Why you should always tackle low


Ben Flower red card for vicious punches


Sam Burgess breaks cheekbone, plays on


Ben Tameifuna massive fend on huge prop


Ludovic Mercier crazy reverse pass


Streaker starts mass brawl after tackle


Step and unbelievable dummy sets up try


Prop lays into fullback with big shot


Brian O'Driscoll Breakdown Masterclass

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nick Evans and Jonathan Davies pick their British & Irish Lions starting XV

As this year comes to a close we look towards 2013, which is set to be one of the most significant chapters yet in the history of the British & Irish Lions, as they take on the Wallabies in search of their first series win since 1997.

Over the course of the next six months the Lions XV will be one of the most talked about and closely scrutinised selections in world rugby. With that in mind, today we look at two recent HSBC Ambassador videos that feature Nick Evans and Jonathan Davies making their picks.

Harlequins and former New Zealand flyhalf Nick Evans chose his starting XV for the first Test a few weeks back, and also made a prediction for the series result. He's gone with a few 'Quins team mates, but has omitted his club captain. 

Nick Evans' Lions starting XV to face The Wallabies in 2013:

1. Gethin Jenkins, 2. Rory Best, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Richie Gray, 5. Courtney Lawes, 6. Stephen Ferris, 7. Sam Warburton, 8. Nick Easter, 9. Danny Care, 10. Johnny Sexton, 11. Tommy Bowe, 12. Jamie Roberts, 13. Brian O’Driscoll, 14. George North, 15. Rob Kearney


Former dual-code Wales International and commentator Jonathan Davies has also selected his starting XV for the first Test of the British & Irish Lions Tour to Australia.

With years of experience in both codes of the game, and now a seasoned pundit, Davies has included six Welsh players and six Irish players in his lineup. Among other selections, he's moved Brian O'Driscoll to inside center, with namesake Jonathan Davies in at 13.

Jonathan Davies' Lions starting XV to face The Wallabies in 2013:

1. Andrew Sheridan, 2. Rory Best, 3. Adam Jones, 4. Alun Wyn Jones, 5. Richie Gray, 6. Dan Lydiate, 7. Sam Warburton, 8. Jamie Heaslip, 9. Danny Care, 10. Johnny Sexton, 11. Tommy Bowe, 12. Brian O’Driscoll, 13. Jonathan Davies, 14. George North, 15. Rob Kearney

You no doubt have your own opinion on the above selections, so would you tweak their choices slightly, keep as is, or change things up completely?

Posted at 9:25 am | 72 comments

Posted in British & Irish Lions 2013

Viewing 72 comments

WelshOsprey December 26, 2012 11:24 am

Nick Easter? Comedy gold
Gethin Jenkins is also a massive liability in the scrum

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Jimothy December 26, 2012 11:47 am

I know!! Hahaha lol imagine Nick Evans knowing anything about rugby lol. Not the first professional to suggest Easter.

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Guest123 December 26, 2012 11:43 am

jonathan davies picks himself lol
they're 2 diff guys i know i know

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ilsa December 26, 2012 11:51 am

Nick Easter has been playing brilliantly this season. Every commentator and pundit agrees and say he should be playing for England.

Glad to see Nev and JD have both gone for Danny Care. Best scrum half in the league by a mile!

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UpTheLowEnd December 26, 2012 12:15 pm

Someone's clearly a Quins fan!

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The Green Mafia December 26, 2012 5:49 pm

Did you see Ben Morgan against New Zealand? I admit he needs to play at that tempo and workrate more consistently, but he is a monster. Surelly Easter is not the answer neither for the lions or england. He has more than been exposed at international level. Like some others he is great at club level, but pitch him against Read, Samo, Vermuelen (hell, even Kankovski and Keegan Daniel!), Fernandez Lobbe or Senatore, and you're in for a tough time!

Faletau is in bad form at the moment, so I'd guess Morgan would start and Heaslip would be his backup (Heaslip is one hell of a player and athlete, but his smaller stature has prevented him to impose himself on his opposite nr8 recently)

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SouthWelshValleys December 26, 2012 11:57 am

Nick Easter?? hahahahahahahaha omfg thats classic LOL LOL
either toby faletau or jamie heaslip by far, noone else should even be looked at

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Ger December 26, 2012 12:10 pm

What about Sean o Brien at 6, he has to be there. Beast of a ball carrier and busts guys in tackles !!

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Facepalm December 26, 2012 12:30 pm

I just don't get this Easter thing. To be selected for the Lions you should have to prove your worth at international not at club.

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Tc December 26, 2012 9:59 pm

40+ caps not enough?
He's really only not playing for England because of age

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Facepalm December 26, 2012 12:32 pm

I also don't see the Heaslip appeal.

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Callum December 26, 2012 12:44 pm

How bias is Jonathon Davies, half of the team are welsh!

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adastra December 26, 2012 12:51 pm

So two or three Englishmen out of 15. Both collections appear founded on past international exploits rather then current form. We shall see....

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Facepalm December 26, 2012 1:03 pm

I'll get the ball rolling.

1) Corbisiero
2) Best
3) Jones
4) Gray
5) Lawes
6) Ferris
7) Waburton
8) Morgan
9) Youngs
10) Sexton
11) Bowe
12) Tuilagi
13) Davies
14) North
15) Kearney

16) Cole
17) Hartley
18) Wyn Jones
19) O'Brien
20) Care
21) Roberts
22) Halfpenny

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colm December 26, 2012 1:13 pm

O'Driscoll can barely string 80 uninjured minutes together and when he does he is a pale shadow of the player he once was. The only way he will be on another Lions trip is as part of the backroom staff.

Best wont be the starting hooker for Ireland in the six nations with the far superior Strauss now Irish qualified. Both will be in the Lions squad but Strauss will start.

Bowe is crocked and IF he is back this season he faces a battle with fit and flying Gilroy and Trimble for his Ulster and Ireland spots. At this stage he most likely wont be in the Lions squad.

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Boggy December 26, 2012 1:25 pm

Speaking as an Irish person, I truly hope that none of the Irish players make the team. The Lions is an anachronism which serves no other purpose than to run top-line Northern Hemisphere players into the ground when they should be taking an extended break from the game. In fact the only thing that happened after the last tour was that the Lions came back with half of the best Irish players injured or exhausted, and our subsequent performances reflected that (losing two games the year after picking up the Grand Slam).

If any Irish players DO play, I hope it's guys like Murray, Zebo, Gilroy, Marshall and Cronin, who could do with the experience. I sincerely hope that Ferris, O'Brien, O'Driscoll, Bowe, O'Connell and Sexton all miss the tour for whatever reason.

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RG December 26, 2012 2:36 pm

1. Andrew Sheridan, 2. Rory Best, 3. Adam Jones 4. Richie Gray 5. Courtney Laws 6. Dan Lydiate, 7. Sean O'Brien, 8. Jamie Heaslip, 9. Danny Care, 10. Johnny Sexton, 11. Tommy Bowe, 12. Tuilagi, 13. Brian O’Driscoll, 14. George North, 15. Rob Kearney

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Lion-O December 26, 2012 3:17 pm

...
15. Sean Maitland (Glasgow)

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Patrick December 26, 2012 3:33 pm

There has to be a spot for Denton. He could make no.8 instead of Heaslip.

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Patrick December 26, 2012 3:35 pm

Healy will start the tests in the front row also.

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Canadian content December 26, 2012 3:56 pm

Cole, jones, Healy, Murray,
Youngs, best, Rees
Gray, lawes, poc, Ryan
Warburton, Denton, Heaslip (these 3 possibly to start), Obrien, robshaw
Care, oleary, Blair
Sexton, biggar, Scottish boy, Farrell (prob centre)
Bod, Manu, Davies, rOberts
Bowe (cover 13) gilroy, brown, zebo, Trimble (no visser till he learns to defend)

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ciaranbrk December 26, 2012 5:25 pm

I don't think bod shouldent be there untill he proves he should be in the 6 nations. How they coul leave cian healy out is a joke. Heaslip and o'brien need to up their game. To be considered the second rows will be intresting because all the sides have good 2nd row's. Its all well and good picking a side now but its the 6 nations that count. Besides bowe will misd the 6 nations with his injury so he is pretty much outa the lions runnin in my oppinion.

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ash7 December 26, 2012 5:41 pm

1)cian healy
2)rory best
3)dan cole
4)courtney lawes
5)richie gray
6)stephen ferris
7)sam waburton
8)david denton

9)danny care
10)jonny sexton
11)george north
12)billy twelvetrees
13)manu tuilagi
14)chris ashton
15)alex goode

my first 15

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Dan HS December 26, 2012 5:42 pm

Dan Cole is the first choice 3, no other British or Irish prop is in touching distance of him currently - Adam Jones could challenge but we haven't seen him play internationally for a while now so he should not automatically get the shirt.

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Dan HS December 26, 2012 5:44 pm

And no Irish back-rower should be near a shirt at the moment, nor should Warburton. Lydiate at 6, Steffon at 7 and Faletau/Denton at 8 with Robshaw to cover.

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themull December 26, 2012 6:04 pm

Ireland have arguably the best back row out of the Lions nations..Dont think Eng, Scot or Wales come close to having 3 players as good as Ferris, heaslip and O' Brien...Its only arguable because they have no top quality specialist 7...if fit and playing anywhere near the level he played over the last few seasons Ferris is a must start..Nobody comes close to his defensive skills and he is a powerhouse with ball in hand..

I'd probably put Faletau at 8, but wouldn't argue with Heaslip there..I think I read or heard in the build up the Clermont game that Heaslip has made 40 plus tackles in this years HC and has not missed 1 either..Pretty impressive and that's the sort of hidden work you need out of your back row...

Warburton at 7...Warburton is the best breakdown specialist and we're gonna need him to try and shut Pocock down...If not Warburton then O' Brien should get the nod..(wouldn't mind seeing him at 8 either)....Considering he's only back from a pretty bad injury he is playing great ruby and nearly always gaining yards and/or breaking tackles..

Of course this is all speculation that current form will continue up to he Lions tour and during the 6 nations in particular..

I'd definitely have Dan Cole at 3 with Best at 2...Not sure about 1 at the moment but Healy should definitely be mentioned along with Jenkins....Second Row is toss up because there's been no really stand out players this season yet..6 Nations form will decide it here...

Agree with Danny Care at 9 and Sexton at 10...For the 2 centre positiosn I believe it'll come down to the 4 of BOD, Roberts, Davies and Tuilagi...Sure Bod's not near what he was 4 years ago, but he's still one of the best in the game and even if he won't start he's a great leader with great experience and would be invaluable to have on the bench and in the locker room..

Bowes injured as of now so he could be a doubt..Agree with Kearny and North for final 2 back three.

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Dan HS December 26, 2012 5:44 pm

And no Irish back-rower should be near a shirt at the moment, nor should Warburton. Lydiate at 6, Steffon at 7 and Faletau/Denton at 8 with Robshaw to cover.

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dave December 26, 2012 6:03 pm

I think it's unbelievable that these professional commentators don't have tuilagi at 13?!
England played great against the All Blacks but there's no guarantee they get their greatest win against the all blacks let alone a win against the all blacks without his contribution, he is raw and he's already a world beater. I dont care what anyone says dan cole is the best tight head in NH, this guy doesn't come off the bench, he's also indestructible, I cant remember the last time he was injured.
Now enough with my opinions and rubbing people the wrong way with my disregard for their picks, who wouldn't mind seeing a NH all star squad from europe take on the south since they alwys beat us, this way we get the french and italian best players as well?

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The Green Mafia December 26, 2012 6:10 pm

1- Healy
2- Best
3- Jones/Coles (even though I'm not a fan of Coles' workrate around the park, he is a solid scrummager)
4- Gray (one of the few to have his place locked in already with AW Jones as backup)/ POC (for grunt?)
5- Davies (one tough SOB, just when we need a tough as nails tight 5 and backrow to dominate australia and keep pocock in check)
6- Ferris (please, PLEASE god, keep him injury free. If not, then pick Lydiate)
7- Armitage/Warburton (how armitage isn't in the england squad just amazes me)
8- Morgan/Heaslip
9- Care/Phillips/Murray
10- Sexton (due to lack of competition, another with his place tightly locked)/Farrel
11 & 14- North & Bowe (I don't really focus on 11/14, nowadays a winger is a winger)/ possibilities: Sharples/Ashton/Visser (huge potential)/Cuthbert/Craig Gilroy (potential to be the next Shane Williams. There, I said it, and I'm not taking it back!)
12 - Roberts (if they play Sexton at 10, watch how they commit the stupidity of replacing roberts with farrel)
13 - Tuilagui (if he keeps his form and finds consistency, the place is his already)/Davies (hugelly underrated, even if he is the big man everyone sees, hes deceptivelly fast, a good defender and distributes really well)/ Darren Cave (again, I'm going to comment an utter blasphemy, but as Drico fades, a new potential O'Driscoll emerges. If only he was given half the nurturing that Keith "The Walking Flop" Earls has been given over the years...)
15 - Kearney/ Halfpenny (not a fan, irregular and prone to brain farts, but a great player on his day and a valuable kicker)/ Brown (longshot)

Others to travel would be Obrien, Launchbury, Palmer, Robson, Jenkins, Denton and some others.

The crucial point in this series will be coaching, gelling, player management and morale and gelling. They certainly have the players for a historic win

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CFK December 26, 2012 7:18 pm

I don't understand how Manu Tuilagi is not first choice at center... odd

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Ottawa Rugger December 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Whenever I read these lists, I think on the fact that Gatland has said he's taking 30+ players, so if I have a problem with a selection (say, Roberts over Tuilagi or Jenkins over Healy) I know there's a good chance that the "other" player will be selected anyway. BUT, I do think some of these names shouldn't be brought along at all, namely Easter. Sure, he's performing well at club level, but so are Billy Vunipola, Ben Morgan, and Tom Waldrom. All of these players have better international hopes than Easter so surely they're better picks? Also, Courtney Lawes: I know he's a big guy, but I've only really ever seen him run straight upright into contact, making his size useless.

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anonymous December 26, 2012 7:42 pm

twelvetrees?

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Tc December 26, 2012 10:05 pm

I don't get the obsession with Richie gray. I really think if he had dark hair he would be less noticed. Too loose for a lock IMHO, it has to be lawes, Ryan, parling for me

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Guest December 26, 2012 10:27 pm

Corbisiero
Best
Cole
Parling
Gray
Lydiate
Warberton
Faletau

Youngs
Sexton
Bowe
Tuilagi
Davis
North
Halfpenny

Healy
Jones
Hartley
Wyn-Jones
Ferris
Care
Flood
Roberts

Don't thing Parling is getting enough love; a superb line-out operator and great all round player. Lawes as of yet unproven at international level. Ferris/Lydiate to be selected purely on form, both excellent players. Prefer Faletau to Heaslip.

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Guest54 December 27, 2012 1:03 am

15. Leigh Halfpenny
14. George North
13. Manusamoa Tuilagi
12. Jonathan Davies (C)
11. Tim Visser
10. Greig Laidlaw
9. Mike Blair
8. Ben Morgan
7. Sam Warburton
6. Stephen Ferris
5. Alun-Wyn Jones
4. Richie Gray
3. Adam Jones
2. Dylan Hartley
1. Andrew Sheridan
Subs
16. Rory Best
17. Cian Healy
18. Dan Cole
19. Courtney Lawes
20. Ryan Jones
21. Mike Phillips
22. Jonathan Sexton
23. Brian O'Driscoll

Captain - 12. Jonathan Davies
Short goal kicker - 10. Greig Laidlaw
Long goal kicker - 15. Leigh Halfpenny

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Reality December 27, 2012 1:33 am

Am I the only one that doesn't get what all the hype about Dan Lydiate is? I mean he's good at tackling people around their ankles, but I've never seen him do much else. Ferris and O'Brien offer so much more in defense and attack, and make a real, noticeable impact.

And the opposite for Cian Healy. He's faster and stronger than probably any other loosehead in world rugby, is an excellent tackler, great ball-carrier, and brilliant in the scrum. Why isn't he number 1 on everyone's list?

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Kettlerugby December 27, 2012 2:02 am

Sorry but you cannot put BOD in there ahead of Manu or JD...it would be ridiculous. I think English back row forwards in general are ahead at the moment, Robshaw, Croft (coming back from injury), Wood, Morgan all playing well.

AWJ can jog on as well, Parling all day long...

Need young exciting players on form with a few experienced heads such as Flood, Roberts and Cole

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bobthebuilder December 27, 2012 3:12 am

Here's my team, with a few new names not already mentioned but a team which will take the game to the Australians playing a wide fast tempo brand of rugby.

15. Ben Foden,
14. George North
13. Manu Tuilagi
12. Jonathan Davies
11. Chris Ashton

10. Jonny Sexton
9. Danny Care

8. Jamie Heaslip
7. Steffan Armitage
6. Tom Wood
5. Richie Gray
4. Courtney Lawes
3. Dan Cole
2. Dylan Hartley
1. Alex Corbisiero

16. Rory Best
17. Andrew Sheridan
18. Adam Jones
19. Joe Launchbury
20. Stephen Ferris
21. Ben Youngs
22. Ronan O'Gara
23. Brian O'Driscoll

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dave December 27, 2012 3:36 am

Now I know Chris Robshaw plays 7 for england and I don't expect him to get called up there, why not have him at 6, he plays there as well as 7 at quins, surely there are few that are playing better then him in the backrow right now, before you criticize me you should have a look at his stats (tackling, carries, balls turned over) he's the type of player you don't notice but does everything to help you win

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Migs December 27, 2012 6:46 am

I don't understand why Warburton continues to picked for these hypothetical lions teams at 7, did nobody watch the welsh australia tour? I'm not saying he's a bad player but we have already seen him be out muscled by David Pocock. Steffon Armitage may not be starting for England but he is the most valuable player in a club side that has more individual talent then this Lions team, regardless of who is picked. He has to be given the starting place given his current form but also because it might cause Warburton to wake up and remember the way he played during the last world cup when he was excellent.

Also I hate to say it but everyone still seem to be heavy on welsh players despite the fact their current squad continues to bottle it against the southern hemisphere. I really feel the Lions should be almost exclusive to England and Ireland, they're the teams with X factor at the moment and I think it will either them or France who will win the 6 nations.

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Patrick H December 27, 2012 9:56 am

1. C. Healy
2. R Strauss
3. E. Murray
4. R. Gray
5. G. Parling
6. S. Ferris
7. C. Robshaw
8. S. O'Brien
9. D. Care
10. J. Sexton
11. C. Gilroy
12. J. Roberts
13. M. Tuilagi
14. G. North
15. R. Kearney

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Callum J December 27, 2012 11:39 am

No one from Wales really wants waburton anywhere near the Lions team if he continues this form, Tipuric at the ospreys is currently the best No7 in Wales but is never getting the chance to show it for country!

My XV would be:

15- Kearney
14 - Cuthbert
13 - J. Davies
12 - Tuilagi
11 - T.Bowe
10 - Sexton
9 - Care

1 - Corbisiero
2 - Best
3 - A.Jones
4 - Grey
5 - AWJ
6 - O Brien
7 - C. robshaw
8 - Healsip (C)

subs d. Hartley, G. jenkins, D. Cole, R.Jones, Tipuric, Youngs, Hook (utility player), North

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Dutchie December 27, 2012 6:49 pm

1. Healy
2. Best
3. Cole
4. Gray
5. AW Jones
6. Ferris
7. Warburton
8. O'Brien
9. Youngs
10. Sexton
11. Visser
12. Tuilagi
13. O'Driscoll
14. North
15. Kearney

16. Rees
17. A Jones
18. Launchbury
19. Heaslip
20. Care
21. Farrell
22. Davies

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dave December 27, 2012 9:33 pm

1. Andrew Sheridan
2.dylan hartley
3.Dan Cole
4. Richie Gray
5.Geoff Parling (meshes the physicalness of gray with rugby iq)
6.Chris Robhsaw
7.Sam Warburton/Steffon Armitage
8.Ben Morgan( most x factor for number 8's/Jamie Heaslip
(mostly english forwards because english have the best pack from the isles, any team that can best the boks deserves majority pack)

9. Ben Youngs (brings x factor/up tempo game (aussie killer))
10.Jonny Wilkinson (reality is I dont think theres a better fly half with experience against the aussies)
11.george north
12.Manu tuilagi
13.Brian O driscoll
14.Chris Ashton
15. Leigh Halfpenny

16. Alex Corbisiero (smart scrummager, can play either side but is better loose)
17. danny care
18. sean o brien
19. Jamie Roberts
20. Jonny Sexton
21.alun wyn jones
22.Mike Brown

I accept suggestions, this is the first time i've tried my hand at general manager

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48503723bdg December 27, 2012 10:48 pm

1-healy 2-strauss 3-cole 4-gray 5-lawes 6-ferris 7-warburton 8-o'brian
9-care 10-sexton 11-tuilagi 12-roberts 13-o'driscoll 14-north 15-zebo

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Tram14 December 28, 2012 12:44 am

1. Corbisiero
2. Best
3. Cole
4. Gray
5. Launchbury
6. Robshaw (c)
7. O'Brien
8. Heaslip

9. Care
10. Sexton
11. North
12. Roberts
13. O'Driscoll
14. Halfpenny
15. Brown

16. Jones
17. Hartley
18. Croft
19. Warburton
20. Youngs
21. Wilkinson
22. Tuilagi

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SP123 December 28, 2012 3:37 am

1. C. Healy
2. R. Best
3. D. Coles
4. R. Gray
5. C. Lawes
6. S. Ferris
7. S. Armitage
8. B. Morgan

9. D. Care
10. J. Sexton
11. C. Gilroy
12. J. Roberts
13. M. Tualagi
14. T. Visser
15. R. Kearney

No real surprises here apart from Gilroy, but I think he's the man to beat the Aussie wingers. He has the feet of Shane Williams, plus the great skill and strength to match any back in the world. He was born to wear a Lions shirt!

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Gibbles December 28, 2012 11:56 am

1. Corbisiero
2. Rory Best
3. Dan Cole
4. Gray
5. Launchbury
6. Ferris
7. Armitage
8. Heaslip/Morgan, undecided

9. Youngs
10. Sexton
11. Gilroy
12. Davis
13. Tuilagi
14. North
15. Kearney

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JosephC December 28, 2012 12:20 pm

Why so few members of England's pack? They are easily the strongest front five in the Home Nations and their back row just outperformed the All Blacks and South Africa. It seems as though people will probably continue to overlook them even if they win the 6N.

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Dan HS December 28, 2012 5:15 pm

1. Healey
2. Hartley
3. Cole
4. Wyn-Jones
5. Parling
6.Lydiate
7. Steffon
8. Faletau

9. Care
10. Wilkinson
11. Visser
12. Manu
13. Davies
14. Bowe
15. Foden

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HarryWilson December 28, 2012 5:35 pm

15- Kearney
14 - Ashton
13 - J. Davies
12 - Tuilagi
11 - T.Bowe
10 - Farrel
9 - Care

1 - Corbisiero
2 - Youngs
3 - A.Jones
4 - Grey
5 - Lawes
6 - O Brien
7 - Armitage
8 - Healsip (C)

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bacrac December 28, 2012 6:18 pm

I truley belive that playing with a welsh based team will not make the lions win the series. Therfore this is my humble opinion:

1: Healy, great ball carrier, a,azomg physicality. ok scrumager.
2: Strauss, his current form is excelent and i belive he is going to be irelands first pick n2 and not best. therfore sould be taken along.
3: Cole, a total beast. somtimes you forget he has a number 3 on the back. huge work rate and very, very good scrumager.
4:Gray, I am a fan. great scrum, lineout and player. does everything a second row should do. and he is simply huge.
5:Parling; This was a very tough one, but after looking at the series i realized what a player parling really is. HOWEVER. AW Jones OR launchbury can also do the job. Lawes has not really been playing therfore shouldnt really be taken into account.
6:Wood/Ferris; totally diffrent players, however they could do the job perfeclty. I rather wood only beacuse of his current form. but ferris is an excelent player.
7:Armitage....Rawbshaw, the only reason armitage is not playing for england is because he is not a local in england. He is the perfect 7. And will counteract against what pockock OR the new fellow, HOOPER can do.
8:Heaslip; great ball carrier and is even a lineout option
9:Danny care; just elextrifing, great playmaker. will give genia (who will be coming back) some trouble
10: Farrell, i am a farrell fan. he dose a great pare with care.
11: Brown, great pace. ok defence VERY good air game. should be given a chance.
12: Manu T; A MONSTER, IF U DONT LIKE HIM JUST ASK NZ
13: J Davies, another beast, just a fantastic player.
14: North; great physicality in a wing. he is a scary dood.
15: Halfpenny; best welsh player

this is my team any opinions just reply. regards from argentina.

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Boyo December 29, 2012 1:46 am

How neither of them chose tuilagi is absolutely beyond me. Especially talking about good ball carriers, and if someone tries to tell me Davies is even on the same level as tuilagi then your an idiot.

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stefft December 29, 2012 9:30 am

I really don't know why people are putting BOD near their starting XV's! He shouldn't even go on the plane to Oz.

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Zanch December 29, 2012 9:59 pm

Things will be much clearer after the coming six nations as i expect many of these selections to under preform.Based reasonably current form i would go with...

1.Cole- First name on the team sheet no one is coming clse to his level at the moment
2.? This ones really up in the air
3.Jones- reliable
4.Gray- i'm sure his will return sooner or later...
5.Donnacha ryan- He's usually unnoticed but one of irelands best players big fast and fit
6.Ferris-has to be
7.warburton- does the NH have another real fetcher other than Steffon armitage?
8-Morgan- Keeps getting better while faletau keeps getting worse!
9.Youngs- his game sense still does it for me and is a better runner than you think
10.sexton- although wilko is probably better
11.North- Big strong winger with a brain as well.
12.Barrit- The man is a defensive rock and it wins games full stop.
13.Manu- The man is an offensive rock and it wins games full stop.
14.Visser- very much like North(a bigger faster ashton)
15.Kearney- Went for the safe option here .

Players i'd like to see in the squad:
Croft- hes one the worlds best on form
denton- Has enormous potential
gilroy- uncanny ability to beat defenders
Steffon armitage -true fetcher and an absolute dyano
Davies- pair him barrit and you arent going through the middle

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thunor December 30, 2012 5:15 pm

Not entirely sure why Charlie Hodgson isn't getting more mentions, he's been the best 10 in the premiership in 2012, and likely one of the best passers and kickers in world rugby at present. Defensively he's improved a great deal.

Having retired from England shouldn't preclude him, in my view.

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irishrugby December 30, 2012 6:39 pm

1:Cian Healy
2:Richardt Strauss
3:Dan Cole
4:Richie Gray
5:Donnacha Ryan
6:Stehen Ferris
7:Sean O'Brien
8:Jamie Heaslip

9:Eoin Reddan
10:Jonathan Sexton
11:Craig Gilroy
12:Jonathan Davies
13:Brian O'Driscoll
14:Tommy Bowe
15:Rob Kearney

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Pretzel December 30, 2012 8:19 pm

I have no idea why Lawes is picked by so many, I've never seen him in European domestic stuff (other than RD) and Internationally? No idea who he is in the international scene, other than an injury prone hammer who has Ko'd or injured a few smaller players.... is that all that is needed to get onto the B&I lions?? Goodluck with the tour if it is...

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irishrugby December 30, 2012 9:02 pm

I have no idea why people chose tualagi. He is pretty good but there are better, and he would probably get into trouble off the pitch. And saying that O'Driscoll is past it is wrong, he is still a better player than some will ever be

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Guest December 31, 2012 4:17 pm

1. Healy -big ball carrier and great at the breakdown/ Corbisiero -solid, wouldn't say outstanding though/ Grant -suprised by how well he played in AI
2. Strauss/Best -no one seems that exceptional at hooker tbh
3. Cole -in my opinion he's well in front of the competition atm, Jones probably second choice
4. Gray -been off form a little recently but would flourish in this team
5. Ryan -someone to be the enforcer compared to Gray's atheleticism, maybe AW Jones or Launchberry
6. Ferris -we're spoiled for choice when it comes to back row but an awesome player if fit/ Lydiate
7. Warburton -if he returns to form but if not I'd go for Wood. I haven't seen enough of Armitage to judge but maybe him. Would like to see Rennie on tour though, lots of potential and very like Hooper.
8. Denton -we'll see how he goes in 6N but another guy with huge work rate and I'm not that impressed by Faletau or Heaslip atm. Putting O'Brien at 8 would certainly not weaken the squad though

9. Care -real buzz when he's playing/ Youngs
10. Sexton -not a huge amount of competition but a really good player/ Flood or Farrel; haven't watched Toulon much but if Wilkinson really is playing as well as people say he might fit in?
11. Visser -great player (3 times top try scorer in a league with all the Welsh and Irish wingers, while playing for a pretty average team) and really looks for the ball in a similar way to Ashton a couple of years ago, would finish a lot of trys/ Bowe
12. Tuilagi -Beast and really maturing
13. Davies -more creative then he might seem. Maybe play Bowe here though. Bit of a leftfield suggestion but maybe Hogg, if only for non-tests: I think his speed and creativity would compliment a big 12 like Tuilagi
14. North -strong player with good skills
15. Kearney -consistant but will be interesting to see Goode/Brown in 6N. Maitland is a classy player so he's one to examine in 6N too and I would like to see Hogg go on tour

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rugby fan January 01, 2013 11:46 pm

15.halfpenny
14.ashton
13.tulangi
12.o'driscal
11.visser
10.sexton
9.care

1.jacobson
2.best
3.cole
4.laws
5.gray
6.ferris
7.robshaw
8.denton

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Patrick H January 03, 2013 11:01 pm

I was wondering about who should be captain. There's not that many guaranteed starters at the moment.
I think it may well be Sexton. He showed his leadership qualities in the HC final against Northampton and is one of the few certs to start (baring injury).

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P January 04, 2013 1:32 am

Sean O'Brien 8, is it not obvious?

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AK-NZ January 04, 2013 10:22 pm

Needs more Cian Healy.

Seriously, if he's not on that tour I will be greatly disappointed.

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mickeyfinn January 05, 2013 12:11 am

1. Sheridan 2. Best. 3. Cole
4. Lawes 5. Gray
6. Armitage 7. Warburton 8. Heaslip
9. Care 10. Sexton
12. O' Driscoll 13. Tuilagi
11. Bowe 14. Trimble 15. Kearney

I can't believe either of them did not say Tuilagi after he ruined New Zealand attack after attack.

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elrich93 January 05, 2013 3:50 am

Thought i would add to the mix, cannot believe that tuilagi was not mentioned in these videos he is the best form centre in the northern hemisphere by far. Another thing I dont see why you cant have robshaw and warburton in the back row together, two good leaders, and add in heaslip for size. I also dont see why Johnathan davies and tuilagi arent being mentioned as a centre partnership, davies is a good footballer and can be creative, and manu is brilliant in defence and a great strike runner i think their skills would compliment each other well. Had to put halfpenny in at fullback because of form and offers kicking option. Goode on bench means he can come on at 10 or 15 if needed. Although I havent started Phillips and O'driscoll, mainly because the players if their positions are in better form, I have included them because I think they would be great impact player if we went down. Stephan Armitage has proven himself time and time again in france and deserves to go.

Anyway, here is my first choice XV:

1.Cian Healy
2.Rory Best
3.Dan cole
4.Courtney Lawes
5.Richie Gray
6.Chris Robshaw
7.Sam Warburton
8.Jamie Heaslip

9.Danny Care
10.Jonny Sexton
11.Tommy Bowe
12.Johnathan Davies
13.Manu Tuilagi
14.George North
15.Leigh Halfpenny

16.Gethin Jenkins
17.Dylan Hartley
18.Stephan Armitage
19.Stephen Ferris
20.Mike Phillips
21.Alex Goode
22.Brian O'driscoll

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Pretzel January 05, 2013 2:52 pm

Again 2 more people add Lawes to their list?!?!? Who is he really? The guy has made less of an impact on the rugby scene at least from what I have heard, than the impact someone like Peter Stringer would make on Bakkies Botha's knee cap....

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Patrick H January 05, 2013 8:31 pm

Bolters.
I think from an Irish perspective Gilroy has to go. He's the most exciting prospect around at the moment.
Ian Henderson's ability to play in the second row or back row (at a very high level) will get him on the tour. By the time the squad is picked they both may well have earned it on merit in the 6N anyway.
I love the 6N & Lions tours & the H Cup etc.. Rugby's great!

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lakey101 February 26, 2013 6:07 pm

i think i may aswell post my squad as everyone else has i,ll do my squad then test team from it if all fit!!!

loose-head props : cian healy , gethin jenkins, ryan grant
hookers : rory best, ricardt strauss, dylan hartley
tight-head props: dan cole, adam jones, euan murray
second rows : paul o,connell , geoff parling, joe launchbury, richie gray
flankers : sean o,brien , chris robshaw, stephen ferris, tom wood
numbers 8 : jamie heaslip, toby faletau
scrum halfs : ben youngs, mike phillips , danny care
fly halfs: jonny sexton , owen farrell, jonny wilkinson
wingers : chris ashton, george north, tommy bowe, alex cuthbert
centres : brian o, driscoll, jamie roberts, manu tuilagi, jonathan davies
full backs : leigh halfpenny , rob kearney


test team :
1.cian healy ( scrummages well and lots of work in loose)
2. rory best ( good line out thrower and very good at break down)
3. adam jones ( will probably only last 60 minutes but will dismantle australian scrum)
4. richie gray ( big , strong, work horse, pressure australine line-out
5. paul, o connell ( leadership, experienced )
6. stephen ferris ( ball carrier , great in defence and will carry for 80 minutes
7. chris robshaw (C) ( true leader, steps up every game, line-out ball player and breakdown operator played himself into test team
8. jamie heaslip ( carries well, defensively solid, break down very good and line-out option
9 .mike phillips ( big game experience, strong like extra back rower
10. johnny sexton ( good in defence, stands flat, best fly half available
11. tommy bowe ( out and out finisher, works well with kearney, looks for work)
12. jamie roberts ( always gets over gain-line , strong , been there and done it)
13. brian o,driscoll ( has it all defence, attack, kicking , passing)
14. leigh halfpenny ( consistent goalkicker, good in air, good pace and eye for gap, and big boot
15. rob kearney ( superb hands and kicker) spots space quickly constant threat

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lakey101 February 26, 2013 6:10 pm

i think i may aswell post my squad as everyone else has i,ll do my squad then test team from it if all fit!!!

loose-head props : cian healy , gethin jenkins, ryan grant
hookers : rory best, ricardt strauss, dylan hartley
tight-head props: dan cole, adam jones, euan murray
second rows : , geoff parling, joe launchbury, richie gray
flankers : sean o,brien , chris robshaw, stephen ferris, tom wood
numbers 8 : jamie heaslip, toby faletau
scrum halfs : ben youngs, mike phillips , danny care
fly halfs: jonny sexton , owen farrell, jonny wilkinson
wingers : chris ashton, george north, tommy bowe, alex cuthbert
centres : brian o, driscoll, jamie roberts, manu tuilagi, jonathan davies
full backs : leigh halfpenny , rob kearney


test team :
1.cian healy ( scrummages well and lots of work in loose)
2. rory best ( good line out thrower and very good at break down)
3. adam jones ( will probably only last 60 minutes but will dismantle australian scrum)
4. richie gray ( big , strong, work horse, pressure australine line-out
5. geoff parling ( line-out technician )
6. stephen ferris ( ball carrier , great in defence and will carry for 80 minutes
7. chris robshaw (C) ( true leader, steps up every game, line-out ball player and breakdown operator played himself into test team
8. jamie heaslip ( carries well, defensively solid, break down very good and line-out option
9 .mike phillips ( big game experience, strong like extra back rower
10. johnny sexton ( good in defence, stands flat, best fly half available
11. tommy bowe ( out and out finisher, works well with kearney, looks for work)
12. jamie roberts ( always gets over gain-line , strong , been there and done it)
13. brian o,driscoll ( has it all defence, attack, kicking , passing)
14. leigh halfpenny ( consistent goalkicker, good in air, good pace and eye for gap, and big boot
15. rob kearney ( superb hands and kicker) spots space quickly constant threat

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lakey101 February 26, 2013 6:16 pm

my bench and midweek team :

bench test :

16. strauss
17. jenkins
18. cole
19. launchbury
20. o,brien
21. youngs
22. farrell
23. tuilagi


midweek team
1. grant
2. hartley
3. murray
4. launchbury
5. o,connell (C)
6. tom wood
7. o,,brien
8. faletau
9. care
10. wilkinson
11. north
12. tuilagi
13 . davies
14. ashton
15. cuthbert
16. strauss
17. jenkins
18. cole
19. geoff parling
20. jamie heaslip
21. ben youngs
22. owen farrell
23. leigh halfpenny

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Guest2809 March 17, 2013 12:39 pm

How do you feel now, victory over a tired NZ side does not world beaters make.

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