/ Now that we're all pals........................
...............and will be supporting the same team for a few weeks.
Lions squad to be announced on Tuesday
Who's in YOUR team for Down under?
Old guards.............Wilko or BOD ?
Who's the skipper................Warburton or O'Connell?
Both Wilkinson and O'Driscoll to go.
O'Connell as skipper and as for Warburton, he wouldn't even be on the plane.
The test team;
Jenkins, Best, A Jones,
Tipiruc, R Jones, O'Brien.
However much i hate to say it.....Farrell,
........Or it could just be the whole Welsh team with Gatland picking it.
Any point in taking Wilkinson and O'Driscoll and not putting them in the first XV................?
Before we go any further, it's very doubtful that Wilkinson or Jenkins will be selected, as they won't be available for the start of the tour.
I've got tickets for the Canberra match! :-)
> Any point in taking Wilkinson and O'Driscoll and not putting them in the first XV................?
No, I suppose not. BOD may be worth a shout for a Test spot, not sure if Wilkinson will. Off the bench though........??
Yet another top game from Wilko... ...I can't see the justification in *not* taking him, late on the plane though it might be.
its not like we are overflowing with talent at loosehead - I'd have jenkins late over most folk.
He was exceptional and seems a lovely bloke from his interview - sportsmanlike and a gracious winner.
I thought he'd "retired" from international rugby though.
Would a call up for the Lions change his mind?
He has said he would go. He could be a valuable asset to have around.
He'd be great from a purely psychological perspective.
The Aussies would be wary of giving penalties away anywhere in their own half. Not to mention scrums .................
> He'd be great from a purely psychological perspective.
1.Sheridan 2.Best 3.Cole
6.Croft 8.Morgan 7.Warburton
11.North 15.Halfpenny 14.Cuthbert.
Much harder to select a XV than I thought it would be when I started writing this!
Ironic that our lot have beaten them on the last two outings and are likely to have the fewest in the squad.
The Lions selection will ultimately be down to the coaches, and they won't have a clue, even at this stage of who will make the 1st XV.
Expect injuries and late call ups to make an impact right up until the last minute ( we still have Heineken and Rabo Pro finals to come )
Until the training and the warm ups start no one has any idea who will make the team.
But the long term forecast this year doesn't feature rain :-)
I think the coaches have a very good idea of the 1st XV they want but it would be surprising if they actually get to field that side.
Sorry I should have been clearer, when I said opinion I meant the opinion of the coaches.
I did toy with the idea of Kearney at 15 and maybe Halfpenny on the wing or vice versa but I don't think they would be quite as threatening as North/Cuthbert... I prefer Kearney as a runner to Halfpenny but think I read somewhere that Halfpenny has been the most consistent kicker in the NH this year? Feel free to correct me on that though! Like I said, back row and back three are very tight!
HalfP is a shoe in no matter who is alongside or in front of him. Should be one of the easier decisions Gatland and his mates have to make.
the guy probably doesn't stand a chance. Flankers smash themselves to bits fairly regularly though so I would imagine he;d be the first flown over for injury cover.
With regards to Sheridan- not been playing much international rugby recently, has he?
Well as we are not quite yet in "all mates together" mode yet I'm not that bothered whether Robshaw and the English go or not. In fact if they aren't going to be in the first XV they are better off going to to Argentina for a tough tour out of the spotlight.
If Gatland is true to his word the Toulon crowd won't be going as it is uncertain they are available for the first two games.
You make a valid point about the lack of international games recently but neither has O'Connell and he will surely go... I know the situations aren't directly comparable because they were absent for different reasons. If it's a straight choice between Sheridan and Jenkins then could it not be argued that Sheridan would be more ready for the challenge of the tour as he plays more minutes than Jenkins week in week out?
No Jonny, No Sheridan, No surprises.
Full-backs: Leigh Halfpenny, Stuart Hogg, Rob Kearney
Wings: Tommy Bowe, Sean Maitland, George North, Alex Cuthbert
Centres: Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Brian O'Driscoll, Manu Tuilagi
Fly-halves: Owen Farrell, Jonathan Sexton
Scrum-halves: Mike Phillips, Ben Youngs, Conor Murray
Props: Cian Healy, Adam Jones, Dan Cole, Matt Stevens, Mako Vunipola
Hookers: Dylan Hartley, Richard Hibbard, Tom Youngs
Locks: Alun Wyn Jones, Paul O'Connell, Geoff Parling, Richie Gray
Back row: Toby Faletau, Jamie Heaslip, Dan Lydiate, Sean O'Brien, Justin Tipuric, Sam Warburton (Captain)
Are you not missing a prop there, Graham?
And a second row I believe?
Gethin Jenkins, in fact. I thought he wasn't going to take any Toulon players?
Predictable, probably the best squad on recent form, but gawd help him if the Welsh boys don't click (or if Farrell has a 'mare).
And a back row, no? The Guardian has Croft included.
Correct, and the missing 2nd row is Ian Evans (problem with copy/paste from the Torygraph site).
The general Toulon/France rule only applies if you aren't Welsh. I suspect Toulon agreed to release Jenkins early as Sheridan is the preferred starting prop for them.
And Warburton captain as he is the most successful in the home nations except for the glaring exception that is Australia.
Yes Croft is in too. With regards to Toulon players, wasn't the deal that if they could get Toulon to agree to release them early for the first game they could tour? I'm assuming they would be more likely to release a player from the bench than the starting lineup...
Well done, Sam - that'll get the team spirit off to a good start...
Oh dear, he isn't the sharpest is he.
Hartley ahead of Best?
Only two 10s? Farrel has been crap since the All Blacks game.
Don't understand that one either
Agree completely. I can totally see his potential, but he has not performed at all well recently.
I think it probably helps when you have a dad on the coaching staff... If they were only planning on taking two tens then I'd have assumed that an extra ball player would be in amongst the backs. Someone like Twelvetrees or Goode. Maybe even Hook.
I'm not sure about Sam as captain either:
Keith Woods was talking about replacements the other day on the radio, essentially saying that people shouldn't get too worked up by the initial selection because it'll all change by the time the tour starts and the games get underway.
Look on the bright side he didn't pick ROFG.
I think it would be pretty strange to have a squad so dominated by Welshmen and not pick their captain as the captain. He did pretty damned well at the World Cup. I'm fairly relaxed about that; rejecting Wilkinson in favour of Farrell on the other hand seems downright stupid to me. Sexton will start obviously; now who would you rather see coming on in the last 20 minutes if necessary?
> Look on the bright side he didn't pick ROFG.
ROG has retired, Munster want him to stay one more year but apparently he has turned it down. I was in Montepellier over the weekend watching the Clermont game and he actually had a not bad game.
As long as Sam remembers it is not a Welsh tour (we want to win this time) and there are players from 3 other Nations not just along for a holiday all should be good. The jury is out on that front.
What he said seemed fair enough to me. He's bound to know the Welsh players' leadership qualities best.
That side of things isn't just down to the captain.
Few strange choices for the Lions squad. Not surprised with the Welsh bias however taking Farrell over Wilkinson?? In the head to head in the Hieniken semi Jonny was head and shoulders better. Also in the same game Sherridan took Matt Stevens apart, however Stevens is on the plane. As for Sam Warburton as captain please, he was removed from the captaincy in a welsh shirt to concentrate on his game and even then got dropped. Paul O'Connell would have been a damn site better and is on superb form at the mo.
According to Gatland:
"Jonny Wilkinson wasn't available - not from the start of the tour. I called him yesterday. I sounded him out and I offered him the chance to go. He said he's committed to Toulon and his body is held together by his fingernails. We left it open. If there is an injury later in the tour he said we can have a conversation if it pops up. I was impressed with the way we played and it's nice to have potentially him involved."
> "Jonny Wilkinson wasn't available - not from the start of the tour. I called him yesterday. I sounded him out and I offered him the chance to go. He said he's committed to Toulon and his body is held together by his fingernails. We left it open. If there is an injury later in the tour he said we can have a conversation if it pops up. I was impressed with the way we played and it's nice to have potentially him involved."
That explains that then... ...I hope he'll end up out there, because I'm sure he'll make an impact if he is.
"Jonny Wilkinson wasn't available - not from the start of the tour." - we knew that, Wazza. He plays for Toulon and they'll likely be in the Top 14 final.
"I sounded him out and I offered him the chance to go. He said he's committed to Toulon..." - I said I'd take him if he ditched his club.
"We left it open. If there is an injury later in the tour he said we can have a conversation if it pops up." - which is what we knew anyway.
This sounds like he's sticking to his guns that people have to travel with the party. It'll be interesting to see when Jenkins flies out though...
It'll be interesting to see when Jenkins flies out though...
Gethin Jenkins has made himself 'available' for the whole tour: -
Remember, he's out of contract with Toulon at the end of the season, Wilkinson isn't.
Jenkins also cant make regular selection to the Toulon first team.
It seems bizarre to me in this day and age that they can’t schedule the tour so as to get the best players on it. Presumably there’s a reason Toulon pick Sheridan ahead of Jenkins (and England ahead of Stevens), and to judge from Saturday there’s a good reason Toulon pay Wilkinson a fortune (in rugby terms) and not Farrell.
One or two odd decisions: Matt Stevens-maybe they wanted to give the Aussie kickers plenty of practice? Vinapolu: got stuffed in the set piece by the Welsh and Toulon.
But looking at the squad there is really only one bonafide world class player and he is on the downhill slope(BOD). Maybe some will emerge on tour?
> But looking at the squad there is really only one bonafide world class player and he is on the downhill slope(BOD). Maybe some will emerge on tour?
Matt Dawson was making that point last night on Radio 5 - on every Lions tour, there's someone who blossoms and really comes into their own. My money's on Sean Maitland. Well, maybe ...
Jenkins also cant make regular selection to the Toulon first team.
That doesn't really make much difference though. Jenkins is available, Sheridan isn't.
The same applies to Wilkinson, perhaps both will provide injury cover as the tour progresses?
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