British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

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British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by munkian on Thu 20 Apr 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 Hammersmith harrier on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:09 am

Halfpenny won't be selected ahead of Hogg on merit in the slightest, if you want to set up a team to lose and have no chance of winning then go ahead. Picking Williams ahead of Nowell would seem contradictory to the reasoning of picking 1/2P, it's just trying to force more Welsh players into the team when they don't deserve to be especially when they got trounced three times by the ABs.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by beshocked on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:10 am

To be fair to Brown it sounded like Gatland didn't give Brown feedback.

Feedback is important to improving. Now personally I'd say it's obvious - Brown's form hasn't been good enough for England in the last two years. Doesn't pass the ball enough, not making as many line breaks as he was and too often doesn't see opportunities.

Well behind Hogg and Williams currently.

Halfpenny shouldn't be in the Lions 23, should be okay as a mid weeker goal kicker though.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by robbo277 on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:15 am

Barney McGrew did it wrote:You hear what you wanna hear I guess. Everything I’ve heard MB say describes exactly how I’d expect him to feel (and say, if questioned). He’s a disappointed guy who’s basically said he’s disappointed - because he believed he had a decent shout. I don’t get this desire for the bland ‘role model’ stuff, it's just disingenuous – I want a rugby player to be feisty on the pitch and just honest off it.

Agreed. He could have censored himself as Risky suggests in the below quoted post to give a more professional interview, but I don't know why we'd want players "saying the right thing". It becomes boring and as you say bland. I'd much rather read a player honestly expressing how he feels, without worrying about the media adding sensationalist headlines.

R!skysports wrote:“I didn’t take it well. I was gutted. I feel I’ve played really well from 2015 onwards so it was really disappointing to get the call, but you can’t let one man’s decision define you.

I think that bit is where he goes too far.

“It’s really disappointing for guys like myself, James Haskell and Dylan Hartley because we probably won’t get another opportunity. I’ve had no feedback about being on standby either, which is also disappointing, so I’m not going to keep up false hopes.



most others would have said something like......but I will continue to focus on playing as well as I can and will be available if needed.



headline a bit ott, but it does come across as a bit petulant....IMO

See Launchbury lack of headlines as an example

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by miaow on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:17 am

Pete C (Kiwireddevil) wrote:
miaow wrote:
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.

I'd approach it as saying Halfpenny might be worth an extra 3-5 points a game in terms of landed goal kicks over Farrell/Sexton. So if Hogg can set up/score 1 try a game that Halfpenny couldn't then he's worth the start.

Possibly, although I think it's tricky trying to quantify something in such unscientific terms (no offence). I would say, though, as a counter to that, that Halfpenny can 'save'/stop points being scored far, far more effectively than Hogg could at 15. The net result, again, isn't just in points scored, but rather it's a more varied thing, and extends beyond just stopping or scoring points (things like kick returns, the fatigue/rest that affords the pack etc., it's all connected/important- and what coaches get paid to get right).

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Taylorman on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:20 am

miaow wrote:
Taylorman wrote:Good points, I wouldnt agree with this though:

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.


We've got and had many better attackers from Fullback than Halfpenny, Ben Smith is one of them. Trouble with Halfpenny is he rarely does attack. He can, and hes very good at it, but doesnt. Smith takes every single scrap of opportunity to attack so it's not just about ability its as much about opportinuty and taking your chances.

Many a test Ive watch Halfpenny just stay at the back and never get involved much at all.

But in saying that I think he'll go for Halfpenny as well. As good as the team may appear they dont have enough attacking qualities to take the game to the AB's, in NZ.

Its very rare NH teams come here and win with all out attack as their gameplan. In 03 England definitely went 10 man and only France has won since then- they have won attacking the Abs several times- Ive yet to see a Home unions or Lions side do it- even the 71 Lions tied the game up in the forwards for most of it.

Halfpenny for me, partially because he's Welsh as well, and is familiar to Gatland.

Williams may have defensive frailties but he's the best NH back to consistently perform against the AB's and after last years tour- where he stood out as the best player, hes a certainty in a Gats side, with good reason.

Good points though Miaow thumbsup

Thanks Taylor.

It's worth me just clarifying that when I say attacking in this sense, I mean scoring points. Of course Halfpenny isn't an attacking full back in that sense, but it's just a kind of reductive way of painting two players in a binary- Halfpenny defensive, Hogg attacking- that misses the point. How is scoring points from the boot in incredibly difficult positions not attacking? I think it's a flaw we as fans slip in to sometimes, missing the 'net result' in order to construct our own narratives to understand/stereotype players.

I also agree about Liam Williams. It becomes a bit tricky when people are so invested in the various national contributions towards the Lions, but I think he's actually a better player than Hogg. One thing I find interesting about sport in general is how players have their 'levels'- you can have one player who is absolutely dominant at a certain level of the game, and yet one rung up, and they lose almost all their effectiveness. Generally speaking, I find that interesting. However, Liam Williams for me is world class- one of the few Welsh players who is- because, as you say, he consistently plays well at the highest level: against the All Blacks.

One of my issues, I suppose, with Hogg is that I'm just not quite sure about him yet at this level, which is perfectly natural, and the question will apply to most players on tour. What makes him effective for Scotland will have far less space, far less opportunity, and be far less effective when playing the ABs in a Lions shirt. Likewise, his deficiencies will be amplified. I'll reiterate, this is true for all players, but this is partly why you start with solidity first and foremost in more positions, because if your 'attacking' (contradicting what I said earlier, but just to make things easier) players don't perform/aren't able to perform, then you're left with someone who isn't as effective at the 'basics' as someone who you've decided to leave on the bench/out of the 23.

I hope he does perform, and step up to the level, because quite clearly he's got talent. But in some ways, we'll never know until the Test matches. As I've said with Joseph and the 13 position, Hogg is damned somewhat in that he's in a very specific defensive position, and one where there are certain positional and disciplinary expectations that flair alone cannot compensate, particularly in a 'Gatlandball' team. It's much more likely that flair will be 'accepted' on the wing, than it is at 15. Looking at the back 3 as a whole, for me, North is nearly nailed on, as the Lions don't have anyone similar. If he's injured or not playing well, then Seymour or Watson comes on to the right wing. For the left wing, I think this is where they'll look to have someone with a bit of trickery. That means Liam Williams, Jack Nowell, and Watson again are in consideration. Zebo's a midweek player at best, I think. Nowell could surprise people, he's a very awkward player to come up against. As for those other two- and Seymour in fact- they're all excellent under the high ball, something you mentioned Barrett (and the All Blacks generally to be honest) use effectively. Out of those three, on the left wing I think Nowell could make it, as could Watson, but I think Liam Williams is the pick there.

Which, of course, leaves 15, and I think- much to the annoyance of 606v2 and just about everyone who isn't Welsh- I can see a Welsh back 3 being selected quite easily, and on merit.

Yes I would have Williams at fullback if I had to select it. His running lines, timing onto the ball at pace are top notch and from Fullback he gets more chance to attack. Don't thin Gats will put him there but he will definitely play in the back three.

So you're right, HP, Williams and North. I think that's the best three. I know Hogg is rated, I've just seen too many misfires from prior to the last 12 months. But I don't know where he rates with Gatland.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:23 am

Halfpenny should be well down the pecking order, in fact he shouldn't really be even touring. He's nothing more than a safe pair of hands and not even that lately with the number of balls he keeps dropping.

Hogg and Williams are streets ahead in everything but arguably defence and I don't even think Halfpenny is that much stronger.

11. North
15. Hogg
14. Williams/Watson/Nowell

Has to be....

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by GunsGermsV2 on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:23 am

Hogg is so far ahead of Halfpenny it isnt funny. 1/2p isnt all of a sudden a bad player but he is lacking in confidence and his form has not been good. There are better players around now.

If I was to pick one player who doesnt deserve to be a Lion this time around it would be him. However, Gatland is Wales coach and is entitled to pick some players that he is familiar with however, I doubt 1/2p would have been selected if the coach was a neutral.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by miaow on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:24 am

robbo277 wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:Brown really is as moany as he looks:

http://www.the42.ie/warren-gatland-mike-brown-lions-3379608-May2017/

Is it moany? To give Brown the right of reply: https://twitter.com/mikebrown_15/status/861535813078843397

All he said was he was disappointed not to be picked, doubly so as he won't get another shot, which is understandable. The initial sentiment, that he "slammed" Gatland, was blown out of proportion by headline writers.

He gave an honest interview about how he felt about missing out, it got blown up and then journalists pressed Gatland on it. Both were fairly measured in my opinion.

As I mentioned earlier, he's been around long enough to know not to give the media anything they can use to twist. If he were simply saying "yes, disappointed not to make it...", then, yes, fine, it's honest which is good, although it does jar against the socially accepted point of view which is very much "don't mention the Lions/war"- i.e. don't admit to your own personal ambition. However, by bringing up the fact he was 'disappointed' he wasn't called up and talked to as a replacement is a stupid thing to say; it's questioning the methodology of the coaches, and comes across as critical, even if only implicitly. That's enough justification for the media to then make a narrative out of it, as he's hiding his criticism of the Lions/Gatland under a disguised phrase. You would expect most rugby players nowadays to have the wherewithal to not air their grievances in public, particularly when it's only going to come back and hurt them. He should know how the media works. And, ultimately, he should have known- in that moment of admitting to his frustration- that however 'good' it felt to tell that journalist about his own personal disappointment, that if he couldn't keep it within the realms of disappointment alone (which he didn't), then he shouldn't be talking to the media, because- as we've seen on the field- he's not great at controlling his emotions.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:26 am

Has he been carded for England yet? I don't brown is risking anything by airing his views as he's miles down the list to go.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by miaow on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:27 am

Hammersmith harrier wrote:Halfpenny won't be selected ahead of Hogg on merit in the slightest, if you want to set up a team to lose and have no chance of winning then go ahead. Picking Williams ahead of Nowell would seem contradictory to the reasoning of picking 1/2P, it's just trying to force more Welsh players into the team when they don't deserve to be especially when they got trounced three times by the ABs.

Riiiiight... Erm

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Hammersmith harrier on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:35 am

miaow wrote:
Hammersmith harrier wrote:Halfpenny won't be selected ahead of Hogg on merit in the slightest, if you want to set up a team to lose and have no chance of winning then go ahead. Picking Williams ahead of Nowell would seem contradictory to the reasoning of picking 1/2P, it's just trying to force more Welsh players into the team when they don't deserve to be especially when they got trounced three times by the ABs.

Riiiiight... Erm
Is the post not long enough for you?

We're not going to beat the ABs picking a predominantly Welsh backline, the most blunt backline of the home nations and I've always felt that Liam Williams is a player who flatters to deceive, he looks good not doing anything of note. I'd not pick a winger who has scored only 8 tries in 43 international matches, he's a good player but I'd rather Jack Nowell started, better work rate, always makes ground and is very solid defensively, also has a habit of actually scoring tries.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:41 am

miaow wrote:

One of my issues, I suppose, with Hogg is that I'm just not quite sure about him yet at this level, which is perfectly natural, and the question will apply to most players on tour. What makes him effective for Scotland will have far less space, far less opportunity, and be far less effective when playing the ABs in a Lions shirt. Likewise, his deficiencies will be amplified. I'll reiterate, this is true for all players, but this is partly why you start with solidity first and foremost in more positions, because if your 'attacking' (contradicting what I said earlier, but just to make things easier) players don't perform/aren't able to perform, then you're left with someone who isn't as effective at the 'basics' as someone who you've decided to leave on the bench/out of the 23.


Some of your posts over the last 24 hours have been some of the best things I have read on this forum particularly a Lions discussion for quite some time so fair play to you miaow. thumbsup

On the bit in bold though, I'm calling that out as utter nonsense in my opinion. I have no idea what yard stick you would use to measure a test level full back but Hogg exceeds Halfpenny in every way accept tackle completion percentage and again he's not that far adrift. Looking at the 6N he only missed one tackle that directly resulted in a try and made 2 clear try savers against Italy and Saracens.

Halfpenny in the 6N was weak under the high ball, poor when kicking from hand and inconsistent when kicking from the tee.

What would Hogg have to do to convince you that he is a test level full back?

In my opinion only Ben Smith is better in the world right now and that's down to much greater experience and exposure.

I appreciate Halfpenny is a good player and he had a good game at the weekend, however selecting him is utterly negative and IMO does not play to the Lions strengths.

We have some talented backs and phenomenal strike runners, we need to use them!

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by miaow on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:43 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Has he been carded for England yet? I don't brown is risking anything by airing his views as he's miles down the list to go.

I agree, he's not 'risking' anything in particular, other than making himself look a bit petulant and reinforcing his negative public image, and also removing any slender chance he might have had by being called up by Gatland. It's just not a very wise thing to do, and indicative of a man who doesn't really think fully about the consequences of his actions.

In some ways, like above, I don't see it as a problem. 'Sanitisation' of the game does make it a bit dull. However, do I care about the opinions of Mike Brown? Not really. Concentrate on the Rugby, that's what everyone wants to see. Some people enjoy the media circus, and it is big business, and a big part of the proxy war of professional sport these days, but if I were working in the PR department for Harlequins or England, I wouldn't be particularly pleased. The best thing is to gloss over it, do what's necessary, and leave it alone; it's not the place to put any disappointment, however slight, particularly when they could be channelled elsewhere.

As mentioned above, consider Paul O'Connell. He is a truly 'Great' rugby player, one who will go down in history as such. He must have had some serious grievances about the Lions over the years, and of Gatland specifically in the 2013 tour. He's mentioned this in subtle and upfront ways that are both fair and honest. Didn't he put it in a book, i.e. capitalising on the public revelation of how he feels? That, to me, is both economically savvy, as well as emotionally savvy- it's not a throwaway comment, it's the digestion of what he's felt, his disappointment and unfulfillment, and he's come to terms with it, before considering what he should keep private, what he should make public, and how he should make it public- and what the consequences of doing so would be. Not only does it seem that Brown hasn't come to terms with not being selected- fair enough, it must be disappointing- but also, he's not Paul O'Connell. He should realise that his disappointment isn't all that rational; he seems to think he's a better rugby player than he is if he's still not quite processed that Halfpenny, Hogg, and Liam Williams have been selected ahead of him.

Brown might not have been yellow carded/a massive detriment to his team on the field, but he is ticking time bomb in a sense. He lacks the emotional intelligence to control his behaviour; his 'shocked' tweet at how the media has amplified his statements to create a narrative shows that he hasn't thought through the consequences of his actions, which is something he should do prior to acting, rather than after the fact.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by miaow on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:44 am

Hammersmith harrier wrote:
miaow wrote:
Hammersmith harrier wrote:Halfpenny won't be selected ahead of Hogg on merit in the slightest, if you want to set up a team to lose and have no chance of winning then go ahead. Picking Williams ahead of Nowell would seem contradictory to the reasoning of picking 1/2P, it's just trying to force more Welsh players into the team when they don't deserve to be especially when they got trounced three times by the ABs.

Riiiiight... Erm
Is the post not long enough for you?

We're not going to beat the ABs picking a predominantly Welsh backline, the most blunt backline of the home nations and I've always felt that Liam Williams is a player who flatters to deceive, he looks good not doing anything of note. I'd not pick a winger who has scored only 8 tries in 43 international matches, he's a good player but I'd rather Jack Nowell started, better work rate, always makes ground and is very solid defensively, also has a habit of actually scoring tries.

You're revealing your own xenophobia if all you can conclude from what I've said is "we should pick players according to their nationality". Stop projecting.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Hammersmith harrier on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:47 am

miaow wrote:
Hammersmith harrier wrote:
miaow wrote:
Hammersmith harrier wrote:Halfpenny won't be selected ahead of Hogg on merit in the slightest, if you want to set up a team to lose and have no chance of winning then go ahead. Picking Williams ahead of Nowell would seem contradictory to the reasoning of picking 1/2P, it's just trying to force more Welsh players into the team when they don't deserve to be especially when they got trounced three times by the ABs.

Riiiiight... Erm
Is the post not long enough for you?

We're not going to beat the ABs picking a predominantly Welsh backline, the most blunt backline of the home nations and I've always felt that Liam Williams is a player who flatters to deceive, he looks good not doing anything of note. I'd not pick a winger who has scored only 8 tries in 43 international matches, he's a good player but I'd rather Jack Nowell started, better work rate, always makes ground and is very solid defensively, also has a habit of actually scoring tries.

You're revealing your own xenophobia if all you can conclude from what I've said is "we should pick players according to their nationality". Stop projecting.
It's not Xenophobic to point out that the Welsh backline has been poor since the world cup and you're not going to beat New Zealand playing Gatlandball, it's not worked in the past and it won't work in the future. It's about picking a team most likely to win rather than trying to limit your losses.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:49 am

Brown isn't a risk on the field. Just nothing to back that up. You'd have more a case for Williams or hogg to be honest. I wouldn't have picked him but I see no reason he shouldn't say he's disappointed.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Scottrf on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:51 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Brown isn't a risk on the field. Just nothing to back that up. You'd have more a case for Williams or hogg to be honest. I wouldn't have picked him but I see no reason he shouldn't say he's disappointed.

'Rugby Player Disappointed to not be Picked for Lions' isn't a good headline.

Honestly the interview isn't even noteworthy, being blown out of proportion.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 09 May 2017, 10:56 am

I reckon I'd be able to have a pretty good crack at the team for the 1st test now given some of the comments from gatland. Here goes nothing:

Vunipola Owens Furlong
Kruis Awj
Pom Warburton vunipola
Murray Sexton
North te'o Joseph williams halfpenny.

Mcgrath george Cole Itoje faletau Webb Farrell daly

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by GunsGermsV2 on Tue 09 May 2017, 11:01 am

Scottrf wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Brown isn't a risk on the field. Just nothing to back that up. You'd have more a case for Williams or hogg to be honest. I wouldn't have picked him but I see no reason he shouldn't say he's disappointed.

'Rugby Player Disappointed to not be Picked for Lions' isn't a good headline.

Honestly the interview isn't even noteworthy, being blown out of proportion.

It hasnt really been blown out of proportion. I understand Browns frustration though and I dont blame him for being disappointed with how Gatland has dealt with the situation but he does come across as a bit of a sour puss at the best of times. You never know though it may bump him up the queue if a FB gets injured.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Scottrf on Tue 09 May 2017, 11:04 am

By blown out of proportion I mean reported on at all. You could get the same quotes from any player that had a chance of being selected.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by George Carlin on Tue 09 May 2017, 11:04 am

Yes, there's lots of clickbait around at the moment, sadly. If you look at what Mike Brown actually said - there's nothing controversial there and he is an excellent player who is entitled to answer a press question about how he feels about not being selected. How do you think he feels? 

Sadly, I cannot believe that Hogg will be given the test shirt over Halfpenny. Despite the fact that Halfpenny is not needed for goalkicking, Gatland will pick his favourite and familiar back three of North, Williams (I agree that those two should start) and Halfpenny. Gatland will claim that this continuity is valuable and that he needs tried and tested combinations. 

We will get horsed in the first test and Gatland will be criticised. He will not change his mind, however, claiming that players need a chance. He will choose Halfpenny again, we will then lose the second test and the series. Hogg will be chosen for the third test and score 2 amazing tries. Nobody will care because we have lost the series. 

Mark my words. I promise you that this will happen.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Taylorman on Tue 09 May 2017, 11:06 am

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
miaow wrote:

One of my issues, I suppose, with Hogg is that I'm just not quite sure about him yet at this level, which is perfectly natural, and the question will apply to most players on tour. What makes him effective for Scotland will have far less space, far less opportunity, and be far less effective when playing the ABs in a Lions shirt. Likewise, his deficiencies will be amplified. I'll reiterate, this is true for all players, but this is partly why you start with solidity first and foremost in more positions, because if your 'attacking' (contradicting what I said earlier, but just to make things easier) players don't perform/aren't able to perform, then you're left with someone who isn't as effective at the 'basics' as someone who you've decided to leave on the bench/out of the 23.


Some of your posts over the last 24 hours have been some of the best things I have read on this forum particularly a Lions discussion for quite some time so fair play to you miaow. thumbsup

On the bit in bold though, I'm calling that out as utter nonsense in my opinion. I have no idea what yard stick you would use to measure a test level full back but Hogg exceeds Halfpenny in every way accept tackle completion percentage and again he's not that far adrift. Looking at the 6N he only missed one tackle that directly resulted in a try and made 2 clear try savers against Italy and Saracens.

Halfpenny in the 6N was weak under the high ball, poor when kicking from hand and inconsistent when kicking from the tee.

What would Hogg have to do to convince you that he is a test level full back?

In my opinion only Ben Smith is better in the world right now and that's down to much greater experience and exposure.

I appreciate Halfpenny is a good player and he had a good game at the weekend, however selecting him is utterly negative and IMO does not play to the Lions strengths.

We have some talented backs and phenomenal strike runners, we need to use them!


Interesting call re Hogg. Personally I think he'll struggle big time here. From what I've see his strengths are ball in hand, quite a deceptive runner but here I think he'll get caught easily, possibly even hurt.

May be that HP is well past his best so be interesting. Is HP on tour to play the B sides, mentor the newbies perhaps. Must admit my take on HP is based on his former self. He's got more experience in big matches as well with Lions and a semi World Cup. Gatlands stock gameplan does require a sound defensive fullback.


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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by GunsGermsV2 on Tue 09 May 2017, 11:07 am

Scottrf wrote:By blown out of proportion I mean reported on at all. You could get the same quotes from any player that had a chance of being selected.

Most players arent as vocal as Brown though. Id say a lot of players would offer a more generic disappointment response rather than specifically say they were disappointed with Gatland. His response was marginally more personal that other players I suspect.

As a mere mortal I must say that if in the same situation I'd find it hard not to respond in the same way as Brown has. I think sometimes we expect these guys to have not emotion at all.


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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by beshocked on Tue 09 May 2017, 11:09 am

George Carlin wrote:Yes, there's lots of clickbait around at the moment, sadly. If you look at what Mike Brown actually said - there's nothing controversial there and he is an excellent player who is entitled to answer a press question about how he feels about not being selected. How do you think he feels? 

Sadly, I cannot believe that Hogg will be given the test shirt over Halfpenny. Despite the fact that Halfpenny is not needed for goalkicking, Gatland will pick his favourite and familiar back three of North, Williams (I agree that those two should start) and Halfpenny. Gatland will claim that this continuity is valuable and that he needs tried and tested combinations. 

We will get horsed in the first test and Gatland will be criticised. He will not change his mind, however, claiming that players need a chance. He will choose Halfpenny again, we will then lose the second test and the series. Hogg will be chosen for the third test and score 2 amazing tries. Nobody will care because we have lost the series. 

Mark my words. I promise you that this will happen.

George Carlin pretty good prediction...

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Tue 09 May 2017, 11:10 am

Hogg is the best FB in the NH by a distance. He thrives on space has gas to burn and a huge boot, not sure why you'll think he'll struggle Taylor.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by miaow on Tue 09 May 2017, 11:24 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Brown isn't a risk on the field. Just nothing to back that up. You'd have more a case for Williams or hogg to be honest. I wouldn't have picked him but I see no reason he shouldn't say he's disappointed.

Don't bite the hand that feeds you, least of all in public- and that hand, in this sense, is Gatland and the Lions, even if it was only ever a 'potential' hand, i.e. he could have potentially been called up. That seems unlikely now.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by IanBru on Tue 09 May 2017, 11:26 am

miaow wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Brown isn't a risk on the field. Just nothing to back that up. You'd have more a case for Williams or hogg to be honest. I wouldn't have picked him but I see no reason he shouldn't say he's disappointed.

Don't bite the hand that feeds you, least of all in public- and that hand, in this sense, is Gatland and the Lions.
How and in what way is he biting Gatland's hand? He said he was disappointed.

This is utterly ridiculous.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Scottrf on Tue 09 May 2017, 11:28 am

miaow wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Brown isn't a risk on the field. Just nothing to back that up. You'd have more a case for Williams or hogg to be honest. I wouldn't have picked him but I see no reason he shouldn't say he's disappointed.

Don't bite the hand that feeds you, least of all in public- and that hand, in this sense, is Gatland and the Lions, even if it was only ever a 'potential' hand, i.e. he could have potentially been called up. That seems unlikely now.

You really think Gatland is that sensitive?
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by propdavid_london on Tue 09 May 2017, 11:29 am

As a specialist 15 there aren't that many other options - a stand by list would probably be Kearny, Brown and Zebo.
But there are also others in the squad that cover 15, all be it with limited to no international time - Watson, Daly, Nowell, Liam Williams etc.

I think it would perhaps require injury to Hogg and Halfpenny before another specialist is called up.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by chris_501 on Tue 09 May 2017, 11:55 am

propdavid_london wrote:As a specialist 15 there aren't that many other options - a stand by list would probably be Kearny, Brown and Zebo.  
But there are also others in the squad that cover 15, all be it with limited to no international time - Watson, Daly, Nowell, Liam Williams etc.

I think it would perhaps require injury to Hogg and Halfpenny before another specialist is called up.

I agree, the squad is well stocked with specialist full backs. I would add Williams as a proven test fullback.  Maybe Maitland or Zebo would be the next on the list of call ups if there is an injury early on in the tour to a winger.

As for the starting fullback, I would go for Hogg ahead of Williams, even after the great performances Williams put in on the tour last summer. Halfpenny would be my 3rd choice, but he scored for Toulon at the weekend so let's hope he's finding some strong form.


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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Rugby Fan on Tue 09 May 2017, 11:56 am

beshocked wrote:...Feedback is important to improving...
The Lions is a one-off, so feedback is irrelevant. Gatland probably has reasons behind a lot of non-selections but there's no point in him telling anyone, because there's nothing they can do about it now. All the standby players have been selected, so they will just look to stay fit. If you've received no notification, then you know it would take a fairly exceptional chain of circumstances to get a call, and would probably have as much to do with your geographical proximity as your international class.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by geoff999rugby on Tue 09 May 2017, 12:02 pm

You can add Payne as a 15

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by miaow on Tue 09 May 2017, 12:03 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:Some of your posts over the last 24 hours have been some of the best things I have read on this forum particularly a Lions discussion for quite some time so fair play to you miaow. thumbsup

Cheers Radge OK Without turning this in to a love in, I enjoy reading your posts, so thank you.


RuggerRadge2611 wrote:On the bit in bold though, I'm calling that out as utter nonsense in my opinion. I have no idea what yard stick you would use to measure a test level full back but Hogg exceeds Halfpenny in every way accept tackle completion percentage and again he's not that far adrift. Looking at the 6N he only missed one tackle that directly resulted in a try and made 2 clear try savers against Italy and Saracens.

Halfpenny in the 6N was weak under the high ball, poor when kicking from hand and inconsistent when kicking from the tee.

What would Hogg have to do to convince you that he is a test level full back?

In my opinion only Ben Smith is better in the world right now and that's down to much greater experience and exposure.

I appreciate Halfpenny is a good player and he had a good game at the weekend, however selecting him is utterly negative and IMO does not play to the Lions strengths.

We have some talented backs and phenomenal strike runners, we need to use them!


I no way am I saying Hogg isn't a test quality full back. Of course he is, and he's a very good one at that. I'll preface this by saying that- genuinely- I'd love for the Lions to play their most 'flair'/running players, as of course it makes a better spectacle of Rugby. I'd much rather watch a 40-39 than a 9-8 game, as I'm sure we al would. But I'm in all honesty trying to analyse the players in terms of the Lions being competitive, and within the frameworks of what they have to work with- the schedule, the opposition, the coaching biases etc.

In terms of test level, then, there are differing 'levels'. There's the Six Nations. There's the AIs. Then there's a Lions Tour in NZ. In some ways, not a single player on tour will be 'prepared' for what they're about to experience, however, Halfpenny has proven himself at the highest level- Lions Tours, World Cups, intense Six Nations games etc. in ways that mean, if (and it's a big if) he is deemed good enough, we 'know' what he can do. Hogg, to some extent, hasn't experienced those pressures- and, as such, I'm a little less sure of his ability to perform under the more intense pressure and level of rugby than I am of Halfpenny. Hopefully that makes sense- it's basically experience, and how players replicate their 'best' parts as the pressure/intensity/standard of play increases.

In terms of the team, as I've said, I think the wings are pretty much the only place Gatland will allow a strike or flair runner. Every other position has to be defensively solid first and foremost, and even the wingers aren't given total freedom. However, it's a lot easier for a player to shift out and cover a winger who's gone AWOL from their flank, than it is for a non-full back to cover a full back position vacated by a roving 15. Of course there's a happy medium between defensive discipline and attacking intent- in every position- but I'm not sure it's a simple choice between 'defence' or 'attack' as exemplified by two players. This isn't just a Halfpenny promotion, by the way. I'd like to think Hogg is defensively good enough to play within Gatland's gameplan, but we'll only find that out in the warm up games.

In terms of using our strike runners, then, I think we have to consider rugby as a 23 man game now. It's why I think Hogg is a #23 for the Lions. It's going to hurt, but I can see him coming on on the wing, and given that freedom to roam, even if it's not his actual position. Halfpenny is unlikely to be a replacement, because he can't change the game in such a short space of time like Hogg can, who's certainly the most fleet footed player the Lions have, something that may be vital if we're 5 points down with 5 to go. It's perhaps a sad barometer of sport as we know it, but in some ways, the value of players as starters and...'finishers'...does depend somewhat on their attributes. Hogg is such a good running talent, that if there are doubts over his all round game at 15 that means he doesn't start, I think he'll trump Daly as the #23.

My 'problem', if you can call it that, with Hogg goes beyond simply saying 'he's a good attacker'. This is true, he is. But you have to consider the kind of attacking player he is- or rather, how he attacks/what his strengths are. In the UK in general, I think we have a pretty bad attitude to sport- having grown up playing football and rugby, it was moreso the case in the former, but also sometimes the latter, whereby everyone 'learns' from a young age the 'safe'/negative elements of the game. Defensive togetherness, safety first, don't take risks etc. Then you'd get the one very fast/very strong early developer who ends up steaming through the whole team, and that's their point of difference, and enough for the team as a whole to win games. It's the Shane Williams effect. Instead of cultivating skills across the board, then, from an early age so many people learn sport as something whereby someone else does the 'creative' elements. Even at the professional level, this difference in culture is marked in how often a break is made without a supporting runner, or an offload is forced or misplaced, or a player lacks the spatial awareness/nous to know what to do when in an 'unusual'/attacking position.

To me, Hogg is in this mould. He is an unbelievably talented runner, but his strength is- in some ways- also a weakness. He has improved and matured a lot, but he has and still is slightly prone to overplaying, trying to force the game by himself. His main weapon, his pace, acceleration, and jinking feet to make the outside break, often see him relying on himself to break the opposition line. Something, I imagine, he has done his whole life, from when he first started playing rugby. But as good as he is at this, he 'lacks' other elements of attacking play. He's very good at running on the shoulder of someone looking for an offload flat to the line, but he's not as good when he's the player giving the ball. He doesn't seem to be as good as Liam Williams at drawing 2 or 3 players and whipping the ball away for another player to make the full break (which in one reason why he has such a poor try scoring record for Wales). His offloading game isn't as good as his jinking, but perhaps one of his biggest faults is decision making: when to make the play, and when not to. And what kind of play should you be making? This is purely inexperience, and he has improved a lot- as Scotland and Glasgow have improved, and as he's aged, he no longer forces it as much as he used to, in part because he now knows how to use his talents more efficiently, and also because the players around him are better/take more of the attacking play upon themselves than they used to.

I think my point about levels is important then when thinking about this cultural difference. As I said, we're quite used to that one man style of sport in the UK, where one player weaves their way through half the team one the way to scoring. Consider the defence in this regard, and it doesn't reflect well on us. Instead of working in ways that should mitigate the fact that- ultimately- it is still only one man, however quick or talented, with the ball, we often still defend 'one on one', as well. As far as I can tell, NZ rugby players are so much more systemically intelligent than NH ones that this is an area where they stand head and shoulders above us. They're used to playing/attacking as a team- not with this one man doing all the work- and as such better understand defending as a team, too- they can anticipate/'see' the attacking players quicker, and know how to adapt/mitigate the intentions better than NH players, because they're used to it. Because it's what they do themselves. One man attacking, then- however talented than one man is- will be relatively easily shut down by the All Blacks.

So, in terms of levels, that's what I mean: will Hogg be able to reproduce his style of attacking play, and his effectiveness, on a level he hasn't been tested at before. At the pinnacle of the sport. Of course I'm oversimplifying a bit, he's not just a one man attack, and does interact/bring other players into the game, but I do think Liam Williams is better in this regard. I really do hope that Hogg steps up and performs in NZ. There's no doubt that they will be worried about him, because who wouldn't? As good as the All Blacks are, and as good as NZ rugby is in general, they are still only human, and though they will defend Hogg better than any other team in the world, they are still susceptible to raw skills like pace and a step once in a while.

My final point about Halfpenny is his effectiveness in the little things. The receipt of kicks is where he comes into his own. This is invariably where Hogg looks to attack. A lot of the time he has success from it. But NZ will be prepared for him. They'll look to isolate him, challenge him in the air, turn him- all they can do to make him attack from a weak point, and possibly turn the ball over, or better yet, don't even let him attack at all, and target him in his weaknesses. A defensive/clearing kick suddenly becomes a position to attack- this is why talking about 'attack' and 'defence' in such isolated binaries doesn't really do this discussion justice. Rugby's a lot more complex than that.

Halfpenny, then, is solidity personified. He's as brave as they come under the high ball, surprisingly good considering his height. Where he really shines for me however is fielding those 'tricky' kicks- and where he gives himself a head start by his good positioning in the back field. By having that extra second with the ball, it allows him to perform a better result- be it a cleaner catch, or more time to get a kick away etc. However, it's also in the way that- if he's running it back- he spins out of the first tackle, or holds himself up to be able to buy time for support. It's such an unassuming part of the game, yet he's exceptionally good at it, and the importance of these transitional phases of the game is often undervalued by some fans I feel. He's not going to run the ball back as frequently as Hogg, or in the same manner. But to my mind, that doesn't necessarily mean he's less effective than Hogg.

I genuinely am not trying to run Hogg down. I'm really excited about the tour, and can't wait to see what all the Lions players can do, and he's definitely right up there. That's just my honest assessment of the two players. Hogg clearly has his talents, and areas where he's better than Halfpenny, and vice versa. In terms of effectiveness against New Zealand, in a team coached by Warren Gatland, before a warm up game has been played, I make Halfpenny the marginal favourite to start the Tests at this stage.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by miaow on Tue 09 May 2017, 12:05 pm

Scottrf wrote:
miaow wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Brown isn't a risk on the field. Just nothing to back that up. You'd have more a case for Williams or hogg to be honest. I wouldn't have picked him but I see no reason he shouldn't say he's disappointed.

Don't bite the hand that feeds you, least of all in public- and that hand, in this sense, is Gatland and the Lions, even if it was only ever a 'potential' hand, i.e. he could have potentially been called up. That seems unlikely now.

You really think Gatland is that sensitive?

He's a stubborn man who doesn't suffer fools. Call it sensitive if you wish, but I don't think he'll have particularly enjoyed the implicit criticism of his coaching of the Lions, no, particularly from a player on the fringes of the selection debate. He's not even in the squad. That makes it easy for Gatland to brush off, of course, which he has done, but I wouldn't be particularly happy being faced with such questions- it's not what I'd want to spend even an hour thinking about this close to the biggest challenge of my career. So, again, call it sensitive if you like, but it's not the terminology I'd use.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by Scottrf on Tue 09 May 2017, 12:18 pm

miaow wrote:
Scottrf wrote:
miaow wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Brown isn't a risk on the field. Just nothing to back that up. You'd have more a case for Williams or hogg to be honest. I wouldn't have picked him but I see no reason he shouldn't say he's disappointed.

Don't bite the hand that feeds you, least of all in public- and that hand, in this sense, is Gatland and the Lions, even if it was only ever a 'potential' hand, i.e. he could have potentially been called up. That seems unlikely now.

You really think Gatland is that sensitive?

He's a stubborn man who doesn't suffer fools. Call it sensitive if you wish, but I don't think he'll have particularly enjoyed the implicit criticism of his coaching of the Lions, no, particularly from a player on the fringes of the selection debate. He's not even in the squad. That makes it easy for Gatland to brush off, of course, which he has done, but I wouldn't be particularly happy being faced with such questions- it's not what I'd want to spend even an hour thinking about this close to the biggest challenge of my career. So, again, call it sensitive if you like, but it's not the terminology I'd use.

I doubt he did spend an hour. Probably a 30 second question he didn't think about again that day.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by robbo277 on Tue 09 May 2017, 12:22 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Halfpenny should be well down the pecking order, in fact he shouldn't really be even touring. He's nothing more than a safe pair of hands and not even that lately with the number of balls he keeps dropping.

Hogg and Williams are streets ahead in everything but arguably defence and I don't even think Halfpenny is that much stronger.

11. North
15. Hogg
14. Williams/Watson/Nowell

Has to be....

I think Halfpenny is a brave and intelligent defender, but has got injured on at least one occasion I can think of by getting his head on the wrong side. His technique isn't that strong.

I don't like the thought that Hogg is a nailed on starter, but I would be rotating Hogg and Williams as my 2 fullbacks on the first two games, and perhaps give them a game together in the third one.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by George Carlin on Tue 09 May 2017, 12:24 pm

Taylorman wrote:
RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
miaow wrote:

One of my issues, I suppose, with Hogg is that I'm just not quite sure about him yet at this level, which is perfectly natural, and the question will apply to most players on tour. What makes him effective for Scotland will have far less space, far less opportunity, and be far less effective when playing the ABs in a Lions shirt. Likewise, his deficiencies will be amplified. I'll reiterate, this is true for all players, but this is partly why you start with solidity first and foremost in more positions, because if your 'attacking' (contradicting what I said earlier, but just to make things easier) players don't perform/aren't able to perform, then you're left with someone who isn't as effective at the 'basics' as someone who you've decided to leave on the bench/out of the 23.


Some of your posts over the last 24 hours have been some of the best things I have read on this forum particularly a Lions discussion for quite some time so fair play to you miaow. thumbsup

On the bit in bold though, I'm calling that out as utter nonsense in my opinion. I have no idea what yard stick you would use to measure a test level full back but Hogg exceeds Halfpenny in every way accept tackle completion percentage and again he's not that far adrift. Looking at the 6N he only missed one tackle that directly resulted in a try and made 2 clear try savers against Italy and Saracens.

Halfpenny in the 6N was weak under the high ball, poor when kicking from hand and inconsistent when kicking from the tee.

What would Hogg have to do to convince you that he is a test level full back?

In my opinion only Ben Smith is better in the world right now and that's down to much greater experience and exposure.

I appreciate Halfpenny is a good player and he had a good game at the weekend, however selecting him is utterly negative and IMO does not play to the Lions strengths.

We have some talented backs and phenomenal strike runners, we need to use them!


Interesting call re Hogg. Personally I think he'll struggle big time here. From what I've see his strengths are ball in hand, quite a deceptive runner but here I think he'll get caught easily, possibly even hurt.
Okay, I'll bite. 

Taylor - what on earth are you talking about? On what possible basis, with reference to international or pro franchise matches which Hogg has played in, are you making these generalisations? The NZ Herald and a number of other pieces of SANZAR press have named Hogg as the Lions' most potent attacking thread and Jeff Wilson has said that the only player in world rugby with better feet is Nehe Milner-Skudder.

Hogg is the youngest Scottish player to get 50 caps and is the only player apart from Brian O'Driscoll to win Player of the 6 Nations twice. He has scored 16 international tries against all manner of opposition (at least a third more than any of Halfpenny, Brown, Kearney or Williams) and can kick 50m penalties.

Why is his game suddenly brittle and that of his fellow specialist full backs is not?

I honestly don't mind the back and forth about which players deserve to be picked and which don't but its the double and triple standards in comparison that make for really poor reading on these boards.
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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by robbo277 on Tue 09 May 2017, 12:40 pm

miaow wrote:
robbo277 wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:Brown really is as moany as he looks:

http://www.the42.ie/warren-gatland-mike-brown-lions-3379608-May2017/

Is it moany? To give Brown the right of reply: https://twitter.com/mikebrown_15/status/861535813078843397

All he said was he was disappointed not to be picked, doubly so as he won't get another shot, which is understandable. The initial sentiment, that he "slammed" Gatland, was blown out of proportion by headline writers.

He gave an honest interview about how he felt about missing out, it got blown up and then journalists pressed Gatland on it. Both were fairly measured in my opinion.

As I mentioned earlier, he's been around long enough to know not to give the media anything they can use to twist. If he were simply saying "yes, disappointed not to make it...", then, yes, fine, it's honest which is good, although it does jar against the socially accepted point of view which is very much "don't mention the Lions/war"- i.e. don't admit to your own personal ambition. However, by bringing up the fact he was 'disappointed' he wasn't called up and talked to as a replacement is a stupid thing to say; it's questioning the methodology of the coaches, and comes across as critical, even if only implicitly. That's enough justification for the media to then make a narrative out of it, as he's hiding his criticism of the Lions/Gatland under a disguised phrase. You would expect most rugby players nowadays to have the wherewithal to not air their grievances in public, particularly when it's only going to come back and hurt them. He should know how the media works. And, ultimately, he should have known- in that moment of admitting to his frustration- that however 'good' it felt to tell that journalist about his own personal disappointment, that if he couldn't keep it within the realms of disappointment alone (which he didn't), then he shouldn't be talking to the media, because- as we've seen on the field- he's not great at controlling his emotions.

But as I said, I don't want players to water down their comments. I want to read what the players think, I don't want to read what the press officer tells them to say.

The comments shouldn't come into a selection debate, because they weren't even negative, just expressing disappointment.

I don't think there will be a call for Brown, but I think that's because after Hogg and Halfpenny (who appear to be Gatland's fullbacks, even if I prefer Williams at 15), he has Williams, Watson, Daly, Payne and Nowell already in NZ. I'd be very surprised if a specialist 15 like Brown or Kearney got the call, and if he wanted cover he'd take a more versatile option like Zebo or Maitland to fill in wherever needed in the midweek games.

I don't buy this whole "Brown is a liability" schtick we get from some fans of other nations, he's never let England down. I think he is a bit "aggy" on the pitch, and people extrapolate from that this whole persona where he's a horrible bloke. But along with this, the other incident that people often slate him for is the interview after the Wales World Cup game, where again he was disappointed to lose. He is obviously ambitious and sets himself high standards, and can be quite visibly disappointed if he doesn't reach them.

Brown might not have been yellow carded/a massive detriment to his team on the field, but he is ticking time bomb in a sense.

If he's a ticking time bomb in terms of letting the team down on the pitch, he best explode soon or he'll be retired without ever having let us down.

If he's a ticking time bomb in that he might say something stupid, I could care less and I'm sure Gatland could care less either. I think Gatland knows what he could do, and if there were a mad set of circumstances to the full backs selected, I'm sure Gatland would have no hesitation calling on Brown if he thought he could help him win a test series.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by 123456789 on Tue 09 May 2017, 1:01 pm

The most frustrating aspect about the Hogg debate so far is that he does not a Gatland game plan. Simply put the conventional Gatland game plan does not work against the Southern Hemisphere teams, in the Gatland era Wales have been very effective and at times unambiguously dominant against European teams but for a team that has been so dominant in the Northern Hemisphere the track record against Southern hemisphere teams has been deplorable.
In the Gatland era Wales have beaten Australia once in thirteen attempts (and that was in 2008), beaten South Africa twice in ten attempts (although at least one was technically Howley) and have yet to beat New Zealand in ten attempts. In the same period England have beaten Australia seven times in thirteen attempts, South Africa once in eight and New Zealand one in nine. Ireland have played Australia seven times and won three, South Africa six times and won three and New Zealand nine times and won once. In effect under Gatland Wales have a 9% win record (6% if you discount Howley's victory in November) against the 'Big Three', in the same era Ireland have a 41% win record and England have a 30% win record. In the same period each have won three six Nations, with only Wales winning more than one grand slam. Logic would determine that Wales should have won around 30-40% of games against the big teams within that era. Simply put there is no doubt that Gatland is experienced and successful but he must surely realise that he will have to do something different and, quite frankly, better (that's not a dig at Gatland, it goes for all 40 odd members of the touring party travelling) than they have done before.

In terms of whether Hogg is cut out for international rugby at the highest level, Hogg and Halfpenny have very similar try scoring records against the world's best and Hogg a far superior record in general. When you consider the sheer number of Lions around Halfpenny throughout his career and the fact that Hogg will have played with just 6 for Scotland, it makes sense that Halfpenny would have more try scoring opportunities.

In effect Halfpenny has been solid at the highest level, but no more, Hogg has so far fitted exactly the same profile against the world's best. But when you look at records in the six nations and domestic rugby Hogg scores more tries and beats more defenders. To beat New Zealand Gatland is going to have to adapt his tactics and Hogg has that bit of magic, guile and flair in attack that Halfpenny simply does not have (he has many attributes but is not as much of a threat in attack).

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by lostinwales on Tue 09 May 2017, 1:08 pm

The Brown thing is such a non event.

I'd only add that at this stage in his career the thing he does best for England is be the safe pair of hands at the back. He provides leadership, even if its of the 'nobody dares mess up because he might get angry' type and as such is still valuable to us even though he isn't the player he used to be. I would say something similar about AWJ for Wales

He was one of the best 15's around 4 years ago and should have gone with the lions then, but not this time.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

Post by GunsGermsV2 on Tue 09 May 2017, 1:27 pm

George Carlin wrote:
Okay, I'll bite. 

Taylor - what on earth are you talking about? On what possible basis, with reference to international or pro franchise matches which Hogg has played in, are you making these generalisations? The NZ Herald and a number of other pieces of SANZAR press have named Hogg as the Lions' most potent attacking thread and Jeff Wilson has said that the only player in world rugby with better feet is Nehe Milner-Skudder.

Hogg is the youngest Scottish player to get 50 caps and is the only player apart from Brian O'Driscoll to win Player of the 6 Nations twice. He has scored 16 international tries against all manner of opposition (at least a third more than any of Halfpenny, Brown, Kearney or Williams) and can kick 50m penalties.

Why is his game suddenly brittle and that of his fellow specialist full backs is not?

I honestly don't mind the back and forth about which players deserve to be picked and which don't but its the double and triple standards in comparison that make for really poor reading on these boards.

It is not unusual for NZ fans to be unfamiliar with NH players in my experience particularly players from sides that they have never lost to. Hogg is easily the best FB in the 6N. Cant see him struggling at all.

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Re: British & Irish Lions Squad 2017

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