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Potential Lions Squad - The 2nd Row

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Post by bsando on Thu Jun 18, 2020 11:03 am

Following on from the potential Lions Back Row, we now look at the potential Lions 2nd Row.

In 2017 Gatland picked 5 Locks so we shall do the same. Add your injury call up as well to make it 5 + 1.  

Once again, players are listed from the 2019 RWC and 2020 6N squads only. Add other players to your list as you wish, bolters encouraged!

England

Courtney Lawes, Charlie Ewels, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Alexander Moon

Ireland

Tadhg Beirne, Iain Henderson, Jean Kleyn, James Ryan, Ultan Dillane, Devin Toner

Scotland

Scott Cummings, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Ben Toolis, Alex Craig, Sam Skinner, Lewis Carmichael

Wales

Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Bradley Davies, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones, Seb Davies, Will Rowlands

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Post by bsando on Thu Jun 18, 2020 11:09 am

I'd select the following

James Ryan, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones, Johnny Gray, Iain Henderson

Injury call up - George Kruis

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Post by Pot Hale on Thu Jun 18, 2020 11:38 am

Ireland First Picks
Henderson, Ryan, Toner

Few caps - Beirne, Dillane, Roux, Kleyn

Bolters - Baird


Maybe Ryan out of that lot.
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Post by LondonTiger on Thu Jun 18, 2020 12:15 pm

Itoje (tour captain) and Ryan to start

Lawes bench. Henderson back up, AWJ midweek skipper.

Gray & Kruis reserve list.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu Jun 18, 2020 12:24 pm

Id Take:
Johnny Gray
Maro Itoje
James Ryan
Henderson
Courtney Lawes


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Post by Hazel Sapling on Thu Jun 18, 2020 12:29 pm

For me, the real contenders are AWJ (Wales), Ryan/Henderson/Beirne (Ireland), Gray x 2/Skinner/Cummings (Scotland) and Launchbury/Lawes/Itoje/Kruis/Ewels (England). Thirteen with a shot into five.

What I would go for
Itoje - Ryan are the starters for Lions tests for me, pencilled in.

Henderson, Beirne, Skinnner and Lawes are competing for two of the spots as the dynamic option who can cover BS and compete for the bench option in the real games. Henderson and Lawes are the incumbents

The final spot is for a bigger, powerful set-piece player in Kruis/Launchbury/J Gray. I would go Launchbury at the moment as the incumbent as Kruis is off to Japan and J Gray has not kicked on enough to pass the English options.

AWJ needs rugby to prove that at 35 at time of touring (going on 36) he is still good enough though Gatland will probably take him for "leadership". J Gray, Cummings, Skinner, Beirne and Ewels all need an incredible club/country 12 months to push past the incumbents, but have some credit in the bank to prove they are not a one year wonder. Kruis needs to play international rugby or be dominant in a wider training squad to get in.  


What I reckon Gatland will go for
Itoje, Ryan, Henderson, Lawes, AWJ

Injury - Kruis, Ewels

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu Jun 18, 2020 12:30 pm

Whats peoples thoughts on Nick Isiekwe? Hes a big strong player...and i certainly forget he's only 22.
He's becoming more influential in games...

He'll be at Saints next season where he should continue to improve under a very good coaching team...might be a bolter? And maybe a bit soon for t'other Sarrie...Joel Kpoku..

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Post by Old Man on Thu Jun 18, 2020 12:34 pm

Although AWJ is getting on, Heyneke Meyer took Vicki Matfield to the 2015 RWC at age 38, whilst he wasn’t as physical as in the past (Not that he ever was extremely physical) his leadership meant a lot to Meyer.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:12 pm

Jones shouldn't have gone last time let alone next. As with the back row there are alot of guys pushing but for me to out and out clear favourites to start and they are itoje and ryan. The rest are also rans.

Take jones as the go between between coaches and players if his input is desired based on his performances he's not in that squad.

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:52 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Whats peoples thoughts on Nick Isiekwe? Hes a big strong player...and i certainly forget he's only 22.
He's becoming more influential in games...

He'll be at Saints next season where he should continue to improve under a very good coaching team...might be a bolter? And maybe a bit soon for t'other Sarrie...Joel Kpoku..

Isiekwe is a shout as a versatile option. The problem with some of the bolters is going to be how much competition is ahead of them. Isiekwe might not get many opportunities in an England shirt without an injury to one or two of the four ahead of him (Itoje, Lawes, Launchbury and Ewels). Wales on the other hand have an open jersey next to AWJ allowing someone like Beard, Rowlands or whomever to get in early on to press a case. Scotland's "bolters" would be Cummings and Skinner who are both in the conversation for starting. Beirne for Ireland was already third choice before injury (if memory serves).

Certainly for 2025 though, Isiekwe will have to figure out whether he is a BR who can cover SR or a SR who can cover BR. His curse seems to be that he was pushed to play BS because of the starting locks at Sarries whereas he seems to be more of a lock in the modern game. Maybe Northampton are able to get more out of him and he decides to leave Sarries. Leaving to a team like Bristol or Northampton to be allowed the opportunity to develop in one position.

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Post by chris_501 on Thu Jun 18, 2020 5:08 pm

Obviously Itoje and Ryan are nailed on providing they are fit. I would certainly have Lawes too, but from a Welsh perspective, don't be surprised if Cory Hill goes. He is a favourite of Gatland's, he took him to the WC when injured and gave him all the time possible to get fit when others would be left at home.

For Wales, he's been captain on the tour to Argentina, and has the added flexibility of playing 6 (much like most 2nd row options around at the moment)

I would have thought a brute of a 2nd row would be needed in SA, Wales have Jake Ball who fits that bill, who are the physical style locks from the other home nations?

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Post by Pot Hale on Fri Jun 19, 2020 10:11 am

chris_501 wrote:Obviously Itoje and Ryan are nailed on providing they are fit. I would certainly have Lawes too, but from a Welsh perspective, don't be surprised if Cory Hill goes. He is a favourite of Gatland's, he took him to the WC when injured and gave him all the time possible to get fit when others would be left at home.

For Wales, he's been captain on the tour to Argentina, and has the added flexibility of playing 6 (much like most 2nd row options around at the moment)

I would have thought a brute of a 2nd row would be needed in SA, Wales have Jake Ball who fits that bill, who are the physical style locks from the other home nations?

Jean Kleyn or Quinn Roux are the tighthead locks preferred in Ireland. Both South African.
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Post by bsando on Fri Jun 19, 2020 11:03 am

Without trying to subscribe to too much favouritism as a Scottish supporter, my bolter for the Lions would probably be Scott Cummings. He first caught my attention when I went to see Saracens vs Glasgow in the QF's of the Heineken Cup. He had one carry in particular where the hit he made was so loud he earned a resounding "ooh" from the crowd. He has gained further momentum at Glasgow and for Scotland, starting every game in the 6N (more than the other established Scottish locks) and was highly rated by Dave Rennie. He's got a lot of competition from other young home nations locks but I think he could potentially make the plane if he continues to put in solid performances.

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Post by chris_501 on Fri Jun 19, 2020 11:50 am

Along with scrum half and inside centre, I think lock is the weakest area of the squad. Past the leading 2, there aren't many candidates that most would say have to go.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Fri Jun 19, 2020 12:03 pm

Not sure Chris...i think there's plenty. Its getting the right combos and enough physicality to match the enormous Bok locks.

Ryan and Itoje are quality players
Courtney Lawes is a class act
Johnny Gray is defensive machine that will work all day for you.
The Welch guys have some brutes..like Ball which will be important.

We still have a season to play...there could be bolters. I know England have one of two monsters coming through...so im sure the other home nations must aswell.

I think we have more than enough to put a very good stable of locks together.

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Post by chris_501 on Sat Jun 20, 2020 9:48 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Not sure Chris...i think there's plenty. Its getting the right combos and enough physicality to match the enormous Bok locks.

Ryan and Itoje are quality players
Courtney Lawes is a class act
Johnny Gray is defensive machine that will work all day for you.
The Welch guys have some brutes..like Ball which will be important.

We still have a season to play...there could be bolters. I know England have one of two monsters coming through...so im sure the other home nations must aswell.

I think we have more than enough to put a very good stable of locks together.

Gray hasn't seemed to be of the level in previous seasons, many Scottish posters prefer Cummings. Wales have Ball, but not sure we have any other physically dominating locks. When you look at the list of back row players who will be left out, it's far stronger than the same list of second rows.

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Post by Mr Bounce on Sat Jun 20, 2020 3:16 pm

I always think that against the South Africans you'd need your most physical locks. This is the one area that the Boks really excel with the staring might of Etzebeth and De Jager, plus both Snyman and Mostert. Plus they have PSDT as an additional line-out option. There is bulk and brutality everywhere.

I think most believe that both Itoje and Ryan if fit may well be the starting locks. Lawes will be in the squad I have no doubt, but could be used as the Lions' antidote to PSDT. Jonny Gray must be in with a shout. I have to say that I am unconvinced by the other Scottish Locks, and Henderson will need to regain some of his previous form to be in with a shout of the test team. Kruis I am unsure of - has he peaked? Is him going to Japan an early wind-down to retirement? Or is he simply doing the sabbatical thing before returning to Sarries? Launchbury is solid, but not oustanding. He could tour, but is unlikely to trouble the test team. I doubt we'll see either of Isiekwe or Kpoku, highly-rated they may be, but seasoned test animals they are not. Going into the melting pot of South Africa may be too much. Eddie hauled Isiekwe off after 25 odd minutes back in 2018 I seem to remember.

Jake Ball I think of much like Launchbury - a solid player who does precious little wrong, but he's not outstanding in any area. Adam Beard? Certainly has the size, and could be a player to shine. Think he'll be wanting to prove a point following his Appendicitis-interrupted World Cup. I have to admit to being a bit torn over AWJ. I do not want him to tour if he's taking the place of a younger player who's played their out of their skin and not been picked. He's a fabulous leader, but his physical impact for an international lock is not as effective as he once was. I'd like to see him taken as a non-playing leadership consultant - his input would be invaluable, but I am not sure he would be up to the physical side of things. He has a lot of miles on the clock - I know Simon Shaw toured at 36, but he had a lot less miles on the clock. If he does tour, I cannot see him making the test team. I worry it'd be like Woodward picking all the England 2003 players when they were old, broken or out of form.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat Jun 20, 2020 4:56 pm

I'm still stunned by anyone not admitting the excellence of launchbury. When he plays he get the motm. Class player.

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Post by Mr Bounce on Sat Jun 20, 2020 9:58 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:I'm still stunned by anyone not admitting the excellence of launchbury. When he plays he get the motm. Class player.

I think he's a fantastic player 7 1/2. As a Wasps fan and as a former pupil of the school he went to I really rate him. I just think that he's struggled to match the top 3 locks in the England set of Kruis, Itoje & Lawes. A very safe pair of hands and there's nothing he does badly. However, for a Lions Tour you want the very top. Right now I do not feel that he's quite there. In 2017-18 I felt he was one of the very best in the world but after injury I think he's slipped a bit. There's still time.

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Post by RiscaGame on Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:04 am

Funnily enough, there was a stink about Launchbury not getting selected for the Lions in 17, then he hardly played for England since. Strange that.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:44 am

I do think he always comes back slowly from an injury. It's not that strange as he picked up a lot of injuries since risca. It's been lawes who has got the plaudits from a lot of england fans and now neutral fans. Just feel the rest of the pack should need to be bulked up to cover for him. If lawes does go I'd imagine alot will turn against him quite quickly.

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Post by Mr Bounce on Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:43 am

RiscaGame wrote:Funnily enough, there was a stink about Launchbury not getting selected for the Lions in 17, then he hardly played for England since. Strange that.

Would that be the 20 caps he picked up between then and now? He has played quite a lot.

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Post by bsando on Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:49 pm

chris_501 wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Not sure Chris...i think there's plenty. Its getting the right combos and enough physicality to match the enormous Bok locks.

Ryan and Itoje are quality players
Courtney Lawes is a class act
Johnny Gray is defensive machine that will work all day for you.
The Welch guys have some brutes..like Ball which will be important.

We still have a season to play...there could be bolters. I know England have one of two monsters coming through...so I'm sure the other home nations must as well.

I think we have more than enough to put a very good stable of locks together.

Gray hasn't seemed to be of the level in previous seasons, many Scottish posters prefer Cummings. Wales have Ball, but not sure we have any other physically dominating locks. When you look at the list of back row players who will be left out, it's far stronger than the same list of second rows.

Cummings looks more the all round player while Gray is currently renowned for his defence and tackle stats. I think with Cummings, he has the potential to become a very good lock over the next few years, while Gray could improve other parts of his game as Rob Baxter has mentioned. Gray has plateaued at Glasgow and I think the Exeter move will really help rejuvenate parts of his game that could boost his case for selection next year. There will obviously be a lot of close calls but Cummings, Gray and Gilchrist (who had an excellent game against France in the 6N) are the only real candidates for Scotland at the moment, Skinner has been injured too much unfortunately.

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Post by Soul Requiem on Sun Jun 21, 2020 11:29 pm

Mr Bounce wrote:
RiscaGame wrote:Funnily enough, there was a stink about Launchbury not getting selected for the Lions in 17, then he hardly played for England since. Strange that.

Would that be the 20 caps he picked up between then and now? He has played quite a lot.

How many minutes has he played in that time?

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Post by RiscaGame on Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:22 am

Soul Requiem wrote:
Mr Bounce wrote:
RiscaGame wrote:Funnily enough, there was a stink about Launchbury not getting selected for the Lions in 17, then he hardly played for England since. Strange that.

Would that be the 20 caps he picked up between then and now? He has played quite a lot.

How many minutes has he played in that time?

Must’ve been loads.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:03 pm

There was a stink about more of England’s players not being picked on the last tour, then one of them starts the first test and has a shocker - struggled to make the england and Saracens team the following season. It’s not always fine and rosy you know.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:08 pm

Let's leave how bad gatland is at selection to the thread already dedicated to it.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:15 pm

Better yet, why don’t you and your partner BamBam aka Milkybar Kid just start a thread where you can slag off Gatland and Wales. Not sure how far you’ll get but it should at least direct your ilk away from the chat the real rugby people are having.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:18 pm

Like I said theres already a thread on gatlands selections. You posted on it.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:22 pm

bsando wrote:Wales

Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Bradley Davies, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones, Seb Davies, Will Rowlands

Oh Jesus I hope Seb Davies isn’t there. I can see Ball, Hill and AWJ having a realistic shot. I assume you just copied and pasted Seb in from the squad list. 

Back 5 forwards are underrated. I’m not sure why people are so closed off to having Itoje at 6, it would enable us to add in a solid lock forward alongside Ryan without losing anything. Next to Ryan you might want someone like Jake Ball, with Itoje at 6. 

The other best options from other nations are Lawes, Henderson and perhaps Cummings. I think this is an area where we aren’t close to competing with against a team like SA.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Mon Jun 22, 2020 7:39 pm

This is easy for me, and probably the most clear cut:

Itoje, Ryan, Henderson, Lawes and Wyn Jones.

Back-up is trickier, perhaps one of the Scots: J Gray or Gilchrist, depending on who gets injured.

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Post by tigertattie on Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:21 pm

bsando wrote:
chris_501 wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Not sure Chris...i think there's plenty. Its getting the right combos and enough physicality to match the enormous Bok locks.

Ryan and Itoje are quality players
Courtney Lawes is a class act
Johnny Gray is defensive machine that will work all day for you.
The Welch guys have some brutes..like Ball which will be important.

We still have a season to play...there could be bolters. I know England have one of two monsters coming through...so I'm sure the other home nations must as well.

I think we have more than enough to put a very good stable of locks together.

Gray hasn't seemed to be of the level in previous seasons, many Scottish posters prefer Cummings. Wales have Ball, but not sure we have any other physically dominating locks. When you look at the list of back row players who will be left out, it's far stronger than the same list of second rows.

Cummings looks more the all round player while Gray is currently renowned for his defence and tackle stats. I think with Cummings, he has the potential to become a very good lock over the next few years, while Gray could improve other parts of his game as Rob Baxter has mentioned. Gray has plateaued at Glasgow and I think the Exeter move will really help rejuvenate parts of his game that could boost his case for selection next year. There will obviously be a lot of close calls but Cummings, Gray and Gilchrist (who had an excellent game against France in the 6N) are the only real candidates for Scotland at the moment, Skinner has been injured too much unfortunately.

Let’s wait till Cummings can get into the Scotland starting team before we talk him up for the lions.

He’s got the potential and could be one for the future, but right now he’s what 9th or 10th on the list for lions places at best.
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Post by NeilyBroon on Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:08 am

tigertattie wrote:
bsando wrote:
chris_501 wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Not sure Chris...i think there's plenty. Its getting the right combos and enough physicality to match the enormous Bok locks.

Ryan and Itoje are quality players
Courtney Lawes is a class act
Johnny Gray is defensive machine that will work all day for you.
The Welch guys have some brutes..like Ball which will be important.

We still have a season to play...there could be bolters. I know England have one of two monsters coming through...so I'm sure the other home nations must as well.

I think we have more than enough to put a very good stable of locks together.

Gray hasn't seemed to be of the level in previous seasons, many Scottish posters prefer Cummings. Wales have Ball, but not sure we have any other physically dominating locks. When you look at the list of back row players who will be left out, it's far stronger than the same list of second rows.

Cummings looks more the all round player while Gray is currently renowned for his defence and tackle stats. I think with Cummings, he has the potential to become a very good lock over the next few years, while Gray could improve other parts of his game as Rob Baxter has mentioned. Gray has plateaued at Glasgow and I think the Exeter move will really help rejuvenate parts of his game that could boost his case for selection next year. There will obviously be a lot of close calls but Cummings, Gray and Gilchrist (who had an excellent game against France in the 6N) are the only real candidates for Scotland at the moment, Skinner has been injured too much unfortunately.

Let’s wait till Cummings can get into the Scotland starting team before we talk him up for the lions.

He’s got the potential and could be one for the future, but right now he’s what 9th or 10th on the list for lions places at best.

He has been in the starting lineup for most games and outperforming Gray consistently (although Gilchrist also has been).

I think Gray could come good with Exeter though, he needs to progress really to be considered for the lions. His workrate is phenomenal but he doesn't offer as much as his brother did when he was picked.

Expect it will be Itoje and Ryan and A N Other.
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Post by bsando on Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:24 am

NeilyBroon wrote:
tigertattie wrote:
bsando wrote:
chris_501 wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Not sure Chris...i think there's plenty. Its getting the right combos and enough physicality to match the enormous Bok locks.

Ryan and Itoje are quality players
Courtney Lawes is a class act
Johnny Gray is defensive machine that will work all day for you.
The Welch guys have some brutes..like Ball which will be important.

We still have a season to play...there could be bolters. I know England have one of two monsters coming through...so I'm sure the other home nations must as well.

I think we have more than enough to put a very good stable of locks together.

Gray hasn't seemed to be of the level in previous seasons, many Scottish posters prefer Cummings. Wales have Ball, but not sure we have any other physically dominating locks. When you look at the list of back row players who will be left out, it's far stronger than the same list of second rows.

Cummings looks more the all round player while Gray is currently renowned for his defence and tackle stats. I think with Cummings, he has the potential to become a very good lock over the next few years, while Gray could improve other parts of his game as Rob Baxter has mentioned. Gray has plateaued at Glasgow and I think the Exeter move will really help rejuvenate parts of his game that could boost his case for selection next year. There will obviously be a lot of close calls but Cummings, Gray and Gilchrist (who had an excellent game against France in the 6N) are the only real candidates for Scotland at the moment, Skinner has been injured too much unfortunately.

Let’s wait till Cummings can get into the Scotland starting team before we talk him up for the lions.

He’s got the potential and could be one for the future, but right now he’s what 9th or 10th on the list for lions places at best.

He has been in the starting lineup for most games and outperforming Gray consistently (although Gilchrist also has been).

I think Gray could come good with Exeter though, he needs to progress really to be considered for the lions. His workrate is phenomenal but he doesn't offer as much as his brother did when he was picked.

Expect it will be Itoje and Ryan and A N Other.

Yeah rugby and player development moves fast! Cummings only got his first cap against France in a RWC warm up game, he's now sitting on 12 caps and started every 6N match for Scotland this year.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue Jun 23, 2020 11:38 am

Whats the crack with Gray senior these days...? Is he playing well? Who does he play for?

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Post by NeilyBroon on Tue Jun 23, 2020 11:50 am

He put in a few performances for Toulouse off the bench but has recurring back problems that tend to hamper his progress. He'll be playing for Glasgow again next season. I doubt we'll see him on the international stage again unless he can fully shake off his injury issues and have a strong 20-21 season. He was called for the WC squad but he wanted to spend more time rehabilitating and with his family. You get the impression he'll have one more season trying international then announce intl retirement.
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Post by tigertattie on Tue Jun 23, 2020 12:55 pm

Theres still hope fro Gray Snr. With him being back in the shop window at Glasgow I'm hoping he can catch the eye of Toonie.

Ritchie and Jonny are a very good pairing that compliment each other. Ritchie also played a few blinders when playing with his brother, it was either he was having to look after his wee bro, or he wanted to show he was better!!!

His only issue is that Toonie may be on a WC rebuiling cycle and Ritchie may not been seen as an option in 3 years time due to his advancing years - He'll be 34 at the next WC. While this isnt Matfield territory, it isnt Lock prime territory either!
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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue Jun 23, 2020 1:30 pm

Don't Toulouse now have both the Arnold brothers and Dominic Bird at 2nd row? That's ridiculous strength.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:25 pm

If there's a Scottish lock in contention for this tour (and I don't think there is), then my bet would be Grant Gilchrist. South Africa is a country for the big lads, and if old man Wyn Jones falls off his stair lift then Gilchrist might be the man to keep the dirt track forwards moving in the right direction.

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Post by BigGee on Tue Jun 23, 2020 11:09 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:If there's a Scottish lock in contention for this tour (and I don't think there is), then my bet would be Grant Gilchrist. South Africa is a country for the big lads, and if old man Wyn Jones falls off his stair lift then Gilchrist might be the man to keep the dirt track forwards moving in the right direction.

What have you been smoking tonight FES?

With Gray (possibly x 2), Cummings, Skinner and not to mention some of the other young guns coming up. Gilchrist will struggle to get Scotland game time next year, especially with Toonie casting his eye forward now. It would be very hard to see him bursting into Lions contention at this stage in his career.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Wed Jun 24, 2020 8:50 am

Gilchrist is 29! What stage of his career do you think this is!?

Ritchie Gray is off the international map (at present), and Skinner hasn't established himself as an international lock. Skinner's strength seems to be covering lock and 6, but he's hardly the type of lock for South Africa.

Jonny Gray has consistency on his side, and a ferocious work rate. He's been overlooked for prior Lions tours when in better form, and my suspicion is that he's seen as another Joe Launchbury. Lots of effort and work, but often lacking in big match influence.

Cummings I rate highly, but he's more of a line out specialist and a lighter option (perhaps could be cover for Lawes or Ryan).

I don't see any of our locks making the tour to be honest.

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Post by BigGee on Wed Jun 24, 2020 9:14 am

I am not sure any of them will either, but i am certain that Gilchrist won't!

Lets see what JG does at Exeter, he is definitely in the conversation.

Skinner and Cummings would both need to put down a serious marker in this seasons international matches to come into the reckoning and RG would need to rediscover his form of 8 years ago.

A lot of ifs in that lot and some very strong opposition.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:19 am

RiscaGame wrote:
Soul Requiem wrote:
Mr Bounce wrote:
RiscaGame wrote:Funnily enough, there was a stink about Launchbury not getting selected for the Lions in 17, then he hardly played for England since. Strange that.

Would that be the 20 caps he picked up between then and now? He has played quite a lot.

How many minutes has he played in that time?

Must’ve been loads.

Launchbury was a mainstay under Lancaster as he was the type of all action player Lancaster and Farrell seemed to like. His impact was big in the loose and he's a good carrier though not quick enough to cover 6. He is however, a poor lineout jumper and his impact at the scrum no different than a lot of others and less than someone like Kruis. Eddie seems to have viewed him as a luxury player, he can't pair with Itoje who is by far the best lock England has as Launchbury can't call a lineout so Lawes or Kruis have been preferred. Lawes covers 6 as well which allows more freedom in bench options whilst Kruis is one of the best set piece forwards in the NH. One of Eddie's biggest errors was leaving him on the bench for the RWC final.

When Eddie took the England job he said he wanted England to play an English style of rugby which meant a strong set piece. That really was the biggest suggestion that Launchbury was on the way out. He won't tour with the Lions unless there's injuries.

I can't see any of Wales lads getting a look in unless someone like Hill starts tearing it up internationally. AWJ may well go for leadership but his playing ability is seriously on the decline. Beirne is one that may well get a look in as he can drop in to cover 6 and is physical and contests the breakdown. Contesting the breakdown and rolling maul I think will be key, which is a plus point in the Henderson column as well. Johnny Gray at Exeter will not be able to stand still he's in a great environment for him and I think he'll thrive.

My bolter would be Gray's new teammate at Exeter Johnny Hill. Criminally overlooked by England he is mobile, good work rate, good at the lineout and a nightmare to play against, he works his way through rolling mauls and is a pain to shift at the breakdown. How Ewels gets caps but Hill doesn't is simply beyond me.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Wed Jun 24, 2020 5:45 pm

I would be stunned if Gatland didn't take AWJ!! He took him on a previous tour when he was still to prove his fitness.

I really don't see a bolter at lock. I think Ryan, Itoje, Henderson, AWJ and Lawes are nailed on if fit.

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Post by Poorfour on Mon Jul 13, 2020 12:05 pm

Lock is another interesting position. I wonder how the breakdown interpretation will affect what locks are asked to do, and therefore who gets picked. The increased speed of the breakdown is going to put mobility and workrate at a premium, especially at altitude, but the Lions will still need a solid pair of scrummaging locks. For me, that favours technique and brains over sheer bulk.

I think that supports the consensus of Itoje and Ryan as the most likely starters. It may also give a boost to Gray and perhaps Hendersonb. AWJ probably shouldn't tour, but will.

I'm much less convinced by the claims of the likes of Ewels and Isiekwe. Lots of physical power, but they seem to me to be lacking in nous. I got talking to one of Isiekwe's youth coaches on a course once, who was very clear that he's not the sharpest tool in the box, especially compared to Itoje.

One other thing: can we persuade World Rugby to fast track approval of elbow pads for Maro?
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Post by Sharkey06 on Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:41 am

Itoje is a certainty barring injury as should be Ryan. After that you are just looking at people to backfill the numbers. Anyone putting Ewels and Isiekwe forward as possibles in my opinion know jack about second rows (but I am not trying to start a fight!). Neither should be anywhere near England's second row, never mind the Lions. I think this may be a tour too far for AWJ, but if he went he would not let the team down. I think we could be looking at Lawes plus Henderson and ano.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:12 pm

There's not much time for any newcomer to really stake a claim (is there?). The extended rest could be a blessing or a curse for AWJ who I think is the most likely tour captain even at this stage.

The days of there being a 'test team' or even a captain who has to play every test match are over. It's 3 top class test matches in 3 weeks. You only get that sort of intensity during a RWC even in the autumn they are staggered with a weak opponent like Fiji or Georgia in between SANZAR.

With that in mind you have to start with who is proven. Itoje is first name in the pack. Kruis is out of contention for now, Launchbury not really good enough and I'd say Jonny Gray is in the same vein but maybe moving to Exeter will improve him enough in the short time there is left before the tour.

For me, Lawes has to tour. He might not start but he's getting better and better each season. Everyone seems to rate Ryan but I think Henderson is the better player at the moment. Beirne has all the hallmarks of being a Tom Croft type player who will cover the back 5 but will he get enough minutes with Ireland even though Schmidt has left? I don't think any other Welsh lock is in contention, maybe Jake Ball if we have an injury or two but he's too injury prone himself.

- Lawes
- Itoje
- AWJ
- Ryan
- Henderson

Beirne as first back up.

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