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Lions 2017

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Post by 123456789 Sun Mar 20, 2016 11:52 pm

First topic message reminder :

I understand and respect all the arguments against this kind of post 18 months before but the proper journalists are all having a so we might as well. It happens after every tournament.

For what it's worth I'd pick:

1. Marler
2. Hartley
3. Nel
4. J. Gray
5. AW Jones
6. Faletau
7. Warburton
8. Vunipola
9. Webb
10. Sexton
11. North
12. Henshaw
13. Joseph
14. Watson
15. Hogg

16. McGrath
17. MacInally
18. Lee
19. Itoje
20. Stander
21. Youngs
22. Biggar
23. Halfpenny

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:01 am

Discounts Slade and Daly then, even if they're first choice for England by then.

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Post by fa0019 Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:01 am

I know he has his flaws also but I saw Saracens Northampton yesterday and was very impressed by Ashton.

His tracking for his try was superb. That would beat the best of defences and was unplayable. I can't remember a NH player doing that in a long time either a) with the  strategy to play in such a way and b) with the pace to pull it off.

He looks like he's getting back to his form when he first broke through into the England squad. Defence will always be his flaw though.

People hate him I get that, but the tracking for that try was world class and you don't see that often in NH rugby.

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Post by quinsforever Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:08 am

agree with that fa.

if england, or the lions, focus on unbeatable set piece, then ashton is a good possible addition, because he excels in multi phase structured attack when gaps open up and forwards are where they are supposed to be. he is truly a fantastic finisher when teams hold onto the ball and exert multi phase pressure with quick ball.

it was noticeable that lancaster's england, and indeed also eddie jones's so far, struggle to convert redline possession into tries with anything like the frequency that i feel they should.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:11 am

Would you go Ashton and North? North is surely nailed on?

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Post by quinsforever Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:14 am

there will be 6 wingers. if ashton plays well in the final games of the season then i would consider him yes

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Post by mikey_dragon Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:16 am

Ashton would be more of a midweek player surely? Unless he shows his worth on tour. Right now wingers on the whole in the NH don't seem all that great - that said I thought North had a very good tournament.

Seymour and Watson are the other leading contenders.

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Post by fa0019 Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:19 am

The thing is about Ashton... with play like that he's as deadly as anyone in rugby. If people haven't seen the try they should. Its not the pace, it was the awareness and especially from a play that wasn't straight off phase 1, it was broken play and he read it so well.

North is iron clad for 1 wing berth. Seymour is a good footballer too. Ashton needs test matches and to shore up defence but attack wise (well off a little cameo) I have to say it was very impressive.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:21 am

I have lost count of the amount of time Halfpenny has got himself knocked unconscious whilst "defending faultlessly".

don't take my word for it:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/32013309

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Post by quinsforever Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:24 am

i also think that in a lions team its really important to have people who can, on their own, read the game very very well. because most of these players dont play together at all, never mind regularly.

so having a few players in key positions who can read and anticipate, that dont rely on familiarity with clubmates, is not a bad thing.

rarely does a lions whole equal more than the sum of its parts...so i could see how ashton might be handy here.

agree its hard to see him starting in a Lions test side though.

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Post by fa0019 Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:46 am

Also saw Wasps Exeter.... man how did Christian Wade ever become a Lion. Worst ever.

His reading of the game was like him reading Chinese.

The other wing on the otherhand looked immense... because he looked for work. Thats what makes players genuine test match wingers, not those that can simply say, give me the ball and I can finish.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:49 am

fa0019 wrote:Also saw Wasps Exeter.... man how did Christian Wade ever become a Lion. Worst ever.

His reading of the game was like him reading Chinese.

The other wing on the otherhand looked immense... because he looked for work. Thats what makes players genuine test match wingers, not those that can simply say, give me the ball and I can finish.

I'm not sure about the worst ever but I'd agree he's not the greatest. I get quite surprised when people tout him for England, he was way too many flaws in his game. He's can do a bit of magic but you need so much more to make it as a regular international winger these days.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:51 am

He's was (maybe still is) the best winger ball in hand we have, by a country mile. Hasn't recaptured the form he had before his injuries though.

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Post by fa0019 Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:52 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
fa0019 wrote:Also saw Wasps Exeter.... man how did Christian Wade ever become a Lion. Worst ever.

His reading of the game was like him reading Chinese.

The other wing on the otherhand looked immense... because he looked for work. Thats what makes players genuine test match wingers, not those that can simply say, give me the ball and I can finish.

I'm not sure about the worst ever but I'd agree he's not the greatest. I get quite surprised when people tout him for England, he was way too many flaws in his game. He's can do a bit of magic but you need so much more to make it as a regular international winger these days.

He wasn't bad in the tour necessarily but for Christian Wade to be able to say England and Lions on his CV is ridiculous. Looks like he's just picking up his pay cheque.

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Post by the-goon Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:50 am

Henshaw has a very strong kicking and passing game, he is being used at 10 by Connacht due to their first 3 10 options being out injured. He is more than a tackling/crashball option.

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Post by Exiledinborders Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:54 am

fa0019 wrote:Also saw Wasps Exeter.... man how did Christian Wade ever become a Lion. Worst ever.

His reading of the game was like him reading Chinese.

The other wing on the otherhand looked immense... because he looked for work. Thats what makes players genuine test match wingers, not those that can simply say, give me the ball and I can finish.
Is that the same Wade who took the ball in trouble in his own half, beat three players and passed leading to a Wasps try? That Wade? Oh yes. He is clearly rubbish!

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Post by fa0019 Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:13 pm

Exiledinborders wrote:
fa0019 wrote:Also saw Wasps Exeter.... man how did Christian Wade ever become a Lion. Worst ever.

His reading of the game was like him reading Chinese.

The other wing on the otherhand looked immense... because he looked for work. Thats what makes players genuine test match wingers, not those that can simply say, give me the ball and I can finish.
Is that the same Wade who took the ball in trouble in his own half, beat three players and passed leading to a Wasps try? That Wade? Oh yes. He is clearly rubbish!

Which try was that? Wade didn't have a hand in any try on the weekend... he hardly even touched the ball.

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Post by The Great Aukster Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:41 pm

TJ wrote:I disagree on that - you will not beat NZ thru brute force.  If Roberts is picked ( and I agree he had a very good six nations) then we will have gone down a blind alley.  This has been tried in the past and it does not work.  We need the right combination of strength and guile  A strong set piece to steal their ball and give us a good attacking platform but we need speed and guile to score the tries we will surely need to win.  Attack the breakdown hard to disrupt their possession and slow them down.  Speed and slippery running to create space, a very strong counter attack

It is fair to say that the ABs struggle against the Boks more than any other side, and that is not because South Africa beat them on skill set. No they beat them by being bigger and stronger with an indomitable attitude - in other words brute force. The Lions have no time to develop fancy back plays or forge understandings between 5/8ths or throughout the back line. The only hope for the Lions is to have a bigger stronger indomitable defence that will hold out for long periods and then hope to capitalise if they manage to turnover the best backrow in the world, or more likely get a penalty. Halfpenny is a must to take whatever points are on offer especially from distance.

The Lions have no chance of winning the series and will only win the first Test if the All Blacks can't be bothered (a rare occurence). The best that can be hoped from this unfair mismatch is that the Lions retain a modicum of respectability by keeping the losses to a couple of scores. Roberts is the best defensive 12 available, although some of the League converts are probably worth consideration.

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Post by fa0019 Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:54 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
TJ wrote:I disagree on that - you will not beat NZ thru brute force.  If Roberts is picked ( and I agree he had a very good six nations) then we will have gone down a blind alley.  This has been tried in the past and it does not work.  We need the right combination of strength and guile  A strong set piece to steal their ball and give us a good attacking platform but we need speed and guile to score the tries we will surely need to win.  Attack the breakdown hard to disrupt their possession and slow them down.  Speed and slippery running to create space, a very strong counter attack

It is fair to say that the ABs struggle against the Boks more than any other side, and that is not because South Africa beat them on skill set. No they beat them by being bigger and stronger with an indomitable attitude - in other words brute force. The Lions have no time to develop fancy back plays or forge understandings between 5/8ths or throughout the back line. The only hope for the Lions is to have a bigger stronger indomitable defence that will hold out for long periods and then hope to capitalise if they manage to turnover the best backrow in the world, or more likely get a penalty. Halfpenny is a must to take whatever points are on offer especially from distance.

The Lions have no chance of winning the series and will only win the first Test if the All Blacks can't be bothered (a rare occurence). The best that can be hoped from this unfair mismatch is that the Lions retain a modicum of respectability by keeping the losses to a couple of scores. Roberts is the best defensive 12 available, although some of the League converts are probably worth consideration.

I'm not so sure that is true nowadays.

Take this last RWC. No altitude, they got as close as anyone... leading at halftime and losing by only 4 in the end. Had they had a better 10 managing the side I think they would have limped home. The boks and NZ are pretty much equal is forwards and size. The difference for me is how the boks play the game. They play a big forward pack yes, strong set piece yes... but this is no different to Wales, Ireland or England. The difference for me is their territorial game management. They kick well from 9, 10 and 15. Had they managed Frans Steyn better with him at 12 I think they would be the dominant side... but that is half to do with Frans themselves chasing the buck forever in his career. Making NZ from deep play and dictating territory I think is the way to beat them.

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Post by majesticimperialman Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:57 pm

I am not saying that if Fit Halfpenny should not go he should. But at this moment in time he is not playing at all to my knowledge.

I also notice that people are talking about Manu going on tour. At least let him get some games under his belt before making a case for the Lions.

I still think it will depend on who the head coach will be as to who will- will not be in the Lions team/squad.

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Post by Gooseberry Mon Apr 11, 2016 2:02 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
TJ wrote:I disagree on that - you will not beat NZ thru brute force.  If Roberts is picked ( and I agree he had a very good six nations) then we will have gone down a blind alley.  This has been tried in the past and it does not work.  We need the right combination of strength and guile  A strong set piece to steal their ball and give us a good attacking platform but we need speed and guile to score the tries we will surely need to win.  Attack the breakdown hard to disrupt their possession and slow them down.  Speed and slippery running to create space, a very strong counter attack

It is fair to say that the ABs struggle against the Boks more than any other side, and that is not because South Africa beat them on skill set. No they beat them by being bigger and stronger with an indomitable attitude - in other words brute force. The Lions have no time to develop fancy back plays or forge understandings between 5/8ths or throughout the back line. The only hope for the Lions is to have a bigger stronger indomitable defence that will hold out for long periods and then hope to capitalise if they manage to turnover the best backrow in the world, or more likely get a penalty. Halfpenny is a must to take whatever points are on offer especially from distance.

The Lions have no chance of winning the series and will only win the first Test if the All Blacks can't be bothered (a rare occurence). The best that can be hoped from this unfair mismatch is that the Lions retain a modicum of respectability by keeping the losses to a couple of scores. Roberts is the best defensive 12 available, although some of the League converts are probably worth consideration.

In recent years Australia have had a much better record against the All Blacks than anyone else. You have to go right back to 2009 for the last time SA where genuinely a real issue for New Zeland, theyve only won 2 games since then.

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Post by fa0019 Mon Apr 11, 2016 2:05 pm

Gooseberry wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
TJ wrote:I disagree on that - you will not beat NZ thru brute force.  If Roberts is picked ( and I agree he had a very good six nations) then we will have gone down a blind alley.  This has been tried in the past and it does not work.  We need the right combination of strength and guile  A strong set piece to steal their ball and give us a good attacking platform but we need speed and guile to score the tries we will surely need to win.  Attack the breakdown hard to disrupt their possession and slow them down.  Speed and slippery running to create space, a very strong counter attack

It is fair to say that the ABs struggle against the Boks more than any other side, and that is not because South Africa beat them on skill set. No they beat them by being bigger and stronger with an indomitable attitude - in other words brute force. The Lions have no time to develop fancy back plays or forge understandings between 5/8ths or throughout the back line. The only hope for the Lions is to have a bigger stronger indomitable defence that will hold out for long periods and then hope to capitalise if they manage to turnover the best backrow in the world, or more likely get a penalty. Halfpenny is a must to take whatever points are on offer especially from distance.

The Lions have no chance of winning the series and will only win the first Test if the All Blacks can't be bothered (a rare occurence). The best that can be hoped from this unfair mismatch is that the Lions retain a modicum of respectability by keeping the losses to a couple of scores. Roberts is the best defensive 12 available, although some of the League converts are probably worth consideration.

In recent years Australia have had a much better record against the All Blacks than anyone else. You have to go right back to 2009 for the last time SA where genuinely a real issue for New Zeland, theyve only won 2 games since then.

If we look back at teams they faced in the RWC I think SA were the closest both in match up play and in the result.  SA mid cycle were odd, they lost a lot of games they would have won normally... but the schedule for the RC was not helpful to them... twice they had to got out and chase bonus points when at home vs. NZ, had they faced NZ first I think the results would have been far different.

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Post by The Great Aukster Mon Apr 11, 2016 2:08 pm

fa0019 wrote:I'm not so sure that is true nowadays.

Take this last RWC. No altitude, they got as close as anyone... leading at halftime and losing by only 4 in the end. Had they had a better 10 managing the side I think they would have limped home. The boks and NZ are pretty much equal is forwards and size. The difference for me is how the boks play the game. They play a big forward pack yes, strong set piece yes... but this is no different to Wales, Ireland or England. The difference for me is their territorial game management. They kick well from 9, 10 and 15. Had they managed Frans Steyn better with him at 12 I think they would be the dominant side... but that is half to do with Frans themselves chasing the buck forever in his career. Making NZ from deep play and dictating territory I think is the way to beat them.

Fair comment fa0019, but a territorial game relies on winning set piece and at least parity up front. The Lions have no time to develop their set piece other than the most rudimentary moves and they won't fool anyone. Even with a settled set piece and higher class forwards than the Lions will be able to muster, the Boks still fell short, so the point is that the Lions have zero chance in the series and should accept that and therefore pick a defensive team that can maybe keep the score respectable.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Apr 11, 2016 2:11 pm

Rubbish. NZ are (even without McCaw and Carter) are fantastic and the biggest challenge around for anyone, but we have some fantastic players and need to go out to win. I don't agree that SA have a higher class of forwards either.

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Post by beshocked Mon Apr 11, 2016 2:45 pm

Been a bit disappointed by Wade this season. Also on the weekend Admittedly didn't watch all the Wasps vs Exeter game but from what I saw he was poor.

Shame really as I thought a decent performing Wasps side should be a great platform.

As for Ashton he's got to win back some credibility at international level for England first before being considered for the Lions.

I don't think too much of the current wing options outside Watson and Nowell so I think there's a chance if one of them dips in form or is injured.

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Post by fa0019 Mon Apr 11, 2016 2:55 pm

beshocked wrote:Been a bit disappointed by Wade this season. Also on the weekend Admittedly didn't watch all the Wasps vs Exeter game but from what I saw he was poor.

Shame really as I thought a decent performing Wasps side should be a great platform.

As for Ashton he's got to win back some credibility at international level for England first before being considered for the Lions.

I don't think too much of the current wing options outside Watson and Nowell so I think there's a chance if one of them dips in form or is injured.

I agree Beshocked.

Ashton needs game time with England and to prove he can do what he does in club rugby in test rugby.

However his tracking for his try was superb on the weekend. It wasn't set up as it was from multi-phased play... he just read it very well. It was like seeing Ashton of 4-5 years ago. Stark diff between him and Wade who looked like he was waiting for a bus all day.

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Post by beshocked Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:02 pm

Ashton has always been excellent at tracking, it's one of his strengths. I feel that Lancaster wasted Ashton's biggest strength by not encouraging him to do so.

Johnson made good use of this and Ashton flourished under him. It's only been under Lancaster that Ashton has truly flopped, I do wonder if Eddie Jones might be able to get the best from him if given a chance.

It's another reason I am not a fan of Lancaster as I thought he wasted a talented player.

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Post by The Great Aukster Mon Apr 11, 2016 6:00 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Rubbish. NZ are (even without McCaw and Carter) are fantastic and the biggest challenge around for anyone, but we have some fantastic players and need to go out to win. I don't agree that SA have a higher class of forwards either.

Can't think of one B&I forward who would obviously make either the ABs or the Boks team, but let's say they are all equal. The BIG disadvantage is they don't play together, so they're not used to the dynamics of the lineout or the scrum. Their role in their home team will not be the same as that needed for the Lions, but the opposition roles are clear, well defined, practised over and over and tested in full Tests and tournaments. The B&I players would not just have to be equal but markedly superior to stand any chance of parity.

Of course if NZ go into disarray, sack their coach and change a raft of players just before the first Test, the Lions might have a glimmer of a chance.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue Apr 12, 2016 5:31 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Rubbish. NZ are (even without McCaw and Carter) are fantastic and the biggest challenge around for anyone, but we have some fantastic players and need to go out to win. I don't agree that SA have a higher class of forwards either.

Can't think of one B&I forward who would obviously make either the ABs or the Boks team, but let's say they are all equal. The BIG disadvantage is they don't play together, so they're not used to the dynamics of the lineout or the scrum. Their role in their home team will not be the same as that needed for the Lions, but the opposition roles are clear, well defined, practised over and over and tested in full Tests and tournaments. The B&I players would not just have to be equal but markedly superior to stand any chance of parity.

Of course if NZ go into disarray, sack their coach and change a raft of players just before the first Test, the Lions might have a glimmer of a chance.

It's why I think we'll see the Lions in 2017 build on successful combinations. For example I think England have the best line-out, so I'd expect Hartley, Itoje and Kruis to be seen as a unit. I think the half back combinations at Wales and Ireland will likely to used throughout the tournament in pairs: so Webb/Biggar and Murray/Sexton. Yes, by definition you are bolting combinations together, but I don't think the Lions will be successful with a completely piecemeal approach.

I agree with you both though. The Lions are massive long-shots for this one. Any touring side in New Zealand are huge underdogs at present.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:12 am

You're the guy who hates the Lions and wants it scrapped aren't you Aukster?

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:20 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Rubbish. NZ are (even without McCaw and Carter) are fantastic and the biggest challenge around for anyone, but we have some fantastic players and need to go out to win. I don't agree that SA have a higher class of forwards either.

Can't think of one B&I forward who would obviously make either the ABs or the Boks team, but let's say they are all equal. The BIG disadvantage is they don't play together, so they're not used to the dynamics of the lineout or the scrum. Their role in their home team will not be the same as that needed for the Lions, but the opposition roles are clear, well defined, practised over and over and tested in full Tests and tournaments. The B&I players would not just have to be equal but markedly superior to stand any chance of parity.

Of course if NZ go into disarray, sack their coach and change a raft of players just before the first Test, the Lions might have a glimmer of a chance.

It's why I think we'll see the Lions in 2017 build on successful combinations. For example I think England have the best line-out, so I'd expect Hartley, Itoje and Kruis to be seen as a unit. I think the half back combinations at Wales and Ireland will likely to used throughout the tournament in pairs: so Webb/Biggar and Murray/Sexton. Yes, by definition you are bolting combinations together, but I don't think the Lions will be successful with a completely piecemeal approach.

I agree with you both though. The Lions are massive long-shots for this one. Any touring side in New Zealand are huge underdogs at present.

Well one will have to make way for the Captain - Sean Robinson Yahoo Very Happy

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:22 am

The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Rubbish. NZ are (even without McCaw and Carter) are fantastic and the biggest challenge around for anyone, but we have some fantastic players and need to go out to win. I don't agree that SA have a higher class of forwards either.

Can't think of one B&I forward who would obviously make either the ABs or the Boks team, but let's say they are all equal. The BIG disadvantage is they don't play together, so they're not used to the dynamics of the lineout or the scrum. Their role in their home team will not be the same as that needed for the Lions, but the opposition roles are clear, well defined, practised over and over and tested in full Tests and tournaments. The B&I players would not just have to be equal but markedly superior to stand any chance of parity.

Of course if NZ go into disarray, sack their coach and change a raft of players just before the first Test, the Lions might have a glimmer of a chance.

Really?

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:29 am

"Can't think of one B&I forward who would obviously make either the ABs or the Boks team"

Should have left it at the first 6 words, made sense then
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Post by beshocked Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:37 am

FES you talk a lot of sense. OK

Combinations indeed is what the Lions should go with.

The Great Aukster don't think anyone would say that any Japanese player would get in the Boks team yet in the RWC they beat SA.

Shows that upsets can happen with a decent coaching set up.

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Post by mikey_dragon Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:41 am

Didn't Gatland get slated by all you for going with combinations in the third test?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:44 am

Yup, ignoring form and going with the norm.

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Post by Sin é Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:57 am

mikey_dragon wrote:Didn't Gatland get slated by all you for going with combinations in the third test?

He didn't though. He started Sexton with Phillips.
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Post by Sin é Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:58 am

mikey_dragon wrote:Didn't Gatland get slated by all you for going with combinations in the third test?

He didn't though. He started Sexton with Phillips instead of Murray who was the form scrum half.
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Post by beshocked Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:07 am

At least the Lions won - Gatland's decisions worked.

Gatland is still Wales coach because of his 3 6 nations titles (two being GSs) and of course knocking England out of the RWC.

He's got credit in the bank still.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:18 am

2 6 Nations titles. Been behind Lancaster for a while as well.

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Post by The Great Aukster Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:43 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:You're the guy who hates the Lions and wants it scrapped aren't you Aukster?

"Hates" is probably too strong, but the concept is so weighted in favour of SH opposition and considering the amount of harm the Lions tours do to home nations rugby, I'd certainly like to euthanise that particular dinosaur.

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Post by The Great Aukster Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:46 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Rubbish. NZ are (even without McCaw and Carter) are fantastic and the biggest challenge around for anyone, but we have some fantastic players and need to go out to win. I don't agree that SA have a higher class of forwards either.

Can't think of one B&I forward who would obviously make either the ABs or the Boks team, but let's say they are all equal. The BIG disadvantage is they don't play together, so they're not used to the dynamics of the lineout or the scrum. Their role in their home team will not be the same as that needed for the Lions, but the opposition roles are clear, well defined, practised over and over and tested in full Tests and tournaments. The B&I players would not just have to be equal but markedly superior to stand any chance of parity.

Of course if NZ go into disarray, sack their coach and change a raft of players just before the first Test, the Lions might have a glimmer of a chance.

Really?

Yes really, who did you have in mind who would obviously make either the ABs or the Boks team?

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Post by propdavid_london Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:52 am

The beauty of Rugby is that on any given day........
Who gave Japan a chance in hell against SA, but they played well and SA had a bit of a mare!
The ABs aren't unbeatable..........but they are very very good and its highly unlikely that the Lions will win a test let alone a series.
However, I will enjoy them have a good crack at it......Sometimes teams play better when they are written off - as a Lions side its probably the only time they will go on tour with little home expectation 'no pressure'.

If I could afford to go on tour I would.

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Post by beshocked Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:57 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:2 6 Nations titles. Been behind Lancaster for a while as well.

no 7 & 1/2

Gatland has his own flaws but silverware in the 6 nations has not been an issue for him.

Okay fair enough, technically Gatland missed 2013 but he's still in charge of Wales.


Last edited by beshocked on Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:07 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by The Great Aukster Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:06 pm

beshocked wrote:FES you talk a lot of sense. OK

Combinations indeed is what the Lions should go with.

The Great Aukster don't think anyone would say that any Japanese player would get in the Boks team yet in the RWC they beat SA.

Shows that upsets can happen with a decent coaching set up.

Most rugby teams wouldn't sack a coach after say half a season of bad results (many wouldn't after a whole season). That's because it takes time to build synergy in a team. Japan had been building up to the RWC for years with a strategy that they had practised over and over and they made history even if they didn't get out of their group. The Lions don't have several years or half a season or even half a dozen games where the same players will be jogging out - the standard of coaching is irrelevant.

The chance of an upset won't rely on 'smart' play but rests purely on the players literally putting their bodies on the line beyond what they've ever had to do for their country, and thus risk their future careers. They don't have patterns and plays they can rely on so Telfer was right - a Lions tour is metaphorically their Everest, and everyone knows that Everest takes no prisoners with life-changing and in some cases life-ending consequences.

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Post by beshocked Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:11 pm

The Great Auksters we've seen coaches hit the ground running in the 6 nations

2008 - Gatland GS
2014 - Schmidt title
2016 - Jones GS

Maybe a new Lions coach could do the same for the Lions albeit in a much tougher role.

A fresh approach - hence why I wouldn't pick Gatland.

Gatland is tried and tested and not overly effective vs SH sides. Okay he has the 2013 Lions tour under his belt but Australia aren't NZ.

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Post by The Great Aukster Wed Apr 13, 2016 1:20 pm

beshocked wrote:The Great Auksters we've seen coaches hit the ground running in the 6 nations

2008 - Gatland GS
2014 - Schmidt title
2016 - Jones GS

Maybe a new Lions coach could do the same for the Lions albeit in a much tougher role.

A fresh approach - hence why I wouldn't pick Gatland.

Gatland is tried and tested and not overly effective vs SH sides. Okay he has the 2013 Lions tour under his belt but Australia aren't NZ.

You could add Declan Kidney 2009 GS to that list. In all of those cases (and a few club ones as well) a new coach came in and inherited the previous coach's team. They were largely settled teams that were under performing for whatever reason. The players knew exactly what each other was capable of and were familiar playing together, and a lot of the tweaks made were psychological rather than foundational.

The Lions is a scratch team with different personnel every time they tour. There is no 'muscle memory' in their side to rely on when bodies are screaming and brains are bubbling, so decisions that would happen automatically by default with familiar players have to be processed with unfamiliar ones. The Amateur game relied on individual ability because players didn't practise together full time, so the Lions concept was perfectly attuned to the idea of bringing the best talents together into a super team to take on other teams made up of talented individuals. The Lions still lost their first game of the 1971 tour and just won the second, so even in those days it was obvious that the team needed to play together despite relying on the plethora of individual talent.

The professional era has superseded all that. Compare the All Blacks haka from the amateur era and see what time and practice does - how much more so the rugby! So not only is the opposition more professional now but the Lions no longer have 26 or 22 match tours to bond and gel as a team. The Japan win over the Boks would never have happened in the amateur era, it shows how far teams can go with consistent and regular coaching, coupled with match experience - something that is glaringly absent in the Lions.

The coaches you mention above came in to turn results around - Gatland won last time so why would "a fresh approach" benefit the team in any way?

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Post by IanBru Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:00 pm

I wouldn't pick a current national coach (or a coach with a pre-existing relationship with a particular national team, like Lancaster) for the simple reason that it creates an impression (not necessarily borne out by facts) of bias in favour of that coach's own players. As I say, there isn't necessarily any bias, but an impression is enough to cause friction with fans and media, if not the players.

However, I'm going to break my own rule here and suggest Vern Cotter, and for three reasons:

  1. Cotter's 'source' of players, Scotland, is bound to have the fewest representatives in a Lions squad or test team, so it's highly unlikely that Scots are going to dominate like the English in 2005 or the Welsh in 2013.
  2. Cotter has shown himself to be completely unsentimental about dropping or not picking players that do not cut the mustard. Consider Mark Bennett, a player who owes a lot of his progression in the game to his time as a junior player at Clermont, being coached by Cotter. Bennett under-performed in the first two games of the Six Nations, and Cotter dropped him like a bad habit and picked Taylor instead for the rest of the tournament. I simply can't see players being picked by Cotter on reputation alone, and every player will surely get a fair crack of the whip in the warm up matches. Surely that's what we all want to see from our tour?
  3. Finally, Cotter coaches Scotland to play an exciting style that fills seats and delights fans. Don't get me wrong, I like Gatland, but does anyone here think he's going to suddenly change his tactics? Does anyone honestly think those tactics are capable of beating the All Blacks? Of course not. I think the only way to win the test series is to out-All-Black the All Blacks. Play a dynamic, fast-paced offloading game. I want to go out and try to beat them, rather than simply avoid losing.

Maybe defeat is inevitable (I actually don't think it is), but I'd rather reinvigorate the Lions concept by playing exciting balls-to-the-wall rugby than stodgy Northern Hemisphere porridge rugby. It might not work, but by God it'll be fun.
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Post by True Raven Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:46 pm

Don't see the hype over Cotter. Apart from one league title in 8 attempts with Clermont and 1 challenge cup, he seriously underacheived and his record with Scotland isn't that great either in two years

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Post by beshocked Wed Apr 13, 2016 4:31 pm

True Raven when Cotter took over Clermont I believe they weren't doing particularly well, he turned them into one of the top sides in Europe.

At Scotland too he's done a similar sort of thing, taking a struggling Scotland and is giving them a bit more confidence.

At both teams he's added a bit of respectability and entertainment.

Personally I think Lions or whichever team needs to have their own identity. Stick to their own strengths.

I would like to see Jake White in the role. Give the Lions a bit more grit and combativeness.

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Post by lostinwales Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:15 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
beshocked wrote:The Great Auksters we've seen coaches hit the ground running in the 6 nations

2008 - Gatland GS
2014 - Schmidt title
2016 - Jones GS

Maybe a new Lions coach could do the same for the Lions albeit in a much tougher role.

A fresh approach - hence why I wouldn't pick Gatland.

Gatland is tried and tested and not overly effective vs SH sides. Okay he has the 2013 Lions tour under his belt but Australia aren't NZ.

You could add Declan Kidney 2009 GS to that list. In all of those cases (and a few club ones as well) a new coach came in and inherited the previous coach's team. They were largely settled teams that were under performing for whatever reason. The players knew exactly what each other was capable of and were familiar playing together, and a lot of the tweaks made were psychological rather than foundational.

Very glad you wrote that, as despite it being bleeding obvious to many of us it obviously isn't to some

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