Lions 2017

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Post by abarnbrook on Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:08 pm

First topic message reminder :

Looking at the recent internationals and to beat allblack you need pace and vision so this is my team so far! 1.m.vunipola 2.hartley 3.furlong 4.itoje 5.kruis 6.faletau 7.stander 8. B.vunipola 9. Youngs 10.ford 11.watson 12.farrell 13.joseph 14.l.williams 15. Hogg 16.best 17.mcgrath 18.lee 19 .henderson 20.o'brien 21.murray 22.henshaw 23.north

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:54 am

BamBam wrote:1. McGrath
2. Hartley (c)
3. Cole
4. Gray
5. Itoje
6. Stander
7. JVDF
8. Vunipola
9. Murray
10. Sexton
11. Williams
12. Henshaw
13. Joseph
14. Watson
15. Hogg

16. Best 17. Mako 18. Furlong 19. Henderson 20. Tipuric 21. Youngs 22. Farrell 23. May

Based on the summer games and the autumn ints, that would be my team

Don't think that front row would take a backward step against the ABs, and the locks are two of the best around and only getting better

Back row is a bit of a gamble on Van Der Flier, but he's put in the best performance of any 7 other than Haskell, and the Hask doesn't fit my gameplan against the ABs but will probably still tour

Halfbacks speak for themselves, I went both ways on Farrell/Henshaw but decided Sexton is easily a good enough kicker. JJ has to start without question, and I think those 3 are the best back 3 players we have available, even with Williams slightly out of position, and all have FB skills which could be crucial if NZ start Dagg and Smith as they have been

Bench is full of impact players, we have to match their intensity in the last 20 mins, Best to add the leadership off the bench and take over the captaincy

Probably one of the best teams I've seen but I can't see past Robshaw playing at 6. I still think despite everything that England have achieved that he is the cornerstone of every good England performance this year. Sure JJ, Billy V and the English second rows have the pundits ruining their underpants, but Chris Robshaw has been quietly grafting away and turning out consistently excellent performances all year.

Couple all of that with being stripped of the captaincy he carried on working really hard and backed Hartley up to the hilt gives you the measure of the man. Dignity incarnate.
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Post by uncle_nigel on Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:07 pm

Riskysports wrote:
uncle_nigel wrote:
IanBru wrote:And for that matter, Wales. Apparently minnows.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wv4GlYZlgE

Blocked at work. I'm assuming it was after that Wales error and forward pass from Gray in Murrayfield? Great try that one mind...

You Scots should calm down, you're sounding a bit English after somebody disagrees with you.

It is not the disagreeing - it is the disrespect saying he only scores against minnows

Williams is a class player too BTW

I didn't say he only scores against minnows though, go back and read it properly, then perhaps you can refrain from being so mad.

I said I can accept being in a minority with my opinion on Hogg. I just don't remember seeing him play consistently well over a couple seasons against the top teams in world - Williams has done. As I've alluded to he does often help punish minnow-teams.

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Post by uncle_nigel on Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:10 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:a reasonable backline would look something like :

9. Murray
10. Ford
11. Williams
12. Farrell
13. Joseph
14. May
15. Hogg

With instructions to go out there and play heads up rugby. Factor in another backline of:

9. Youngs
10. Sexton
11. Seymour
12. Henshaw
13. Huw Jones
14. North
15. Halfpenny

You have another decent backline especially if Sexton recovers from injury and North gets some form back.

On paper our backs look quite strong, especially considering players like Bennet, Ringrose, Watson, Yarde, Williams and Roberts are nowhere to be seen.

From a Welsh perspective one of the names that would be first on a Lions teamsheet for me would be Moriarty. In the absence of Billy V he is the best No8 at the moment. I don't think Faletau is a bad player but I dunno why he gets so much hype. Moriarty is a wrecking machine.

I really like your heads-up rugby backline, but the only change I'd make is Payne at 13, Williams 14, Hogg 15 - so I'm kind of blending the two I guess. That Welshman Huw Jones does look good for now, but can he keep on playing well?

Moriarty had a tough time in NZ but he's improving rapidly. I hope that continues.

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Post by R!skysports on Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:13 pm

uncle_nigel wrote:
Riskysports wrote:
uncle_nigel wrote:
IanBru wrote:And for that matter, Wales. Apparently minnows.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wv4GlYZlgE

Blocked at work. I'm assuming it was after that Wales error and forward pass from Gray in Murrayfield? Great try that one mind...

You Scots should calm down, you're sounding a bit English after somebody disagrees with you.

It is not the disagreeing - it is the disrespect saying he only scores against minnows

Williams is a class player too BTW

I didn't say he only scores against minnows though, go back and read it properly, then perhaps you can refrain from being so mad.

I said I can accept being in a minority with my opinion on Hogg. I just don't remember seeing him play consistently well over a couple seasons against the top teams in world - Williams has done. As I've alluded to he does often help punish minnow-teams.


Sorry only turns up against minnows - so much better ..... Whistle

"As much as I agree Hogg is playing well I still believe Williams is better - one of these guys shows up well against the best teams in the world and the other only shows up against the minnows in the world. If you watched a bit of rugby in the summer you'd know which is which."

if you can not see that as being disrespectful to a player who is currently playing exceptionally well and has done all year - then there is little I can do about it..

PS I am not mad, i have a certificate to prove it Very Happy


Last edited by Riskysports on Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:15 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:14 pm

Right the squad I kind of expect bearing in mind Gatland's style of play (to be ignored as I am assuming health from everyone not already ruled out)

LH Props: Mako, McGrath, Marler
Hookers: Best, Hartley, Baldwin
TH Props: Nel, Cole, Lee
Locks: Itoje, J Gray, AWJ, Kruis
6/8: Faletau, Stander, Vunipola
7: Warburton, Hardie/Tip
Utility back row: SOB, Robshaw

SH: Murray, Youngs, Laidlaw/Care (depends whether they want a kicker or not)
FH: Sexton, Farrell, Biggar
Centres: Henshaw, JD2, Bennett/Taylor (covers wing in a pinch from the bench), Joseph, Roberts
Back 3: North, Seymour, Hogg, Williams, May, Trimble

Furlong has to do it in the 6 nations before he jumps the queue. 3rd LH is a hard choice as no one really has stood out for me. Hookers are all around the same level as well. I think George is better than Hartley but unless Hartley gets suspended probably won't go though the 3rd hooker spot is up for grabs. Locks are the top 4 candidates for me. Launchbury, Toner and R Gray unlucky. Charteris nowhere near this level. Need proper 7's though I expect Warburton to go (Warburton not even the best 7 at the Blues when I went to watch). SOB and Robshaw excellent cover options for bench or injury.

SH's have a top 2 then whatever you prefer. A runner or a kicker. 3 best FH's at the moment. Ford is not at their level and has not been for a while. Just better than English options at 12. Centres, the Scots will get screwed for having 5 international quality centres who take game time off each other (Jones, Taylor, Bennett, Scott, Dunbar). Expect 1 to go as a bench cover. Henshaw probably goes as a big bodied 12 (I am a McCloskey fan myself unlike Schmidt). JD2 will go as there is a lack of choices for a big 13. Roberts for continuity (no where near good enough) and Joseph otherwise the Telegraph will throw a hissy fit. Back 3 is a mess. North will go even though he should take a break. Seymour is the form wing in the Pro 12 and been fantastic for Scotland for a while now. Hogg is the best FB. Williams beats HP and MB to cover FB. May or Watson will go, not sure which one will impress. Trimble or Bowe will go as the other big bodied wing.

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Post by uncle_nigel on Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:20 pm

Riskysports wrote:
uncle_nigel wrote:
Riskysports wrote:
uncle_nigel wrote:
IanBru wrote:And for that matter, Wales. Apparently minnows.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wv4GlYZlgE

Blocked at work. I'm assuming it was after that Wales error and forward pass from Gray in Murrayfield? Great try that one mind...

You Scots should calm down, you're sounding a bit English after somebody disagrees with you.

It is not the disagreeing - it is the disrespect saying he only scores against minnows

Williams is a class player too BTW

I didn't say he only scores against minnows though, go back and read it properly, then perhaps you can refrain from being so mad.

I said I can accept being in a minority with my opinion on Hogg. I just don't remember seeing him play consistently well over a couple seasons against the top teams in world - Williams has done. As I've alluded to he does often help punish minnow-teams.


Sorry only turns up against minnows - so much better ..... Whistle

"As much as I agree Hogg is playing well I still believe Williams is better - one of these guys shows up well against the best teams in the world and the other only shows up against the minnows in the world. If you watched a bit of rugby in the summer you'd know which is which."

if you can not see that as being disrespectful to a player who is currently playing exceptionally well and has done all year - then there is little I can do about it..

PS I am not mad, i have a certificate to prove it Very Happy

I don't see how a different point of view is disrespectful, each to their own right? I've also stated that Hogg is a good player, and said he was better than Mike Brown when somebody else brought that little terrier into it - so there we have examples of me being the opposite of disrespectful to Hogg.

That's good to know. Are you still taking the right pills everyday? Smile

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Post by ChequeredJersey on Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:09 pm

tigertattie wrote:Why are folk ruling out Billy V due to injury?

He's out for three months so he's going to be back in early March? The Jeff doesn't finish till the start of May, and then depending on progression, there's play offs and a final. So Billy will have what, 5,6 or 7 club games to prove he is fit? Surely to goodness that's enough time to prove you can play??????????

That's very quick to get match fit again after this kind of injury though, I don't think he'll be nearly ready
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Post by ChequeredJersey on Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:11 pm

Man I wish the Lions were bringing an attack coach that was Howley :/
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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:45 pm

ChequeredJersey wrote:Man I wish the Lions were bringing an attack coach that was Howley :/

Wasn't Howley??

Agreed, it's a very unimaginative choice. We'll need to be at our sharpest and most original to beat the ABs (or, in fact, the pre-Test games as well).

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:46 pm

I hope this doesn't turn out like 2001, where several Lions felt the set-up was markedly inferior to the one they experienced with their national set-up.

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Post by Guest on Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:59 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:
ChequeredJersey wrote:Man I wish the Lions were bringing an attack coach that was Howley :/

Wasn't Howley??

Agreed, it's a very unimaginative choice. We'll need to be at our sharpest and most original to beat the ABs (or, in fact, the pre-Test games as well).

Do we know who it is yet? Someone posted on FB yesterday something about Twitter and rugby pundits apparently reporting that the Lions backs coach will be a 'take your breath away' moment when announced. Not sure if that was meant in a good or bad way. And not in a Berlin 80's music way either!

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:09 pm

Griff wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
ChequeredJersey wrote:Man I wish the Lions were bringing an attack coach that was Howley :/

Wasn't Howley??

Agreed, it's a very unimaginative choice. We'll need to be at our sharpest and most original to beat the ABs (or, in fact, the pre-Test games as well).

Do we know who it is yet?  Someone posted on FB yesterday something about Twitter and rugby pundits apparently reporting that the Lions backs coach will be a 'take your breath away' moment when announced.  Not sure if that was meant in a good or bad way.  And not in a Berlin 80's music way either!


Brian Ashton? Frank Hadden? Andy Robinson?

I'm trying to think of decision that would take my breath away!

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Post by BamBam on Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:11 pm

BOD ..

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:12 pm

BamBam wrote:BOD ..

That would be funny, although I'd like a live feed of JD2's face when the news broke....

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Post by reallybored on Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:13 pm

Griff wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
ChequeredJersey wrote:Man I wish the Lions were bringing an attack coach that was Howley :/

Wasn't Howley??

Agreed, it's a very unimaginative choice. We'll need to be at our sharpest and most original to beat the ABs (or, in fact, the pre-Test games as well).

Do we know who it is yet?  Someone posted on FB yesterday something about Twitter and rugby pundits apparently reporting that the Lions backs coach will be a 'take your breath away' moment when announced.  Not sure if that was meant in a good or bad way.  And not in a Berlin 80's music way either!
Graham Henry

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:13 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:
BamBam wrote:BOD ..

That would be funny, although I'd like a live feed of JD2's face when the news broke....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tFDsL_mwBY
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Post by tigertattie on Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:17 pm

Dan Parks!
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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:19 pm

tigertattie wrote:Dan Parks!

I'd love to see Sexton, Farrell, Ford and Biggar attend a one-on-one coaching session with Dan Parks.

Lesson One - how to ignore an overlap
Lesson Two - how to throw the perfect intercept pass
Lesson Three - kicking the ball out on the full
Lesson Four - the revolving door defence

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Post by reallybored on Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:21 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:
tigertattie wrote:Dan Parks!

I'd love to see Sexton, Farrell, Ford and Biggar attend a one-on-one coaching session with Dan Parks.

Lesson One - how to ignore an overlap
Lesson Two - how to throw the perfect intercept pass
Lesson Three - kicking the ball out on the full
Lesson Four - the revolving door defence
That one is a bit harsh, he did have a very good kicking game.

I'd replace it with a facial-hair grooming lesson.

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Post by uncle_nigel on Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:43 pm

Griff wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
ChequeredJersey wrote:Man I wish the Lions were bringing an attack coach that was Howley :/

Wasn't Howley??

Agreed, it's a very unimaginative choice. We'll need to be at our sharpest and most original to beat the ABs (or, in fact, the pre-Test games as well).

Do we know who it is yet?  Someone posted on FB yesterday something about Twitter and rugby pundits apparently reporting that the Lions backs coach will be a 'take your breath away' moment when announced.  Not sure if that was meant in a good or bad way.  And not in a Berlin 80's music way either!

Ronan O'Gara, kicking coach... And defence coach.
1. Kick the ball back to the opposition, wait until he's in the air trying to catch it and then tackle his legs in mid-air.
2. How to be a speed bump.

I kinda like No.1 as it's a kick-defence lesson; a nice blend.

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Post by lostinwales on Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:46 pm

uncle_nigel wrote:
Griff wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
ChequeredJersey wrote:Man I wish the Lions were bringing an attack coach that was Howley :/

Wasn't Howley??

Agreed, it's a very unimaginative choice. We'll need to be at our sharpest and most original to beat the ABs (or, in fact, the pre-Test games as well).

Do we know who it is yet?  Someone posted on FB yesterday something about Twitter and rugby pundits apparently reporting that the Lions backs coach will be a 'take your breath away' moment when announced.  Not sure if that was meant in a good or bad way.  And not in a Berlin 80's music way either!

Ronan O'Gara, kicking coach... And defence coach.
1. Kick the ball back to the opposition, wait until he's in the air trying to catch it and then tackle his legs in mid-air.
2. How to be a speed bump.

I kinda like No.1 as it's a kick-defence lesson; a nice blend.

Sure ROG will be needed? We already have a few experts in (1)

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Post by killer938 on Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:02 pm

1) McGrath
2) Best
3) Cole
4) Itoje
5) Kruis
6) Stander
7) Haskell
8) Vunipola
9) Murray/Youngs
10) Sexton
11) Seymour
12) Henshaw
13) Joseph
14) Watson
15) Hogg

16) Mako
17) George
18) Furlong
19) Gray
20) Van de Flier
21) Youngs/Murray
22) Farrell
23) Williams

Mako and Furlong can make a huge impact off the bench with their ability to carry (though I'd also watch out for Sinkler as a bolter as well).
Youngs/Murray really is an either or thing for me at the moment and can't see you going wrong on either.
Gray could easily start but thought I'd stick with a combo which has been the standout second row in Europe for club and country over the last year.
My real issue is at 7. I've gone for Haskell based on his performances before his injury and also because, despite playing in the second row, Itoje is about as good as anyone over the ball and so more than makes up for not having a traditional fetcher there. I like VdF as an impact player again.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Tue Dec 06, 2016 5:19 pm

I see Saints of stood down George North for a HIA. I do feel sorry for George, this is not the (FIRST ) time he as had a knock to the Head.

Did not see the game my self.

He needs to for get playing for a while and Get him self 100% fit for (HIMSELF first,) (Club,
Second,) (Wales third) and the (Lions last of all.)

Speedy recovery George.

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Post by fa0019 on Tue Dec 06, 2016 5:26 pm

uncle_nigel wrote:
Griff wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
ChequeredJersey wrote:Man I wish the Lions were bringing an attack coach that was Howley :/

Wasn't Howley??

Agreed, it's a very unimaginative choice. We'll need to be at our sharpest and most original to beat the ABs (or, in fact, the pre-Test games as well).

Do we know who it is yet?  Someone posted on FB yesterday something about Twitter and rugby pundits apparently reporting that the Lions backs coach will be a 'take your breath away' moment when announced.  Not sure if that was meant in a good or bad way.  And not in a Berlin 80's music way either!

Ronan O'Gara, kicking coach... And defence coach.
1. Kick the ball back to the opposition, wait until he's in the air trying to catch it and then tackle his legs in mid-air.
2. How to be a speed bump.

I kinda like No.1 as it's a kick-defence lesson; a nice blend.

can also coach the guys on the merits of responsible gambling and act as a bookie to the "leverage all your assets by 10" dead certs racing during the tour.

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Post by Gwlad on Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:15 pm

majesticimperialman wrote:I see Saints of stood down George North for a HIA. I do feel sorry for George, this is not the (FIRST ) time he as had a knock to the Head.

Did not see the game my self.

He needs to for get playing for a while and Get him self 100% fit for (HIMSELF first,) (Club,
Second,) (Wales  third)  and  the (Lions last of all.)

Speedy recovery George.

how many concussions have you had?

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Post by majesticimperialman on Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:19 pm

None. How many have you had?

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Post by Kingshu on Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:30 pm

A lot of people have Hartley ahead as Best and as captain.

IMO Best would be a better choice, for both.

As well as Hartley has been captaining England and playing I think that Best has been better (I'll admit this may be biased, but we'll say equally as good).

I think Hartley comes across as being a bit direct and confrontational, which can be good for Rugby, but to try and get a team to quickly gel and row in together, I think a more rounded likable character would be best.

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Post by Cyril on Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:53 pm

Kingshu wrote:A lot of people have Hartley ahead as Best and as captain.

IMO Best would be a better choice, for both.

As well as Hartley has been captaining England and playing I think that Best has been better (I'll admit this may be biased, but we'll say equally as good).

I think Hartley comes across as being a bit direct and confrontational, which can be good for Rugby, but to try and get a team to quickly gel and row in together, I think a more rounded likable character would be best.
Hartley's captaincy style isn't confrontational. He actually handles referees and players very well and just gets on with the job. Seeing him off the pitch with his team-mates and doing media/training he actually seems very personable and seems to be well-liked and respected by his peers. Despite his past bad behaviour on the pitch he seems to be a good guy and does more work for charity than most players.

Not sure successful captains like Martin Johnson were ever concerned about being likeable anyway!

If we're about getting on with people and being nice then Best hasn't got a chance with the way Gatland feels about him (I understand the feeling is mutual).

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Post by SecretFly on Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:12 pm

I want them both to meet now in an MMA octagon.  It's gone on too long - time for Best to end all Gat's trash talk in a first round take down.

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Post by carpet baboon on Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:34 pm

What the story between them? (Cement head and king rory)

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Post by TJ on Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:49 pm

I can't stand Hartley ( or couldn't) but the captaincy has been the making of him and IMO one of the key factors in Englands improvement. I'd happily have him as lions capt.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:48 pm

Kingshu wrote:A lot of people have Hartley ahead as Best and as captain.

IMO Best would be a better choice, for both.

As well as Hartley has been captaining England and playing I think that Best has been better (I'll admit this may be biased, but we'll say equally as good).

I think Hartley comes across as being a bit direct and confrontational, which can be good for Rugby, but to try and get a team to quickly gel and row in together, I think a more rounded likable character would be best.

I don't disagree that Best is the better player but I would have Hartley instead of Best. This is purely because Gatland and the English media can't see past Dylan and Jamie George (the public have voted and the lines are already closed). Remember this tour has very little to do with rugby ability and an awful lot to do with selling tickets, T Shirts and the idea that the Lions is the pinnacle of the rugby mountain. Gatland will have predominantly English and Welsh players and a few Irish and Scots to blame if things go really pear-shaped. Expect the squad to be 50% English, 30% Welsh, 10% Irish and 10% Scottish. Ireland get two token starters in McGrath and either Stander or Murray - there is no place for a player the English pundits don't rate.

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Post by Cyril on Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:53 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
Kingshu wrote:A lot of people have Hartley ahead as Best and as captain.

IMO Best would be a better choice, for both.

As well as Hartley has been captaining England and playing I think that Best has been better (I'll admit this may be biased, but we'll say equally as good).

I think Hartley comes across as being a bit direct and confrontational, which can be good for Rugby, but to try and get a team to quickly gel and row in together, I think a more rounded likable character would be best.

I don't disagree that Best is the better player but I would have Hartley instead of Best. This is purely because Gatland and the English media can't see past Dylan and Jamie George (the public have voted and the lines are already closed). Remember this tour has very little to do with rugby ability and an awful lot to do with selling tickets, T Shirts and the idea that the Lions is the pinnacle of the rugby mountain. Gatland will have predominantly English and Welsh players and a few Irish and Scots to blame if things go really pear-shaped. Expect the squad to be 50% English, 30% Welsh, 10% Irish and 10% Scottish. Ireland get two token starters in McGrath and either Stander or Murray - there is no place for a player the English pundits don't rate.
Laugh It's lucky the players don't have your attitude! Irish media is unbelievably partisan. Maybe that's where you got these ideas.

Most English media/pundits I've read have a decent spread of English and Irish.

Best is a good player and a decent captain but no better than Hartley in either regard. Hartley missed the last tour through being an idiot and when Best was then chosen he had a complete meltdown and performed appallingly. That won't be forgotten.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:07 pm

Cyril wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
Kingshu wrote:A lot of people have Hartley ahead as Best and as captain.

IMO Best would be a better choice, for both.

As well as Hartley has been captaining England and playing I think that Best has been better (I'll admit this may be biased, but we'll say equally as good).

I think Hartley comes across as being a bit direct and confrontational, which can be good for Rugby, but to try and get a team to quickly gel and row in together, I think a more rounded likable character would be best.

I don't disagree that Best is the better player but I would have Hartley instead of Best. This is purely because Gatland and the English media can't see past Dylan and Jamie George (the public have voted and the lines are already closed). Remember this tour has very little to do with rugby ability and an awful lot to do with selling tickets, T Shirts and the idea that the Lions is the pinnacle of the rugby mountain. Gatland will have predominantly English and Welsh players and a few Irish and Scots to blame if things go really pear-shaped. Expect the squad to be 50% English, 30% Welsh, 10% Irish and 10% Scottish. Ireland get two token starters in McGrath and either Stander or Murray - there is no place for a player the English pundits don't rate.
Laugh It's lucky the players don't have your attitude! Irish media is unbelievably partisan. Maybe that's where you got these ideas.

It's certainly incredibly lucky to have someone with such lucid discernment on hand - thanks for the heads up on the Irish media! Smile

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Post by Cyril on Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:09 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
Cyril wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
Kingshu wrote:A lot of people have Hartley ahead as Best and as captain.

IMO Best would be a better choice, for both.

As well as Hartley has been captaining England and playing I think that Best has been better (I'll admit this may be biased, but we'll say equally as good).

I think Hartley comes across as being a bit direct and confrontational, which can be good for Rugby, but to try and get a team to quickly gel and row in together, I think a more rounded likable character would be best.

I don't disagree that Best is the better player but I would have Hartley instead of Best. This is purely because Gatland and the English media can't see past Dylan and Jamie George (the public have voted and the lines are already closed). Remember this tour has very little to do with rugby ability and an awful lot to do with selling tickets, T Shirts and the idea that the Lions is the pinnacle of the rugby mountain. Gatland will have predominantly English and Welsh players and a few Irish and Scots to blame if things go really pear-shaped. Expect the squad to be 50% English, 30% Welsh, 10% Irish and 10% Scottish. Ireland get two token starters in McGrath and either Stander or Murray - there is no place for a player the English pundits don't rate.
Laugh It's lucky the players don't have your attitude! Irish media is unbelievably partisan. Maybe that's where you got these ideas.

It's certainly incredibly lucky to have someone with such lucid discernment on hand - thanks for the heads up on the Irish media! Smile
Do you think the Irish media is any better than the British media or English pundits? Why do you think everyone is conspiring against you?

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:23 pm

I actually think a fairly reasonable balance of players is on the cards. The 6N is wide open and I forsee all the home nations getting notable wins in the tournament.

Hartley I don't think will be lions captain, but for what it's worth he's made a believer out of me in terms of how he has changed his attitude and temper on the pitch. He's done really well. I'd like to see best as captain but there appears to be some distress in his relationship with the head coach. That leaves the door open for potentially Warburton, or Maybe Sexton? I'd anticipate it to be a previous lions tourist for starters.
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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:29 pm

Cyril wrote:Do you think the Irish media is any better than the British media or English pundits? Why do you think everyone is conspiring against you?

Where's the conspiracy?
The logic is simple:
The Lions exist to make money
England is by far the biggest market with the most money to spend on media, Lions and everything else
Journos don't want to alienate their bread and butter readers
...ergo they need to be seen to sponsor significant English representation to spread the Lions lurve across the country. Simples.

Of course irrespective of the simple logic the English players with their extended unbeaten run deserve to be ahead of the chasing pack. They are there on merit and the Welsh deserve to be there because Gatland knows them perfectly.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:38 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:I actually think a fairly reasonable balance of players is on the cards. The 6N is wide open and I forsee all the home nations getting notable wins in the tournament.

Hartley I don't think will be lions captain, but for what it's worth he's made a believer out of me in terms of how he has changed his attitude and temper on the pitch. He's done really well. I'd like to see best as captain but there appears to be some distress in his relationship with the head coach. That leaves the door open for potentially Warburton, or Maybe Sexton? I'd anticipate it to be a previous lions tourist for starters.

I agree Hartley has made a model turnaround from calling a referee an effin cheat, and I don't think he will be captain either - mainly because of how the media will treat him in his home country. However he is experienced with the likely tight five and so should start - the lineout will be the most important set piece in the game.

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Post by Gwlad on Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:59 pm

Well if Hartley starts he'll have to be skipper. Unless it's Jenkins, AWJ or Warburton there isn't anyone else and the squad will have very little experience.

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac on Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:37 am

Gwlad wrote:Well if Hartley starts he'll have to be skipper. Unless it's Jenkins, AWJ or Warburton there isn't anyone else and the squad will have very little experience.

Martin Johnson captained the Lions having only had 1 England cap.





Itoje has 7

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:04 am

It's Itoje as captain. I don't know why anyone would doubt that gatland wants that on his wiki page. It is you great Aukster who really dislikes the Lions and wants Irish players to have no part anyway isn't it...and best being better than Hartley is stretching things a little too much.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:08 am

In that case I think J Gray could be in with a shout of being captain. He's already captain of Glasgow and is not far from being a certain starter.

The only issue is, that despite not being far from a certain starter I'd say about half a dozen locks are in that same boat, such is the talent at our disposal in that position.

I think Gatland will go with Warburton and to be honest I could live with that. He is a terrific player and a brilliant ambassador for the sport, his country and the Lions.
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Post by uncle_nigel on Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:14 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/38233542

Howley Sad

There's been hints that Gats could also ask Ben Ryan to go along. It's like he even knows how bad a coach Howley is.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:15 am

I'd like him to earn his place this time though.

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Post by reallybored on Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:21 am

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:In that case I think J Gray could be in with a shout of being captain. He's already captain of Glasgow and is not far from being a certain starter.

The only issue is, that despite not being far from a certain starter I'd say about half a dozen locks are in that same boat, such is the talent at our disposal in that position.

I think Gatland will go with Warburton and to be honest I could live with that. He is a terrific player and a brilliant ambassador for the sport, his country and the Lions.
Nope, don't want Mr Vanilla captain again.

Would prefer Gatland didn't announce a captain until he really has to, i.e. day before the first test.

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Post by uncle_nigel on Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:28 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:I'd like him to earn his place this time though.

Howley? I think they're trying to train him up just like 2009. It didn't work then, it won't work now. Howley needs to pack it in and return to his ice-cream van.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:28 am

Warburton.

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Post by uncle_nigel on Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:33 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Warburton.

On current form no, as there's a lot of competition and he hasn't had as much game time. I can't remember a time Warburton didn't earn his place though; world class player he is.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:40 am

Last Lions tour. Tipuric was in much better form. What do you consider WC; I only ask as everyone has a seemingly slightly different definition they go by?

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Post by Poorfour on Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:48 am

I had a go at a squad based on the composition Gats used for the last tour:

Hooker: Best, Hartley, George
Prop: McGrath, Furlong, Nel, Mako, Marler, Cole
Lock: Itoje, Kruis, Toner, R Gray, AWJ (Gatland's likely to pick him whatever)
Flanker: Stander, Tipuric, SOB, Robshaw... and then I struggle a bit.
No 8: Faletau, Billy if he can prove fitness, otherwise it's wide open.

Scrum half: Murray, Youngs
Fly half: Sexton, Farrell
Centre: Joseph, Henshaw, Davies, Jones... whichever way you cut it someone good is going to miss out
Wing: Don't really know... Watson, Nowell, May, Daly all in with a shout but don't really have a sense of who's played well in the other nations, Williams apart
Fullback: Hogg, Halfpenny, maybe Brown.

Interestingly, the tough one for me was centres. It may come down to a question of style of play more than anything else, because there are lots of great options.

Wings and back three are interesting. Hogg is probably the best option at fullback of people who are playing there today, but there are plenty of players who could play there. That plus the centre question could boost Daly's chances given he can play wing, OC and potentially fullback.

Back row sparks endless debate, but I think there are relatively few players actually putting their hand up if you go on form (especially considering the number of injured players). It's, almost to the point where you might take an extra lock and rely on Itoje being able to cover. Question is whether Gatland will actually pick on form...
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