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Why you should always tackle low

Friday, April 19, 2013

Jason Robinson picks BOD as captain in starting British & Irish Lions XV

With the British & Irish Lions squad announcement less than two weeks away, on 30th April, HSBC Ambassador and Lions legend Jason Robinson has now selected his starting XV for the Test series against the Wallabies.

The former dual-code international was impressed by what he saw in the Six Nations, subsequently naming a side that features eight Welsh internationals, and an all Welsh backrow.

He's gone with Leigh Halpenny as a starter, but on the wing rather than fullback, opting for Ireland's Rob Kearney instead. In the midfield he's gone with what could be a lethal partnership, as he's named Manu Tuilagi and Brian O'Driscoll, with the latter as squad captain.

If you're wondering about the scenery, Robinson was speaking from the HSBC Rugby Festival Doha.

JASON ROBINSON’S 2013 BRITISH & IRISH LIONS STARTING XV

BACKS FORWARDS
15 Rob Kearney (Ireland)
14 Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)
13 Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland) ©
12 Manu Tuilagi (England)
11 George North (Wales)
10 Jonathan Sexton (Ireland)
9 Mike Phillips (Wales)
1 Cian Healy (Ireland)
2 Rory Best (Ireland)
3 Adam Jones (Wales)
4 Joe Launchbury (England)
5 Alun-Wyn Jones (Wales)
6 Sam Warburton (Wales)
7 Justin Tipuric (Wales)
8 Toby Faletau (Wales)

As the tour approaches, what do you think of the team he has selected?

Posted at 2:55 pm | 77 comments

Posted in British & Irish Lions 2013

Viewing 77 comments

tegid13 April 19, 2013 6:04 pm

I agree with most of the players, but regarding the fullback position - It is a definite Leigh Halfpenny at 15 for me, he was player of the tournament in the Six Nations, and is such a consistent player, so why change the position of your best player at the current time! Also, if there are any doubts about the #15 shirt, I would also pick Stuart Hogg in front of Rob Kearney.

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matt April 19, 2013 8:37 pm

I agree, I think Zebo should be on the wing, haven't seen him play since the 6N but if he keeps his form up then he should be there.
I don't have a single memory of Kearney from the 6N, very surprised to see him there

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Cmac April 19, 2013 11:39 pm

Isn't the main reason he was so good in the Six Nations because he took over kicking duties? If they pick someone else to do the kicking I think it's a pretty even contest (a lot closer than some seem to think anyway) between Hogg, Kearney and Halfpenny, though I'd probably pick Halfpenny in the end.

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matt April 20, 2013 11:55 am

I think halfpenny gets the nod because he was faultless under high balls and his counter attacking was a cut above any other 15 in the comp.
Also he brings the long range goal kicking option, not just the run of the mill conversions

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matt the mauler April 22, 2013 2:17 pm

Under the high balls yes. Hogg's counter attacking was (and is) better. Both on the plane ahead of Kearney.

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WelshOsprey April 19, 2013 6:21 pm

Good team apart from Kearney, what is Robsinson thinking there? The backrow could be swapped around to accommodate Robshaw maybe too.

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matt April 19, 2013 8:39 pm

Swapping it around isn't enough, you have to drop one of them, which would it be?

I'm a proud Englishman, but I don't think Robshaw can handle any of the number 7s Australia will throw at us.

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WelshOsprey April 20, 2013 11:22 am

My ideal backrow would be
6- Robshaw
7- Tipuric
8- O'Brien
But that probably won't happen

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matt April 20, 2013 11:56 am

I wouldn't be unhappy seeing that on a team sheet

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brawnybalboa April 21, 2013 1:34 am

If he gets healthy soon enough, I wonder what the odds are of Ryan Jones being included in the Lions squad, potentially as Midweek captain? He is a highly respected player who shone big style during the six nations, and has the versatility to play Lock, 6 & 8!

We are all infatuated with Robshaw due to his leadership, tackling numbers and carries. All things that Jones is particularly good at!

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MIDAS247 April 19, 2013 6:21 pm

Personally think that Sean O'Brien has to be included in any starting back row.

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William Moore April 19, 2013 6:27 pm

I would put Richie Gray in at 4. Sean Maitland at 14 simply because he does all of the basics well (good counter attacking, clean ball, hits the ruck when needed, and has good pase). Also to put some more Scots in would have a look at David Denton, he is agile, got a bit of pase, good in the loose, but also very sturdy and powerful in contact. Also don't over look Laidlaw he is a good versatile half-back.

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gstar April 19, 2013 6:31 pm

Paul O'Connell that is all

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matt April 19, 2013 8:40 pm

I think he should go on the tour, but I'm not certain he's the one you want to be starting with.
His role could be more back room orientated, and maybe coming on for the last 25 or so to keep a calm head on things if games are tight.

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macmurchu April 20, 2013 5:50 am

You want POC to be on tour, not play in a test and remain calm? Do you know who Paul O'Connell is?

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matt April 20, 2013 11:58 am

fair point, but what I mean is that there is a huge wealth of experience and knowledge in that ginger head, and that might be more valuable to the lions than what is in his legs

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macmurchu April 20, 2013 5:50 am

You want POC to be on tour, not play in a test and remain calm? Do you know who Paul O'Connell is?

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Lardinio April 19, 2013 6:48 pm

Personally, I think there will be a fair few changes in selection before the tour. 6 nations will have had the biggest say. But come tour, some may loose a bit of form and some will come through. Back row is an interesting place - Faletau, Tipuric, Warburton, Croft, Wood, O'Brien, Robshaw, Beattie all have a case to be on the plane. I think Jason has the backs nearly right, but probably Halfpenny at fullback and Cuthbert on the wing, and may be a bolter at fly half come the first test.

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Flying Dutchman April 19, 2013 6:51 pm

I'm sure either Halfpenny or Kearney would be fantastic as fullback, I think Halfpenny had the luck of being on the winning team and therefore had more chance to shine than Kearney. However I don't understand the reasoning of playing a fullback on the wing if you've got class wingers like Cuthbert, Visser and Zebo (just a few) available. Also this starting lineup seems quite harsh towards Scotland and England wouldn't you agree?

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matt April 19, 2013 8:43 pm

I agree it does seem a little harsh on those two, but then again I'd rather see the Lions win, even if there are only a couple of English lads. As for Scotland, Richie Gray, Denton and Hogg are about their only prospects in my mind, and they're all in fiercely contested areas. There is a lot to be said for picking players that are used to playing together.

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DrG April 19, 2013 8:58 pm

The thing about the Lions is that whilst winning is the best out come, they SHOULD in theory be like a baa baa's team, against all odd trying to pull something useful out of the bag.

The odds are ALWAYS against the Lions, really if you want something consistent then you really need to pick the entire Welsh team..lets face it, they won the 6 Nations...

This should be a super XV team, I'd pick Gray over Launchbury. Denton is less sluggish than Faletau, but maybe they need a good strong 8..

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matt the mauler April 22, 2013 2:21 pm

Eh? Ryan Grant will probably start in the test team. He's much better than the gym monkey Cian Healey. Try and see the highlights on the Glasgow v Osprey game on Friday night. He was up against Jones and more than held his own. You've read it here first folks. Also Beattie will be on the plane. Laidlaw might also make it along. And Tim Visser and Sean Maitland both have big shouts. Denton, not a chance.

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Irish Rugby fan April 19, 2013 7:18 pm

I agree with most selections bar a few. Best is not a test hooker and i don't think he's good enough to play for a lions team. No. 10 should not be sexton, Wilkinson is still in the top 3 out-halves in the world and deserves to be selected in that position. If Ferris is fit he has to start at 6 and move Sam to 7. Completely agree with Toby at 8. I might start one of the England no.9's as they are distributors all day and will feed the back line instead of trying to make darts around rucks

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matt April 19, 2013 8:44 pm

I think the opposite of the English 9s, I find it incredibly frustrating watching them pick the ball up, take 2 steps and then pass it, take someone who knows their job is to pass.

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brawnybalboa April 21, 2013 1:27 am

they must have been to the Mike Phillips school of Scrum Halfing!

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Facepalm April 19, 2013 7:47 pm

Really don't think Phillips should start as 9.

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Reason April 19, 2013 8:22 pm

Two words: Tommy Bowe

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watch thattt April 19, 2013 8:25 pm

Might aswell remove the scotland icon from the lions symbol... thanks robinson we love you to.

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FatProp April 19, 2013 8:27 pm

1.Healy
2.Hibbard
3.Jones
4.Wyn-Jones
5.Ryan
6.Croft
7.Tipuric
8.Warburton
9.Phillips
10.Sexton
11.North
12.Roberts
13.Tuilagi
14.Hogg
15.Halfpenny

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matt April 19, 2013 8:45 pm

Do you not think Tuilagi and Roberts a little to similar to play well together?

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FatProp April 19, 2013 9:37 pm

Yes, but it is the weakess point in the team at 12 you have marshall , scott and barritt none of which are really good enough. 13 tuilagi aint that great but is by far the best o'driscoll , lamont and davies so you have got problems

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PriamKing April 19, 2013 8:58 pm

Hogg and Roberts in, with North and O'Driscoll on the bench.
Its more of a 1st XX rather than a 1st XV

6 Croft
7 Warburton
8 Heaslip

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djonz April 19, 2013 9:02 pm

1. healy
2. tom youngs or ross ford
3. Jones or Murray
4. Gray
5. parling or alun wyn
6. warburton or kelly brown
7. tipuric or robshaw
8. denton or morgan
9. phillips or ben youngs
10. farrel or sexton
11. north
12. roberts
13. BOD or tuilagi
14. visser
15. halfpenny

bench:
Laidlaw
ryan
croft
wood
kearney
mike brown

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Juancho April 19, 2013 9:13 pm

Just one englishman? (manu tuilagi is samoan)
Riche Grey for Joe Launchbury

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Dan April 21, 2013 8:39 pm

Ok, so, you've swapped in Richie Gray... And now have no Englishmen. Not that I mind, but it's a funny complaint you've got going there.

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Link137 April 19, 2013 10:56 pm

@Juancho

Seriously, you are going to be that pedantic about Tuilagi?

@Irish Rugby Fan

I have to say I disagree with your comments about Best. He has been in great form this year for Ulster/Ireland and in my opinion I think he has earned the starting jersey for the Lions with Hibbard on the bench.


Anyways, I seriously hope that Ferris makes a return in time to stake a claim to head to Oz. It would be fantastic to see him at 6, Warburton/Tipuric at 7 and O'Brien at 8. That could be the most devastating back row the Lions could put together but I doubt it will come to fruition.

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Neville07581 April 19, 2013 11:06 pm

I don't really understand how Ireland features so heavily in this line up, yet they finished 5th. And another point, I'd definitely have Christian Wade on the bench. If you haven't seen him, check him out. He ripped up Leinster in Amlin

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CH April 19, 2013 11:32 pm

It's about individual players, not the team they play for. Are you really saying that Scottish and Italian players are better than French or Irish, just because they finished ahead of them in some tournament? I don't agree wholly with the lineup but it's silly to compare team performance with the merits of an individual player.

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Neville07581 April 20, 2013 12:07 am

I guess, but I don't think Ireland should be so heavily represented. Basically I think it shouldn't be Rob Kearney...and maybe not Sexton. Also think Mike Phillips is overrated. (yes, I do know he's welsh)

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themull April 19, 2013 11:15 pm

Seems like a lot of people underestiamte Rob Kearny, as they did during the last lions tour when he ended up just losing out to Roberts for best lions player of the series...he was European Player of the year last season too..the reason he dos not seem to be involved as much this season is because teams are actively avoiding kicking the ball to him, due to how good he is..he is probably the best in the world at FB under the high ball, has a monster boot and is always reliable to set up good ball when returning kicks...

hard to argue any of Robinson's selection..Hamilton at lock is an option for me and if Best's form doesn't improve he could be under pressure at hooker too..Wouldn't be terrible having an all Welsh backrow, but can't see any way in hell you leave O' Brien out of the team..The man gets through an enormous amount of work throughout the course of a game in both attack and defence, making impact in both areas...he also has the plus of being a major cog in the backrow which dominated Aus at the WC...

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Jordan April 20, 2013 1:44 am

Where are all the Scotland players? Welsh, English and Irish Lions more like. IMO Hogg had a much better tournament that Kearney by a country mile. The choice of 11 is gonna be a tough call this year and although i believe that North deserves over Visser, i still believe Tim should be given a chance. Finally, for a guy that hasnt played any tests for Scotland in the past 2/3 years (If im correct) Beattie had an absolutely outstanding Six Nations! Poor show, Mr Robinson!

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matt April 20, 2013 12:07 pm

I don't rate Visser at all, he seems to be a good club player, and maybe a solid international, but Scotland have been very shallow in back three options for a few years now and I think that Visser's arrival on the scene has been slightly over hyped due to the previous drought.

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CJsmith April 20, 2013 4:48 am

Irish Rugby fan how could you say Wilkinson, he hasn played for England in years and no way he should be there before an out half with 3 H-Cups under his belt in 4 years. And Rory Best is as good a hooker as any.

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LeinSTAR April 20, 2013 6:23 am

1) Healey
2) Best
3) Jones / Cole
4) Gray
5) PoC
6) SoB
7) Tipuric
8) Faletau
9) Care/Youngs (please, please god anyone but Phillips)
10) Sexton
11) North (should be no debate here)
12) Tuilagi (see above)
13) BoD.
14) Brown
15) Halfpenny

Kearney and Hogg will travel nonetheless so it's all up for grabs there. Big fan of Launchbury but experience counts. If PoC matches up next HC Semi Final time he'll certainly make a headache for selectors.

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French April 20, 2013 10:38 am

1 Healy
2 Ford
3 Coles
4 Lawes
5 Gray
6 Warburton
7 Robshaw
8 Heaslip
9 Youngs
10 Sexton
11 North
12 Roberts
13 Tuilagi
14 Ashton
15 Halfpenny
16 Best
17 Jones
18 Parling
19 Tipuric
20 Phillips
21 Farrell
22 Brown

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ewancm April 20, 2013 12:07 pm

Surprised Beattie never gets included in these lists...the perfect 8 IMO!

Wade should definitely be the 'bolter', with pace like his he would be a nightmare for Aussie's coming on on the hour mark!

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jeppy89 April 20, 2013 1:05 pm

Digby iaone would eat Christian wade.

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jacobbutler10 April 20, 2013 2:44 pm

I agree with the back row, and I would have O'brien on the bench. Imagine the impact he would have on the game when some Aussies are tiring. Leigh Halfpenny is a definite starter at 15, his all round game is superb. Whilst in the second-row I would pick Parling or Ian Evans over Launchbury. Finally I would pick Jonathan Davies in the centre instead of Tuilagi. Davies is solid in defence and does just as much work throughout the game, and just imagine Tuilagi coming off the bench later on. Compared to some other pundits I think Robinson's team isn't that bad.

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themull April 20, 2013 5:30 pm

Most bookies have stopped taking bets on lions captain and Warburton has now moved to very short odds...Not that Warburton as captain would be bad, but for the Lions I've always thought a more senior player as captain would be better...

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BOD is GOD April 20, 2013 5:55 pm

Look you need O'Brien in the team. End of story. The man is unstoppable. Warburton can't get in the Welsh side so why put him in the Lions. He's not the player he was at the world cup. Zebo perhaps on wing with Halfpenny at fullback would make more sense in my opinion. And of course BOD as captain.

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Ryan April 20, 2013 6:26 pm

Personally I don't think Faletau has done enough, neither has Warburton. I'd throw O'Brien in at 6, and at 8 I would probably go Wood, as he is playing better than Faletau, although you lose the carrying game. Halfpenny at 15 all day and Cuthbert on the other wing. Also Dan Cole has to start.

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brawnybalboa April 21, 2013 12:57 am

Falatau outperformed all other potential Lions 8's over the course of the tournament. Morgan got injured, Denton was surprisingly quite & Heaslip didn't exactly cover himself with glory. Tom Wood is a decent flanker, but not an international quality 8 and will not tour.

Warburton has done enough in a late run, he had a man of the match performance against Scotland and had a cracking game against England. He also has continued with with the Blues. Although I would like to see Sean O'Brien at 6 as he is an immense ball carrier and tackler.

Adam Jones is pretty much the only player guaranteed to be on the first test XV. Entering the tournament him and Cole were neck and neck, but Jones was faultless against Italy, Scotland & England and has been in great form for the Ospreys. Cole will most like be on the bench.

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Ryan April 21, 2013 10:02 am

Faletau was distinctly average, but probably will go, although the politics of the lions will probably cause Johny Beattie to start at 8. Warburton definitely should not go, he didn't perform and if he wasn't sam Warburton, he wouldn't even be in contention.

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brawnybalboa April 21, 2013 12:26 pm

If Falatau was distinctly average, the other 8's were below average. He does the hard work and the basics very well. He doesn't bowl over players like some 8's, but he reliably crosses the gain line and his defensive work is outstanding (made 75 tackles during the tournament)

Sam Warburton & Justin Tipuric will go as the Lions will want to carry specialist 7's in the squad. Robshaw & Brown are really 6.5's than out and out 7's, and O'Brien is a 6.

Back row is arguably the deepest area for Lions selection. It contains all 4 international captains (Heaslip, Robshaw, Warburton & Brown), previous Lions (Jones & Croft), last years player of the six nations (Lydiate) before we even talk about Morgan, Beattie, Armitage, Falatau, Tipuric.

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matt the mauler April 22, 2013 2:27 pm

Denton was quite because Johnnie Beattie was playing. Who rampaged with ball in hand put in massive hits in defence and did the hard stuff at the rucks and mauls. Playing very well in France. On the plane. And probably starting no. 8

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mcquickscopez April 20, 2013 10:59 pm

Cant believe some people are debating sexton, best by a mile. Possibly second best 10 in the world

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brawnybalboa April 21, 2013 1:25 am

If I was picking a match day 23 for the first test, it would be as follows.

1: Healey (<- Jenkins)
2: Hibbard (<- Best)
3: A Jones (<- Cole)
4: Grey
5: AW Jones (<- Parling)
6: O'Brien (<-Tipuric to 7 and Warburton to 6)
7: Warburton
8: Heaslip
9: Phillips (<- Youngs)
10: Sexton
11: North (<- Kearney to 15 and Halfpenny to 11)
12: Roberts
13: Tuilagi (<- O'Driscoll)
14: Cuthbert
15: Halfpenny

16: Jenkins
17: Best
18: Cole
19: Parling
20: Tipuric
21: Youngs
22: O'Driscoll
23: Kearney

I am working on the basis that Gatland will be using the Welsh blueprint from the last few years. 60 years of smashing the opponent before pulling away in the last 20 due to better fitness. Therefore I have chosen brute size and power over skill and speed in the first XV.

I still feel that the following may force their ways into the match-day 23:
Scotland: Grant, Visser, Wier, Hamilton
England: Twelvetrees, Farrell, Croft, Robshaw
Ireland: O'Connell, Zebo, Bowe

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Alex April 21, 2013 3:11 am

For me this tour could be won by the lions bench. I wouldn't be too concerned either the starting 15, more the squad as a whole i.e. the real selection dilemma should e who should be utilised as impact subs!

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DJP April 21, 2013 3:13 am

I don't normally comment on posts, but due to some rather ridiculous comments, I'm making an exception (Matt I'm looking at you)

My first bone of contention is you stating Halfpenny was the best counter-attacking 15 in the 6 nations. I think all and sundry would agree that Stuart Hogg was the best attacking 15 (with Halfpenny as the best defensively).

2nd, you state that that Scotland have only three players in contention (And you include David Denton as one of those three?! Do you watch any Scottish rugby? I think not - otherwise you'd know he's been very poor this year, for both Edinburgh and Scotland)

Contrary to popular belief Scotland have some excellent players, several of whom are in contention:

- Ryan Grant (2 tries v Ospreys and looked excellent in all facets last night against 'best in the NH Adam Jones)
- Richie Gray (We agree here)
- Jim Hamilton
- Kelly Brown
- Johnnie Beattie - form 8 in the French league along with Picamoles, unbelievable player.
- Stuart Hogg

Several outsiders who may well be considered :

Nathan Hines
Sean Maitland - Flutey was picked last time, excellent winger.
John Barclay - Back to his best of 3 years ago when he was Europe's best
Euan Murray - on his day the best Scrummager in the world - destroyed BEAST at Murrayfield a few years ago.

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DJP April 21, 2013 3:30 am

For what it is worth - My Lions Selection:


TO TOUR

1) Ryan Grant / Cian Healy
2) Rory Best / Tom Youngs / Richard Hibbard
3) Adam Jones / Dan Cole / Euan Murray
4) Nathan Hines/ Richie Gray / AWJ
5) Geoff Parling / Jo Launchbury
6) Chris Robshaw/ Sean O'Brien / Kelly Brown
7) Justin Tipuric / Stefan Armitage / Sam Warbuton
8) Johnnie Beattie / Toby Faletau
9) Danny Care / Mike Phillips
10) Mr Wilkinson / Jonny Sexton
11) George North / Tommy Bowe / Chris Ashton
12) Jamie Roberts / Owen Farrel
13) BOD / Manu Tuilagi
14) Alex Cuthbert / Sean Maitland
15) Stuart Hogg / Leigh Halfpenny / Mike Brown

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brawnybalboa April 21, 2013 12:44 pm

Pretty much spot on, however I would imagine that if 5 props go, Gatland will choose a player who can cover both sides. For this reason I would see Gethin Jenkins going over one of the Tight Heads (probably Cole as Murray is available for all games).

Hines might sneak in, but I see it more likely Jim Hamilton will go. He was outstanding all tournament. I do not see both English locks going as I see O'Connell or Ian Evans (who has had two successive impressive 6 nations) going.

Back row looks good. I would hope Gatland does bring the three 6.5's (6's who play 7's) in Robshaw, O'Brien and Brown as they are good players. Warburton, Tipuric & Armitage are the best 3 out and out 7's in Lions contention.

I wouldn't take Wilkinson, Sexton & Owen Farrell together. In my mind it is Sexton + Wikinson or Farrell. Might see Laidlaw go as the 3rd option as he can cover 9 & 10 whilst providing a kicking option.

I do see a creative centre such as JD2, Twelvetrees or Marshall going as Roberts & Tuilagi are busters not passers.

Judging by current form I think Bowe will sneak into the Lions squad over Maitland. I cannot see Ash the Splash going as he is too temperamental.

Finally looking at fullback, I feel they may have to bring Kearney to bring the total to 4. Purely as Hogg, Halfpenny & Brown can play on the wing.

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Best Team For The Jo April 21, 2013 1:22 pm

Kearney also can play on the wing, he used to play on the wing for Ireland til he converted to 15 around 09/10.
Most fullbacks can play wing, not all wingers can play fullback.
Huget for France started off as a wing then converted to 15
Medard the same.
Halfpenny the same.
Wing is treated as the feeder position for 15 in Northern Hemisphere rugby.
When really wingers should be wingers and fullbacks should be fullbacks.
Having good wings is vital in scoring tries (which win matches)
Which is why I would personally pick Varndell and Wade but that's completely out of the question.

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brawnybalboa April 21, 2013 3:40 pm

I agree. I do genuinely feel it is a shame that England may not provide that many wingers. Realistically Cuthbert, North, Visser, Zebo & Bowe are the likely candidates. Varndell, Wade, Monye, Sharples & Strettle are all players who need a look in the national set up (hopefully during the Argentina tour).

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Best Team For The Jo April 21, 2013 1:16 pm

1. Healy
2. Hibbard
3. Jones
4. Launchbury
5. Gray
6. Croft
7. Tipuric
8. Faletau
9. Youngs
10. Sexton
11. North
12. Tuilagi
13. BOD
14. Visser/Brown
15. Halfpenny

16. Cole
17. Best
18. Vunipola
19. Wyn-Jones/Warburton/Lawes (versatile)
20. Care
21. Farrell
22. Roberts
23. Hogg

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MikeEngland April 21, 2013 1:37 pm

I Think Robinson's team is pretty good, there seems to be lots of debate about the high Irish contingent over the English, a fair few comments on a lack of a scottish contingent and lots of jabs at philips, warburton and faletau.

You certainly couldn't go wrong with this team but I think as the tour gets under way and the Lions play a few games we will see people play themselves in and out of form. All the welsh players are understandably on a high from the 6 nations, all of them playing themselves into excellent form (I actually think they played far better this 6 nations by the end and it's the first time they have played like they did in the 2011 World cup). If they continue like this they could be a strong argument for upwards of 8 welsh players in the starting 15.

However I think a fairly even number of english, welsh, irish and scottish players in the tour group will be key to a successful tour as you will see some players outstrip those who we would all put in our starting 15, for example players who were injured during the 6 nations like Ben Morgan and Tommy Bowe may rocket into the starting 15.

I watched the highlights from the 1st 2001 test recently and watching Howley, pass it to Wilkinson who switched with BOD then fed to Jason Robinson was all the more exciting because we don't get to see those guys play with each other on any other tour.

The Lions should be about trying out new combinations, not the tried and tested.

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brawnybalboa April 21, 2013 4:20 pm

In an ideal world an even number of English, Irish, Scottish & Welsh players would tour, and we would see this reflected in the starting XV. Unfortunately this cannot realistically happen. Partly due to the varying success and quality of the players. Also in part due to the logjam and dearth of options at certain positions. At the end of the day are the players good enough?

Don't get me wrong, I would love to see Youngs passing out to Sexton to unleash the firepower of Tuilagi, Visser & North outside! But I cannot see Gatland picking inferior players due to politics.

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Guest April 21, 2013 3:53 pm

1. Healy
2. Best
3. Jones
4. Lawes
5. AW Jones
6. O'brien
7. Tupiric
8. Denton
9. Phillips
10. Farrell
11. Bowe
12. Davies
13. Tuilagi
14. North
15. Halfpenny

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Dan April 21, 2013 9:00 pm

Not a bad XV, but I'd have Parling over Launchbury and Cuthbert over North any day.

Phillips at 9 is ludicrous though; it's gotta be either Care or Youngs (and I'm not some blinkered England fan, they're just the two best 9s available - not saying that much, it's a weak point in Home Nations rugby at the moment).

Like many others, I'd also drop Kearney (maybe just to the bench) and move Halfpenny over to where he belongs, replacing him with either Wade or one of the Irish trio of Bowe/Zebo/Gilroy.

Faletau's a bit lucky to be picked at 8 when any of Heaslip, Beattie or Morgan would do just as well. I certainly wouldn't be unhappy if Faletau got the call, but personally I think I'd either go for Beattie (as the form player) or Morgan (who'd work best with the bound-to-be-English scrum half).

Finally, there's absolutely nothing wrong with Robinson's front row, but you've got to remember we're playing a team who can't scrummage for toffee so you could get away with sticking in some more athletic players like Strauss, Youngs & Cole and still wallop them at the set-piece.

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Cmac April 21, 2013 10:09 pm

Is there any alternative to Healy? Because although his work rate and ball in hand skills are great, he is a terrible scrummager and I feel this has cost Ireland quite a lot in the past. If we go down and have Healy start we're going to be annihilated in the scrum.

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themull April 22, 2013 12:48 pm

The last time Ireland played Australia, Healy won MOTM and the Irish scrum was dominant for large portions of the game

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matt the mauler April 22, 2013 2:33 pm

Yes Ryan Grant. Do none of you watch Scotland games? Outstanding in every test match (autumn internationals and six nations) and has been immense for Glasgow in Rabo Direct. Can scrum, run, pass and tackle. Not a total meathead and will start the tests.

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Pistol April 22, 2013 8:47 am

Some huge calls for the management.
Roughly the make up of the match day should be as follows.
Healy, God knows, jones, o connell, whyn jones, warberten, morgan, o brien, philips, sexton, roberts,o driscol (c) Cutburt, Zebo, Halpenny/ kearney

Bench: Sub hooker is a lottery, Cole/jenkins, Grey/ Parling, rodsahaw, youngs,farrel, tullangi

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Tank April 22, 2013 12:22 pm

I agree that the Scottish symbol should be removed. Surely if it is the British and Irish Lions there should be more even representation? Looking at the other comments it would seem that there should be more Scots in contention than 3. I live in Oz and may just get a Wallabies top if we Scots are squeezed out.

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matt the mauler April 22, 2013 2:37 pm

Too many people are selecting with blinkers on and choosing people based on past reputation. Hopefully Gatland will have more sense. Not going to be an easy job for him - don't envy his selection at all. What I do know is regardless of who is picked (even if I disagree with the choice) and where they come from I'll be behind them 100%. C'mon the Lions.

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Englishman In Malaga April 22, 2013 3:38 pm

honestly i'd pick wilkinson over farrell every day of the year, gives you so much more all round, neither are going to start because of sexton anyway, but would prefer experience on the bench

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george hook April 23, 2013 6:21 am

The Squad:
Front rows (8) healy,best,cole,jenkins,jones,murray,ford,heartly
Secondrows (4) o' Connell, Parling, Hamelton, Whyne Jones
Backrows (6) O' Brien, Rodshaw, Morgan, Warburton, Tupiric, Denton
Utility loose forward Hines, Courtney Laws
Half Backs (6) Philips, Youngs, Murray, Sexton Farrel, Wilko
Centres (4)O Driscoll Tullangi, Roberts, Barrett
Wings/ Fullbacks (6) Halpenny,Zebo, Cutburt,Kearney, Matland, Brown
Utility Back Bowe

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