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Potential Lions Squad - The Back Three

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Post by bsando on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 9:29 am

Changing it up, let's have a look at the back three options from each home nation. Who would you select in your Lions back three?

South Africa had a wonderful balance to theirs in the RWC last year with the small yet deadly Kolbe and the electric Mapimpi with the former Wasp Le Roux at fullback.  

This is a hard one with a lot of good options. In 2017 Gatland took nine players who were capable of playing in the back three, two of which were also capable of playing at centre. So select a possible 7 back three players and a couple of utility players for this one. Then three injury call ups (three players were injured on the last tour, North, Hogg and Payne). Or just select as you please or who you think Gatland will select.

To add another angle, which former back three Lions will be left out of next years tour?

As with the last threads, players listed below are from RWC2019 and 6N 2020 squads. Add who you like and who you think may be selected (E.g, DHVM will be eligible for Scotland soon and could potentially tour) and of course, bolters!

England

Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson, Johnny May, Ollie Thorley, George Furbank, Joe Cokanasiga, Ruaridh McConnochie, Jack Nowell

Ireland

Jordan Larmour, Will Addison, Jacob Stockdale, Dave Kearney, Keith Earles, Andrew Conway

Scotland

Sean Maitland, Stuart Hogg, Darcy Graham, Blair Kinghorn, Kyle Steyn, Ratu Tagive, Byron McGuigan, Duncan Taylor

Wales

Josh Adams, Liam Williams, Jonah Holmes, Leigh Halfpenny, Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Johnny McNicholl, Owen Lane, Josh Adams, Hallam Amos,

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Post by lostinwales on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 10:30 am

From England Watson and Daly will be on the plane. May should go as 1st choice winger but could easily miss out altogether.

Cokanasiga and Nowell seem to have been injured for ages. Both are potentially devastating and offer something different. Nowell also occasionally plays in the centres. Of the two Nowell has a chance but I doubt Cokanasiga does.

The others are also-rans. Thorley needs to play for England before the Lions and he's getting precious little opportunity so far. Maybe next time for him.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 10:32 am

Maitland might make it on experience of Lions tours and his ability to fill in at FB. Realistically though it'll be Hogg as the token Scot here, unless Darcy Graham bounces back from injury in style and shows the form he had in the England comeback of 2019.

For me starting back three would be:
Larmour
May
Hogg
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Post by Hazel Sapling on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 10:33 am

Hogg, L Williams, May and Stockdale are nailed on. If all are healthy and in form, May and Stockdale are on the wings with L Williams and Hogg competing to start, loser on the bench.

Out and out wingers: Adams, North, Graham, Cokanasiga, McConnochie, McNicholl, Earles and Thorley. I would think Gatland has them in that order so Adams is pencilled in and North is on the bubble. I would look to one of Graham, Cokanasiga or McConnochie ahead of North with Graham the favourite as the one already pencilled in as an international starter.

Versatile backs: Daly, Nowell, Watson and Addison. Daly is the leading candidate because of the additional kicking he can provide over Nowell. Would probably say the first two get in as outside centre covers with Watson vs North for the eigth spot.

FB's first, wings second: Larmour and Kinghorn are both fullbacks first, wings second in my mind and are probably on the outside looking in as FB cover if two of the main FB options are injured. Maitland and Halfpenny are in the twilight part of their careers and their skills are already met in the wider squad even with injuries (e.g. is HP going to be need to kick?). Furbank has not done anything yet and Amos has not established himself.

Final 7/8 players
Hogg, L Williams, May, Stockdale, Adams, Daly, Nowell and North

Injury replacements: Graham, Cokanasiga, Larmour

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Post by BamBam on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 10:39 am

First choice - Hogg, Watson, May
Second choice - Williams, Stockdale, Larmour
Utility - Daly
Next in line - Adams, Cokanasiga

Would love to see Cokanasiga go but not sure there will be enough time for him to make his case over any of the above

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 11:27 am

May's the stand out winger in the world for me so should be on the plane and starting. From an England perspective I'd have watson and nowell. Daly would be no where near. Test starters would be Hogg and Adam's and may on the wings.

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Post by Soul Requiem on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 11:38 am

Hogg, Williams, May, Watson, Adams and Stockdale seem nailed on for me with Daly going as a utility back for the midweek team.

Who starts out of that lot though is a bit more tricky; Watson, May and Williams are probably the most secure under the high ball which will be pivotal.

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Post by bsando on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 11:58 am

I like the idea of Cokanasiga and Graham starting on either wing, both with different skillsets but equally deadly. Graham is the sort of player who can sneak and weave through tight defences as he's shown against England and Wales. Cokanasiga is just awesome! He really impresses me when he plays for England. The old Hogg vs Williams FB dilemma is a tough one but I think Hogg has a certain skillset that suits the Lions FB role.

I'd go.. Hogg, Williams, Larmour, May, Cokanasiga, Adams, Graham, Stockdale and a bolter (LRZ, DHVM maybe).

Possible starting back three of 11. Cokanasiga or Stockdale, 14. May, Adams or Graham, 15. Hogg

Bench - 23. Williams or Larmour

That would give you some excellent fb options and some great talent for the midweek games who could potentially push for a starting spot if any of those three are out of sorts or not looking sharp enough for the task.

My main frustration in previous tours was that the starting XV for the three tests was impenetrable for the back three. In 2013 Halfpenny started every game at FB with only Cuthbert missing out for Bowe in test 2 and 3. North started at 11 every test.

In 2017 there were no changes at all with Williams, Daly and Watson starting every test. Halfpenny subbing the first test and Nowell for the remaining two.

So although consistency is important it would be nice to see some midweek players stepping up and taking a spot in one of the three test matches. Or at least feel as though selection for the three tests is more open and less set in stone.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 12:15 pm

No way on earth would I want Cokanasiga ahead of Anthony Watson

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Post by Soul Requiem on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 12:20 pm

LondonTiger wrote:No way on earth would I want Cokanasiga ahead of Anthony Watson

I think people get a bit carried away with Cokanasiga positives, as a carrier he's superb but outside of that there's a lot of room for improvement, his support lines aren't the best, he falls off tackles despite being 18st+ and he's pretty wretched under the high ball from a defensive perspective, he's good competing for attacking kicks however. From a purely English point of view; May and Watson are about as secure as is possible whilst retaining a lot of attacking threat, May in particular scored two solo tries against France this season from nothing positions.

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Post by BamBam on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 12:50 pm

LondonTiger wrote:No way on earth would I want Cokanasiga ahead of Anthony Watson

Yup. May and Watson are the standout wing options by far

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 12:56 pm

Hows cokanasiga s injury going?

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Post by Rugby Fan on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 1:46 pm

Haskell mentioned that Cokanasiga was probably carrying an injury when he got capped for England, so we perhaps haven't seen his potential yet. Not sure it was the same injury which eventually took him out of contention. Haven't heard how his rehab is going.

He does have his work cut out to make an impact, so we'll have to wait and see.


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Post by chris_501 on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 2:40 pm

For me, I'd have the starting back 3 made up from Watson, Hogg, May and Williams. Then looking at Adams, Nowell and one of Stockdale or Larmour to tour. I have to admit, I haven't seen enough of Graham or DVDM to make an assessment. A big international year for them could push in. I would expect Daly to go, but he wouldn't be my choice

As for bolters, as with many positions, its unlikely. Gats has always shown they he trusts those players that have performed for him before. Those who were on the 2017 tour have a head start on everyone else.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 3:40 pm

chris_501 wrote:
As for bolters, as with many positions, its unlikely. Gats has always shown they he trusts those players that have performed for him before. Those who were on the 2017 tour have a head start on everyone else.

The 2017 selections were:

Daly, North, Nowell, Seymour, Watson, Halfpenny, Hogg & Williams.


Of those I struggle to see North, Seymour or Halfpenny travelling, and serious doubts over Nowell staying fit enough to push his case. Daly's versatility could work in his favour.

Adams has to be in the mix, two years ago Stockdale would have been a shoe-in but his form has dipped, Larmour is exciting but Gats is generally pretty risk averse.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 8:33 pm

Assuming he picks 7 back three players, I would suggest the following:

11. May and Adams
14. Watson and North
15. Hogg and Williams

+ Larmour

Stockdale would be my first phone call in case of injury.

The one I'm least certain of is North. He covers centre to a degree and has Lions experience, which is why I've gone with him (I could just as easily gone with Daly on the same reasoning), but there are a host of possible bolters who could sneak on the plane: Duhan, Rees-Zammit, Cokanasiga and D'Arcy Graham all exciting options.

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Post by Mr Bounce on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 10:16 pm

I can't see George North making the test team myself, although he may well tour. Josh Adams is the Welsh in-form winger and is carrying himself very well. If his form continues he will be on the plane. Liam Williams is one of those class players who can make a difference at 75%, but he has had a long injury comeback. Hopefully he'll tour - I think he's in with a decent shot of the the 15 test shirt, but he'll have to deal with my next mention. The others on the Welsh list (Halfpenny aside) are unlikely to be considered due to experience at the very top level

Stuart Hogg I am on the fence about. I don't think he's hit the form of old, and I don't think he's as good as his hype. His defence isn't that sharp. Attacking, no question, but his last-ditch tackling in my opinion is no better than Daly's. However, he's still an amazing fullback. Injury permitting, he's likely to be in the no 1 slot for that position. I like Darcey Graham. He's a tricky little so and so with tons of pace. I'd like to see him on the plane. The other Scottish back 3 players I think have not shown enough to warrant a call up. Solid, but not exciting.

The Irish players are quite interesting: Larmour is on the plane, no doubt. He's electric, unpredictable and at times unplayable. Stockdale is woefully off-form compared to when he first arrived on the International scene. On form he's fantastic, but he's shown precious little of that recently. Unless he finds some form, he won't tour. I like Conway - a tough nugget of a winger. Wouldn't be surprised to see him in SA. Dave Kearney & Keith Earls I think are both past their best (in Kearney's case, just under the level required for a Lions winger anyway).

As for England, I think it'll be the 3 of Watson, May and Daly as it stands at the moment. Furbank and Thorley are unlikely to go, with Nowell & Cokanasiga outside chances dependent on their return from injury and their form. I am not sure about McConnachie as he hasn't really done too much in an England shirt to warrant further selection.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 10:53 pm

I don't see North touching the test team either. Much like AWJ I'd say that if he does tour it will be to add experience to the mid-week effort. I just think Gatland will trust in those he knows.

The other point I'd make in support of Hogg, is that he has a siege gun boot on him. I think his defensive frailties are slightly overstated, and his leadership and mentality shift within the Scotland squad have been fairly evident. I think he's a cert to tour, but i think the battle between him, Williams and Larmour (Watson is at 14 for sure) will really come down to form on the tour.

Plenty of wonderful attacking options at 15 for the Lions.

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Post by bsando on Fri 26 Jun 2020, 10:17 am

chris_501 wrote:For me, I'd have the starting back 3 made up from Watson, Hogg, May and Williams. Then looking at Adams, Nowell and one of Stockdale or Larmour to tour. I have to admit, I haven't seen enough of Graham or DVDM to make an assessment. A big international year for them could push in. I would expect Daly to go, but he wouldn't be my choice

As for bolters, as with many positions, its unlikely. Gats has always shown they he trusts those players that have performed for him before. Those who were on the 2017 tour have a head start on everyone else.

Well as I'm an Edinburgh fan Very Happy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlCuEg93htQ - DVDM highlights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zqTIlVNhqQ&t=799s - Darcy Graham highlights

DVDM is quite sharky. There'll be games for Edinburgh where Graham has been doing all the flashy stuff and you almost forget DVDM is on the other wing. Then he'll receive a wide pass or get a turnover and suddenly you'll be watching in awe as he knocks defenders over scoring in the corner. He isn't renowned for the speed of May and LRZ but he is still very fast and can dodge tackles just as much as he can smash through them. One of the best signings Edinburgh have made under Cockers. A lot of potential from a Scotland point of view as well but he needs to be capped first which is why I didn't include him in my list for the Lions tour. Also he's born and bred Saffa so Gatland may feel reluctant to bring him.

Graham is all pace and agility but he can burst tackles and retain ball in big collisions. I think himself and Damien Mckenzie are remarkably similar players and Graham has played at fullback for Edinburgh a little bit. He played a lot of Sevens for Scotland before his Edinburgh career kicked off.

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Post by chris_501 on Fri 26 Jun 2020, 12:55 pm

bsando wrote:
chris_501 wrote:For me, I'd have the starting back 3 made up from Watson, Hogg, May and Williams. Then looking at Adams, Nowell and one of Stockdale or Larmour to tour. I have to admit, I haven't seen enough of Graham or DVDM to make an assessment. A big international year for them could push in. I would expect Daly to go, but he wouldn't be my choice

As for bolters, as with many positions, its unlikely. Gats has always shown they he trusts those players that have performed for him before. Those who were on the 2017 tour have a head start on everyone else.

Well as I'm an Edinburgh fan Very Happy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlCuEg93htQ - DVDM highlights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zqTIlVNhqQ&t=799s - Darcy Graham highlights

DVDM is quite sharky. There'll be games for Edinburgh where Graham has been doing all the flashy stuff and you almost forget DVDM is on the other wing. Then he'll receive a wide pass or get a turnover and suddenly you'll be watching in awe as he knocks defenders over scoring in the corner. He isn't renowned for the speed of May and LRZ but he is still very fast and can dodge tackles just as much as he can smash through them. One of the best signings Edinburgh have made under Cockers. A lot of potential from a Scotland point of view as well but he needs to be capped first which is why I didn't include him in my list for the Lions tour. Also he's born and bred Saffa so Gatland may feel reluctant to bring him.

Graham is all pace and agility but he can burst tackles and retain ball in big collisions. I think himself and Damien Mckenzie are remarkably similar players and Graham has played at fullback for Edinburgh a little bit. He played a lot of Sevens for Scotland before his Edinburgh career kicked off.

Sounds pretty similar to Larmour?

Josh Adams is an interesting one, if you were to list what he does that is world class, you would struggle. He's not got the pace of May, the strength under the high ball of Watson, or the jinking ability of Larmour, but he scores tries. Lots of tries!

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Post by lostinwales on Fri 26 Jun 2020, 1:19 pm

chris_501 wrote:
bsando wrote:
chris_501 wrote:For me, I'd have the starting back 3 made up from Watson, Hogg, May and Williams. Then looking at Adams, Nowell and one of Stockdale or Larmour to tour. I have to admit, I haven't seen enough of Graham or DVDM to make an assessment. A big international year for them could push in. I would expect Daly to go, but he wouldn't be my choice

As for bolters, as with many positions, its unlikely. Gats has always shown they he trusts those players that have performed for him before. Those who were on the 2017 tour have a head start on everyone else.

Well as I'm an Edinburgh fan Very Happy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlCuEg93htQ - DVDM highlights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zqTIlVNhqQ&t=799s - Darcy Graham highlights

DVDM is quite sharky. There'll be games for Edinburgh where Graham has been doing all the flashy stuff and you almost forget DVDM is on the other wing. Then he'll receive a wide pass or get a turnover and suddenly you'll be watching in awe as he knocks defenders over scoring in the corner. He isn't renowned for the speed of May and LRZ but he is still very fast and can dodge tackles just as much as he can smash through them. One of the best signings Edinburgh have made under Cockers. A lot of potential from a Scotland point of view as well but he needs to be capped first which is why I didn't include him in my list for the Lions tour. Also he's born and bred Saffa so Gatland may feel reluctant to bring him.

Graham is all pace and agility but he can burst tackles and retain ball in big collisions. I think himself and Damien Mckenzie are remarkably similar players and Graham has played at fullback for Edinburgh a little bit. He played a lot of Sevens for Scotland before his Edinburgh career kicked off.

Sounds pretty similar to Larmour?

Josh Adams is an interesting one, if you were to list what he does that is world class, you would struggle. He's not got the pace of May, the strength under the high ball of Watson, or the jinking ability of Larmour, but he scores tries. Lots of tries!

Wales' answer to Chris Ashton

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Post by bsando on Fri 26 Jun 2020, 3:09 pm

lostinwales wrote:
chris_501 wrote:
bsando wrote:
chris_501 wrote:For me, I'd have the starting back 3 made up from Watson, Hogg, May and Williams. Then looking at Adams, Nowell and one of Stockdale or Larmour to tour. I have to admit, I haven't seen enough of Graham or DVDM to make an assessment. A big international year for them could push in. I would expect Daly to go, but he wouldn't be my choice

As for bolters, as with many positions, its unlikely. Gats has always shown they he trusts those players that have performed for him before. Those who were on the 2017 tour have a head start on everyone else.

Well as I'm an Edinburgh fan Very Happy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlCuEg93htQ - DVDM highlights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zqTIlVNhqQ&t=799s - Darcy Graham highlights

DVDM is quite sharky. There'll be games for Edinburgh where Graham has been doing all the flashy stuff and you almost forget DVDM is on the other wing. Then he'll receive a wide pass or get a turnover and suddenly you'll be watching in awe as he knocks defenders over scoring in the corner. He isn't renowned for the speed of May and LRZ but he is still very fast and can dodge tackles just as much as he can smash through them. One of the best signings Edinburgh have made under Cockers. A lot of potential from a Scotland point of view as well but he needs to be capped first which is why I didn't include him in my list for the Lions tour. Also he's born and bred Saffa so Gatland may feel reluctant to bring him.

Graham is all pace and agility but he can burst tackles and retain ball in big collisions. I think himself and Damien Mckenzie are remarkably similar players and Graham has played at fullback for Edinburgh a little bit. He played a lot of Sevens for Scotland before his Edinburgh career kicked off.

Sounds pretty similar to Larmour?

Josh Adams is an interesting one, if you were to list what he does that is world class, you would struggle. He's not got the pace of May, the strength under the high ball of Watson, or the jinking ability of Larmour, but he scores tries. Lots of tries!

Wales' answer to Chris Ashton

That's a good comparison! Apart from the lack of swan dives from Adams.

I like Adams, he is good winger and I've been impressed with his performances for Wales. He always works hard to be in the right place.

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Post by TJ on Fri 26 Jun 2020, 10:22 pm

We all know that Hogg will more than likely be the only scot going and he will not get a test start start. Gatland just does not like scots players.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Fri 26 Jun 2020, 10:43 pm

Now now TJ, I think we'll have more than Hogg on this tour. It's pretty hard to pick three hookers and ignore both McInally and Brown, and whilst I dont think all of Sutherland, Ritchie, Watson and Russell will tour, we'd be unlucky if none of them did.

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Post by RiscaGame on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 2:24 am

TJ wrote:We all know that Hogg will more than likely be the only scot going and he will not get a test start start.  Gatland just does not like scots players.  

Grow up mate. It’s not Gatland’s fault that Hogg ran into Murray’s elbow, last tour. Otherwise, if he wasn’t a test starter, he wouldn’t have played against Crusaders! Try not posting so childishly.

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Post by TJ on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 4:38 am

Risca - ignoring scots players worthy of a place in the lions has been Gatlands shortcoming. Playing old, injured and out of form welshmen instead

FES we have half a dozen who should tour and several who should be test starters but its a given that they will be ignored. Gatland has already made it clear.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 7:42 am

Gatland is a poor selector. I think this thread is more to pick what you d like than what gatland will do though. There clearly should be a decent mix this time around.

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Post by chris_501 on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 10:26 am

I think history has shown us that the last two posts are simply incorrect!

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 12:02 pm

There really should be a mix this time chris. I dont think even gatland can sunlly close his eyes and go with his favourites given the guys pressing their claims. You feel scotland should be ignored again? Really?

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Post by TJ on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 12:09 pm

I would not say Gatland is a poor selector - I would say he is conservative. He goes for the known players.

However to me its no longer "the British and Irish lions" Its the english welsh with some Irish lions. I used to watch every game played. Now I no longer bother

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Post by RDW on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 12:50 pm

It definitely depends on what your perspective on the Lions is. If it's all about success then there's no doubting he's been a good Lions coach - a win and a draw, particularly when a series involved NZ, is a very good return given how difficult Lions tours are.

If however you think there's more to the Lions than just winning, that history, tradition and the values of the Lions is the ultimate, then he's perhaps not been as successful by completely alienating 1 of the 4 founding nations. A nation that has contributed so much to it's success over the years.

Personally for me the Lions need to win, and particularly in 2013 when we hadn't won a series in so long. However, there is no doubting that a few more Scottish players could have been picked in both 2013 and 2017 without reducing the chances of this happening. Furthermore when one of them was in the test squad - Ryan Grant - he was kept on the bench despite Vunipola been completely and utterly spent after 65 minutes, and was literally walking between plays. That's a huge slap in the face, and he was never the same player after that tour. These kind of things really don't help Scottish enthusiasm for the brand.

I know that other nations don't get this, and I'm sure most English and Welsh don't see any problem (the Irish are still smarting from BoD 2013!). To be very clear - the average Scotland fan would have been happy with 5 or 6 or so in am original squad of 37-40. Not exactly a big ask. And no, late 'Geography 6' callups really don't count!

Saying all this, as long as Scotland continue to put in performancs like we've seen recently I do think we'll see a bigger representation - Gatland has very much been hinting as such. If the squad was picked for this summer you could reasonably argue the case for Sutherland, McInally, Watson, Hogg and Russell to go. It wouldn't be much of a leap to also see Fagerson, Gray, Ritchie, one of the 9s and a winger like Graham in the mix, with maybe 1 or 2 of them making the cut.

That's 5 or 6 Scots out of a squad of 35 ish - a completely reasonable number IMO and a fair reflection of the relative strengths of the 4 nations.

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Post by TJ on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 1:34 pm

I'll bet you right now we don't have anywhere near 6 representatives from Scotland

Remember last time? We had beaten Wales and were much higher up the rankings than wales. Not a single test start.

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Post by king_carlos on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 11:44 pm

11.May, Stockdale, Daly
14.Watson, Adams
15.Williams, Hogg

Those 7 are the standouts for me. I can't see Daly being left behind given his versatility and gigantic boot. We saw on the 2009 tour to South Africa what a kicker with huge range offers at high altitude games with Morne Steyn outstanding from the tee.

I really like Jack Nowell, Jordan Lamour and Darcy Graham but I'd rate them a bit behind those 7. Nowell has an excellent all round game, versatility and is a rock in defence which Gatland will like though.

Players with strong defence will be vital up against Kolbe in particular but also Mapimpi and Nkosi. I'll be interested to see how Willie le Roux performs when international rugby returns. His play making at Toyota Verblitz has been excellent as ever but he's looked a touch out of shape and slow at times since the World Cup. He's hardly be the first player to put on some timber during a break from international rugby though to be fair!

If Jonny May picked up an injury then Louis Rees-Zammit would be an interesting option. There's no replacement for express pace in the back three.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Sun 28 Jun 2020, 2:14 pm

I would rank Larmour ahead of Stockdale personally, and he's more versatile as well. Stockdale needs to rediscover his old form before displacing either Adams or May on the left. He'll have Duhan for competition as well in my view.

Really rate Larmour, and i would take him, Williams, Hogg and Watson. I dont think Daly's versatility will be required. I'd sooner take an extra like Slade covering both centre positions, particularly if we are going to risk it with both JD2 and Tuilagi, both of whom carry injury and fitness risks.

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Post by chris_501 on Sun 28 Jun 2020, 6:03 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:There really should be a mix this time chris. I dont think even gatland can sunlly close his eyes and go with his favourites given the guys pressing their claims. You feel scotland should be ignored again?  Really?

Not sure I ever said that Scottish players should be ignored. There are many candidates as pointed out, Sutherland, one of the hookers, Gray, Watson, Ritchie, Russell, Graham, Hogg and I would be happy for any of those players to tour.

However, if you think about Lions tests being like 3 cup finals, Scottish players have not put themselves in enough of those matches, Grand Slam deciders, World Cup knockout matches etc. to prove themselves on the biggest of stages. Now I'm sure many of them would rise to the occasion, but those players picked ahead of them in previous tours have no doubt about their performances in big games.

Without derailing the thread and talking about under representation too much, I would challenge the Scottish players to put themselves in a position where there is no way they can be left at home on the back of consistent performances. Russell seems like his form for Racing would warrant that, however ruling himself out of the 6N might prove to be a bit black mark against him, particularly with Hastings doing so well in his absence.

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Post by TJ on Sun 28 Jun 2020, 10:55 pm

If you ant a standout winger then Graham is your man. Utter superb and everytime I have seen him play against the big names he is the better player

My fave Graham moment was when he knocked Basteraud to the ground, jumped up, took the ball off him and legged it away

18 appearances for Edinburgh ( top of their conference) 45 points scored One try every two games
7 appearances for scotland five tries.


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Post by TJ on Sun 28 Jun 2020, 10:58 pm

Although I believe Russell to be the best 10 in the NH by a long way I am not convinced he is actually suitable for the lions unless he has familiar players around him simply because of the way he plays and the lack of time for the squad to get used to each other

Dull Farrell or Sexton might be the better bet for that reason. sometimes being predictable is good

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Post by king_carlos on Mon 29 Jun 2020, 12:27 am

TJ wrote:If you ant a standout winger then Graham is your man.  Utter superb and everytime I have seen him play against the big names he is the better player

My fave Graham moment was when he knocked Basteraud to the ground, jumped up, took the ball off him and legged it away

18 appearances for Edinburgh ( top of their conference) 45 points scored One try every two games
7 appearances for scotland  five tries.


I really rate Graham but being a pedant I'd point to the RWC game against Japan with regard to that statement. He had a tough afternoon against the exceptional Japanese outside backs.

He's not the first to be caught out by the speed Japan move the ball to be fair. Yutaka Nagare is one of the best 9s in rugby for his speed of service, right up there with Aaron Smith. Their centres and outside backs are excellent - incidentally it's such a shame that Fukoaka has retired but fair play to the guy for pursuing a career in medicine. Then their loose forwards such as Kazuki Himeno are fantastic carriers and support runners.

It sounds like we are going to have a lot of international rugby crammed into a short space of time so I worry there will be a fair few injuries which will open up opportunities for the younger guys to impress. Duhan van der Merwe may well be playing on the other wing across from Graham at some point in either of the two 6 Nations we will have next season.

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Post by RDW on Mon 29 Jun 2020, 12:38 am

What I love about Darcy is he offers something completely different from most other wingers. If you need a spark, something created from nothing, he's your man. He also has a complete disregard for his own wellbeing when it comes to carrying the ball, which is probably necessary when you're his size! Opposition just don't know how to deal with him - I remember Edinburgh games against Toulon last season where he just ran rampant, they didn't know how to defend against him.

He's got a lot of competition but Lions squads have done well from having the odd X-factor back 3 player, John Bentley being probably the prime example. They may not make the test squad but are great tourists to have - particularly against stubborn club teams where you need a bit of magic to break them down.

King Carlos you're right he struggled defensively against Japan - he was a bit lost that game. He's still a young man learning his trade at international level so these things happen and I'm sure he learned a hell of a lot from that game. It's also fair to say the challenges faced against Japan are pretty unique, and very different from the average South African team!

Scotland fans definitely can't wait to see what Duhan VDM can do for Scotland. I've watched all his games for Edinburgh an he's an absolute freak of nature. Genuinely comparable to a young George North in terms of raw power, finishing and speed - I actually reckon VDM is quicker than North. We all know it's not always an easy transition to International level though, but if he can do what he does at Edinburgh for Scotland he may mount a late charge for Lions selection.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 29 Jun 2020, 8:01 am

Comes back round to my original point then chris. Gatland is a poor selector if he judges players on the teams they are in. That's the old beshocked argument of pick the saracens player over any other as they're the best team.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Mon 29 Jun 2020, 9:03 am

Joe Cokanasiga may get there on account of his size, Gatland likes a big fast winger. He will however have to show a marked improvement in his defense and probably his kicking which is incredibly important in SA.

I can't see it personally, I think being his conservative self, Gatland will go for:


11. May and Adams
14. Watson and Larmour
15. Hogg and Williams

Plus Daly as utility back, he does cover wing, centre and full back.

I just cannot see North going unless he does something very special once we resume playing properly.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 29 Jun 2020, 9:17 am

Is Cokanasiga even back training?

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Post by king_carlos on Mon 29 Jun 2020, 11:00 am

RDW wrote:What I love about Darcy is he offers something completely different from most other wingers. If you need a spark, something created from nothing, he's your man. He also has a complete disregard for his own wellbeing when it comes to carrying the ball, which is probably necessary when you're his size! Opposition just don't know how to deal with him - I remember Edinburgh games against Toulon last season where he just ran rampant, they didn't know how to defend against him.

He's got a lot of competition but Lions squads have done well from having the odd X-factor back 3 player, John Bentley being probably the prime example. They may not make the test squad but are great tourists to have - particularly against stubborn club teams where you need a bit of magic to break them down.

King Carlos you're right he struggled defensively against Japan - he was a bit lost that game. He's still a young man learning his trade at international level so these things happen and I'm sure he learned a hell of a lot from that game. It's also fair to say the challenges faced against Japan are pretty unique, and very different from the average South African team!

Scotland fans definitely can't wait to see what Duhan VDM can do for Scotland. I've watched all his games for Edinburgh an he's an absolute freak of nature. Genuinely comparable to a young George North in terms of raw power, finishing and speed - I actually reckon VDM is quicker than North. We all know it's not always an easy transition to International level though, but if he can do what he does at Edinburgh for Scotland he may mount a late charge for Lions selection.

I agree about him offering something different. I've always liked a winger who carries well of 9 and Graham is fantastic at getting off his wing and looking for work. Similar to Nowell in some ways though Graham is quicker than Nowell, whilst Nowell probably more rounded. Both are excellent at creating momentum from slow ball by getting over the gain line though.

Oddly from an England perspective I think that May and Watson are our best two wingers but if I were picking someone to man mark Kolbe it would probably be Nowell. Being slightly shorter like Nowell and Graham would probably make it easier to tackle Kolbe. The guy is just a freak with his acceleration and side step.

Duhan is a weapon in attack. I'll be interested to see how he does moving into international rugby.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 29 Jun 2020, 9:50 pm

TJ wrote:Risca - ignoring scots players worthy of a place in the lions has been Gatlands shortcoming.  Playing old, injured and out of form welshmen instead

Like who?

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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 29 Jun 2020, 9:55 pm

Definitely an area of strength for the Lions. It may surprise some but I don’t actually think South Africa’s wingers are that good. 

For Wales I think Adams, Liam Williams are on the plane and potentially test starters. I rate our other wingers very highly but doubt there’ll be any more. Potentially Rees-Zammit as a ‘bolter’ or perhaps he will be a form pick by then. If Scotland are poaching him then I’d also like to see Duhan Van der Merwe tour. I’m not sure if he’d be a test starter but he is certainly ahead of North and Cokanasiga.

If Hogg starts at 15 then I half-expect Williams to be on the wing.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 29 Jun 2020, 9:58 pm

TJ wrote:I'll bet you right now we don't have anywhere near 6 representatives from Scotland

Remember last time?  We had beaten Wales and were much higher up the rankings than wales.  Not a single test start.

You got walloped by England at Twickenham, quite badly. Gatland even mentioned it being the reason no Scots went. Beating a Howley-coached team is something most can do and not worth bragging about.

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Post by Mr Bounce on Mon 29 Jun 2020, 10:32 pm

The same thing happened for England in 2013. I reckon there were probably half a dozen Englishmen being considered for places until we got absolutely d!cked by Wales in Cardiff. I reckon a lot of English places went out of the window that day, and probably rightly so.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 30 Jun 2020, 10:40 am

I agree with that Mr Bounce, bar the last part of the last sentence. It was obviously why Ireland dominated the test team.

An important part of the back 3 this time around particularly full back will be kicking. I'm assuming there's going to be a couple of the tests at altitude? Haven't seen is grounds have been announced but it was the major issue when England last went there. not so much fitness, didn't see us tiring but the kicking was almost always too long allow South Africa to counter easily. Can't say that I know how Hogg/Williams/Lamour have got on in those conditions, may well have watched games of them there but can't remember. I think some experience of that would be very useful; though again keep Daly away from it.

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Post by chris_501 on Tue 30 Jun 2020, 10:43 am

I would say it would be tough for LRZ to go, purely down to the fact that I can't see him getting much international game time, and he lacks the adaptability of Daly.

Owen Lane could be more of an option as a bolter. He's a big, strong boy, which we know Gatland likes. He also cover centre, which I don't think is anywhere near as strong an area as the back three.

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Post by RDW on Tue 30 Jun 2020, 10:48 am

Hogg is the best kicker from hand out of all the options IMO - he has an absolute siege gun of a boot and has added a lot of variety to his kicks now. At altitude he could easily kick from 22 to 22.

He's also a long range goalkicker , although probably not as accurate as Daley.

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