The Lions Number 10.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:19 pm

I know this may already have been covered. but who do you think will be the Lions number 10?

Listening to rugby club the other day, they mentioned Charlie Hodgson as a possible number 10.

But what about players like Andy Goode. the ex Leicester player..Or Stephen Jones the ex Welsh player.

Are all these too old to be in contention for a Lions call up. Should who ever the Lions 10 is be one of a younger player. Sexton, Flood, Biggar, Priestland etc etc.

Who in your mind is the most likely to be the Lions 10?

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Post by 123456789 on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:20 pm

Andy Goode should never be near a Lions shirt, it will be a straight choice between Sexton, Priestland, Wilkinson, Flood and Laidlaw.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:21 pm

Sexton.

Andy Goode can not be a serious suggestion.

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Post by bedfordwelsh on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:26 pm

At the moment I would say Sexton but as with all these theres a lot of rugby to be played.

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Post by 123456789 on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:28 pm

I'd say Sexton, Wilkinson and Laidlaw should go

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Post by doctornickolas on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:29 pm

Sexton. next question.

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Post by ChequeredJersey on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:54 pm

Actually the question about Jones is a fair one, I'd say he should be considered just like Wilko, as they are in form and experienced at this kind of Tour
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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:56 pm

ChequeredJersey wrote:Actually the question about Jones is a fair one, I'd say he should be considered just like Wilko, as they are in form and experienced at this kind of Tour

He was chosen ahead of JW on the last two tours

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Post by Avalon on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 9:19 pm

Sexton or Flood.

Would be very interesting to see how Sexton would combine with Care or Youngs.

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Post by Guest on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 9:57 pm

Sexton.

Maybe Wilko.

From my welsh boys: maybe Stephen Jones as a no nonsense, solid player. But against Oz we need a game breaker which he isn't really. He's maybe a last resport, and a good one at that. he wouldnt let anyone down. However, that description could relate to Wilko too...

Maybe Biggar as a bolter. Never would have said that a while back! But, there are maybe better options such as Flood. Actually, I see them as very similar players but Flood has bags more experience.

Definitely not Priestland, unfortunately from a Welsh perspective. Doubt he'll be anywhere near the extended squad.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 10:02 pm

Definitely not Priestland, unfortunately from a Welsh perspective. Doubt he'll be anywhere near the extended squad.
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You do surprise me to be honest. With Warren Gatland in charge i was expecting more Welsh players than any other team. especialy in the 9,10 spot.

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Post by pete (buachaill on eirne) on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 10:02 pm

Sexton, obviously.

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Post by rodders on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 10:05 pm

Sexton, Flood, Wilkinson, Priestland.

In that order.

Others need not apply.
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Post by majesticimperialman on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 10:11 pm

rodders wrote:Sexton, Flood, Wilkinson, Priestland.

In that order.

Others need not apply.

rodders. Isnt Biggar playing better than priestland at the moment.

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Post by Guest on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 10:14 pm

majesticimperialman wrote:Definitely not Priestland, unfortunately from a Welsh perspective. Doubt he'll be anywhere near the extended squad.
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You do surprise me to be honest. With Warren Gatland in charge i was expecting more Welsh players than any other team. especialy in the 9,10 spot.

Eh? I don't follow? Why do I surprise you?

There's not a great deal of welsh fans who still rate Priestland to be honest. Plus, only Biggar is in'form'. Not groundbreaking logic from me really.

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Post by rodders on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 10:15 pm

Yup but unless Gatland gives Biggar the nod for Wales I can't see him getting on the Lions tour.

I did think of Biggar actually. He's a bit of a dark horse, especially if Ospreys have a good season...but I think he's still a long shot.
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Post by Guest on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 10:17 pm

They often take a bolter Rodders. No saying it will be him, but won't be unheard of. I think the tradition is often to take someone who hasn't even been capped. That obviously won't apply to Biggar as he's had a few, but sometimes they do make these bold calls.

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Post by rodders on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 10:20 pm

Ah yeah I know. But as Gatland is Welsh coach and hasn't picked him I doubt he will for the Lions.

I think the four guys I mentioned are well out in front but I wouldn't rule Biggar out (although I did rule him out Wink).
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Post by Guest on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 10:31 pm

Yeah, you're probably right. However, it will be very interesting for everyone to see whether he sticks with a failing fly half (Priestland) when everyone interested in the Lions will want a coach who picks on form. The AIs and 6N will therefore test Gatland in more ways than one - as a welsh coach and a decent Lions selector.

I've been one of Biggar's biggest critics in the past; he was hot headed, big mouthed, had temper tantrums, etc. But, he was a teenager. And a rare vocal one at that. We've been calling for a non-shy playmaker for ever and then one came along and we jumped on him for it! Now I think he's had a taste of the big time, and a taste of failure at international level, and I think he's a much better player for it. A bit more grown up, mature and street wise. Now his rugby is the focal point instead of his mouth. He's the future at 10 for Wales IMO. But, probably too soon for the Lions this time round.

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Post by Hookisms and Hyperbole on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 10:33 pm

I said in another thread that of all the positions the Lions are weak in there might be a bolter. For me thats second row, scrum half and out half. At outhalf you never know with the european cup season but somone like Madigan from Leinster or George Ford might be in with a shot. Sexton is nailed on you would think, but I am still not convinced he is a top quality international as yet. 10 is a difficult position to master, very few players do it so young like Carter or Wilkinson. Sexton is great when on the front foot but if things go wrong I don't think he has the game management. With a real lack of options there why not throw in a bolter. Same at 9. Phillips is a good footballer but an average scrum half. Big and strong and physical, but his distribution can be slow and ponderous. Never mind the Lions, Wales would be an even better side if they had a 9 that got the ball away quicker.

The key to this tour will be the pack. Australia have an outstanding backline. They also have the worst pack of any Australian team in my lifetime, and the worst of all the big ten nations. I can genuinely see Wilkinson in the panel to kick the territory and let a big Lions pack demolish them.

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Post by rodders on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 10:34 pm

I like Biggar actually, not sure why he hasn't been rated so highly in Wales.... a bit like Stephen Jones, brilliant player. Real solid complete fly halves.

Yous love your mavericks over there Wink

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Post by Guest on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 10:44 pm

Hookisms, completely agree re. Phillips. Been saying that we would be much better with quick ball for a long long time. Imagine North, Roberts and Cuthbert on front foot ball!

I love fast rugby. But that includes monster packs. I like the thought of a strong Lions pack smashing the ruck, but we need a nippy so and so to get it away to the very decent backs that Gatland will have at his disposal. Care or Youngs seem to fit the bill for me. Ironically, Wales have been synonymous with nippy scrum halves in the past, and mercurial fly halves, but lately it's been stodgy old Phillips as the main stay while rock solid and unspectacular Stephen Jones has been our most consistent 10 for a decade! I think that has led to the need for lumps in the back to do anything with the slower ball, and luckily we've had a few monsters come throug the system at the same time.

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Post by Hookisms and Hyperbole on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 10:49 pm

Griff wrote:Hookisms, completely agree re. Phillips. Been saying that we would be much better with quick ball for a long long time. Imagine North, Roberts and Cuthbert on front foot ball!

I love fast rugby. But that includes monster packs. I like the thought of a strong Lions pack smashing the ruck, but we need a nippy so and so to get it away to the very decent backs that Gatland will have at his disposal. Care or Youngs seem to fit the bill for me. Ironically, Wales have been synonymous with nippy scrum halves in the past, and mercurial fly halves, but lately it's been stodgy old Phillips as the main stay while rock solid and unspectacular Stephen Jones has been our most consistent 10 for a decade! I think that has led to the need for lumps in the back to do anything with the slower ball, and luckily we've had a few monsters come throug the system at the same time.

Phillips for me reminds me of a kid in school who has been moved from centre to play 9 in an injury crisis. He can do the basics ok, but his strengths are elsewhere.
I wouldn't have Youngs near the squad. He hasn't shown the bottle for a fight when the chips are down, or insert your own cliche here. He is just too inconsistent and I've seen him play more bad games than good.

I've only seen Quins three or four times this season but each time Care has been very good indeed.

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Post by Guest on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 11:02 pm

Care seems to have that bit of X factor - can score a try from nothing, lots of zip, pace, etc. However, he's not without his disciplinary problems so I'm not sure how appealing he is to a 'concept' like the lions where they need to gel a team and address group dynamics very very quickly. Could he be a risk (for a coach)? On talent he's on he plane for me.

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Post by wales606 on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 11:21 pm

Sexton/Flood
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Post by ChequeredJersey on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 11:42 pm

Since his giving up the drink and sorting out his issues, Care's form has been fantastic. Wouldn't swap him for any other Scrummie in the world Smile
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Post by samuraidragon on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 12:22 am

From a Welsh perspective, it's hard to see players who don't feature in the 6N games being picked for the Lions, as it's the same guy(s) doing the picking! Biggar didn't even make the squad for the summer tour to Australia, so it will require a big change in Gats' thinking for him to be a Lion a year later.

Hook is in super form at Perpignan and Richie Rees has been impressive at Edinburgh, but likewise they will not be candidates if they don't get any starts for the national team.

At the moment it's hard to look beyind Sexton, Flood and Wilkinson @ 10. Phillips has been poor at club level for years, but can step it up for the big games so will probably go, but not at number one choice.

It's possible there will be 4 English halfbacks (Flood, Wilkinson, Care, Youngs) and just one Welsh. That would be unprecedented.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 4:56 am

Griff wrote:...I think the tradition is often to take someone who hasn't even been capped...

That's the Barbarians. There isn't any hard tradition of uncapped players with the Lions, even though some have been selected.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 5:54 am

It's possible there will be 4 English halfbacks (Flood, Wilkinson, Care, Youngs) and just one Welsh. That would be unprecedented.


To be perfectly honest i dont care who the half backs are, I just want the best players playing for the Lions. If that means that the 4 best half backs are from England,. then thats ok with me.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 7:32 am

If Gatland writes down a list of every potential candidate, I suppose it could look like this:

Sexton, O'Gara, Madigan, Priestland, Biggar, Hook, Jones, Flood, Farrell, Wilkinson, Hodgson, Burns, Cipriani, Ford and Laidlaw.

If he does choose three of these, I wonder who he'll ask to keep themselves ready as a potential reserve? Bearing in mind that an old lag like Nigel Redman once got a late call-up to be a replacement. That's the spot you might see an older player, with Lions tour experience, asked to fill.

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Post by bedfordwelsh on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 8:00 am

majesticimperialman wrote:It's possible there will be 4 English halfbacks (Flood, Wilkinson, Care, Youngs) and just one Welsh. That would be unprecedented.


To be perfectly honest i dont care who the half backs are, I just want the best players playing for the Lions. If that means that the 4 best half backs are from England,. then thats ok with me.

Wouldn't bother me if tghere were no Welsh half backs at all, Lions should be about the best available and none of ours are at the moment. That said I reckon Phillips will go because he does offer more physicality than the others, as will Hook as utility.
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Post by Guest on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 8:07 am

Completely agree. It's great to have the banter about selection, but I'd prefer to have a winning lions with English half backs than a losing one with Welsh! Saying that, I'd find it a little hard (but not impossible) to get behind it if the were no welsh lads in the team! I sympathise with Scottish fans there in the past. But, it does have to be form players first and foremost.

That's why, for me, Priestland should not be anywhere near the squad, not even Wales' squad at the moment. He's proved himself to be far too flaky time and time again. We must try someone else.

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Post by Guest on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 8:10 am

Rugby Fan wrote:
Griff wrote:...I think the tradition is often to take someone who hasn't even been capped...

That's the Barbarians. There isn't any hard tradition of uncapped players with the Lions, even though some have been selected.


Ah, my mistake. Although Will Greenwood was definitely uncapped when he toured South Africa...

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Post by bedfordwelsh on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 8:15 am

The original Mighty Quinn also won a Lions cap before a Welsh one but the tradition was the Baa Baas
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Post by Guest on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 10:47 am

I think Keith Earls was uncapped before the 2009 tour as well?

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Post by samuraidragon on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 11:16 am

I'm also relaxed about there being few, or even no Welsh half-backs. It's our traditional strength, but we're not strong there now, though we have top quality in all the other areas of the park.


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Post by robshaw4england on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 11:58 am

I think Freddie Burns has added himself to the short-list judging by yesterdays performance. By no means the finished article, but absolutely bubbling with attacking enthusiasm.

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Post by tecphobe on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 12:04 pm

What youi have to factor into the mix is that i think halfpenny will be in the team so the need to pick a goal kicking 10 is less of a problem you can then look at guys like laidlaw as a starting 10 Madigan woud be my bolter not neccesarilly to start but to tour.

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Post by Thomond on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 12:05 pm

I find it incredibly hard to see past Ronan O'Gara. The man consistently makes plays for Ireland and Munster. Has to start.

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Post by wales606 on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 12:46 pm

Thomond wrote:I find it incredibly hard to see past Ronan O'Gara. The man consistently makes plays for Ireland and Munster. Has to start.

And he is a Lion already, i'm sure we all remember that....
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Post by thebluesmancometh on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 2:08 pm

Freddie Burns?
ROG?
Ian Madigan?

My god Austrlia must be bricking it...

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Post by lostinwales on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 2:52 pm

Thomond wrote:I find it incredibly hard to see past Ronan O'Gara.


I thought that was just his ego

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 2:56 pm

It seems Gatland has said he'll put a lot of weight behind performances during the Autumn Internationals. That makes some sense because it will measure players against the top 3 ranked sides.

Nonetheless, it's worth remembering 1993. England won back-to-back Grand Slams in in '91 and '92. Everything pointed towards a Will Carling-led Lions tour to NZ. In the 1993 Five Nations, however, England misfired.

They started with a one point win over France. Then went down 10-9 to Wales. Rob Andrew, the Lions fly half in 1989, was dropped in favour of Stuart Barnes, and England tore Scotland apart. Carling was back in pole position and they went to Landsdowne Road. They lost 17-3 in a shambolic performance.

That last match condemned England to a third place finish. They may have beaten the eventual Five Nations Champions, France, but Scotland finished above them and it was Gavin Hastings who led the Lions.

Barnes and Carling did get selected to tour but were relegated to the midweek squad, which struggled with some distinctly under-par performances from the dirt-tracker forwards.

Carling wasn't a shoo-in for the captaincy, not least because Scott Gibbs was regarded as the more potent partner for Guscott. If England had held it together to beat Ireland, though, it's not overstating the case to say that selection could have been very different.

We didn't have the heavy schedule of of Autumn Internationals back then but 1993 did show how much one performance can change the whole make-up of the squad.

In this professional era, coaches tend to take longer views on players. Still, there are a lot of close calls across the squad so it might well come down to the wire on some selections.

In the next year's Six Nations, the last game for Wales is hosting England. If Ireland have had a good run, then they will probably cap it off in their final game against Italy. Scotland take on the French in France. It's conceivable that these matches could tip the balance for Lions chances just as much as 1993.

As far as fly half chances are concerned, the result of the Wales-England match could easily make a difference.


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Post by LondonTiger on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 2:58 pm

I thought Andy Irvine had already decided on the test match 10?

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Post by thebluesmancometh on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 3:00 pm

fan

You make good points, especially as Adam Jones is out of the autumn so Cole V Jones will be very interesting last game.

Not sure Flood RP will be though If Sexton actually performs in an Ireland shirt.


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Post by Pot Hale on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 3:33 pm

Care for scrum half. He has the devil for making breaks and the passing. As long as he keeps his head.

Alongside Sexton and Flood, I'd include Madigan as third optional 10. He plays the position very well but also hasnt been shabby at 15 either. Scores tries and makes his kicks.
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Post by thebluesmancometh on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 3:54 pm

Hard to ignore Care at the minute.

Although Madigan has a huge point to prove on the INT stage before even being considered. He and Visser are presently good club men and little more IMHO

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Post by Pot Hale on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 5:41 pm

thebluesmancometh wrote:Hard to ignore Care at the minute.

Although Madigan has a huge point to prove on the INT stage before even being considered. He and Visser are presently good club men and little more IMHO

Correct. Fortunately, Robinson will give Visser a chance to show if he can step up. Unfortunately, Kidney won't with Madigan.
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Post by Taylorman on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 5:50 pm

Actually the best question Ive seen on the Lions tour subject.

There seems to be an abundance of handy 10's in the NH without one standing out. 10 will be critical against Australia who will likely have a more experienced Beale in the position given he's still warming to the position.

10's have usually figured strongly on Lions tours- often the make or break position. The 6N will probably produce the best in the position though who that will be is anyones guess. The merging of four very passionate rugby nations is always an interesting exercise and having a 10 that can get the best out of those around him is key to a successful tour.

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Post by Hookisms and Hyperbole on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 5:57 pm

thebluesmancometh wrote:Hard to ignore Care at the minute.

Although Madigan has a huge point to prove on the INT stage before even being considered. He and Visser are presently good club men and little more IMHO

Difference between Visser and Madigan is who they would have to get past. Visser has to prove he is a better choice that Bowe, North, Cuthbert and Ashton. Plus Halfpenny and Ashton would be will back three cover men. I don't like his chances in truth.

For a 10 like Madigan, and also Ford who I like the look of as well, they have Sexton and, ermmmmmmm........ If there is going to be a bolter I can see it in weak positions like at hooker, second row, scrumhalf and outhalf.

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