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Scotland players to receive lions letters

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Post by RDW Wed 24 Apr 2013, 7:26 am

The Scotsman newspaper this morning claims to have the inside scoop on Scottish players to receive initial lions letters. These letters inform players they are in the running for the squad or the reserve list. Apparently these are required to get legal issues sorted in time.

They are:

Ross Ford
Greig Laidlaw
Matt Scott
Tim visser
Ryan Grant
Richie Gray
Stuart Hogg

That list seems fair,as they are probably the players you would pick as having a chance.

The one notable exception is Kelly Brown - I hope that is just an oversight from the Scotsman? I'd like to think he'd at least be on the reserve list.

As for how many actually travel - who knows!

Any word in the press of these letters from other nations?

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Post by Glas a du Wed 24 Apr 2013, 8:06 am

No, Brown had his Captain's letter last week...
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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Wed 24 Apr 2013, 9:12 am

I would be gutted if Kelly Brown didn't get the call to tour. He has been Scotland's best player for quite some time now.

However I have said for a long time that some superb back rowers will be left behind, I just hope he isn't one of them. Sad

Got a link for this RDW? I cannae find anything on the Hootsman's website.
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Post by fa0019 Wed 24 Apr 2013, 9:17 am

blindside is very competitive though.... Lydiate, Croft, Wood, Robshaw, O'Brien, Jones.

I wouldn't be surprised if either Brown or Robshaw didn't get the call. They'd be in my squad mind.


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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Wed 24 Apr 2013, 9:20 am

Well of the guys you listed there, Croft hasn't really done anything of note since coming back from injury hence travels on reputation, likewise Lydiate has only had a few games back and hasn't done anything that Brown hasn't done for the last 8 interntational test matches he has played this season and the 20 or so games he has played in the Aviva.

Should Lydiate go instead of him I would be quite agitated. mad
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Post by Biltong Wed 24 Apr 2013, 9:20 am

What happened to Rennie and Denton?
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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Wed 24 Apr 2013, 9:23 am

Denton hasn't been great this season Bilt, I certainly wouldn't take him ahead of Beattie.

Rennie for me is I think the best openside in the NH when fit, with only Tipuric or Barclay able to be better as an out and out "fetcher" 7. However I wouldn't take Lydiate since he has been out injured for so long so I wouldn't take Rennie who has only had a handful of club games since coming back from a shoulder dislocation against the All Blacks in November.
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Post by fa0019 Wed 24 Apr 2013, 9:29 am

The thing is... form is only one indicator of who will go. Pedigree is near just as important.

Coaches will look at Croft and Lydiate and say... at full fitness and match player they are both superior players to guys like Robshaw and Brown.

Gatland will gamble with some choices and hope they come good.

I think Croft is quite likely to travel as is O'Brien because both have quite unique qualities. Croft has sublime pace and is a defensively very strong player who can mark both backs and forwards. He also has a world class lineout presence. O'Brien is the best ball carrying forward in the home nations.

All the other blindsides are good al-round players but don't have the extra skills that the above 2 players have... and it will probably tip in their balance.

I think Gatland will choose Croft, O'Brien and one of Jones, Robshaw and Brown.

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Post by Biltong Wed 24 Apr 2013, 9:31 am

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:Denton hasn't been great this season Bilt, I certainly wouldn't take him ahead of Beattie.

Rennie for me is I think the best openside in the NH when fit, with only Tipuric or Barclay able to be better as an out and out "fetcher" 7. However I wouldn't take Lydiate since he has been out injured for so long so I wouldn't take Rennie who has only had a handful of club games since coming back from a shoulder dislocation against the All Blacks in November.

Thanks mate, I very much rate both those guys.
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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Wed 24 Apr 2013, 9:35 am

I really rate them too. As a Scot I know we'll not bring a lot of tourists, but even I couldn't justify Rennie or Dent's inclusions. Denton is poor form, I think it is Lions related to be honest.

In the Autumn tests he spent too much time looking for the ball in hand, to make a big headline grabbing carry and not enough time bossing the breakdown. He was brought on at 7 early doors to replace the injured Rennie against the All Blacks and it left Kelly Brown with too much work to do in the contact area.

Rennie has been superb for Edinburgh since his return but the inensity of competition in the domestic league just cannot be compared to what the Lions will be facing even in the dirt tracker games in Australia.

I would expect to see them both feature heavily in the South African invitational tournament in the summer though.
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Post by Biltong Wed 24 Apr 2013, 9:39 am

That is great news, I am really looking forward to the "mini" tournament
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Post by dummy_half Wed 24 Apr 2013, 9:43 am

If Rennie is match fit, I'd want him at least on standby as cover for Tipuric- OK, Tipuric has probably done enough in the later 6Ns games to be nailed on as the 'pure' 7 in the squad (and given this is against Australia, I'd like him to start), but there isn't really a like-for-like backup if we are relying on Robshaw or Warburton (both good players, but not as effective in the 'fetcher' mode or as a link between forwards and backs).

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Post by tigertattie Wed 24 Apr 2013, 9:45 am

Here we go again

Lydiate cannto be picked as he has been injured for so long and there are plenty options out there. If Lydiate is picked it would be veiwed as Gatland picking his buddies and will damage the ethos of Lions rugby and add to the calls to have a non "home nation" coach being the head honcho.

The number of tackles and turnovers that Brown performed in the 6N's along with his club form, captaincy credentials and his 6,7 and 8 versitility should mean Brown is a shoe in for at least a bench spot on the Lions tour.

From the Scottish continegent the three players I would say deserve to go on out right merit are Hogg, Scott and Brown. Grey may struggle due to injury. Ford may struggle due to being kinda keek these days. Laidlaw may struggle as he is a bit of a jack of all trades, master of none.
Visser is in the unfortuante position of playing in a position where there are choices but should be given the nod. The other player I would hint at would be Maitland. KNows the Ozzie game and players and is a fantastic winger himself (also covers 15)

I just wish the annoucment would come soon so I can either look forward to the Lions series or begin shouting from the rooftops at the injustice of coaches chums being picked over better players.
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Post by dummy_half Wed 24 Apr 2013, 9:54 am

Of those listed, I'd expect Grant, Gray and Hogg to be in the squad, and possibly Matt Scott (I want a creative centre in there, and he has more experience than 12trees - might be unnecessary though if Gatland picks Hook as a utility back). Visser is a maybe as well - I don't think there's much to choose between most of the wing options, so it might come down to who buys Gatland the biggest bottle of whisk(e)y...

Kelly Brown would be very unlucky to miss out, but the back row is a very competitive area - maybe Gatland is thinking about playing a 7 at 6 (Warburton or Robshaw, with Tipuric at 7), and he then has the options as a specialist 6 of SOB, Woods, Croft, Ryan Jones, Lydiate (if he can prove his match fitness and sharpness). All offer slightly different strengths - Brown is to some extent a jack of all trades, in that he is good at all the things a 6 should do, but does not have a USP that sets him clearly ahead of the others.

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Post by Captain_Sensible Wed 24 Apr 2013, 9:55 am

I can't find this article on The Scotsman's website - anyone got a link?

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Post by Captain_Sensible Wed 24 Apr 2013, 10:05 am

Scratch that, found the link - http://www.scotsman.com/sport/rugby/top-rugby-stories/letters-reveal-scots-are-in-frame-for-lions-tour-1-2906855

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Post by RDW Wed 24 Apr 2013, 10:06 am

2nd article in the club section….

http://www.scotsman.com/sport/rugby/top-rugby-stories/letters-reveal-scots-are-in-frame-for-lions-tour-1-2906855

I don’t think we should get in a full blown debate about which Scots should go (we’ve done plenty of that on here!), but I think it is interesting to see what the press have managed to discover.

Just thinking it also suggests Hamilton and Euan Murray are out the reckoning, but I’d be surprised if the Scotsman had a credible source for those guys, considering they play outside of Scottish clubs.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Wed 24 Apr 2013, 10:08 am

So does Gray... he is at Sale.
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Post by Notch Wed 24 Apr 2013, 10:14 am

So Visser but no Maitland- say it ain't so! mad
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Post by RDW Wed 24 Apr 2013, 10:15 am

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:So does Gray... he is at Sale.

Yeah but he’s spending a lot of time in Scotland just now with his injury…

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Post by Notch Wed 24 Apr 2013, 10:15 am

Definitely rate Sean Maitland considerably higher than Visser.
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Post by RDW Wed 24 Apr 2013, 10:21 am

As an all-round player I think so too Noth. I'm wondering whether he just came too late to be considered. Yes he played in the 6N but if he had been here from the start of the season and played in the AI's too it might have been a different story.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Wed 24 Apr 2013, 10:22 am

Notch wrote:Definitely rate Sean Maitland considerably higher than Visser.

So do I, Visser is a great poacher and a devestating strike runner but Maitland is a proper Rugby Footballer. He is more like DTH, he reads the game well, goes looking for work and has really soft hands. I would also have brought him for his familiarity with the Ozzies, having player in down under practically all his life.

Ferguson is normally not wrong about this sort of stuff, he seems to get leaks on the Scotland team all the time so don't be surprised if this is correct.

It's Kelly Brown I would feel sorry for. The guy hasn't put a foot wrong all season.
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Post by madmaccas Wed 24 Apr 2013, 11:02 am

I hope that list isn't complete, I would expect a few more on the reserve list at least.

I was thinking:

Main Squad:

Stuart Hogg
Tim Visser
Ryan Grant
Richie Gray (subject to fitness)
Jim Hamilton
Euan Murray

Reserves:

Greig Laidlaw
Kelly Brown
Matt Scott
Sean Maitland
Ross Ford
Johnnie Beattie
Nathan Hines


If Dan Lydiate and Tom Croft go I'll be more than a little miffed considering Gatland has spoken endlessly about only picking 'form players'.

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Post by bsando Wed 24 Apr 2013, 11:23 am

Yeah that list seems fair, but I also think Brown would be a big exclusion.

Saying that, Dummy_half, you make some pretty valid points concerning the backrow.

I think as Scottish fans we have to accept that we will not be seeing all the players we want to see tour. But hopefully those that do will play well, will convince Gatland that he was a fool to not bring more thumbsup

I can accept players missing out to players who are in form or have an extremely good reputation and the ability to get back into form quickly. But it would be a shame if Brown was excluded for someone who most people from the home nations would deem to be so-so.

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Post by bsando Wed 24 Apr 2013, 11:30 am

Notch wrote:Definitely rate Sean Maitland considerably higher than Visser.

I love both players, but I actually like Visser more. When on form he is just a freak, he does things Maitland cannot do and he is one of those players who will always score when he has a bit of space and a couple of defenders to beat. I know he's been quiet recently, but Edinburgh have been playing awful this season and its probably ruined his natural game a bit. He showed that he hasn't lost his skills vs Italy and France with two lovely try's. I think he would be a great inclusion, him and North would work very well at 11 so I hope he has received a letter.

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Post by The Gramlin Wed 24 Apr 2013, 11:32 am

David Ferguson splits the players in his article between those from Edinburgh and those from Glasgow (I'm including Richie Gray here as he may be nursing his injury in Scotland). So maybe he knows a Scottish postie who spotted letters saying "To _______, love Warren, xx". This realistic theory of mine would mean David Ferguson wouldn't have received any info on exiles.

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Post by madmaccas Wed 24 Apr 2013, 11:44 am

bsando wrote:
Notch wrote:Definitely rate Sean Maitland considerably higher than Visser.

I know he's been quiet recently

I agree with you but I don't even think he's been that quiet! He's still top try scorer in the Rabo (as he has been for the past 4 years!), which is quite amazing considering how terribly Edinburgh are playing at the moment.

Factor in 6 tries in just 10 tests (with a brace against the All Blacks) and he is without doubt the best attacking player in the Northern Hemisphere.

His defence isn't amazing (better than some would make out) but Jeremy Guscott, Neil Jenkins, John Bentley, Gregor Townsend and Tony Underwood weren't known for their defence and look what they did on the 97 Lions tour!

If he doesn't go it will be a travesty.

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Post by MacKnocked-on Wed 24 Apr 2013, 11:58 am

Strange that Maitland isn't included I would say, certainly a better all round player than Visser but I hope that Visser makes it as the Lions could really help develop him. Does Ross Ford deserve a place? Not convinced personally, he doesn't look to have his attitude right playing for Scotland.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Wed 24 Apr 2013, 11:59 am

Not sure I agree with all those or the omissions they imply. Brown should go, Visser maybe shouldn't, Gray needs to show some form in the pre-Test matches as he has not had a good season, Scott is unexpected but a good shout as he looks like he can actually playmake at 12, Ford should not go at all, Laidlaw means no Danny Care, which is a shame but understandable
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Post by RDW Wed 24 Apr 2013, 12:00 pm

Matt Scott has been excellent in the recent games for Edinburgh. A real stand out player in a losing team.

I suspect Ross Ford is included for his experience?

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Post by beshocked Wed 24 Apr 2013, 12:06 pm

fa0019 wrote:The thing is... form is only one indicator of who will go. Pedigree is near just as important.

Coaches will look at Croft and Lydiate and say... at full fitness and match player they are both superior players to guys like Robshaw and Brown.

Gatland will gamble with some choices and hope they come good.

I think Croft is quite likely to travel as is O'Brien because both have quite unique qualities. Croft has sublime pace and is a defensively very strong player who can mark both backs and forwards. He also has a world class lineout presence. O'Brien is the best ball carrying forward in the home nations.

All the other blindsides are good al-round players but don't have the extra skills that the above 2 players have... and it will probably tip in their balance.

I think Gatland will choose Croft, O'Brien and one of Jones, Robshaw and Brown.

Disagree completely. I don't think Croft and Lydiate are superior to Robshaw and Brown. Lydiate seems a bit overhyped in my opinion.

I believe Croft is loved for his pace and his lineout abilities more so than his basic job as a 6 - people are entranced by this. He's obviously a good player but difficult to accommodate in a team. Building the side around him is risky.

I would take the hardworking Robshaw who can cover 6 and 7 instead.

Robshaw offers more balance.

It would be laughable if Lydiate is picked - no form to be gauged on. Less pedigree than other backrow selections.

Point about pedigree is a load of rubbish anyway. Kelly Brown is the Scottish captain - 57 caps for his country. Great form for club and country. Strong 6 nations. Can cover 6,7 and 8. It would be an idiotic decision to leave him out.

The Lions selections if true give me the impression that Gatland's final selection is going to be a bad joke.

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Post by Geordie Wed 24 Apr 2013, 12:15 pm

+1 Beshocked...

Well said...

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Wed 24 Apr 2013, 12:31 pm

Unless Brown got his captains letter as Glas has suggested, all this talk about Warburton, POC and BOD has been a clever move by Gatland to pave the way for Kelly to captain the Lions to Victory over Australia like Finlay Calder did in 89.

At 100-1 in the bookies I would say it's worth a tenner.
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Post by funnyExiledScot Wed 24 Apr 2013, 1:28 pm

I think the article must only apply to players based in Scotland, and they've chucked in Richie Gray based on an assumption.

It would be odd indeed if Kelly Brown and Euan Murray weren't at least on the reserve list. Assuming that Dan Cole and Adam Jones are certain to tour, I can't think of better tighthead cover than Euan Murray. Any other ideas?

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Post by beshocked Wed 24 Apr 2013, 2:19 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:I think the article must only apply to players based in Scotland, and they've chucked in Richie Gray based on an assumption.

It would be odd indeed if Kelly Brown and Euan Murray weren't at least on the reserve list. Assuming that Dan Cole and Adam Jones are certain to tour, I can't think of better tighthead cover than Euan Murray. Any other ideas?

Not sure why Euan Murray would be picked. His refusal to play on Sundays is a big reason not to pick him.

Rather take someone like Wilson over Murray.

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Post by thomh Wed 24 Apr 2013, 2:21 pm

None of the games are on a Sunday, though it could disrupt training as well of course. Mike Ross could be ahead of him for the reserve tighthead spot anyway, though.

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Post by munkian Wed 24 Apr 2013, 2:27 pm

I doubt very much that Hines will go. We have plently of decent locks
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Post by Captain_Sensible Wed 24 Apr 2013, 2:36 pm

thomh wrote:None of the games are on a Sunday, though it could disrupt training as well of course. Mike Ross could be ahead of him for the reserve tighthead spot anyway, though.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Mike Ross? Are you effing kidding me? He’s Ireland’s worst and yet most important player because of the sheer, goppingly awful selection of other THs they’ve got. Nowhere near Lions standard.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Wed 24 Apr 2013, 3:20 pm

beshocked wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:I think the article must only apply to players based in Scotland, and they've chucked in Richie Gray based on an assumption.

It would be odd indeed if Kelly Brown and Euan Murray weren't at least on the reserve list. Assuming that Dan Cole and Adam Jones are certain to tour, I can't think of better tighthead cover than Euan Murray. Any other ideas?

Not sure why Euan Murray would be picked. His refusal to play on Sundays is a big reason not to pick him.

Which games on the tour are on a Sunday? Answers on a postcard.

I realise that Wilson has hit form for Bath in the last couple of games, but Murray played well in the 6 Nations (so I don't think form is a particular issue) and he has a wealth of experience, not least having toured with the Lions before.

Just slightly surprised that he wouldn't be on the reserve list, or at least in contention.

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Post by SecretFly Wed 24 Apr 2013, 4:06 pm

munkian wrote:I doubt very much that Hines will go. We have plently of decent locks

You're probably right. Hines won't go. But he isn't 'decent'.

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Post by Guest Wed 24 Apr 2013, 4:15 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:
beshocked wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:I think the article must only apply to players based in Scotland, and they've chucked in Richie Gray based on an assumption.

It would be odd indeed if Kelly Brown and Euan Murray weren't at least on the reserve list. Assuming that Dan Cole and Adam Jones are certain to tour, I can't think of better tighthead cover than Euan Murray. Any other ideas?

Not sure why Euan Murray would be picked. His refusal to play on Sundays is a big reason not to pick him.

Which games on the tour are on a Sunday? Answers on a postcard.

I realise that Wilson has hit form for Bath in the last couple of games, but Murray played well in the 6 Nations (so I don't think form is a particular issue) and he has a wealth of experience, not least having toured with the Lions before.

Just slightly surprised that he wouldn't be on the reserve list, or at least in contention.

I guess if he is in the dirtracker squad, he will have to train on a Sunday, but I am sure that might not be such an issue (as in I suspect Gatland if he wants to select him, won't let that become a problem).

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Post by Taffineastbourne Wed 24 Apr 2013, 5:26 pm



Lydiate seems a bit overhyped in my opinion.


It would be laughable if Lydiate is picked - no form to be gauged on. Less pedigree than other backrow selections.

Point about pedigree is a load of rubbish anyway. Kelly Brown is the Scottish captain - 57 caps for his country. Great form for club and country. Strong 6 nations. Can cover 6,7 and 8. It would be an idiotic decision to leave him out.

The Lions selections if true give me the impression that Gatland's final selection is going to be a bad joke.
[/quote]
Your judgement of Lydiate is jaw-droppingly illinformed.Did you not see Wales in the WC?Didbyou miss Wales' last Grand Slam after which he won the Player of the 6n's Award?No pedigree!Lord help us picard
I do not advocate Dan being selected for the Lions but I could not let this guff go without commenting steam

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Post by Notch Wed 24 Apr 2013, 5:30 pm

Lydiate is a great team player who is very good at performing a very specific role for Wales.

He's not special, he just does his job bloody well. Given his national coach is the guy making the call he has a great chance but while I think he's fairly one dimensional, he's the kind of guy who definitely won't let you down and that is a very big plus for the Lions.

I would just feel that Kelly Brown deserves to be there too.
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Post by beshocked Wed 24 Apr 2013, 5:48 pm

Taffineastbourne wrote:

Lydiate seems a bit overhyped in my opinion.


It would be laughable if Lydiate is picked - no form to be gauged on. Less pedigree than other backrow selections.

Point about pedigree is a load of rubbish anyway. Kelly Brown is the Scottish captain - 57 caps for his country. Great form for club and country. Strong 6 nations. Can cover 6,7 and 8. It would be an idiotic decision to leave him out.

The Lions selections if true give me the impression that Gatland's final selection is going to be a bad joke.
Your judgement of Lydiate is jaw-droppingly illinformed.Did you not see Wales in the WC?Didbyou miss Wales' last Grand Slam after which he won the Player of the 6n's Award?No pedigree!Lord help us picard
I do not advocate Dan being selected for the Lions but I could not let this guff go without commenting steam [/quote]

Lydiate is overhyped because blinkered Welsh fans want to pick Lydiate for the Lions based on games played over a year ago!



You can't base Lion's selection on how well someone played once upon a time. It's more wishful thinking than being logical.

It would be a needless gamble to pick Lydiate when there is so much competition in the backrow. I don't think Lydiate would be missed.


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Post by welshboii15 Wed 24 Apr 2013, 6:05 pm

Only player close to the match day player is Kelly brown maybe contender for captain. But if grey travels then there's no reason lydiate, bowe and croft can't travel because they all had injuries and none have form well bowe has a little but that's all.

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Post by reallybored Wed 24 Apr 2013, 6:26 pm

Surely Murray goes ahead of Ross, he's a better scrummager, his work-rated is much improved and he looked like a popular character on the last tour.

Would there not have been the same issue on the last tour?

I think Brown currently brings more to the squad than a recently fit Lydiate as he's been in great form, more versatile and still playing at the top level for his club.



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Post by 123456789 Wed 24 Apr 2013, 6:32 pm

welshboii15 wrote:Only player close to the match day player is Kelly brown maybe contender for captain. But if grey travels then there's no reason lydiate, bowe and croft can't travel because they all had injuries and none have form well bowe has a little but that's all.

Gray has played in seven out of Scotland's eight internationals this year, Lydiate played a grand total of zero, Bowe just two in November although I still think he should travel and Croft played just two and was abysmal when he did. Also Australia's main strength is their back-row and their backs playing off turnover ball, being Welsh you should know that, therefore we need hard a hard working back row he spend a lot of time at the breakdown that's why I think we should play an openside like Tipuric, Barclay or Rennie (not that I'm suggesting that Barclay should travel just that these are the only three out and out opensides of international quality in Britain) with a six-and-a-half such as Robshaw, Brown or Warburton at blindside to counter them or at least slow down the ball their backs receive as a result we need strong carrying locks to gain front foot ball when we've got it but who are also able to get around the pitch to help with the breakdown as well. Gray is very good at that as is Joe Launchbury therefore he should travel especially because of the hard ground.
As for your phrase "match day player" (which in itself is interesting because any game on which a match is played is a match day and, whilst I understand that you struggle to comprehend the idea that rugby is played outside Wales, Scottish players have been playing matches all year) Hogg is the best attacking full-back in Britain and Ireland, neither Halfpenny or Kearney have either his pace or step and his kicking from hand is as good if not better than the other two, his defence is hit and miss but I think that his attacking ability more than compensates. Kearney and Halfpenny are both very good players but Hogg is a better attacking player and can create tries on his own regularly. Whilst I rate Jamie Roberts highly and personally think he should start Scott offers something different to any other British or Irish inside-centre and if Roberts direct style is dealt with as well as it has been by the Aussies in the past I wouldn't be surprised if Matt Scott makes his way into the team. Please give some decent proof next time you decide to give your unique opinion.

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Post by welshboii15 Wed 24 Apr 2013, 6:40 pm

Back row for me would be

Tipric
Warburton
Kelly brown
SOB
Faletau
Lydiate

Both Brown and SOB can play 6,7 and 8 and both offer different things
Lydiate is tackling machine if he was fit.
Warbs and tipric battle for 7 with Faletau the out and out 8

personal opinion I get people won't agree but its what think.
but your saying Warburton is a 6.5 on form the man is an out standing out and out 7 he is a class act. But grey has offered no form at all, last 6 nations he was class since then he's not the same.

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Post by irnbrew Wed 24 Apr 2013, 6:45 pm

Will any other number 6 be as good as Lydiate 5 or 6 games down the line leading up to the first test than Lydiate that is what Gatland will be thinking.And as also as been stated before most of the other contenders do not play 6 at international level and its no good saying they can for they don.t so are unproven at that level thats another thing Gatland will consider to be honest i will be surprise if Lydiate does not travel as one of the few out and out 6.s in contention

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