British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

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British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by munkian on Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:19 pm

First topic message reminder :

Scottrf wrote:Lawes was better than AWJ every week in the 6 Nations and isn't injured yet he's the strange call Rolling Eyes

AWJ is a leader and well respected by his peers as well as being a former winning Lions test captain.

Lions players aren't just based on how well they did in the six nations, they are picked on how well the coaches think they will gel into the squad.

You need leaders on and off the pitch.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon May 08, 2017 1:16 pm

BigGee wrote:Most SHs look to be very different players when playing behind a dominant pack, which is something Laidlaw very rarely has the luxury of when he plays for Scotland. I think you may see a very different player than you expect out in NZ.

Laidlaw in the world of giant rugby player, plays with his brains and not his physique. He is often a player that makes others look good because he does the simple things very well and he sees things that others do not.

I am not expecting him to play in the test team either, but if he was called upon, he would do a lot better than he is being given credit for.

If another SH was to be called up, I would likely go for Ali Price over Care in any case, a younger, faster version with more potential.


Laidlaw is one of the most intelligent rugby players in the world. As captain for Glaws and Scotland he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the rules and regulations and as Cotter said himself he is a man who knows he is physically limited, but his intelligence and vision more than compensate.

For insatnce, I'd bet my rather large mortgage that Laidlaw wouldn't have stood about with that hilarious "what do I do now" face that Care had when the Italians were standing past the offside line whilst executing their "volpe" strategy. He would have picked and gone or instructed his big Forwards to pick and go and thus nullifying the tactic.

He's a thinker and when our pack is under pressure in NZ, he is the guy I'd want at the back sorting it out as opposed to Care.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by TightHEAD on Mon May 08, 2017 1:19 pm

I'd rather Care as lets face it we are going to need tries to beat NZ, yes Care may do a bad kick or something else stupid but he could also create a try out of nothing.
That's who I'd rather have behind the forwards if we are 8pts down in the 3rd test with the series tied at 1-1 with 4mins left on the clock, not Greg.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon May 08, 2017 1:21 pm

TightHEAD wrote:I'd rather Care as lets face it we are going to need tries to beat NZ, yes Care may do a bad kick or something else stupid but he could also create a try out of nothing.
That's who I'd rather have behind the forwards if we are 8pts down in the 3rd test with the series tied at 1-1 with 4mins left on the clock, not Greg.

Reverse it, we are 8 pts up ( Laugh ) with the series tied and 4 mins left on the clock, do you want Laidlaw to come on and steady the ship and guide it home or Care?
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by TightHEAD on Mon May 08, 2017 1:33 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
TightHEAD wrote:I'd rather Care as lets face it we are going to need tries to beat NZ, yes Care may do a bad kick or something else stupid but he could also create a try out of nothing.
That's who I'd rather have behind the forwards if we are 8pts down in the 3rd test with the series tied at 1-1 with 4mins left on the clock, not Greg.

Reverse it, we are 8 pts up ( Laugh ) with the series tied and 4 mins left on the clock, do you want Laidlaw to come on and steady the ship and guide it home or Care?

Care, as you won't hold on to the lead if you are on the backfoot stuck in your own 22.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon May 08, 2017 1:35 pm

TightHEAD wrote:
RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
TightHEAD wrote:I'd rather Care as lets face it we are going to need tries to beat NZ, yes Care may do a bad kick or something else stupid but he could also create a try out of nothing.
That's who I'd rather have behind the forwards if we are 8pts down in the 3rd test with the series tied at 1-1 with 4mins left on the clock, not Greg.

Reverse it, we are 8 pts up ( Laugh ) with the series tied and 4 mins left on the clock, do you want Laidlaw to come on and steady the ship and guide it home or Care?

Care, as you won't hold on to the lead if you are on the backfoot stuck in your own 22.

Which is why Laidlaw as one of the best kicking 9s in the game will ensure you are not playing in your own 22. Care has many abilities and skills as a scrum half. Kicking from hand and game management are not 2 of them.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by TightHEAD on Mon May 08, 2017 1:37 pm

But Care would give you an 8pt lead in the first place.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon May 08, 2017 1:40 pm

TightHEAD wrote:But Care would give you an 8pt lead in the first place.

I never once said Laidlaw would or should start a test match for the Lions. If he did he certainly wouldn't let anyone down. Furthermore Scotland have no problem Scoring tries when Laidlaw plays.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by BamBam on Mon May 08, 2017 1:44 pm

Its funny how a lack of power, speed and strength has never stopped a certain poster touting a certain Saracens full back whose name rhymes with Balex Boode for the England team .. why should it prevent Laidlaw playing for the Lions Rolling Eyes

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Scottrf on Mon May 08, 2017 1:46 pm

BamBam wrote:Its funny how a lack of power, speed and strength has never stopped a certain poster touting a certain Saracens full back whose name rhymes with Balex Boode for the England team .. why should it prevent Laidlaw playing for the Lions Rolling Eyes

Goode lacks power and speed? News to me.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by TightHEAD on Mon May 08, 2017 1:47 pm

Care is a Finisher and would give the kiwis something to think about, Greg would be a welcome site for the Kiwi's as his game plan is predictable, Cares is not.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon May 08, 2017 1:53 pm

TightHEAD wrote:Care is a Finisher and would give the kiwis something to think about, Greg would be a welcome site for the Kiwi's as his game plan is predictable, Cares is not.

If he is so predictable why does the Scotland side he captains and controls the attacking shape of score so many tries? Why has be been signed by Clermont? Why wasn't Care selected by Gatland?

Laidlaw is a very good rugby player, and I look forward to him showing that on this tour.

I do agree his speed of service can be described as ponderous at times, or perhaps even pedestrian. However noone can deny his intelligence, leadership and grit. He has all of those in abundance and knows what to do when his pack is going backwards, something the Lions IMO will have a lot of in this tour.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by GunsGermsV2 on Mon May 08, 2017 1:55 pm

My preference is for Laidlaw. He is a good leader and offers something different to Murray and Webb. Care is a poor mans Webb.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Scottrf on Mon May 08, 2017 1:56 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
TightHEAD wrote:Care is a Finisher and would give the kiwis something to think about, Greg would be a welcome site for the Kiwi's as his game plan is predictable, Cares is not.

If he is so predictable why does the Scotland side he captains and controls the attacking shape of score so many tries? Why has be been signed by Clermont? Why wasn't Care selected by Gatland?

Laidlaw is a very good rugby player, and I look forward to him showing that on this tour.

I do agree his speed of service can be described as ponderous at times, or perhaps even pedestrian. However noone can deny his intelligence, leadership and grit. He has all of those in abundance and knows what to do when his pack is going backwards, something the Lions IMO will have a lot of in this tour.

You reckon? If the pack goes backwards we may as well not turn up but I doubt it will.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by TightHEAD on Mon May 08, 2017 2:01 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
TightHEAD wrote:Care is a Finisher and would give the kiwis something to think about, Greg would be a welcome site for the Kiwi's as his game plan is predictable, Cares is not.

If he is so predictable why does the Scotland side he captains and controls the attacking shape of score so many tries? Why has be been signed by Clermont? Why wasn't Care selected by Gatland?

Laidlaw is a very good rugby player, and I look forward to him showing that on this tour.

I do agree his speed of service can be described as ponderous at times, or perhaps even pedestrian. However noone can deny his intelligence, leadership and grit. He has all of those in abundance and knows what to do when his pack is going backwards, something the Lions IMO will have a lot of in this tour.

- Luck.
- Because Clermont have money to burn and few options as all the French players are at other clubs. Plus it looks good on paper to have a international Captain on board.
- Gatland is narrow minded and too defensive to deal with a player like Care.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon May 08, 2017 2:06 pm

TightHEAD wrote:
RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
TightHEAD wrote:Care is a Finisher and would give the kiwis something to think about, Greg would be a welcome site for the Kiwi's as his game plan is predictable, Cares is not.

If he is so predictable why does the Scotland side he captains and controls the attacking shape of score so many tries? Why has be been signed by Clermont? Why wasn't Care selected by Gatland?

Laidlaw is a very good rugby player, and I look forward to him showing that on this tour.

I do agree his speed of service can be described as ponderous at times, or perhaps even pedestrian. However noone can deny his intelligence, leadership and grit. He has all of those in abundance and knows what to do when his pack is going backwards, something the Lions IMO will have a lot of in this tour.

- Luck.
- Because Clermont have money to burn and few options as all the French players are at other clubs. Plus it looks good on paper to have a international Captain on board.
- Gatland is narrow minded and too defensive to deal with a player like Care.

- Luck?   laughing
- Because Clermont have money to burn and few options as all the French players are at other clubs. Plus it looks good on paper to have a international Captain on board?  Rolling Eyes
- Gatland is narrow minded and too defensive to deal with a player like Care. Yet Gatland selected Nowell, JJ, Seymour, Hogg and Daly chin

Lets agree to disagree, keep up the good work Tighty, the sun is shining though! king
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by beshocked on Mon May 08, 2017 2:18 pm

BamBam wrote:Its funny how a lack of power, speed and strength has never stopped a certain poster touting a certain Saracens full back whose name rhymes with Balex Boode for the England team .. why should it prevent Laidlaw playing for the Lions Rolling Eyes

Bambam not been touting for Alex Goode to go on the Lions tour, not even saying he should go with England to Argentina, not playing well enough.

At least Alex Goode has actually beaten NZ..... laughing

As long as Laidlaw doesn't start against NZ or be on the bench I don't mind him being in the squad.

At least Alex Goode knows how to pass a rugby ball unlike Mike Brown.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Mon May 08, 2017 2:26 pm

Brown v Goode isn't really a debate(Brown is obviously superior) and certainly not one that should be on a Lions thread.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by beshocked on Mon May 08, 2017 2:36 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Brown v Goode isn't really a debate(Brown is obviously superior) and certainly not one that should be on a Lions thread.

You should take it up with Bambam then, he's the one who starting talking about Goode. I don't understand the relevance either personally.

I agree. If you want to praise Brown then doing it on a Lions thread isn't really relevant currently.

Hogg is clearly first choice 15 currently anyway.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by BamBam on Mon May 08, 2017 2:48 pm

Was more about the criteria of judging players depending on whether or not they play for your favourite club side rather than any particular player .. Goode just happened to be the perfect example Very Happy

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by 123456789 on Mon May 08, 2017 2:54 pm

First and foremost I read earlier a suggestion that Gavin Henson should be selected, that is something I am 100% on board with, there is a lack of players touring with experience of a Lions tour in New Zealand, Henson brings that. There is a lack of big personality on tour, Henson brings that. There is a lack of all year round tan going on tour (it's winter in New Zealand), Henson brings that. More so than anything else Gavin Henson has played for Saracens and Toulon, where have the last four champions cups gone? It's not a coincidence. Lastly and most importantly, the modern tour involves a considerable amount of aeroplanes; Gavin has sampled a variety of ways to behave on a plane and can pass on the knowledge to the younger players as to the right and wrong way.

Secondly the debate around Laidlaw with regard to the England one is a simple one for me, the second Wales beat Ireland the game became a de facto six nations decider, against Scotland's biggest rivals in a stadium they haven't won at since the late 1700s. The Scotland team was a relatively young and inexperienced one, certainly in terms of big international games. You can imagine the changing room was probably a mix of crippling nerves and over excitement, I was incredibly confident about the game until I saw the Scottish faces in the tunnel prior to the game. The second Fraser Brown tackled Eliot Daly it was game over as far as I'm concerned. We had Finn Russell throwing passes to a loosehead prop on our own line in the first 20 minutes. Now as far as I've read no one has suggested that Laidlaw would have produced a 2005 era Dan Carter esque performance in which he scored a hat-trick, seven penalties and occasionally outjumped Itoje in the lineout. However he, as the captain, and as an experienced played would undoubtedly have been a calming and authoritative influence on the side. On the other hand, Ali Price was another inexperienced player who likes to run from anywhere. I don't think that had Laidlaw played Scotland would have beaten England, the sad fact is that if England play their best and Scotland play their best then 9 times out of 10 England would win. But on the day the occasion got to Scotland and they produced comfortably their worst performance of the Vern Cotter era, whereas England produced their best performance of the tournament. The difference Laidlaw would have made would have been to slow down the frantic response, and get a collar on the game. Those are also the attributes he will bring to the Lions tour, he will not make mistakes, he's experienced, he's authoritative and he has a positive influence on those around him. I think, on playing ability alone, Care is a better player than Laidlaw, but then so were Cusiter and Blair and Laidlaw may end up with more caps than either of them.

In terms of the scenario based examples given above, you cannot plan an entire tour around what might happen in the 76th minute of the second test. If the Lions are ahead with 20 minutes to go I'd rather Laidlaw, if they were behind I'd take Care emphatically everyday of the week. Also if nothing else if by the end of the Lions tour English fans have stopped calling substitutes finishers then it will have been a success as far as I'm concerned, Eddie Jones has well and truly brainwashed all of you. They are substitutes or replacements, finishers sounds like something you tell the crap winger moaning about why he's been put on the bench at school boy level.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by miaow on Mon May 08, 2017 2:59 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
BigGee wrote:Most SHs look to be very different players when playing behind a dominant pack, which is something Laidlaw very rarely has the luxury of when he plays for Scotland. I think you may see a very different player than you expect out in NZ.

Laidlaw in the world of giant rugby player, plays with his brains and not his physique. He is often a player that makes others look good because he does the simple things very well and he sees things that others do not.

I am not expecting him to play in the test team either, but if he was called upon, he would do a lot better than he is being given credit for.

If another SH was to be called up, I would likely go for Ali Price over Care in any case, a younger, faster version with more potential.


Laidlaw is one of the most intelligent rugby players in the world. As captain for Glaws and Scotland he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the rules and regulations and as Cotter said himself he is a man who knows he is physically limited, but his intelligence and vision more than compensate.

For insatnce, I'd bet my rather large mortgage that Laidlaw wouldn't have stood about with that hilarious "what do I do now" face that Care had  when the Italians were standing past the offside line whilst executing their "volpe" strategy. He would have picked and gone or instructed his big Forwards to pick and go and thus nullifying the tactic.

He's a thinker and when our pack is under pressure in NZ, he is the guy I'd want at the back sorting it out as opposed to Care.

Spot on.

I can't quite believe the discussoin around Care vs Laidlaw. The real issue was Laidlaw vs Youngs, and the latter nipped in due to past experience, and then injury, but still it would have been a close call.

Danny Care is lingering some way behind Laidlaw and Youngs. He doesn't start Test matches, and hasn't for a while. When he did- against Italy- he looked poor, unable to think on his feet and adapt, or use his raw skills to create something. He's alongside Gareth Davies for me as someone who's an incredibly potent rugby player, but lacking game management. It's a 50:50 between those two who is 5th choice, and if proximity to NZ is part of it, Gareth Davies might go instead.

As it is, Laidlaw's fully deserving of his call up, albeit in really tragic circumstances. Absolutely puts things into perspective, very sad indeed, and puts something of a strange sensation on the tour as a whole, at this stage. Words can't really do it justice. Very sad, and an all too common sadness at that.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by propdavid_london on Mon May 08, 2017 3:22 pm

Care is currently in a bit of a form dip....really shouldn't be considered. (needs some time off to reset)
I suggested above that he may be the new 'stand-by' but I had forgotten about Gareth Davies.

I am actually disappointed that Care is on the England tour, let alone being talked about as a possible lions call up.
(I am a Harlequins supporter).

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by propdavid_london on Mon May 08, 2017 3:24 pm

Care also took a Rib tickler when playing Wasps 2wks ago - didn't play against Saints last week - so may also be an injury absentee anyway!

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by 123456789 on Mon May 08, 2017 3:28 pm

I did have a wee chuckle when I saw the Lions promo video they've just released. Greig Laidlaw's appearance is him telling someone he's "off to Clermont". Strikes me as the kind of guy who's chuffed to bits with himself for achieving a lucrative contract with a massive team and will tell anyone who'll listen. I've always had him in the kind of Roy Slater mould for some reason; I think it's because of his ability to say "BT Murrayfield" 10-15 times in an interview.

Is there any update on the Dan Biggar situation? If I were him I'd claim I was fit right up til the kit hand out and then get as far away from Finn Russell as possible, there's some very nice stash floating about this year.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by rodders on Mon May 08, 2017 3:34 pm

miaow wrote:
As it is, Laidlaw's fully deserving of his call up, albeit in really tragic circumstances. Absolutely puts things into perspective, very sad indeed, and puts something of a strange sensation on the tour as a whole, at this stage. Words can't really do it justice. Very sad, and an all too common sadness at that.

Well said, terrible news for the Youngs family.

I'm not a huge fan of Laidlaw as a player to be honest. I think he's a good goal kicker and a solid on field general but doesn't offer the same threat as Youngs with the ball in hand and his distribution can be a bit slow at times.

That said I think he's the kind of guy who will stand up as a leader in NZ so I know who I'd rather have between him and Care.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Taylorman on Mon May 08, 2017 3:57 pm

Yes terrible news for Young's. Lions are pretty strong at 9 and Murray, Care and Laidlaw represent a longstanding reliable trio that have all been around for several years at international level.

Theyre still ok at 9. For me it's the midfield and depth in the back three where they're weakest and that makes Barrett an ever bigger threat the way he's been toying with defences this year.

He finds a way through with regular monotony whether on the run, kick or pass with an uncanny ability to find the space needed to create try scoring opportunities.

If the Lions can't contain him, it'll be over quickly and so far none of our sides have managed to. Freak isn't a description I'd use easily but he's the nearest to it at the moment.

The wingers especially had better get used to getting NFL style passes coming their way off Barrett's boot as he's created so many tries that way this year he's clearly trying to perfect it for this series, and done well it's undefendable.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by 123456789 on Mon May 08, 2017 5:29 pm

Taylorman wrote:Yes terrible news for Young's. Lions are pretty strong at 9 and Murray, Care and Laidlaw represent a longstanding reliable trio that have all been around for several years at international level.

Theyre still ok at 9. For me it's the midfield and depth in the back three where they're weakest and that makes Barrett an ever bigger threat the way he's been toying with defences this year.

He finds a way through with regular monotony whether on the run, kick or pass with an uncanny ability to find the space needed to create try scoring opportunities.

If the Lions can't contain him, it'll be over quickly and so far none of our sides have managed to. Freak isn't a description I'd use easily but he's the nearest to it at the moment.

The wingers especially had better get used to getting NFL style passes coming their way off Barrett's boot as he's created so many tries that way this year he's clearly trying to perfect it for this series, and done well it's undefendable.

In terms of depth, I'd agree with you there but if you look at Farrell, Joseph and Henshaw I don't see the front runners as a point of weakness, certainly not defensively.

I can't say I've seen much of Barrett this year but we may see the Lions lining up with Halfpenny, Watson or Williams on the wing in order to counteract the aerial threat. All of whom are strong under the high ball and have extensive experience at full-back. It may work against Stuart Hogg's test chances mind you, his covering tackle is hit and miss (and that's putting it kindly) and if it is as effective as you say someone with Halfpenny's defensive ability may be more effective.

Out of interest, what would you say is the main weakness in the All Black's currently? I haven't seen much of the New Zealand players this season but I always felt that starting with Williams and Watson on the wings with Farrell and Sexton at 12 and 10 and playing a game based on retrievable kicks and a strong kick chase was the best chance of winning. Especially with the likes of Vunipola, Faletau and Stander to run onto the quick ball into a disorganised defence that those kicks tend to generate.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Taylorman on Mon May 08, 2017 5:51 pm

123456789 wrote:
Taylorman wrote:Yes terrible news for Young's. Lions are pretty strong at 9 and Murray, Care and Laidlaw represent a longstanding reliable trio that have all been around for several years at international level.

Theyre still ok at 9. For me it's the midfield and depth in the back three where they're weakest and that makes Barrett an ever bigger threat the way he's been toying with defences this year.

He finds a way through with regular monotony whether on the run, kick or pass with an uncanny ability to find the space needed to create try scoring opportunities.

If the Lions can't contain him, it'll be over quickly and so far none of our sides have managed to. Freak isn't a description I'd use easily but he's the nearest to it at the moment.

The wingers especially had better get used to getting NFL style passes coming their way off Barrett's boot as he's created so many tries that way this year he's clearly trying to perfect it for this series, and done well it's undefendable.

In terms of depth, I'd agree with you there but if you look at Farrell, Joseph and Henshaw I don't see the front runners as a point of weakness, certainly not defensively.

I can't say I've seen much of Barrett this year but we may see the Lions lining up with Halfpenny, Watson or Williams on the wing in order to counteract the aerial threat. All of whom are strong under the high ball and have extensive experience at full-back. It may work against Stuart Hogg's test chances mind you, his covering tackle is hit and miss (and that's putting it kindly) and if it is as effective as you say someone with Halfpenny's defensive ability may be more effective.

Out of interest, what would you say is the main weakness in the All Black's currently? I haven't seen much of the New Zealand players this season but I always felt that starting with Williams and Watson on the wings with Farrell and Sexton at 12 and 10 and playing a game based on retrievable kicks and a strong kick chase was the best chance of winning. Especially with the likes of Vunipola, Faletau and Stander to run onto the quick ball into a disorganised defence that those kicks tend to generate.

With Barrett it's not so much as being strong under the high ball as much as getting to it. He's reading defences so quickly he's putting the ball to where players aren't where his own know exactly where to be. They're taking the ball so often in space so are either scoring or handing the last pass. So by undefendable I mean at times it doesn't matter who is on defence, he's that good. Try watching any of the highlights of the last four Hurricanes matches where he, and his brother Jordie, are carving up sides, often on their own.

Weaknesses? If we have no injuries I don't think we have any but if it's anywhere I'd say the midfield. We haven't fully replaced Smith and Nonu in terms of consistency and leadership. Fekitoa is back to some good form but can still be a bit flaky in his decision making and timing. Lenart Brown is the incumbent and showing some good form, Crotty is solid and should be at 12. Laumape and Reiko Ioane might be the bolters there.

At 9 and 10 based on current form I don't think we have anyone within a mile of Barrett, Cruden, Smith and Perenara, where all four are back to their best...Perenaras playing so well he might push Smith out but both are playing as good as they ever have.

Same with the back three. Any of Smith, Dagg, Savea, Milner Skudder, Naholo and bolters might be Melani nainai from the Blues, very quick winger, or Jordie, Reiko.

But if the 'spine' of Coles, Retallick and Whitlock, Read, Smith or Perenara, and Ben Smith are all 100%, and three aren't yet, I don't think the Lions will win a test. That combined with the itinerary, and the unfamiliarity should be too many hurdles.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Taylorman on Mon May 08, 2017 6:01 pm

Re your kick chase option the key to that must be the chase because we've seen so many teams kick but not chase, or chase poorly.

If Farrell or Sexton think they're going to carve distances down the lines then they need to rethink that, as our guys will always run it back with interest, even if it goes out.

We know that in space we are at our best and the counter will be a key component, it always is against NH sides who tend to try and 'control' the ball. ABs will look to undo that as a routine rather than by chance, look for where the space is and exploit it. By doing that they keep the defences stretched, force the tight five to tire, make tackles so they're not up for the set pieces so much.

The back up to that is to play it tough up the middle,as they did in Dublin but they won't want to rely on that, it draws them to much into the Lions strengths, into too much contact, where space is really where the gains are.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by LondonTiger on Mon May 08, 2017 6:11 pm

Taylorman wrote:Weaknesses? If we have no injuries I don't think we have any but if it's anywhere I'd say the midfield.

How about goal kicking?

Not sure the Lions are capable of keeping it close for long enough, but if they could then perhaps what is by far the weakest aspect of Barrett's game could be a problem. Is there a back up kicker to take the pressure off him?

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Gwlad on Mon May 08, 2017 6:15 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
Taylorman wrote:Weaknesses? If we have no injuries I don't think we have any but if it's anywhere I'd say the midfield.

How about goal kicking?

Not sure the Lions are capable of keeping it close for long enough, but if they could then perhaps what is by far the weakest aspect of Barrett's game could be a problem. Is there a back up kicker to take the pressure off him?

of course the All Black's biggest weakness second to their scrum is that they think they have no weaknesses

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Taylorman on Mon May 08, 2017 7:32 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
Taylorman wrote:Weaknesses? If we have no injuries I don't think we have any but if it's anywhere I'd say the midfield.

How about goal kicking?

Not sure the Lions are capable of keeping it close for long enough, but if they could then perhaps what is by far the weakest aspect of Barrett's game could be a problem. Is there a back up kicker to take the pressure off him?

Yes goalkicking could be a weakness though I don't rate it as that important. If the ABs lose due to goalkicks then they have bigger problems than goalkicking.

And how much worse can it be?

Take a kicker like Sexton or Farrell who's at what? 80% average at best?

Barrett or Cruden at 60 or so. Which is poor but about what both are doing now.

Say they both get five penalty kicks each. Sexton gets four and Barrett gets three at 12 points versus nine. Three points is the diff over 80 minutes.

The relative difference is marginal compared to having 23 players playing to a gameplan based on the scoring of tries over much larger time slices than either set pieces or goalkick utilises.

So yes, a relative weakness, but not one we've not been used to for a long time. The only loss in the last two years was not due to goalkicks.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Taylorman on Mon May 08, 2017 7:34 pm

Gwlad wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:
Taylorman wrote:Weaknesses? If we have no injuries I don't think we have any but if it's anywhere I'd say the midfield.

How about goal kicking?

Not sure the Lions are capable of keeping it close for long enough, but if they could then perhaps what is by far the weakest aspect of Barrett's game could be a problem. Is there a back up kicker to take the pressure off him?

of course the All Black's biggest weakness second to their scrum is that they think they have no weaknesses

Yes another empty comment. Show me when our scrum was 'weak'. We'll be fine at scrum time and I'm betting between seventy and eighty minutes it's the Lions scrum that will be weaker.

And yes complacency is a factor. It happens with sides that win a lot. Now and then they get caught out. Chicago was one. They approached and selected poorly for it.

But that won't happen in these tests. If they have no significant injuries and lose a test then that won't be due to complacency, it will be because the Lions were the better team.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Scottrf on Mon May 08, 2017 7:48 pm

Or food poisoning.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Gwlad on Mon May 08, 2017 7:56 pm

Taylorman wrote:
Gwlad wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:
Taylorman wrote:Weaknesses? If we have no injuries I don't think we have any but if it's anywhere I'd say the midfield.

How about goal kicking?

Not sure the Lions are capable of keeping it close for long enough, but if they could then perhaps what is by far the weakest aspect of Barrett's game could be a problem. Is there a back up kicker to take the pressure off him?

of course the All Black's biggest weakness second to their scrum is that they think they have no weaknesses

Yes another empty comment. Show me when our scrum was 'weak'. We'll be fine at scrum time and I'm betting between seventy and eighty minutes it's the Lions scrum that will be weaker.

And yes complacency is a factor. It happens with sides that win a lot. Now and then they get caught out. Chicago was one. They approached and selected poorly for it.

But that won't happen in these tests. If they have no significant injuries and lose a test then that won't be due to complacency, it will be because the Lions were the better team.

more contradiction

if complacency is an issue (of that there is no doubt) then its not another empty comment is it

so.....in no particular order NZ weaknesses are

food poisoning
lack of Rispict
opposition not understanding cultural significance of the haka Rolling Eyes
no understanding of refereeing ( NZ doesn't think having international refs is important)
still not enough Rispict
Scrummaging
Goal kicking

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Cyril on Mon May 08, 2017 8:01 pm

Gwlad, give it a rest. This is pitiful and just painful to read now.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by miaow on Mon May 08, 2017 9:20 pm

I think it's interesting that once we start actually considering the All Blacks and their threats, it becomes a lot more sensible to select the likes of Leigh Halfpenny. For me, he's marginally the front runner for the Test 15 shirt at the moment, for the two reasons mentioned above: open play defence, and goalkicking.

Halfpenny is the best defensive 15 in the world for me, his positioning is astonishingly good. Both Liam Williams and Hogg are some way behind in this regard. Add in a decent ability and extreme dedication to both the high ball and last ditch tackles, and you've got a fine player.

However, when you add in his goalkicking, it becomes the difference between winning a Test series and losing one. Yes, NZ will score a try. Maybe two tries. But the Lions have to try and stop them scoring freely, and that's why the team will be built on defensive solidity first and foremost. In terms of cultivating scores of their own, the difference between a 90% goalkicker and a 60% goalkicker can become a lot more than 3 points, particularly if you are 'savvier' at 'winning' kickable penalties (that remains to be seen if that's the case, of course, for the Lions). The Lions will probably have few conversion attempts than NZ over the 3 tests, but I'd be surprised if they had fewer shots at 3 points.

If it's a wet and windy second test in Wellington, then as good as Barrett is, and can be, his goalkicking is a massive weakness. He is such an integral figure that- if his overall performance is in any way shaken by missing kicks at goal, or being ineffective elsewhere- the fact he's your outside half is a worry. It's a worry, but not devastating, as obviously Smith is an incredible leader too at 9, as is Perenara, and can take the pressure off to some extent. Likewise in the forwards. But I do think that, if the All Blacks find themselves in a situation that plays into the Lions hands in terms of low scoring, stop-start rugby, Leigh Halfpenny's value sky rockets. Not only can/does he stop try scoring chances that Hogg and Williams don't, but his goalkicking is so good that he can win them the game, too.

Halfpenny needs to prove himself of course, and offer something in attack, and I thought he did that this Six Nations better than he had for a while, particularly against France, where he also kicked 6 from 6 at goal. But at this stage, he's my 15, and Hogg's 23, as someone to bring on in the 3/4s if he's needed. He's got a good long boot and obviously excellent jinking skills, but I don't think his deficiencies relative to Halfpenny merit him starting over him if Halfpenny performs in the warm ups. If Halfpenny doesn't, of course, then he may not even make the 23.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Taylorman on Mon May 08, 2017 9:32 pm

Gwlad wrote:
Taylorman wrote:
Gwlad wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:
Taylorman wrote:Weaknesses? If we have no injuries I don't think we have any but if it's anywhere I'd say the midfield.

How about goal kicking?

Not sure the Lions are capable of keeping it close for long enough, but if they could then perhaps what is by far the weakest aspect of Barrett's game could be a problem. Is there a back up kicker to take the pressure off him?

of course the All Black's biggest weakness second to their scrum is that they think they have no weaknesses

Yes another empty comment. Show me when our scrum was 'weak'. We'll be fine at scrum time and I'm betting between seventy and eighty minutes it's the Lions scrum that will be weaker.

And yes complacency is a factor. It happens with sides that win a lot. Now and then they get caught out. Chicago was one. They approached and selected poorly for it.

But that won't happen in these tests. If they have no significant injuries and lose a test then that won't be due to complacency, it will be because the Lions were the better team.

more contradiction

if complacency is an issue (of that there is no doubt) then its not another empty comment is it

so.....in no particular order NZ weaknesses are

food poisoning
lack of Rispict
opposition not understanding cultural significance of the haka Rolling Eyes
no understanding of refereeing ( NZ doesn't think having international refs is important)
still not enough Rispict
Scrummaging
Goal kicking

I meant empty comment re the scrums. It's something you appear to be borrowing of someone else's comments rather than providing actual analysis or evidence as to why the ABs have a weak scrum. They don't.

The rest is just your usual diatribe. Lack of respect? No. If anything I'd say the ABs have too much respect. They're pumped for this and I think the reason our Super sides are performing so much better this year is not only because of the poorer foreign sides but also because of the fact that they all want a piece of the Lions.

It's big for them as players, it's huge for their careers.

I think you're mistaking that for me or some kiwi fans lacking respect, and that's fine. I say it as I see it, and if the ABs lose a test, the series or every match then I'll take my medicine, I'm big enough. But that's nothing compared to having the ABs lose, they'll take it harder than I will.

I'm just not one of those that doesn't predict something for fear of being called out. Doesn't worry me.

I'm confident, and both past and particularly recent history are the main reasons why.


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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by 123456789 on Mon May 08, 2017 9:32 pm

Taylorman wrote:
123456789 wrote:
Taylorman wrote:Yes terrible news for Young's. Lions are pretty strong at 9 and Murray, Care and Laidlaw represent a longstanding reliable trio that have all been around for several years at international level.

Theyre still ok at 9. For me it's the midfield and depth in the back three where they're weakest and that makes Barrett an ever bigger threat the way he's been toying with defences this year.

He finds a way through with regular monotony whether on the run, kick or pass with an uncanny ability to find the space needed to create try scoring opportunities.

If the Lions can't contain him, it'll be over quickly and so far none of our sides have managed to. Freak isn't a description I'd use easily but he's the nearest to it at the moment.

The wingers especially had better get used to getting NFL style passes coming their way off Barrett's boot as he's created so many tries that way this year he's clearly trying to perfect it for this series, and done well it's undefendable.

In terms of depth, I'd agree with you there but if you look at Farrell, Joseph and Henshaw I don't see the front runners as a point of weakness, certainly not defensively.

I can't say I've seen much of Barrett this year but we may see the Lions lining up with Halfpenny, Watson or Williams on the wing in order to counteract the aerial threat. All of whom are strong under the high ball and have extensive experience at full-back. It may work against Stuart Hogg's test chances mind you, his covering tackle is hit and miss (and that's putting it kindly) and if it is as effective as you say someone with Halfpenny's defensive ability may be more effective.

Out of interest, what would you say is the main weakness in the All Black's currently? I haven't seen much of the New Zealand players this season but I always felt that starting with Williams and Watson on the wings with Farrell and Sexton at 12 and 10 and playing a game based on retrievable kicks and a strong kick chase was the best chance of winning. Especially with the likes of Vunipola, Faletau and Stander to run onto the quick ball into a disorganised defence that those kicks tend to generate.

With Barrett it's not so much as being strong under the high ball as much as getting to it. He's reading defences so quickly he's putting the ball to where players aren't where his own know exactly where to be. They're taking the ball so often in space so are either scoring or handing the last pass. So by undefendable I mean at times it doesn't matter who is on defence, he's that good. Try watching any of the highlights of the last four Hurricanes matches where he, and his brother Jordie, are carving up sides, often on their own.

Weaknesses? If we have no injuries I don't think we have any but if it's anywhere I'd say the midfield. We haven't fully replaced Smith and Nonu in terms of consistency and leadership. Fekitoa is back to some good form but can still be a bit flaky in his decision making and timing. Lenart Brown is the incumbent and showing some good form, Crotty is solid and should be at 12. Laumape and Reiko Ioane might be the bolters there.

At 9 and 10 based on current form I don't think we have anyone within a mile of Barrett, Cruden, Smith and Perenara, where all four are back to their best...Perenaras playing so well he might push Smith out but both are playing as good as they ever have.

Same with the back three. Any of Smith, Dagg, Savea, Milner Skudder, Naholo and bolters might be Melani nainai from the Blues, very quick winger, or Jordie, Reiko.

But if the 'spine' of Coles, Retallick and Whitlock, Read, Smith or Perenara, and Ben Smith are all 100%, and three aren't yet, I don't think the Lions will win a test. That combined with the itinerary, and the unfamiliarity should be too many hurdles.

I do think in general Northern hemisphere defences are stronger than Super Rugby defences and the Lions defence will be stronger than any in Super Rugby. That's not me putting Super Rugby down by the way, it's the most entertaining rugby in the world but the truth is that Super Rugby defences will not be up to the same standards the Lions will be. On the other hand two moments of magic from Barrett and it changes the entire course of the game. One possibility I thought of recently is that if the Lions play to their full potential this could be Barrett's biggest test so far as an international 10, certainly since 2015 neither South Africa or Australia have been as good as they traditionally are. If, and it's a big if, the Lions click Barrett may find himself targeted in a way that has not happened before. Of course he may rise above the targeting and produce a performance reminiscent of Carter 12 years ago and in that case the Lions will be able to do little else than accept they've been beaten by a better team.

However I do think that this New Zealand team is not as good as it seems; rather the standard of rugby in Australia and South Africa has been as poor as I can remember. In relative terms (and I cannot stress how important "relative" is in this sentence) this group of New Zealanders has had it easy. One thing that sticks out in my head is an assertion that when New Zealand played France in the late 2000s, they had two modes, one the New Zealanders loved playing against and one that they really struggled with. I think McCaw called it Toulouse and Biarritz, Biarritz, if I remember correctly was quite a stodgy defensive effort and McCaw seemed to hate it. Similarly South Africa had their most success with a strong kicking game and a brilliant chase. We know from games New Zealand have played against Northern Hemisphere teams that they will make mistakes, Scotland score early intercept tries the last two times we played the All Blacks, England famously won a game reasonably convincingly by pouncing on mistakes. I think the Lions will set up to frustrate, I think they'll smash the breakdown by the looks of things and defend as stoically as possible and hope for moments of magic from the likes of Hogg and wait for New Zealand to make mistakes.


In response to Miaow I think Hogg will start the first test but Halfpenny will be hot on his heels, I think whilst defensively Halfpenny is ahead of Hogg and Williams, his attack is significantly worse than theirs. His goalkicking is very good but Sexton's goalkicking is significantly better than it was 4 years ago, furthermore Farrell and Laidlaw are both very good goalkickers who can be shoehorned in if necessary. Hogg is also very good from distance. Put simply with the number of top class goalkickers on this tour a specialist goalkicker in the style of Halfpenny 4 years ago or Jenkins in 1997 is probably not necessary.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Taylorman on Mon May 08, 2017 9:41 pm

miaow wrote:I think it's interesting that once we start actually considering the All Blacks and their threats, it becomes a lot more sensible to select the likes of Leigh Halfpenny. For me, he's marginally the front runner for the Test 15 shirt at the moment, for the two reasons mentioned above: open play defence, and goalkicking.

Halfpenny is the best defensive 15 in the world for me, his positioning is astonishingly good. Both Liam Williams and Hogg are some way behind in this regard. Add in a decent ability and extreme dedication to both the high ball and last ditch tackles, and you've got a fine player.

However, when you add in his goalkicking, it becomes the difference between winning a Test series and losing one. Yes, NZ will score a try. Maybe two tries. But the Lions have to try and stop them scoring freely, and that's why the team will be built on defensive solidity first and foremost. In terms of cultivating scores of their own, the difference between a 90% goalkicker and a 60% goalkicker can become a lot more than 3 points, particularly if you are 'savvier' at 'winning' kickable penalties (that remains to be seen if that's the case, of course, for the Lions). The Lions will probably have few conversion attempts than NZ over the 3 tests, but I'd be surprised if they had fewer shots at 3 points.

If it's a wet and windy second test in Wellington, then as good as Barrett is, and can be, his goalkicking is a massive weakness. He is such an integral figure that- if his overall performance is in any way shaken by missing kicks at goal, or being ineffective elsewhere- the fact he's your outside half is a worry. It's a worry, but not devastating, as obviously Smith is an incredible leader too at 9, as is Perenara, and can take the pressure off to some extent. Likewise in the forwards. But I do think that, if the All Blacks find themselves in a situation that plays into the Lions hands in terms of low scoring, stop-start rugby, Leigh Halfpenny's value sky rockets. Not only can/does he stop try scoring chances that Hogg and Williams don't, but his goalkicking is so good that he can win them the game, too.

Halfpenny needs to prove himself of course, and offer something in attack, and I thought he did that this Six Nations better than he had for a while, particularly against France, where he also kicked 6 from 6 at goal. But at this stage, he's my 15, and Hogg's 23, as someone to bring on in the 3/4s if he's needed. He's got a good long boot and obviously excellent jinking skills, but I don't think his deficiencies relative to Halfpenny merit him starting over him if Halfpenny performs in the warm ups. If Halfpenny doesn't, of course, then he may not even make the 23.

Absolutely agree with that and said earlier Halfpenny should be there with Williams on the wing. Halfpenny was at one time the best defensive Fullback around having not missed a tackle for several seasons. And yes he's defensively astute, however he's not come up against anything like Barrett so that will be a test.

I would have him there and it plays into Gatlands hands if he wants to go to a forward based kicking game. Halfpennys biggest problem is he doesn't attack nearly enough as he should. He's very good at it but sometimes abandons that side of things altogether.

That's the dilemma. Gatland has to choose between attacking the ABs, as Ireland did, in which case Halfpenny won't get near the test side, and play Hogg, Teo, Watson, Sexton etc, or defend them...Halfpenny at Fullback, Farrell at 10, Davies in the midfield etc.

That's what I would purely because I think it's their best chance of winning, but it's a big call. It appears Gats has two choices...full out attack, or ten man rugby to the core.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon May 08, 2017 9:46 pm

To beat the all blacks, you need to score 30+ points. England did that when they beat them a few years ago and Ireland in the autumn. Do you really want to leave out arguably your best attacking weapon to have a steady defender?

Hogg is not a bad defender either. His tackle completion rate is pretty high, although not as high as Halfpenny, however he isn't this saloon door that people suggest.

Halfpenny had a bit of a stormer at the weekend and appears to be peaking at the right time, but hogg was terrific against Edinburgh . It is a good dilemma to have and both are great players, sadly Smith is a bit of a distance better than all of our options.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by miaow on Mon May 08, 2017 10:20 pm

123456789 wrote:
In response to Miaow I think Hogg will start the first test but Halfpenny will be hot on his heels, I think whilst defensively Halfpenny is ahead of Hogg and Williams, his attack is significantly worse than theirs. His goalkicking is very good but Sexton's goalkicking is significantly better than it was 4 years ago, furthermore Farrell and Laidlaw are both very good goalkickers who can be shoehorned in if necessary. Hogg is also very good from distance. Put simply with the number of top class goalkickers on this tour a specialist goalkicker in the style of Halfpenny 4 years ago or Jenkins in 1997 is probably not necessary.

That's all fine, but it reminds me of the England dilemma a few years ago. It's all well and good having 4-5 similarly good players in one position (or in this case, in one skill area). But you can't pick them all at once.

The Lions will have on frontline goalkicker, and then probably at least another on the pitch at all times who is world class in their own right.

Wales have Dan Biggar, possibly the second best goalkicker in the NH behind Halfpenny. But he hasn't taken the kicks at goal since Halfpenny has returned to the side. His value, in that sense, is not being used. It's great to have him as a back up, and as someone who can score drop goals. But for the Lions, if Halfpenny is better- even marginally so- than Farrell and Sexton (which, when all players are at their best, he is), then his inclusion is worth it.

The Lions have to make those calls, in terms of how to make the distinction between the options they have. And in almost every sense, those options are so tight, it's a very difficult job all the coaching/selection team have, it could go many different ways. That's why form in the warm ups may well play a big part. If Halfpenny has a few off games with the boot in particular, he'll probably miss out. However, there's also the benefit of taking the pressure off either Sexton or Farrell- both of who will be targeted mercilessly, as the Lions will try to negate Barrett's strengths. In the same way goalkicking could affect Barrett's direction of his team, the same could happen to either 10 for the Lions. There's so many pros and cons there's no 'wrong' answer, or perhaps there's no 'right' answer, depends on perspective.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon May 08, 2017 10:33 pm

The Hogg/Halfpenny debate will rumble on no doubt, it's just a question of what you want from your full back. I personally would like to see a back line of:

Murray, Sexton, North, Farrell, JJ, Williams and Hogg with a carte blanche to attack. However I have a feeling that Gatland will play conservatively. I do feel that the midweek fixtures will have a huge impact on the test matches themselves.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Cyril on Mon May 08, 2017 10:42 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:I personally would like to see a back line of:

Murray, Sexton, North, Farrell, JJ, Williams and Hogg with a carte blanche to attack.
I'd like to see that, but as you say, Gatland will likely be very conservative.

Would like to see a 9/10 of Webb/Farrell mid-week as another option.

Re. Halfpenny. He's a fine, dependable player, but I'm not sure we should be picking a full-back on place-kicking and defence when we've got other equally-good kickers and Hogg and Williams offer much more going forward. Again, it's more likely Gats will go defence first.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Gwlad on Mon May 08, 2017 10:46 pm

All of you predicting conservative defense would never have bet on Gatland dropping BOD.

If we have the right tight 5 then picking a defensive 15 is pointless, he'll pick Hogg IF Hogg shows he can translate his potency in the run up games, if not he'll go belt and braces with a known quantity who, quite often, assists tries.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by miaow on Mon May 08, 2017 10:58 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:To beat the all blacks, you need to score 30+ points.

Yes and no. I think the Lions is strange in that you're better comparing it to a World Cup than you are to Autumn Internationals, which are friendlies after all. The Lions will absolutely have to score more than 15 points to win the game, but look at some of NZ's competitive victories in the latter stages of World Cups (20-18 vs SA in '15, 20-6 vs Aus in '11, 8-7 vs France in '11) and I think you get a better picture.

Yes, they have the capability of cutting loose and scoring 40+ points. That may well happen, irrespective of anything the Lions do, because they're that good, and they're at home. However, I don't really like the mode of thought can accepts they're going to score X number of points. It's almost defeatist, accepting a certain concession before a ball has been kicked. In understand why coaches do it for players- it demystifies the game as one overwhelming 80 minute task, in compartmentalising the game, and setting targets within targets etc- but I also can't help but feel the psychology is perhaps one of allowing your oppoenents and edge. You're expecting them score X number of points, even if only subliminally. The Lions have to go in with an ethos of giving them nothing. Not a scrap. Make them work for every single point. Don't accept they will score a try, even if they probably will. You have to be reasonable- i.e. don't expect to win the game through 3 pointers alone- but I don't think 30 points is the right margin to say "we have to score at least this to win". I'd cut that number in half.

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:Do you really want to leave out arguably your best attacking weapon to have a steady defender?

I disagree with this logic. Not only would I contest that, atlhough very good, Hogg isn't necessarily the best open play attacker the Lions have, but I'd also say that's a simple binary that misses the key part of winning rugby games: scoring points. In that sense, Halfpenny is exceptional in a an attacking sense, able to convert almost impossible scoring positions into points with a regularity that is pretty much unmatched in the world.

On top of that, scoring points is only as good as your ability to keep them out. Whilst this too is a sort of oversimplification of the two players' abilities, Hogg is a fair bit off Halfpenny's level as a defender- not just as a tackler- and that has to be taken into account.

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:Hogg is not a bad defender either. His tackle completion rate is pretty high, although not as high as Halfpenny, however he isn't this saloon door that people suggest.


Yeah, I agree. I'd say his biggest defensive weakness, much like Liam Williams, is due to his positioning. Both players are liabilities when the ball gets turned over, as their first instinct is to go wondering in attack. This makes them very good attacking players, but of course, they're often then having to race back into position to cover a turnover attack, and often miss a tackle because of running at pace/left in a poor position that Halfpenny almost never is at 15. In fact, I'd scratch the almost, I genuinely don't think I've ever seen such a scenario with him.

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:Halfpenny had a bit of a stormer at the weekend and appears to be peaking at the right time, but hogg was terrific against Edinburgh . It is a good dilemma to have and both are great players, sadly Smith is a bit of a distance better than all of our options.

Good to hear both players are in good form. Whoever makes it, I hope it's the case of being a marginal call based on two players pushing each other, rather than a race to the bottom.

Had Halfpenny not kicked 6 from 6 against France, I wouldn't expect him to make the team, as his kicking hadn't been the same since his return from injury. But that was a reminder of just how important he can be, and how truly sublime his goalkicking is.

You may think I'm coming off as overly critical of Hogg, and I don't mean to be, but I do think there's an aura around him that- through no fault of his own- isn't entirely accurate or fair. I'm happy to discuss that if you like? He's a very good player, but he'd be #23 for me, to come off the bench if and when the Lions need him.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by miaow on Mon May 08, 2017 11:01 pm

Cyril wrote:Re. Halfpenny. He's a fine, dependable player, but I'm not sure we should be picking a full-back on place-kicking and defence when we've got other equally-good kickers and Hogg and Williams offer much more going forward. Again, it's more likely Gats will go defence first.

In understand the logic, but I don't think the text in bold is true.

I also think it's a good think to build on defence first, to be honest, considering the nature of the Lions and the almighty task in front of them. You need a foundation on which to build an 'attack'/the less basic aspects of your team on the field. That's the forwards, the set piece, the breakdown, and the defence.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Rory_Gallagher on Mon May 08, 2017 11:18 pm


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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Cyril on Mon May 08, 2017 11:21 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:Brown really is as moany as he looks:

http://www.the42.ie/warren-gatland-mike-brown-lions-3379608-May2017/
as moany as BOD?

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by 123456789 on Mon May 08, 2017 11:22 pm

I imagine Hogg is in the bracket of players nearly nailed on for the first test but also in danger if the game doesn't go well. If Hogg misses one or two tackles and doesn't show his potency in attack his worth diminishes rapidly.

I think Gatland will go with an ambitious first test side and if it does not go to plan I expect to see a wholesale reversion to stalwarts of the Welsh and 2013 side.

In terms of an analysis of the two players; in the last two years Stuart Hogg has played 10 Six Nations games and scored 5 tries, in all games he has scored 7 in 15. So over the last two seasons of international rugby he has been hitting a strike rate of just under 1 try every 2 games.

Halfpenny missed a season so I've included the season before that to make the sample fairer, but he has not scored a try in his last 10 Six Nations games, furthermore in his last two international seasons he has played 16 games and scored 0 tries. Now in fairness Wales have played more difficult games than Scotland but only 2 of Hogg's tries have come against non tier 1 opposition, in the time period none of them have come against Italy. Conversely if you look at their entire international career it is true that Hogg has played 8 games against the traditional big three and has not scored a try, Halfpenny has played 23 and scored 1. If you throw England, Ireland and Argentina into the mix Halfpenny has scored 2 in 21, Hogg has scored 6 in 15 matches. So there's no doubt that Halfpenny has played more games against top class opposition and therefore would be expected to score fewer but still he only has a marginally better record against the best in the world by dint of a try scored years previously and a much inferior record against arguably the next tier down.

Whilst I understand there is more to attacking than simply scoring tries, the stats show that Hogg is a far more potent attacking threat than Halfpenny. As a result any decision to select Halfpenny over Hogg must surely be considered a conservative one based on Hogg's perceived defensive weakness. It pretty much comes down for me to a question of whether Hogg will score you more than he will cost you because statistically Halfpenny is at best neutral in comparison.

In terms of goalkicking Farrell and Sexton are more than able international goalkickers, I read an argument earlier about Barrett in which it was quite correctly pointed out that should Barrett have a 60% goalkicking rate and the Lions kicker an 80% then in reality it will only make 3-6 points difference over the course of the game, Farrell, Sexton, Biggar and even, if need be, Laidlaw are all far better than 60% kickers. Of course that is a rudimentary argument that fails to take the nuances of rugby into account but over the last 5 years results have shown that if New Zealand are within 3-6 points of the opposition with 10-20 minutes to go they tend to win. What I would say is that Halfpenny is by no means whatsoever a bad rugby player and there are certainly arguments that his defensive play is so much better than Hogg's that he could start ahead of him however it is my view that not only is his goalkicking not superior enough to warrant selection on that alone, but that if the Lions are to win against New Zealand they need to score tries and Hogg, over the last two seasons, has been far more likely to do so.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

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