This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

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This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by Gwlad on Thu 30 Mar - 6:45

Betting has been suspended on Sam Warburton being selected as the 2017 Lions skipper. Apparently this may be based on insider knowledge though heaven forbid we dont want to start a new conspiracy theory, it seems likely that big Sam is our Captain again.  clap

Though the haters will not even have him touring (Robshaw is after all back to fitness etc) after a superb 6 Nations the back row has self selected the favorites. Most of us want Billy and i imagine anyone who has a clue about Gatland knows Sam will figure. His upturn in form should continue and if he remains injury free the job is his. In addition to his past glories at 7, Super Sam has now established himself as probably the best all round 6 available with Stander and POM knocking loudly, who also cuts a fine figure at 7 and it seems Sam will almost certainly start the Tests in one shirt or the other and he has therefore put himself into an interesting group of those players inked in to starting Test berths (Farrell, Billy, ?)

Gats loves a player who can cover 2 spots, and with his versatility and Captaincy credentials both in Wales and as a past winning Lion, he seems now to be heir apparent and a shoo in for the Captaincy.  Yahoo My only reservation is that having been relieved of the Wales Captaincy he has thrived, but the selection of a strong leadership group, the Lions siege mentality and its defined short period should enable him to get his head right for the duration.

Much has been said about AWJ as a potential Lions skipper, there being few other deserving candidates. Hartley anyone? Or Best?  Not likely. But his taciturn, somewhat antagonistic nature in front of the camera won't go down well in NZ. I do not believe he has thrived as Wales Captain under a disastrous Head Coach and since i accept he is by no means guaranteed a starting position and is injured, I think it is clear that he will tour if fit but has not done enough to become skipper, though will stand in admirably as he has before.

Sam it is then.  king

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Thu 30 Mar - 7:49

I'm dropping the poetry thing now.

Sam Warburton is a tremendous player, he's also a winning. Lions capt in despite injury cruelly ruling him out of the decisive final test in 2013.

However, I don't think there is a poster on here who would disagree with the following statement :

Warburton has played better for Wales since AWJ was made captain.

Whatever the reasons for that, are frankly irrelevant. Warburton is the form player at 7 probably, however he seems to play better when he doesn't have the added pressure of being captain.

If this is the case, how is leading the Lions, less pressure than leading Wales?
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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by Griff on Thu 30 Mar - 7:59

Agree that he appears to be playing better without the captaincy. Not sure he's the form player at 7. Played all 6N at 6. Headscratch

If this is true though, it would be interesting to hear from those chumps who accused Gatland and Howley of 'clearly' and 'without doubt' engineering Alun Wyn Jones into the Lions captaincy role by removing Warburton and installing AWJ as Wales captain for the 6N.

Personally I wouldn't have Warbs as captain, but he is playing well so would be a tourist for me.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Thu 30 Mar - 8:06

Griff wrote:Agree that he appears to be playing better without the captaincy. Not sure he's the form player at 7. Played all 6N at 6. Headscratch

If this is true though, it would be interesting to hear from those chumps who accused Gatland and Howley of 'clearly' and 'without doubt' engineering Alun Wyn Jones into the Lions captaincy role by removing Warburton and installing AWJ as Wales captain for the 6N.

Personally I wouldn't have Warbs as captain, but he is playing well so would be a tourist for me.

He is a guy who plays like a 7 though, ferocious on the deck, powerful at the breakdown and he also makes his tackles like a proper chopping 6. My back row would be Sam, POM and Stander.

I still wouldn't give Warbs the captaincy, he's been playing far better without it. I appreciate I'm not saying who I'd pick as captain, but it wouldn't be Sam.
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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by Gwlad on Thu 30 Mar - 8:09

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:I'm dropping the poetry thing now.

Sam Warburton is a tremendous player, he's also a winning. Lions capt in despite injury cruelly ruling him out of the decisive final test in 2013.

However, I don't think there is a poster on here who would disagree with the following statement :

Warburton has played better for Wales since AWJ was made captain.

Whatever the reasons for that, are frankly irrelevant. Warburton is the form player at 7 probably, however he seems to play better when he doesn't have the added pressure of being captain.

If this is the case, how is leading the Lions, less pressure than leading Wales?

Good point Radge which i alluded to in the OP and i on't disagree with you.

It is more pressure in fact, but we are faced with a situation where there are no better candidates. This is only a short tour. Sam will be backed up by a leadership group and I think Gats has down played the Captaincy role suggesting there may be several Captains. Also i wasn't overly impressed by Sam's handling of Barnes when France were cheating but again i ask who is better qualified? A nailed on starter at 6 or 7.

These are the only real candidates i see as possibilities and outsiders mooted:

Hartley - no. Everyone knows he is by no means the first pick at hooker
Best - well qualified but somehow i feel deflated when i consider him as the figure head and leader.
Farrell - why? I like him, he's nailed on to start but as skipper?
Itoje - hilarious
Laidlaw - won't tour
Hogg - just a little to o far fetched
Sexton - an outside possibility but with a rather large target already on his head i can't see it
Heaslip - will he tour?
AWJ - injured, not first choice lock, poor 6 Nations as skipper
Sam - awesome form, winning lions skipper, nailed on starter.



In any case, this is all academic, as i suggested i believe this is now a done deal.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by Gwlad on Thu 30 Mar - 8:16

Of course the silver lining for the non Welsh Lions fans is that this is one more reason to blame it all on Wales, Gatlandball, etc etc and hate us when we lose.
I'm certain you could also find a way to blame Brexit on us too if you tried, though at least we aren't deserting the sinking ship like the seditious Scots. Hope the referendum is after the tour as we'd have a very depleted squad if Scotland aren't involved. Shocked

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Thu 30 Mar - 8:39

Gwlad wrote:Of course the silver lining for the non Welsh Lions fans is that this is one more reason to blame it all on Wales, Gatlandball, etc etc and hate us when we lose.
I'm certain you could also find a way to blame Brexit on us too if you tried, though at least we aren't deserting the sinking ship like the seditious Scots. Hope the referendum is after the tour as we'd have a very depleted squad if Scotland aren't involved. Shocked

Nicola Sturgeon does not speak for Scotland. Certainly not me!

Captain is a serious issue for the Lions. I seriously wonder of someone like POM will get it. Munster captain, well respected by players. I could think of crazier choices.

I also wouldn't object to Rory Best being captain, however I feel Ken Owens and Jamie George are in better form and are more reliable at the lineout.

I still think tour captain is the way to go, but still who I'd pick for it I'm not sure. Probably POM, but again flanker is gonna be hotly contested, especially with Robshaw returning from injury and looking like making a late charge for selection
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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by irnbrew on Thu 30 Mar - 8:51

Keep on saying how Warbs is on fire let me give it to you again against Italy 60 minutes and all he had to show was 1 jackle against England he played well against Scotland was blew away by there back row against Ireland he played well against France 100 minutes of rugby made 12 yes 12 tackles and missed a least 4 what do you base you praise on its definitely not facts at time they was saying Warbs tackles again when it was Tipiric who had a far better 6 nations than Warby You might not like it but that are the facts

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by Gwlad on Thu 30 Mar - 9:17

irnbrew wrote: Keep on saying how Warbs is on fire let me give it to you again against Italy 60 minutes and all he had to show was 1 jackle against England he played well against Scotland was blew away by there back row against Ireland he played well against France 100 minutes of rugby made 12 yes 12 tackles and missed a least 4 what do you base you praise on its definitely  not facts at time they was saying Warbs tackles again when it was Tipiric who had a far better 6 nations than Warby You might not like it but that are the facts

Congratulations on the world's longest sentence!

I disagree and so do the bookies.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by BigTrevsbigmac on Thu 30 Mar - 9:19

irnbrew wrote: Keep on saying how Warbs is on fire let me give it to you again against Italy 60 minutes and all he had to show was 1 jackle against England he played well against Scotland was blew away by there back row against Ireland he played well against France 100 minutes of rugby made 12 yes 12 tackles and missed a least 4 what do you base you praise on its definitely  not facts at time they was saying Warbs tackles again when it was Tipiric who had a far better 6 nations than Warby You might not like it but that are the facts

That's settled then Tips for captain - he is Welsh after all.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by Gwlad on Thu 30 Mar - 9:30

But radge tour captain is such a cop out

Its the best way to say, i don't have a clue and we don't have a leader, I'm hedging my bets because i wanted a Scottish Captain but they left the squad unexpectedly and left the rest of us in the lurch.


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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 30 Mar - 19:25

Gatland has said the captain isn't guaranteed a spot in the team so does seem to be going towards the tour captain model.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by GunsGermsV2 on Thu 30 Mar - 19:35

Personally I dont think Sam Warburton is the greatest captain of all time. He seems like quite a meek character.

However, in some ways he is a good choice for a Lions tour in so far as the tour nowadays revolves heavily around sponsorship and PR and he has perfect mild mannered, someone your granny loves type character that will say the right thing to the press every time and keep the sponsors happy. Its hard to imagine Warburton swearing accidentally on camera or calling the ref a c"£t etc.

So to be fair there is a good chance he gets the nod however, with the amount of leaders in the squad I suspect that there will be more prominent voices than him calling the shots in the big tests.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by rapidsnowman on Thu 30 Mar - 19:39

Best is mild too, but does a great job for Ireland.

Sometimes mild may be better for not winding up the ref.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by TJ on Thu 30 Mar - 19:59

I would like a tour captain and a playing captain who might not be the same person but could be.

The problem is the best captaincy options are not guaranteed a starting place, the folk with their shirts on already are not captaincy material. I mean would you want Hogg or Liam Williams or Sexton as captain?

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by GunsGermsV2 on Thu 30 Mar - 20:04

rapidsnowman wrote:Best is mild too, but does a great job for Ireland.

Sometimes mild may be better for not winding up the ref.

Best isnt quite as clean cut looking or mild mannered as Warburton. Best kinda looks like a sterio typical cartoon burglar. Warburton looks better on camera, half the fans wouldnt understand Best id say however, he is a beast of a captain on the pitch.


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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by R!skysports on Thu 30 Mar - 20:04

Gwlad wrote:Of course the silver lining for the non Welsh Lions fans is that this is one more reason to blame it all on Wales, Gatlandball, etc etc and hate us when we lose.
I'm certain you could also find a way to blame Brexit on us too if you tried, though at least we aren't deserting the sinking ship like the seditious Scots. Hope the referendum is after the tour as we'd have a very depleted squad if Scotland aren't involved. Shocked

Chip shoulder much.....

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by GunsGermsV2 on Thu 30 Mar - 20:06

Scotland would still be involved in the Lions even if they left Britain just as Ireland are.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 30 Mar - 20:38

R!skysports wrote:
Gwlad wrote:Of course the silver lining for the non Welsh Lions fans is that this is one more reason to blame it all on Wales, Gatlandball, etc etc and hate us when we lose.
I'm certain you could also find a way to blame Brexit on us too if you tried, though at least we aren't deserting the sinking ship like the seditious Scots. Hope the referendum is after the tour as we'd have a very depleted squad if Scotland aren't involved. Shocked

Chip shoulder much.....

Nope. It happened after the last tour in spite of a resounding series win.

Cue the "but we could ov lost bruv" and "he picked the wrong team fam". And not forgetting "that was the worst Australian team since 1100BC!"

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by miaow on Thu 30 Mar - 20:51

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:I'm dropping the poetry thing now.

Sam Warburton is a tremendous player, he's also a winning. Lions capt in despite injury cruelly ruling him out of the decisive final test in 2013.

However, I don't think there is a poster on here who would disagree with the following statement :

Warburton has played better for Wales since AWJ was made captain.

I'd be wary of inferring causation from correlation.

Yes, Warburton has been excellent this season. But he was also equally as good, if not better, down in NZ, in the Summer of 2016...when he was Wales captain. He was the standout Welsh player, alongside Liam Williams, in that series (North had a great first game before injury, AWJ, Webb, and Moriarty all looked decent, too- this could be important in the Lions context, as that Tour was a Lions warm up after all).

I think- as much as anything else- it's been the mental reprieve that has come about from AWJ being Wales captain that has helped Warburton. I don't think he's a "natural" leader in the way PoC was, or AWJ is, say. Yet there are elements of his captaincy, through his disposition and the experience he's built up, that offset the 'blood-and-thunder- deficiencies in his leadership. Richie McCaw wasn't much of a talker, after all.

Were there an outstanding candidate to be Lions captain, then I'd be advocating that you make Warburton Vice Captain, and use his winning Lions experience and leadership for the benefit of the Tour captain and the squad in general. However, what is blindingly obvious is that there simply isn't anyone putting their hand up in that regard, not even close; the fact that a few months ago that player seemed to be Dylan Hartley is quite significant in terms of how wanting the Lions are for a BoD or PoC figure.

So what do you do? Try something a bit mad like the Four Tour Captains proposed by Eddie Jones? Or do you select from what you have and try not to tempt fate with some "blue sky thinking" on a Lions Tour to NZ...?

As I said 12 months ago, Warburton was always likely to recapture his form as he's an unbelievably good player, and the bias and stylistic preference that Gatland brings to his coaching benefits Warburton over, say, Tipuric, or Watson, or Barclay at 7, as well as the trust and experience they've built up together as Coach and Captain. He's exactly the kind of player Gatland will be looking to take to New Zealand, both in playing style and in temperament.

The only point I'd disagree with you is saying he's start at 7. I think, rather than losing the captaincy, it's been his shift to 6 which has helped Wales, not least because it means Tipuric is on the field instead of Dan Lydiate, which- when he's playing poorly- is often like having an extra prop in the loose, rather than an extra Winkle-cum-centre like Tipuric. Warburton's not quite the groundhog as he used to be in the past, in part because he's well marked out of the game by the opposition. He is still unbelievably effective in the tackle area, though, from the moment the tackle is made (his hits on Stander in the Ireland game are well worth revisiting), to the ruck itself when not contesting on the ground. He looks immensely strong, and in short, the hard work he puts in as a 6.5 allows Tipuric, or anyone else, to gain more headway going directly for the ball at the next ruck, because the opposition is fighting off Warburton.

Now, I do actually think he'll start at 7, but with a caveat. I think the starting backrow in Gatland's mind, all being well, for the Tests is as follows:

6. Stander
7. Warburton
8. Faletau

However, Stander is the key player here. The ball carrying he brings negates the need for Billy Vunipola, and Faletau is a much more rounded and better player. I think Gatland will try to start Faletau as long as he performs well in the warm up games. With Warburton at 7, you have him playing his 6.5 game, with Faletau also offering a lot more over the ball than Vunipola, and Stander not being dreadful in that regard, too (for those who criticise Moriarty coming off early against England, it probably was the wrong call, but the difference in styles was dramatic: Moriarty the big, driving hits, where Faletau was in and contesting nearly every other ruck, sometimes slowing the ball down well).

If Stander is injured or off form, the picture changes. You lose your blindside flanker who carries like an 8, and therefore need some more ballast. If Stander is out, then Vunipola is nailed on at 8. For me, this is where Warburton switches to 6, and probably Tipuric comes in at 7, with maybe PoM on the bench at 20.

So Stander's the key player in the back row, I believe, and is the pivot around which all the other selections will be made. Warburton could play 6 or 7, frankly, down in NZ, and still be captain. If he is, then I have to say, I do feel vindicated in my prediction, yet again. There seemed to be a lot of anti-Gatland/anti-Wales bias informing most of the disagreeing responses I got to my prediction/assessment, and it has sort of transpired that England's trajectory has waned, Gatland will select what he knows/is comfortable with coaching, and that Warburton would prove his class.

This has all the hallmarks of an excellent Tour, possibly the greatest of the professional era. If Warburton is made Captain, I hope he gets the non-partisan support he should from all Lions supporters, and we start to move away from the parochial point scoring of "my country's player is better/should start/got selected over yours". Likewise, the same applies to Gatland. Love him or loathe him, I hope any criticism of him is a bit better than "he plays crashball and that is bad", and that he actually has the support of the fans, and media, from start to finish.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by miaow on Thu 30 Mar - 20:56

GunsGermsV2 wrote:
rapidsnowman wrote:Best is mild too, but does a great job for Ireland.

Sometimes mild may be better for not winding up the ref.

Best isnt quite as clean cut looking or mild mannered as Warburton. Best kinda looks like a sterio typical cartoon burglar. Warburton looks better on camera, half the fans wouldnt understand Best id say however, he is a beast of a captain on the pitch.

"Pretty boy Warburton"


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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by Cyril on Thu 30 Mar - 20:57

miaow wrote:This has all the hallmarks of an excellent Tour, possibly the greatest of the professional era.
Laugh

This is brilliant!

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 30 Mar - 21:02

Cyril wrote:
miaow wrote:This has all the hallmarks of an excellent Tour, possibly the greatest of the professional era.
Laugh

This is brilliant!

In what way, as in it will be a brilliant tour?

Let's see;
The Lions are supplemented by the best England team in pro era (arguable);
They're supplemented by Irish players who have beat the No1 and 2 ranked teams in the world this year;
The Super Rugby teams will contain their AB players, thus being at full strength and enabling for a much higher quality match.

ABs are the best in the world and stand a chance of losing the series IMO.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by miaow on Thu 30 Mar - 21:04

Cyril wrote:
miaow wrote:This has all the hallmarks of an excellent Tour, possibly the greatest of the professional era.
Laugh

This is brilliant!

You must be a really disgruntled human being if you disagree!?

It's been the most competitive 6 Nations for many, many years, with all the Home Nations beating each other in a roundabout sort of way. The good thing is, that's down to healthy competition and a good standard of Rugby, rather than any sort of deficiency in experience (Scotland aside), form, skills, or mentality. The competition for places in the squad alone means the Lions will be leaving behind several very good Test players. That makes it an exciting prospect for a Lions Test team that can go to the backyard of the greatest team in the World, perhaps in World sport, and take them on in a 3 Test series. No disrespect to Australia, but Lions Tours there aren't quite the same as NZ or SA, and even then, there's an extra step up between NZ and SA, particularly latterly.

Honestly, how are you not buzzing for this Tour?

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by Cyril on Thu 30 Mar - 21:08

miaow wrote:Honestly, how are you not buzzing for this Tour?
A stagnant mixture of Gatland and Howley employing outdated, limited and negative tactics against the best side in the world. Oooh, can't wait.

It's going to be a horror show and NZ will love it. People will be remember 2005 with fondness after this one.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by Hammersmith harrier on Thu 30 Mar - 21:15

Cyril wrote:
miaow wrote:Honestly, how are you not buzzing for this Tour?
A stagnant mixture of Gatland and Howley employing outdated, limited and negative tactics against the best side in the world. Oooh, can't wait.

It's going to be a horror show and NZ will love it. People will be remember 2005 with fondness after this one.

I can't see anything other than a poorly selected side that gets hammered three times.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by miaow on Thu 30 Mar - 21:18

miaow wrote:If Warburton is made Captain, I hope he gets the non-partisan support he should from all Lions supporters, and we start to move away from the parochial point scoring of "my country's player is better/should start/got selected over yours". Likewise, the same applies to Gatland. Love him or loathe him, I hope any criticism of him is a bit better than "he plays crashball and that is bad", and that he actually has the support of the fans, and media, from start to finish.

Already failing spectacularly in the role of supporters, boys.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by GunsGermsV2 on Thu 30 Mar - 21:21

miaow wrote:
GunsGermsV2 wrote:
rapidsnowman wrote:Best is mild too, but does a great job for Ireland.

Sometimes mild may be better for not winding up the ref.

Best isnt quite as clean cut looking or mild mannered as Warburton. Best kinda looks like a sterio typical cartoon burglar. Warburton looks better on camera, half the fans wouldnt understand Best id say however, he is a beast of a captain on the pitch.

"Pretty boy Warburton"


You're a girl Miaow. Do you not find him pretty?

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by beshocked on Thu 30 Mar - 21:23

mikey_dragon wrote:
Cyril wrote:
miaow wrote:This has all the hallmarks of an excellent Tour, possibly the greatest of the professional era.
Laugh

This is brilliant!

In what way, as in it will be a brilliant tour?

Let's see;
The Lions are supplemented by the best England team in pro era (arguable);
They're supplemented by Irish players who have beat the No1 and 2 ranked teams in the world this year;
The Super Rugby teams will contain their AB players, thus being at full strength and enabling for a much higher quality match.

ABs are the best in the world and stand a chance of losing the series IMO.

Doesn't matter if you don't have most of the coaches who achieved that.

If you replaced Howley and Gatland with Jones and Schmidt then yes there would be genuine optimism.

Unlikely to win a Lions tour vs the ABs with Gatland and Howley!

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Thu 30 Mar - 21:24

miaow wrote:
RuggerRadge2611 wrote:I'm dropping the poetry thing now.

Sam Warburton is a tremendous player, he's also a winning. Lions capt in despite injury cruelly ruling him out of the decisive final test in 2013.

However, I don't think there is a poster on here who would disagree with the following statement :

Warburton has played better for Wales since AWJ was made captain.

I'd be wary of inferring causation from correlation.

Yes, Warburton has been excellent this season. But he was also equally as good, if not better, down in NZ, in the Summer of 2016...when he was Wales captain. He was the standout Welsh player, alongside Liam Williams, in that series (North had a great first game before injury, AWJ, Webb, and Moriarty all looked decent, too- this could be important in the Lions context, as that Tour was a Lions warm up after all).

I think- as much as anything else- it's been the mental reprieve that has come about from AWJ being Wales captain that has helped Warburton. I don't think he's a "natural" leader in the way PoC was, or AWJ is, say. Yet there are elements of his captaincy, through his disposition and the experience he's built up, that offset the 'blood-and-thunder- deficiencies in his leadership. Richie McCaw wasn't much of a talker, after all.

Were there an outstanding candidate to be Lions captain, then I'd be advocating that you make Warburton Vice Captain, and use his winning Lions experience and leadership for the benefit of the Tour captain and the squad in general. However, what is blindingly obvious is that there simply isn't anyone putting their hand up in that regard, not even close; the fact that a few months ago that player seemed to be Dylan Hartley is quite significant in terms of how wanting the Lions are for a BoD or PoC figure.

So what do you do? Try something a bit mad like the Four Tour Captains proposed by Eddie Jones? Or do you select from what you have and try not to tempt fate with some "blue sky thinking" on a Lions Tour to NZ...?

As I said 12 months ago, Warburton was always likely to recapture his form as he's an unbelievably good player, and the bias and stylistic preference that Gatland brings to his coaching benefits Warburton over, say, Tipuric, or Watson, or Barclay at 7, as well as the trust and experience they've built up together as Coach and Captain. He's exactly the kind of player Gatland will be looking to take to New Zealand, both in playing style and in temperament.

The only point I'd disagree with you is saying he's start at 7. I think, rather than losing the captaincy, it's been his shift to 6 which has helped Wales, not least because it means Tipuric is on the field instead of Dan Lydiate, which- when he's playing poorly- is often like having an extra prop in the loose, rather than an extra Winkle-cum-centre like Tipuric. Warburton's not quite the groundhog as he used to be in the past, in part because he's well marked out of the game by the opposition. He is still unbelievably effective in the tackle area, though, from the moment the tackle is made (his hits on Stander in the Ireland game are well worth revisiting), to the ruck itself when not contesting on the ground. He looks immensely strong, and in short, the hard work he puts in as a 6.5 allows Tipuric, or anyone else, to gain more headway going directly for the ball at the next ruck, because the opposition is fighting off Warburton.

Now, I do actually think he'll start at 7, but with a caveat. I think the starting backrow in Gatland's mind, all being well, for the Tests is as follows:

6. Stander
7. Warburton
8. Faletau

However, Stander is the key player here. The ball carrying he brings negates the need for Billy Vunipola, and Faletau is a much more rounded and better player. I think Gatland will try to start Faletau as long as he performs well in the warm up games. With Warburton at 7, you have him playing his 6.5 game, with Faletau also offering a lot more over the ball than Vunipola, and Stander not being dreadful in that regard, too (for those who criticise Moriarty coming off early against England, it probably was the wrong call, but the difference in styles was dramatic: Moriarty the big, driving hits, where Faletau was in and contesting nearly every other ruck, sometimes slowing the ball down well).

If Stander is injured or off form, the picture changes. You lose your blindside flanker who carries like an 8, and therefore need some more ballast. If Stander is out, then Vunipola is nailed on at 8. For me, this is where Warburton switches to 6, and probably Tipuric comes in at 7, with maybe PoM on the bench at 20.

So Stander's the key player in the back row, I believe, and is the pivot around which all the other selections will be made. Warburton could play 6 or 7, frankly, down in NZ, and still be captain. If he is, then I have to say, I do feel vindicated in my prediction, yet again. There seemed to be a lot of anti-Gatland/anti-Wales bias informing most of the disagreeing responses I got to my prediction/assessment, and it has sort of transpired that England's trajectory has waned, Gatland will select what he knows/is comfortable with coaching, and that Warburton would prove his class.

This has all the hallmarks of an excellent Tour, possibly the greatest of the professional era. If Warburton is made Captain, I hope he gets the non-partisan support he should from all Lions supporters, and we start to move away from the parochial point scoring of "my country's player is better/should start/got selected over yours". Likewise, the same applies to Gatland. Love him or loathe him, I hope any criticism of him is a bit better than "he plays crashball and that is bad", and that he actually has the support of the fans, and media, from start to finish.

That's not a bad loose trio - I'd have Stander/Warbs/Faletau as my 2nd choice behind POM/Warbs/Stander - Stander is an 8 playing 6 which is partly why the Irish back row was so unbalanced for most of the 6N (the inverse of this was Wales, where Moriarty was a 6 playing 8 and not carrying). Tipuric OTOH is a poor man's Hooper and won't fare well if thrown in to start the tests in the land of the proper 7.

(I'd have Tipuric or one of the Scottish 7s on the bench, with Lawes/Henderson there too covering lock/6)


Last edited by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Thu 30 Mar - 21:26; edited 1 time in total
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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 30 Mar - 21:24

GunsGermsV2 wrote:
You're a girl Miaow.

...would explain a few things.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 30 Mar - 21:25

beshocked wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Cyril wrote:
miaow wrote:This has all the hallmarks of an excellent Tour, possibly the greatest of the professional era.
Laugh

This is brilliant!

In what way, as in it will be a brilliant tour?

Let's see;
The Lions are supplemented by the best England team in pro era (arguable);
They're supplemented by Irish players who have beat the No1 and 2 ranked teams in the world this year;
The Super Rugby teams will contain their AB players, thus being at full strength and enabling for a much higher quality match.

ABs are the best in the world and stand a chance of losing the series IMO.

Doesn't matter if you don't have most of the coaches who achieved that.

If you replaced Howley and Gatland with Jones and Schmidt then yes there would be genuine optimism.

Unlikely to win a Lions tour vs the ABs with Gatland and Howley!

Gatland, Borthwick and Farrell is a good coaching team. Hopefully Howley just carries the kit bags.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by GunsGermsV2 on Thu 30 Mar - 21:35

I think the coaching team is fine. I didn't like how Gatland set the team out on the last tour and he didnt necessarily handle everything well but he is a good coach in general.

I hope the Lions have a slightly more creative, less predictable and dynamic game plan this time. I do think that the coaching ticket and player pool is good enough to win the series. If the Lions win either the first or second test the series will be considered reasonably successful.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by beshocked on Thu 30 Mar - 21:36

mikey_dragon wrote:
beshocked wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Cyril wrote:
miaow wrote:This has all the hallmarks of an excellent Tour, possibly the greatest of the professional era.
Laugh

This is brilliant!

In what way, as in it will be a brilliant tour?

Let's see;
The Lions are supplemented by the best England team in pro era (arguable);
They're supplemented by Irish players who have beat the No1 and 2 ranked teams in the world this year;
The Super Rugby teams will contain their AB players, thus being at full strength and enabling for a much higher quality match.

ABs are the best in the world and stand a chance of losing the series IMO.

Doesn't matter if you don't have most of the coaches who achieved that.

If you replaced Howley and Gatland with Jones and Schmidt then yes there would be genuine optimism.

Unlikely to win a Lions tour vs the ABs with Gatland and Howley!

Gatland, Borthwick and Farrell is a good coaching team. Hopefully Howley just carries the kit bags.

Farrell Sr is mediocre, Borthwick good, Gatland - limited.

Not impressive.

As for Faletau he might have the experience but he's not playing well at the moment. Got outclassed by his cousin on the weekend who is directly competing with for that no 8 shirt.

Stander,Warburton,Vunipola - that looks like a good backrow.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 30 Mar - 21:38

Agree with your back-row Beshocked.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by miaow on Thu 30 Mar - 21:44

GunsGermsV2 wrote:
miaow wrote:
GunsGermsV2 wrote:
rapidsnowman wrote:Best is mild too, but does a great job for Ireland.

Sometimes mild may be better for not winding up the ref.

Best isnt quite as clean cut looking or mild mannered as Warburton. Best kinda looks like a sterio typical cartoon burglar. Warburton looks better on camera, half the fans wouldnt understand Best id say however, he is a beast of a captain on the pitch.

"Pretty boy Warburton"


You're a girl Miaow. Do you not find him pretty?

Does sex really have anything to do with whether or not you think someone's pretty? Hug

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by miaow on Thu 30 Mar - 21:46

mikey_dragon wrote:
GunsGermsV2 wrote:
You're a girl Miaow.

...would explain a few things.

Other than just another example of your bigotry and general odor stinking up this forum, I'm not sure what that comment explains.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by miaow on Thu 30 Mar - 21:48

beshocked wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
beshocked wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Cyril wrote:
miaow wrote:This has all the hallmarks of an excellent Tour, possibly the greatest of the professional era.
Laugh

This is brilliant!

In what way, as in it will be a brilliant tour?

Let's see;
The Lions are supplemented by the best England team in pro era (arguable);
They're supplemented by Irish players who have beat the No1 and 2 ranked teams in the world this year;
The Super Rugby teams will contain their AB players, thus being at full strength and enabling for a much higher quality match.

ABs are the best in the world and stand a chance of losing the series IMO.

Doesn't matter if you don't have most of the coaches who achieved that.

If you replaced Howley and Gatland with Jones and Schmidt then yes there would be genuine optimism.

Unlikely to win a Lions tour vs the ABs with Gatland and Howley!

Gatland, Borthwick and Farrell is a good coaching team. Hopefully Howley just carries the kit bags.

Farrell Sr is mediocre, Borthwick good, Gatland - limited.

Not impressive.

As for Faletau he might have the experience but he's not playing well at the moment. Got outclassed by his cousin on the weekend who is directly competing with for that no 8 shirt.

Stander,Warburton,Vunipola - that looks like a good backrow.

Fairly irrelevant, Bath got hammered by Saracens. The better guage would be the Six Nations, where both were injured or out of form for enough of it to be a case of whoever plays better in the warm up games/whoever better complements the rest of the back row, gets the start.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by GunsGermsV2 on Thu 30 Mar - 21:51

miaow wrote:
Does sex really have anything to do with whether or not you think someone's pretty? Hug

Yes and no. I think he is better looking than Rory Best anyway.

Was just interested to get your view on it.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by Cyril on Thu 30 Mar - 21:51

miaow wrote:Yes, Warburton has been excellent this season. But he was also equally as good, if not better, down in NZ, in the Summer of 2016...when he was Wales captain. He was the standout Welsh player, alongside Liam Williams, in that series (North had a great first game before injury, AWJ, Webb, and Moriarty all looked decent, too- this could be important in the Lions context, as that Tour was a Lions warm up after all).
Wales lost those tests by an average of 24 points per game (not to mention the Chiefs debacle and getting smashed by England by 5 tries to 1 in the pre-tour game). If that's a Lions warm-up (and you think that tour was ok) then things are going to go exactly as I fear (or worse) this summer. Gats and Howley were in harness during that tour.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by Gooseberry on Thu 30 Mar - 21:56

miaow wrote:
GunsGermsV2 wrote:
miaow wrote:
GunsGermsV2 wrote:
rapidsnowman wrote:Best is mild too, but does a great job for Ireland.

Sometimes mild may be better for not winding up the ref.

Best isnt quite as clean cut looking or mild mannered as Warburton. Best kinda looks like a sterio typical cartoon burglar. Warburton looks better on camera, half the fans wouldnt understand Best id say however, he is a beast of a captain on the pitch.

"Pretty boy Warburton"


You're a girl Miaow. Do you not find him pretty?

Does sex really have anything to do with whether or not you think someone's pretty? Hug

For your sake I hope not

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by cascough on Thu 30 Mar - 21:57

Cyril wrote:
miaow wrote:Yes, Warburton has been excellent this season. But he was also equally as good, if not better, down in NZ, in the Summer of 2016...when he was Wales captain. He was the standout Welsh player, alongside Liam Williams, in that series (North had a great first game before injury, AWJ, Webb, and Moriarty all looked decent, too- this could be important in the Lions context, as that Tour was a Lions warm up after all).
Wales lost those tests by an average of 24 points per game (not to mention the Chiefs debacle and getting smashed by England by 5 tries to 1 in the pre-tour game). If that's a Lions warm-up (and you think that tour was ok) then things are going to go exactly as I fear (or worse) this summer. Gats and Howley were in harness during that tour.

I personally thought that tour was a Lions experiment, ie can you go toe to toe with New Zealand and play a fast open game? "You need to score tries to beat New Zealand" is the phrase that is usually trotted out.

I reckon Gatland will revert to type for the Lions tour, and I hope he does. Taking on New Zealand physically is the way to go in my eyes.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by miaow on Thu 30 Mar - 21:57

Pete C (Kiwireddevil) wrote:That's not a bad loose trio - I'd have Stander/Warbs/Faletau as my 2nd choice behind POM/Warbs/Stander - Stander is an 8 playing 6 which is partly why the Irish back row was so unbalanced for most of the 6N (the inverse of this was Wales, where Moriarty was a 6 playing 8 and not carrying). Tipuric OTOH is a poor man's Hooper and won't fare well if thrown in to start the tests in the land of the proper 7.

(I'd have Tipuric or one of the Scottish 7s on the bench, with Lawes/Henderson there too covering lock/6)

Interesting. I disagree emphatically about Tipuric, I think he's quite a bit better than Hooper but only now is he being given a run of games at Test level to show what he can do. Now that's happened, it's actually been his work in the tight, particularly in the tackle, where he's shone. He doesn't have Warburton's physicality, but he barely took a backward step in defence against what were some beefy packs. The link he adds to the backs, and general footballing ability, as well as the fact he can turn the ball over, makes him a rare player in the NH, and a useful option for the Lions, should we need him. He also has a great attitude and doesn't shirk the hard duties, something Hooper- perhaps because of tactics- seems to be lacking in.

I do agree with you over Stander, and think Ireland looked much better with him at 8. However, much like the Tipuric: Lydiate trade off, I think that is in no small part for swapping Heaslip (who does a good Hooper impression by standing in the wide channels not doing very much) for PoM. It's therefore not just the positional change, but the back row unit as a whole, that improved Stander/Ireland.

To my mind, the number on the back of the shirt doesn't matter a huge deal as long as everything is pretty much covered across the unit. Faletau lacks Vunipola's ball carrying, but then Stander makes up for that from 6. Likewise, where Watson may be a better groundhog than Warburton now, Warburton adds a lot of things from 7 that a blindside flanker might typically be expected to do, but don't come particularly naturally to Stander.

In short, as long as everyone knows their positions/roles, if we get out of the thinking of 7 does X, 6 does Y, 8 does Z, and instead look for a composite set of abilities as a unit, that's where I think the Lions can be successful, as well as what Gatland would select.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Thu 30 Mar - 21:58

I will keep my optimism in reserve until the squad is announced. I will give Gatland the benefit of the doubt, unlike others on here. He has a chance to win the series, but he has to pick the best players from the countries and maximise their strengths to be successful.

The biggest concern coaching wise is Howley. Wales attack this year is akin to Scotland's attack under Andy Robinson, absolutely rank rotten. The players for Wales generally speaking are good, but they have not fired at all. Mainly because the likes of Halfpenny, JD and North have been quite inconsistent. Webb and Liam Williams have been outstanding though.

Backrow wise I'd pick:

6. POM
7. Warburton
8. Stander

with Billy V on the bench.
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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by beshocked on Thu 30 Mar - 22:13

miaow wrote:
beshocked wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
beshocked wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Cyril wrote:
miaow wrote:This has all the hallmarks of an excellent Tour, possibly the greatest of the professional era.
Laugh

This is brilliant!

In what way, as in it will be a brilliant tour?

Let's see;
The Lions are supplemented by the best England team in pro era (arguable);
They're supplemented by Irish players who have beat the No1 and 2 ranked teams in the world this year;
The Super Rugby teams will contain their AB players, thus being at full strength and enabling for a much higher quality match.

ABs are the best in the world and stand a chance of losing the series IMO.

Doesn't matter if you don't have most of the coaches who achieved that.

If you replaced Howley and Gatland with Jones and Schmidt then yes there would be genuine optimism.

Unlikely to win a Lions tour vs the ABs with Gatland and Howley!

Gatland, Borthwick and Farrell is a good coaching team. Hopefully Howley just carries the kit bags.

Farrell Sr is mediocre, Borthwick good, Gatland - limited.

Not impressive.

As for Faletau he might have the experience but he's not playing well at the moment. Got outclassed by his cousin on the weekend who is directly competing with for that no 8 shirt.

Stander,Warburton,Vunipola - that looks like a good backrow.

Fairly irrelevant, Bath got hammered by Saracens. The better guage would be the Six Nations, where both were injured or out of form for enough of it to be a case of whoever plays better in the warm up games/whoever better complements the rest of the back row, gets the start.

You can be hammered and play well - Louw was one of Bath's best players. Faletau on the other hand was outshone. Hasn't got out of 1st gear yet.

There were worse Bath players on the pitch but Bath needed all their top players to have big games, not enough did.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by miaow on Thu 30 Mar - 22:13

GunsGermsV2 wrote:
miaow wrote:
Does sex really have anything to do with whether or not you think someone's pretty? Hug

Yes and no. I think he is better looking than Rory Best anyway.

Was just interested to get your view on it.

It was a tongue in cheek comment relating to your statement that Warburton looks better on camera.

To be honest, if Best is your stereotypical burglar, then Warburton is very much his accomplice. I think the two of them could do a good Home Alone on steroids costume for fancy dress.

Hogg could be Macaulay Culkin.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by miaow on Thu 30 Mar - 22:16

Cyril wrote:
miaow wrote:Yes, Warburton has been excellent this season. But he was also equally as good, if not better, down in NZ, in the Summer of 2016...when he was Wales captain. He was the standout Welsh player, alongside Liam Williams, in that series (North had a great first game before injury, AWJ, Webb, and Moriarty all looked decent, too- this could be important in the Lions context, as that Tour was a Lions warm up after all).
Wales lost those tests by an average of 24 points per game (not to mention the Chiefs debacle and getting smashed by England by 5 tries to 1 in the pre-tour game). If that's a Lions warm-up (and you think that tour was ok) then things are going to go exactly as I fear (or worse) this summer. Gats and Howley were in harness during that tour.

Wales lost to Australia 3-0 in 2012, and then a Lions Tour comprised on many Welsh players won the series 2-1 the next Summer. That 3-0 whitewash ended up being a useful warm up 12 months out. I think, for several reasons I've stated here over the past few weeks but won't again, that the Tour last Summer in NZ was, likewise, a good Tour.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 30 Mar - 22:17

beshocked wrote: Faletau on the other hand was outshone. Hasn't got out of 1st gear yet.

That was very much the case when he came back into the Wales squad. I'm not sure we can afford to take him on tour with so many other outstanding back-row players available.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by Hammersmith harrier on Thu 30 Mar - 22:18

I don't think a back row with Stander and Vunipola has the right balance, it's one or the other starting at 8 with Warburton at 6 and possibly POM at 6.

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

Post by Cyril on Thu 30 Mar - 22:22

miaow wrote:
Cyril wrote:
miaow wrote:Yes, Warburton has been excellent this season. But he was also equally as good, if not better, down in NZ, in the Summer of 2016...when he was Wales captain. He was the standout Welsh player, alongside Liam Williams, in that series (North had a great first game before injury, AWJ, Webb, and Moriarty all looked decent, too- this could be important in the Lions context, as that Tour was a Lions warm up after all).
Wales lost those tests by an average of 24 points per game (not to mention the Chiefs debacle and getting smashed by England by 5 tries to 1 in the pre-tour game). If that's a Lions warm-up (and you think that tour was ok) then things are going to go exactly as I fear (or worse) this summer. Gats and Howley were in harness during that tour.

Wales lost to Australia 3-0 in 2012, and then a Lions Tour comprised on many Welsh players won the series 2-1 the next Summer. That 3-0 whitewash ended up being a useful warm up 12 months out. I think, for several reasons I've stated here over the past few weeks but won't again, that the Tour last Summer in NZ was, likewise, a good Tour.
You can't compare that Aussie shower of 2012/13 to NZ. That's just strange. How the Lions didn't manage a whitewash over the Aussies should be a matter of great shame. They even came within a missed kick of losing the series  Shocked

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Re: This week's Lion's subject. The smart money on the Captaincy.

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