazing pace also like Youngs
8. Armitage can win ball has good physical presence unlike Ben 'i'm scared of south africa running at me so run away in the tackle' Morgan
7. Warburton is just briliant
6. Robshaw just because the ball winning skills
5. Lawes is a strong ball carrier
4. Ian Evans is a big carrier but I think Gray will go because armitage isnt a lineout threat
3. Cole scrumming monster can win ball
2. Hartley is a powerful runner good leader though if Best was picked wouldnt suprise me
1. Healy physical fast likes tackling Cooper

16. Best/Hartley
17. Jones
18. Corbisiero better scrummer than given credit for
19. AWJ because the lineout and flexiable for bck row
20. O'Brien/Ferris
21. Youngs
22. Sexton can cover 12 aswell
23. Bowe/Hogg

This team has the defensive and attacking qualities needed and I am english but tried not to be too biased. Though 9 starting may say otherwise :)

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Pretzel November 10, 2012 2:42 am

Out of interest.. you have put North in at 13 as you say he can defend and has pace.... however can he pass/offload? I have said before I rarely see these guys play unless its internationals, or on RD, but I have seen North sort of defend, and he can run, but being on the wing I can't recall him ever offloading or doing anything "tricky" which Ashton could capitalise on.... I think the NH is missing a decent 13 actually...

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FatProp November 10, 2012 7:28 pm

I think that Davies try in the match against Ireland which they won late on North broke the line and did a great offload I may be confused with someone else but I am pretty sure that he did. But I do agree with you that we need a decent 13. I think Davies will be picked but thats because of Gatland as coach.
Now if you look at players who can cause problems I think that Banahan can be brilliant on his day, not good enough for the lions perhaps but i think he can offload better than tuilagi and he can play on the wing and I saw him playing 12 and playing well. If fit should be playing for England. Personal opinion if you disagree fair enough. Also Joseph is a good player who can play well and offload well.

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phil November 09, 2012 6:23 pm

Why are people saying Sexton isn't a reliable kicker, 90% in last years heineken cup and 83% the year before? Munster fans have tried so hard to create undeserved doubt about his ability and as a result people just don't judge him on his outstanding merits.

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Reality November 09, 2012 10:13 pm

Thank you. I was going to go looking for the statistics, but you've done the work for me. Some old perceptions just can't seem to be put to bed. And nobody mentions his halfway line dropgoals either.

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Nick November 09, 2012 10:52 pm

As if he put the cumbersome oaf Easter in and left warburton out. What a joke.

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Darragh November 09, 2012 11:07 pm

My team,
15-Ben Foden: Kearney's tackling alone has him out of the team
14-Bowe: Although Ashton has a shot
13-BOD: Tuilagi will push him but I reckon won't be good enough
12-Roberts
11-North: Cuthbert next in line
10-Sexton:Easy choice unless Wilkinson comes back into it
9-Philips: Consistent and solid
8-Not Nick Easter or Heaslip, maybe Denton or one of the Welsh
7-Warburton (c)
6- Ferris: If O'Brien is on form, maybe one of them can play 8?
5-Paul O' Connell
4- Richie Gray/Courtney Lawes
3-Adam Jones
2-Dylan Hartley
1-Cian Healy

Would love to know what ye think!

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FatProp November 10, 2012 7:36 pm

I agree with you apart from BOD, Phillips and Denton.

BOD- three years ago was easily into the team and deserved to be there, but not now he is too slow and can not break away like in the HC final when he got through and Foden caught up with him over a short distance , that was a coupple years ago and he wont be any quicker.

Phillips- I think that Care is a better player and Phillips is playing poorly in France also gets into fights too much and would likely get yellowed.

Denton- I must have missed something with this guy looked good against England in six nations but apart from that he doesn't look that good would rather have Ferris or O'Brien.

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Callum November 10, 2012 11:45 am

1. Healy
2. Best
3. Cole
4. Gray
5. Lawes
6. Strokoshc
7. Warburton
8. Denton

9. Care
10: Sexton
11. Visser
12. Tuilagi
13. O'Driscal
14. North
15. kearney


16. Ford
17. Jones
18. Kellock
19. Rennie
20. O'Brien
21. Phillips
22. Cipriani
23. Hogg

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SP November 11, 2012 12:18 pm

Leaving Kearney the ERC player of the year 2012 out of the test team is utter nonsense

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vorgaphe November 11, 2012 10:23 pm

For me:
1. Cian Healy
2. Dylan Hartley
3. Dan Cole
4. Courteny Lawes
5. Richie Gray
6. Sean O'Brien
7. Sam Warbuton
8. David Denton
9. Mike Phillips
10. Jonathan Sexton
11. Chris Ashton
12. Jamie Roberts
13. Manu Tulilagi
14. George North
15. Rob Kearney

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kaibishin November 13, 2012 5:06 pm

Lions:

1. Gethin Jenkins
2. Rory Best
3. Adam Jones
4. Alun Wyn Jones
5. Donacha O'Callaghan
6. Tom Croft
7. Sam Warburton
8. Jamie Heaslip
9. Mike Philips
10. Jonny Sexton
11. George North
12. Jamie Roberts
13. Brian O'Driscoll (c)
14. Tommy Bowe
15. Rob Kearney

16. Cian Healy
17. Dan Cole
18. Dylan Hartley
19. Stephen Ferris
20. Ryan Jones
21. Danny Care
22. Jonny Wilkinson
23. Manu Tuilagi
24. Ben Foden

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Jack November 14, 2012 10:30 pm

1. Cian Healy
2. Rory Best
3. Adam Jones or Dan Cole
4. Paul O'Connell or Courtney Lawes
5. Richie Gray
6. Sean O'Brien or Stephen Ferris
7. Sam Warbuton
8. Jamie Heaslip or Dave Denton
9. Mike Phillips
10. Johnny Sexton or Toby Flood (Ronan O'Gara definitely there)
11. Tommy Bowe
12. Jamie Roberts or Brad Barritt (good, needs more experience)
13. Brian O'Driscoll (captain)
14. George North
15. Rob Kearney

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guest November 14, 2012 10:48 pm

1- Ryan Grant
2- Rory Best
3- Adam Jones
4- Richie Gray
5- Paul O'Connel
6- Stephan Ferris
7- Chris Robshaw
8- David Denton
9- Mike Blair but im not sure hard choice
10- Jonny Sexton
11- Tim Visser if he can prove himself but Tommy Bowe definitely
13- BOD
14- George North
15- Rob Kearny

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OnTheMoney November 15, 2012 12:40 pm

15 Rob Kearney
14 Leigh Halfpenny
13 Brian O'Driscoll
12 Jamie Roberts
11 George North/ Tim Visser/ Tommy Bowe/ Alex Cuthbert/ Chris Ashton (Doesn't really matter, so spoilt for choice)
10 Jonny Wilkinson
9 Mike Phillips/ Danny Care/ Ben Youngs (depending on form)
8 Jamie Heaslip
7 Sam Warburton
6 Sean O'Brien
5 Paul O'Connel
4 Luke Charteris
3 Adam Jones
2 Dylan Hartley
1 Cian Healy
Bench: 16 Rory Best 17 Genthin Jenkins 18 Dan Coles 19 Richie Gray 20 Toby Faletau/Stephen Ferris/Dan Lydiate 21 One of the scrumhalves 22 Jonny Sexton 23 Keith Earls (centre/wing cover)
From South Africa, so I'm the most unbiased;)

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themull November 15, 2012 3:02 pm

Cant believe so many people are leaving out Ferris...He is in much better form than eitehr Heaslip or O' brien and should definitely be playing test match rugby if fit and if his form keeps up with last season's...He is a wrecking ball in attack and defense and would compliment Warburton excellently...

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TheD November 25, 2012 10:54 pm

15. Leigh Halfpenny - adds a long range kicking option which would be useful in a tight test match.
14. Tommy Bowe - World Class finisher and also very good link up play.
13. Manu Tuilagi - Gets over the gain-line almost every time he attacks. Also very pacy, and good in defence.
12. Jonathan Davies - Similar to Tuilagi which could be a pro or a con. However, can be a go forward man, and a match winner. Roberts is severely out of form, and injury prone.
11. George North - Obvious reasons. Big, fast, good feet, and eager for ball.
10. Jonny Sexton - Scrapes it for me as he is a big game player. Flood and Laidlaw would also be in contention. Lacking a stand out fly half at the moment though.
9. Danny Care - Big ego, however, good at getting quick ball, and isn't afraid to have a go. Doesn't pick the ball up and run before passing either, unlike a certain Welsh scrum half!
8. David Denton. Just makes it in, with Ben Morgan and Toby Faletau in close contention. Another big game player, huge in the contact area, and has a Southern Hempishere style about him.
7. Sam Warburton. Hasn't been great of recent, however, not many have. Would like to see Ross Rennie in this position as he has outplayed a few of the best, however, he is out of form at the moment. Warburton is a leader, and is crucial at the breakdown.
6. Stephen Ferris - Unplayable at times. Fantastic in defence, and extremely fast, which would suit the play of the Lions in Australia.
5. Alun Wyn Jones - Not many in line for a place in the second row. Jones offers sublime strength and go-forward
4. Richie Gray - A very athletic second row, who is a fantastic line-out option and disrupts opposition set-pieces. Gets over the gainline with every carry and is extremely hard-working.
3. Dan Cole - Don't know much about the front row, but Cole seems to boss that area, and is good in the loose
2. Matthew Rees - Quality in the loose, and is an experienced line out thrower.
1. Cian Healy - Wrecking ball!

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Cal_46_rugby December 14, 2012 4:26 am

Cant seem to understand why people are choosing Dylan Hartley in the Lions squad? He should be nowhere near a lions jersey! All that he would do is give away penalties and receive yellow cards which will only put pressure on the team and could cost them a series win!

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Woody_rugby January 07, 2013 10:21 pm

1. Cian Healy
2. Matthew Rees
3. Dan Cole
4. Joe Launchbury (in top form and a qaulity player)
5. Gray
6. Ferris
7. Armitage
8. Denton
9. Phillips
10. Farrell
11. Bowe
12. Roberts
13. Tuilagi
14. North
15. Kearny

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Kev_Wea February 25, 2013 2:16 pm

1 cian healey (ireland)
2 Ross ford (Scotland)
3 Dan Cole (England)
4 Joe Launchberry (england)
5 Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
6 Kelly Brown (Scotland)
7 Chris Robshaw (England)
8 Jamie Heaslip (Ireland)
9 Mike Philips (Wales)
10 Owen Farrell (England)
11 George North (Wales)
12 Jamie Roberts (Wales)
13 Brian o'driscoll (Ireland)
14 Chris Ashton (England)
15 Lee Halfpenny (Wales)

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Issy March 03, 2013 11:11 pm

15.Leigh halfpenny (definitely)
14.Tommy bowe
13.Manu Tuilagi
12.Brian O'driscoll
11.George North
10.Owen Farrell
9.Mike Phillips
1.Gethin Jenkins
2.Rory Best
3.Adam Jones
4.Richie Gray
5.Paul O'connel
6.Chris Robshaw
7.Justin tipuric
8.Jamie Heaslip

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Guest March 16, 2013 9:40 pm

Why is everybody forgetting Simon Zebo and Conor Murray? Murray was fantastic against France and Zebo was brilliant against Wales. Realistically Ferris won't make it

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Blindside March 29, 2013 12:37 am

Murrays game has certainly improved. However, he doesn't have the experience in the cauldron of a Lions test match. I think Philips has the experience. Simon Zebo is a talented player but his game time at international level has been limited. Gatland always picks players on form and with plenty of game time behind them. On that basis, I do not expect either of the Irish players to be in the 1st test team or squad.

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Blindside March 29, 2013 12:24 am

Here is my Lions test team for the opener in Brisbane My selection is based on inform players. There are a number of players who have been out injured but lack of game plan will reduce their chances of making the 15 for the first test e.g Dan Lydiate, Paul O'Connell, Tommy Bowe. Other players who were on the Lions in 2009 but not playing well enough - Rob Kearney, Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Sexton is recovering from injury. Lack of game time will be an issue for him

15. Leigh Halfpenny
14. Alex Cuthbert
13. Brian O'Driscoll
12. Jonathan Davies
11. Tim Viser
10. Owen Farrell (on the assumption that Sexton is injured)
9. Mike Philips
8. Justin Tipuric
7. Sam Warburton (Capt.)
6. Chris Robshaw
5. Alun Wyn Jones
4. Joe Launchbury
3. Adam Jones
2. Dylan Hartley
1. Gethin Jenkins

Breakdown;
Wales (9)
England (4)
Scotland (1)
Ireland (1)

I picked Tipuric at 8 as he is a flexible player and both himself and Warburton are devastating playing together. Robshaw is a must also.

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