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Potential Lions Squad - The Front Row

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Post by bsando on Sun 12 Jul 2020, 6:19 pm

Lastly we come to the Lions front row. Six props and two hookers travelled in 2017 with two props and one hooker called up later.

Who are the form Loosehead and Tighthead props? And which Hooker should be starting next year? Who adds the most in the loose and who adds the most when it comes to set piece and scrum time?

RWC 2019 and 6N 2020 props and hookers listed below.

England

Props: Mako Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler, Joe Marler, Ellis Genge, Dan Cole, Beno Obano, Will Stuart, Harry Williams
Hookers: Jack Singleton, Jamie George, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Dunn

Ireland

Props: Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, John Ryan, Tom O'Toole
Hookers: Seán Cronin, Niall Scannell, Rob Herring, Dave Heffernan, Rónan Kelleher

Scotland

Props: Simon Berghan, Allan Dell, Zander Fagerson, WP Nel, Gordon Reid, Jamie Bhatti, Rory Sutherland
Hookers: Fraser Brown, Stuart McInally, George Turner

Wales

Props: Rhys Carré, Tomas Francis, Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis, Nicky Smith, Leon Brown, WillGriff John, Rob Evans
Hookers: Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias, Ken Owens

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Sun 12 Jul 2020, 8:01 pm

Tightheads: Sinckler, Furlong and Francis
Hookers: George, McInally and Brown
Looseheads: Genge, Vunipola and Sutherland

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Post by Mr Bounce on Sun 12 Jul 2020, 8:51 pm

I really like Genge for the Loosehead position. I think he has it all. Mako struggles against really proficient props, which the Bokke will have in spades, so I am not he will be first choice for the tests. I reckon Marler will ask not to go. Sutherland is certainly one to watch as well. Is it a tour too far for Healy? He's a pretty decent player and I would really like to see him get a Lions cap or two. Carré is definitely a good shout too.

Hookers I think George is in pole position. McInally should be pushing for a test place and Brown could also go. Cowan-Dickie should tour and could end up in the test 23. Gatland is likely to be taking Owens, as he's a known quantity and an established test veteran. I have to admit that I know precious little about the Irish hookers so I can't offer an opinion.

The tighthead position is likely to be between Furlong and Sinckler for the test places but I fully expect Andrew Porter to push them very hard. Tomas Francis should tour but as with the Irish hookers I don't know enough about the Scottish THs to state any case for them.

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Post by king_carlos on Sun 12 Jul 2020, 11:12 pm

1.Vunipola, Genge, Sutherland
2.George, Cowan-Dickie, McInally
3.Furlong, Sinckler, Fagerson

Toughest player to leave out was Ken Owens but I didn't feel he was at his best this season. He will be 34 by the Lions tour so it will be interesting to see how his form is next season.

There's a lot of competition at loosehead. Marler and Healy are consistent scrummagers but two players who's form was mixed in the 6 Nations. I thought Sutherland was very good in the 6 Nations, Genge is a weapon who can be destructive in the scrum and Mako has played in every test of the last two tours for a reason. It's a position of real strength.

Tighthead picks itself for me. Furlong I rate as the best tighthead in the world. Sinckler has had a brilliant 18 months. If Fagerson can stay fit then he has a really good all round game to push the impressive tightheads from the 2017 tour.

As an outside bet for hooker, I thought Rob Herring was quietly impressive during the curtailed 6 Nations. If there are a few injuries then he might be in with a shot of touring his nation of birth.

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Mon 13 Jul 2020, 9:59 am

LH's: Vunipola will go if he can stay fit as the man in possession who remained in good form. Genge is a better scrummager and may even pass Vunipola for his work in the loose though he can be a loose cannon.

After that, it is between the old (Marler, Healy) and the up-and-comer Sutherland. On current form, it is Sutherland but he has to back up the Six Nations this year. Otherwise Healy will probably get the benefit of a doubt over Marler.

Hookers: George is first choice. McInally or Brown is probably second choice, whoever starts for Scotland as both could realistically go. Owens is likely to go as the old favourite, but Herring may be able to bolt as Ireland's first choice and knock out either Owens or one of the Scots

TH: Furlongh fell off a bit in the recent Six Nations but has been really consistent for a long period of time beforehand at an extremely high level and I would assume get back to his best. After that, I have Sinckler, Francis, Fagerson and Porter in that order. Fagerson realistically can bolt to being second choice if he can, again, back up his Six Nations like Sutherland. Francis needs to return to form after a long layoff but I am assuming he will and that he will remain eligible for Wales. Porter is an excellent TH in his own right and probably misses out due to a lack of starts in his position of relative strength

TL;DR
LH: Vunipola, Genge, Sutherland (Healy)
Hooker: George, McInally, Owens (Brown)
TH: Furlongh, Sinckler, Francis (Fagerson)

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Post by Poorfour on Mon 13 Jul 2020, 11:26 am

I am not sure about Vunipola, on the fitness front but more because of how much he struggled in the RWC Final. He's not a top drawer scrummaging prop. He's good enough against pretty much every other nation, but SA are the only other side in the world who can put two complete scrummaging front rows in their 23.

Unless Gatland is confident that he can back Vunipola up with three or four strong scrummaging locks, he may see that as too much of a risk. If Marler is fit and wants to tour, I think he will probably tour. Sinckler is also a near certainty unless his shift to Bristol disrupts his game.

Beyond that, I'd agree that Genge, Sutherland, Furlong and George are pretty sure of their places. Francis is probably the third TH. Hooker has a lot of strong candidates vying for two slots.
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Post by king_carlos on Mon 13 Jul 2020, 11:36 am

Poorfour wrote:I am not sure about Vunipola, on the fitness front but more because of how much he struggled in the RWC Final. He's not a top drawer scrummaging prop. He's good enough against pretty much every other nation, but SA are the only other side in the world who can put two complete scrummaging front rows in their 23.

Unless Gatland is confident that he can back Vunipola up with three or four strong scrummaging locks, he may see that as too much of a risk. If Marler is fit and wants to tour, I think he will probably tour. Sinckler is also a near certainty unless his shift to Bristol disrupts his game.

Beyond that, I'd agree that Genge, Sutherland, Furlong and George are pretty sure of their places. Francis is probably the third TH. Hooker has a lot of strong candidates vying for two slots.

On Mako I'd agree he isn't the strongest scrummager. I'd also point out that the South African side with the Erasmus 'bomb squad' tactic of having an entire tight 5 on the bench have been held at the scrum by sides with worse scrummagers in them that Mako. In the RWC final it was telling that Kruis came on at the same time as Marler as well.

I often think how good George, Itoje and Kruis are in the scrum can be summed up by how many packs they have dominated despite Mako and Koch not actually being the strongest scrummagers. Koch is an excellent prop but his strength is his physicality in defence rather than his scrummaging where Malherbe is the stronger TH. A fair few Sarries fans I know actually think Figallo is stronger scrummager from the Sarries squad.

Also worth noting the Mtawarira has retired from international rugby now. That's a big blow for South Africa. His strength in all three modern set-pieces of scrum, lineout and restarts was exceptional. It also meant that Kitshoff could be used from the bench as a wrecking ball in the loose.

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Post by Poorfour on Mon 13 Jul 2020, 11:42 am

Kruis is one of the best scrummaging locks in the world; he and Marler should have been on from the start. Probably out of Lions contention given he's off to forn parts, though.

I'd missed that Mtwarira had retired - that is a big blow and might be a material factor next summer.
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Post by king_carlos on Mon 13 Jul 2020, 11:50 am

Playing in Japan wouldn't rule him out of international contention if Gats felt Kruis was physically prepared for the tour. The Lions is an odd situation given that the coaches don't need to worry about anything long term. It might sound brutal but if someone is called up and gets injured you just call up the next cab off the rank. With 5 locks likely to travel in the original squad it wouldn't be a huge risk taking someone who has been out of international rugby for over a year as that 5th lock.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 13 Jul 2020, 8:56 pm

Surprised so many are picking Francis to go when he's been out injured. If he returns to Wales duty then he has a good chance I suppose, as the third option. Some of my picks haven't been in amazing form but are class players, whilst others I may be a little biased.

LH: Vunipola, Carre, Healy
Hooker: George, McInally, Owens
TH: Sinckler, Furlong, Cole

I think Sutherland is the next big overrated player to come out of Scotland, but happy to proven wrong on that in the coming months. I think Owens has a part to play. I remember people questioning Rees' inclusion in SA but he did very well, was also a bit naughty with high hits and off the ball stuff but that's what you had to do against that Springbok team. A shame McGrath has seemingly disappeared, I might have had him as starter.

Outside bets for me are Porter, Brown and John if they fulfill their potential in a single season (unlikely), Sutherland, Kilcoyne, Cronin, Genge, Marler, Singleton (as he's Sarries).

A lot of this can change in a year.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 14 Jul 2020, 8:53 am

Looking purely at the English contenders, then assuming fitness:

Probables: Vunipola, George, Sinckler

Strong Contenders: Genge, LCD

Unlikely: Marler

Not a Hope: Everyone else

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Post by NeilyBroon on Tue 14 Jul 2020, 10:02 am

mikey_dragon wrote:Surprised so many are picking Francis to go when he's been out injured. If he returns to Wales duty then he has a good chance I suppose, as the third option. Some of my picks haven't been in amazing form but are class players, whilst others I may be a little biased.

LH: Vunipola, Carre, Healy
Hooker: George, McInally, Owens
TH: Sinckler, Furlong, Cole

I think Sutherland is the next big overrated player to come out of Scotland, but happy to proven wrong on that in the coming months. I think Owens has a part to play. I remember people questioning Rees' inclusion in SA but he did very well, was also a bit naughty with high hits and off the ball stuff but that's what you had to do against that Springbok team. A shame McGrath has seemingly disappeared, I might have had him as starter.

Outside bets for me are Porter, Brown and John if they fulfill their potential in a single season (unlikely), Sutherland, Kilcoyne, Cronin, Genge, Marler, Singleton (as he's Sarries).

A lot of this can change in a year.  

I'd hardly say he's overrated. To come back from the level of injuries in the way he has is impressive in its' own right, let alone largely outplaying his opposite number in the 6Ns. He's fronted up to Ireland, England, France and Italy and come out either at least equal or on top.

Even then, no Scotland fans think he's guaranteed a spot or should be in the Lions based solely on this year's 6Ns. We all agree he has to back it up next season but could easily become the best 6Ns LH if he carries on in the current vein.

I think another Scotland player who would be good for the Lions is Zander Fagerson. He's really matured nicely and has a great all-round game. I doubt, however, that Gatland will pick him.




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Post by lostinwales on Tue 14 Jul 2020, 10:28 am

mikey_dragon wrote:Surprised so many are picking Francis to go when he's been out injured. If he returns to Wales duty then he has a good chance I suppose, as the third option. Some of my picks haven't been in amazing form but are class players, whilst others I may be a little biased.

LH: Vunipola, Carre, Healy
Hooker: George, McInally, Owens
TH: Sinckler, Furlong, Cole

I think Sutherland is the next big overrated player to come out of Scotland, but happy to proven wrong on that in the coming months. I think Owens has a part to play. I remember people questioning Rees' inclusion in SA but he did very well, was also a bit naughty with high hits and off the ball stuff but that's what you had to do against that Springbok team. A shame McGrath has seemingly disappeared, I might have had him as starter.

Outside bets for me are Porter, Brown and John if they fulfill their potential in a single season (unlikely), Sutherland, Kilcoyne, Cronin, Genge, Marler, Singleton (as he's Sarries).

A lot of this can change in a year.  

Cole is definitely past it. Healy is probably past it. He was a wonderful player but seems to now fall into the category of being picked because nobody else is knocking the door down to take his place.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 14 Jul 2020, 10:32 am

I think theres 2 guys for england who could have a great tour if given the chance and that's Genge and LCD. Neither considered a starter for england as yet but Genge is right up in terms of scrummaging and has obvious gifts in the loose. LCD is our form hooker but whether the rest has done George skme good remains to be seen.

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Post by bsando on Tue 14 Jul 2020, 11:43 am

I'd probably go

Vunipola, Sinkler, Healy (Sutherland)
McInally, George, Cowan-Dickie (Owens)
Furlong, Genge, Fagerson (Francis)

I think a solid set piece but could benefit from having a mobile Hooker who can act as another poacher at rucks and be a nuisance in the loose. Step forward Stuart McInally. His quick reactions and speed have brought his try tally up to 6 tries in 29 appearances for Scotland compared with his Lions competition in Jamie George (3 in 44 matches) and Ken Owens (3 in 77 matches). The only question mark hovering over McInally are his throws. George and Owens have a better throw than he does so if that is more important to Gatland and his coaches then I can see McInally being more of a midweek player than starting the main tests. Cowan-Dickie would be in my squad as he has been impressive for England and Chiefs and fits the same mould as McInally with 5 tries in 20 appearances for England.

Either side I think Vunipola has been a solid and reliable option for England but I really like Sinkler and Genge. Furlong as well is just such a solid prop to have and should definitely tour. Fagerson I like a lot as he has matured steadily and seems to be getting to his best form.

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Post by Old Man on Tue 14 Jul 2020, 12:00 pm

Just a thought, selecting a front row vs SA would be different to selecting a front row for a Nz tour.

New Zealand pride themselves on mobility and ball skills before everything, then they look for technical skills in the set piece and power.

Against South Africa, they tend to first look at set piece and then all round skills, so Gatland will firstly want to select a front row that will have parity with the Bok front row and then additional skills.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Tue 14 Jul 2020, 1:17 pm

I'd expect the following all to tour of fit and in the same form as last season:

LH - Mako, Genge
Hooker - George
TH - Sinckler, Furlong

After that it's a bit of a free for all with a number of players playing for the remaining shirts. Some of those playing for the remaining shirts are more than capable of being the starters as well. 

Mako and George might fall out of automatic selection of they aren't getting England recognition following their year in the Championship. Noticeable that Rhys Carre opted not to stay with his international position not as secure. Carre could be a contender but he'll have to make an impact in some of the Wales games.

I'd quite like to see Genge and Fargerson in the same front row, that would be a very erm confrontational selection. Might go down well in SA with them really taking it to their opposite numbers.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 14 Jul 2020, 3:10 pm

Mako is popular on here. I think theres quite a number of better ones now.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 14 Jul 2020, 3:17 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Mako is popular on here. I think theres quite a number of better ones now.

I agree, but still think he is nigh on certain to travel. Personally I would not have him in the England 23 (certainly for matches against strong scrummagers).

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Post by king_carlos on Tue 14 Jul 2020, 3:34 pm

As an England fan I'd agree with wanting us to move towards Genge as starter but worth noting that Mako has been short of full match fitness for a few of his recent England appearances as well.

In the France game I thought Mako being slow to work round the corner of rucks in defence stuck out like a sore thumb. He was a metre off the pace when bouncing back from tackles and into the defensive line. Given that is usually one of Mako's huge strengths it felt telling of his match fitness. At his best he is obviously a good carrier but his fringe defence is also exceptional. Not only volume of tackles and completion rate but also his line speed. At his best it's a real asset for sides with strong jackalling flankers as it frees them up to target rucks rather than tackles.

As this is a Lions discussion I would also say that Furlong and Sinckler being two tightheads who carry well and can act as a 'first receiver' around the fringes to switch the point of contact somewhat negates the need for a loosehead who can do that ball in hand.

Marler and Healy are better scrummagers but short of their best this season. Sutherland has just coming back from injury issues - the Lions is a brutal tour. Rhys Carre hasn't played much rugby since the RWC and will be settling back into the Cardiff side during a disrupted season. So it's a position that's definitely open for competition.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 14 Jul 2020, 8:54 pm

Admittedly I haven't seen a lot of the two Scottish props, but from what I seen of Sutherland then isn't as good as hyped up to be. He could be in a year or two. From what I can re-call it was the same with Nel, he was never anywhere near as good as some up north would have us believe. Fagerson is a good shout though, bit of a unit.

I get it with Healy and Cole, but both would be very good bench options. Cole is still one of the best scrummagers in the NH for me. Both could also miss out quite easily too though. I'm not sure who the starter at LH should be but Mako is a very good option to bring on around 50-60 mins, especially against a big and physical team. I hope he's in his 2016/17 form though.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 14 Jul 2020, 8:55 pm

Old Man wrote:Just a thought, selecting a front row vs SA would be different to selecting a front row for a Nz tour.

New Zealand pride themselves on mobility and ball skills before everything, then they look for technical skills in the set piece and power.

Against South Africa, they tend to first look at set piece and then all round skills, so Gatland will firstly want to select a front row that will have parity with the Bok front row and then additional skills.

Unless you got a prop who's good at everything, like Joe Moody.

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Post by BigGee on Tue 14 Jul 2020, 10:34 pm

Sutherland had a very good international season this year, even more so when you consider the injuries he has had and that he rarely even starts for Edinburgh. He needs to back it up and prove he is not just a flash in the pan though. Hard to imagine that Gats won't be monitoring him though.

Fagerson could be in the mix as well. His scrummaging has improved and will hopefully carry on doing so with the good coaching he is now getting. He has got a really good engine for a big TH as well and can often go the whole 80 mins when needed to. That might be a factor in a tour with two games to be played at altitude. Fitness and the ability to cope with the thinner air could easily be a factor in. Some of the older boys may struggle in those conditions.

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Post by BamBam on Tue 14 Jul 2020, 10:53 pm

Looseheads - Vunipola, Genge, Sutherland

One position where I'd be happy with any of the 3 being in the Test shirt. Vunipola has the loose game, Genge is a better scrummager but also he has the aggressive profile we'll need. Sutherland looked very good in the scrum, decent in the loose and also has familiarity with one of my picks for hooker which will help. Marler is a bit of a wildcard here though, if he decides to make himself available I'd make him the favourite for the Test shirt

Hooker - George, LCD, McInally

Like all of these guys, I'd be a bit worried about LCD'S past in the lineout so he needs to continue to show consistency there. McInally is a very good player, with the quality of the loose play of SA hookers, we can't afford ours to be any less effective

Tighthead - Sinckler, Furlong, Fagerson

I think we have better tightheads than SA. Both Furlong and Sinckler are excellent players, and have shown real strength at the scrum. Fagerson offers real aggression and is very solid at the set piece. Being pretty young I'd much rather give him the Lions experience than an older head on his way down

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 14 Jul 2020, 11:04 pm

It’s fair, I could be completely wrong about Sutherland. From a Lions perspective that would be good. Some posters probably think the same about Carre when I go on about him anyway.

Not sure if we have better props than Malherbe and Kitshoff. They look like walking muscles. Furlong probably the only one who competes there.

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Post by alive555 on Wed 15 Jul 2020, 4:58 am

mikey_dragon wrote:Admittedly I haven't seen a lot of the two Scottish props, but from what I seen of Sutherland then isn't as good as hyped up to be. He could be in a year or two. From what I can re-call it was the same with Nel, he was never anywhere near as good as some up north would have us believe. Fagerson is a good shout though, bit of a unit.

I get it with Healy and Cole, but both would be very good bench options. Cole is still one of the best scrummagers in the NH for me. Both could also miss out quite easily too though. I'm not sure who the starter at LH should be but Mako is a very good option to bring on around 50-60 mins, especially against a big and physical team. I hope he's in his 2016/17 form though.

utter drivel

Nel in his day was one of the best scrummagers in world rugby, never mind 6 nations rugby.
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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 15 Jul 2020, 11:32 am

Only people in Edinburgh seem to think that and I don't quite see why. Wasn't that good, still isn't. I don't recall him dominating Wales either and we weren't the best in the scrum.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 15 Jul 2020, 11:38 am

Its worth saying every so often that rugby is much more a team game than a whole range of others. Weaknesses can be projected and strengths hidden without the right guys around you. 4 years ago Nel was one of the best scrummaging props around.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 15 Jul 2020, 12:01 pm

Around Scotland? Yeah I guess so.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 15 Jul 2020, 12:06 pm

The world.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 15 Jul 2020, 12:37 pm

I recall otherwise. Anyway I don't see him having much of a chance on this tour.

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Post by BigGee on Wed 15 Jul 2020, 12:46 pm

Nel is well in his 30s now and past his best, I don't think anyone is picking him to go this time around.

He was on pretty much everyone's pick list 4 years ago and almost certainly would have gone had he not had his neck injury. That was unfortunate for him.

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Post by bsando on Wed 15 Jul 2020, 9:28 pm

2015 world cup. He was a good prop at Edinburgh but I think he surprised a lot of people when he hit the international scene. He definitely gave Scotland a much better advantage at scrum time with his low centre of gravity. I don't think the law changes helped him too much since then but he's still a decent prop to have on the bench. Good player!

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu 16 Jul 2020, 11:39 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:It’s fair, I could be completely wrong about Sutherland. From a Lions perspective that would be good. Some posters probably think the same about Carre when I go on about him anyway.

Not sure if we have better props than Malherbe and Kitshoff. They look like walking muscles. Furlong probably the only one who competes there.

Although I've chosen Sutherland I do share your healthy scepticism as to whether he's a flash in pan or a thoroughbred. We saw the former in Ryan Grant and the latter in Tom Smith. What I like about Sutherland is that he's a fighter, who has overcome a massive amount to get to where he has, which is the form loosehead eligible for the Lions. What will also help him, in sense, is that he's second choice for his club, meaning that he doesnt get overplayed.

I think Genge is a certainty. But due to Mako's clear technical weaknesses as a scrummager, I do think there are two question marks at loosehead. Sutherland has a good shout.

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Post by Sharkey06 on Sun 19 Jul 2020, 12:32 am

People are picking who is the best scrumager for the Lions, but sometimes you need to pick who is the right person for the opposition. In 1997 South Africa had possibly the best scrummaging loose head in the world in Os Du Randt. The Lions picked a 'small' 16 stone prop in Tom Smith who was able to get under Os and cause him no end of problems. South Africa are going to pick a big pack and perhaps we need to think about who will cause them the most problems rather than who is the best 6 Nations prop..

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Post by Poorfour on Sun 19 Jul 2020, 2:06 pm

Sharkey06 wrote:People are picking who is the best scrumager for the Lions, but sometimes you need to pick who is the right person for the opposition.  In 1997 South Africa had possibly the best scrummaging loose head in the world in Os Du Randt.  The Lions picked a 'small' 16 stone prop in Tom Smith who was able to get under Os and cause him no end of problems.  South Africa are going to pick a big pack and perhaps we need to think about who will cause them the most problems rather than who is the best 6 Nations prop..

Fair point, but that relies on having a player who's a direct counter to what the Boks can offer. The point about Smith vs du Randt was that Os was hugely powerful but also very tall, and Geech correctly reasoned that one way to beat him in the scrum - possibly the only way - was to get underneath him. And since he had available to him a short prop with immense upper body strength, that was a tactic that he could try. I am not sure that the current Boks have a front row with quite such extreme characteristics, or that the Lions have anyone specifically suited to nullifying them.

Furlong and Sinckler are certainly in the very top rank of tightheads in all round play, so the question becomes one of which British Isles looseheads are best suited to get under the skin of the SA tightheads.
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Post by EST on Mon 20 Jul 2020, 1:48 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:It’s fair, I could be completely wrong about Sutherland. From a Lions perspective that would be good. Some posters probably think the same about Carre when I go on about him anyway.

Not sure if we have better props than Malherbe and Kitshoff. They look like walking muscles. Furlong probably the only one who competes there.

Although I've chosen Sutherland I do share your healthy scepticism as to whether he's a flash in pan or a thoroughbred. We saw the former in Ryan Grant and the latter in Tom Smith. What I like about Sutherland is that he's a fighter, who has overcome a massive amount to get to where he has, which is the form loosehead eligible for the Lions. What will also help him, in sense, is that he's second choice for his club, meaning that he doesnt get overplayed.

I think Genge is a certainty. But due to Mako's clear technical weaknesses as a scrummager, I do think there are two question marks at loosehead. Sutherland has a good shout.

Think that's very fair comment on Sutherland - he needs to deliver for an extended period and force some more game time from Schoeman at club level.

No doubt he had a great six nations though, and he has a hard edge that would go down well in SA.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 21 Jul 2020, 9:02 am

Didnt realise how badly Gatland was doing in NZ. Only seen the occasional game so.not sure how well they're playing. Still to finalise his coaches, a couple of his favourites now tied up in teams unlikely to be released and other issues like Howley. He may well feel that the Lions are a good chance to get back on top of the game but not sure if that counts against rolling the dice on some of the younger players.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Thu 03 Sep 2020, 3:30 pm

It won't make the fans happy but for loosehead prop I'd take all 3 from England. Marler, Mako and Genge are the best 3 we have available. Genge is a super impact sub, Marler is the best basics prop in the world, and Vunipola is like an extra number 8 in the loose. I don't think Wales or Ireland have any who is better. Sutherland seems like a token pick at the moment he's shown glimpses but that's not enough Genge looks twice the player.

Tighthead is obviously Sinkler, Furlong and +1. Probably between Francis, Porter, and Fagerson. No preference out of the 3 it will be down to whoever holds their own in the set piece this year and shows enough fitness in the loose.

Hooker is hard to call. Gatland is a big fan of George. Cown Dickie looks solid but barely gets starting minutes. He's not the impact sub George was 4 years ago just a solid and possibly very good player. Ken Owens is getting on and lacks the carrying power against the Boks but is clearly the kind of guy you want on tour. Scotland have a great chance of both hookers touring. McInally and Brown would both be decent but not sure they've done more than Ken Owens. I can't see Cronin touring but maybe Scannell could go. Ireland haven't helped themselves in this position by holding on to Rory Best for so long.

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Post by profitius on Thu 03 Sep 2020, 7:07 pm

rugby racing and beer wrote:It won't make the fans happy but for loosehead prop I'd take all 3 from England. Marler, Mako and Genge are the best 3 we have available. Genge is a super impact sub, Marler is the best basics prop in the world, and Vunipola is like an extra number 8 in the loose. I don't think Wales or Ireland have any who is better. Sutherland seems like a token pick at the moment he's shown glimpses but that's not enough Genge looks twice the player.

Tighthead is obviously Sinkler, Furlong and +1. Probably between Francis, Porter, and Fagerson. No preference out of the 3 it will be down to whoever holds their own in the set piece this year and shows enough fitness in the loose.

Hooker is hard to call. Gatland is a big fan of George. Cown Dickie looks solid but barely gets starting minutes. He's not the impact sub George was 4 years ago just a solid and possibly very good player. Ken Owens is getting on and lacks the carrying power against the Boks but is clearly the kind of guy you want on tour. Scotland have a great chance of both hookers touring. McInally and Brown would both be decent but not sure they've done more than Ken Owens. I can't see Cronin touring but maybe Scannell could go. Ireland haven't helped themselves in this position by holding on to Rory Best for so long.


Scannell hasn't a prayer of making the lions squad. He might not get another ireland cap tbh. Kelleher has a chance if he throws well this season. Thats about it from an ireland point of view.
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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 03 Sep 2020, 7:52 pm

A ‘new’ poster showing up and being this clueless can only be one person... surprised it took them this long to come back tbh. Scannell picard

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Fri 04 Sep 2020, 7:57 pm

profitius wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:It won't make the fans happy but for loosehead prop I'd take all 3 from England. Marler, Mako and Genge are the best 3 we have available. Genge is a super impact sub, Marler is the best basics prop in the world, and Vunipola is like an extra number 8 in the loose. I don't think Wales or Ireland have any who is better. Sutherland seems like a token pick at the moment he's shown glimpses but that's not enough Genge looks twice the player.

Tighthead is obviously Sinkler, Furlong and +1. Probably between Francis, Porter, and Fagerson. No preference out of the 3 it will be down to whoever holds their own in the set piece this year and shows enough fitness in the loose.

Hooker is hard to call. Gatland is a big fan of George. Cown Dickie looks solid but barely gets starting minutes. He's not the impact sub George was 4 years ago just a solid and possibly very good player. Ken Owens is getting on and lacks the carrying power against the Boks but is clearly the kind of guy you want on tour. Scotland have a great chance of both hookers touring. McInally and Brown would both be decent but not sure they've done more than Ken Owens. I can't see Cronin touring but maybe Scannell could go. Ireland haven't helped themselves in this position by holding on to Rory Best for so long.


Scannell hasn't a prayer of making the lions squad. He might not get another ireland cap tbh. Kelleher has a chance if he throws well this season. Thats about it from an ireland point of view.

Who is the front runner for Ireland? Scannell is 28, Cronin is 34, Best obviously retired last year. As far as I can tell he stands a good chance of putting his name in the ring as the 'best of the rest'. It's not a position of great strength.

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Post by profitius on Sun 06 Sep 2020, 8:54 pm

rugby racing and beer wrote:
profitius wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:It won't make the fans happy but for loosehead prop I'd take all 3 from England. Marler, Mako and Genge are the best 3 we have available. Genge is a super impact sub, Marler is the best basics prop in the world, and Vunipola is like an extra number 8 in the loose. I don't think Wales or Ireland have any who is better. Sutherland seems like a token pick at the moment he's shown glimpses but that's not enough Genge looks twice the player.

Tighthead is obviously Sinkler, Furlong and +1. Probably between Francis, Porter, and Fagerson. No preference out of the 3 it will be down to whoever holds their own in the set piece this year and shows enough fitness in the loose.

Hooker is hard to call. Gatland is a big fan of George. Cown Dickie looks solid but barely gets starting minutes. He's not the impact sub George was 4 years ago just a solid and possibly very good player. Ken Owens is getting on and lacks the carrying power against the Boks but is clearly the kind of guy you want on tour. Scotland have a great chance of both hookers touring. McInally and Brown would both be decent but not sure they've done more than Ken Owens. I can't see Cronin touring but maybe Scannell could go. Ireland haven't helped themselves in this position by holding on to Rory Best for so long.


Scannell hasn't a prayer of making the lions squad. He might not get another ireland cap tbh. Kelleher has a chance if he throws well this season. Thats about it from an ireland point of view.

Who is the front runner for Ireland? Scannell is 28, Cronin is 34, Best obviously retired last year. As far as I can tell he stands a good chance of putting his name in the ring as the 'best of the rest'. It's not a position of great strength.

Kelleher is probably going to be irelands first choice. Looks like Heffernan and Herring are firmly second and third choices. Scannell shouldn't even be starting for munster. He isnt a bad player but fairly average.
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Post by rugby racing and beer on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 4:04 pm

Fair enough then.

My thinking is IF the tour goes ahead there isn't very much rugby between now and then. That means there will be a natural bias towards players who have 'been there, done that' and as Scannell was the only one who went to the world cup who is in contention he might be in with a shout but then happy to defer to Irish posters on this one.

Also, I was surprised to read Cooney is 30. It makes Schmidt's decision to overlook him even worse. Perhaps it was the haircut but I was under the impression he was mid 20s at most and perhaps inexperience was a reason for ignoring him. He really ought to take the starting shirt for Ireland now.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 8:41 pm

profitius wrote:Kelleher is probably going to be irelands first choice. Looks like Heffernan and Herring are firmly second and third choices. Scannell shouldn't even be starting for munster. He isnt a bad player but fairly average.

Kelleher has been in great form for Leinster, could be a bolter for the Lions if he manages the step-up to first choice well enough. Heffernan and Herring are decent but don't strike me as the type of guys who will have long Ireland careers, kind of like Baldwin and Dacey for Wales. What d'you reckon, harsh or fair?

Cronin still looks pretty good when he plays and isn't done with Ireland yet surely, because:
1. He plays for Leinster.
2. He has a central contract??

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Post by profitius on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 10:56 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
profitius wrote:Kelleher is probably going to be irelands first choice. Looks like Heffernan and Herring are firmly second and third choices. Scannell shouldn't even be starting for munster. He isnt a bad player but fairly average.

Kelleher has been in great form for Leinster, could be a bolter for the Lions if he manages the step-up to first choice well enough. Heffernan and Herring are decent but don't strike me as the type of guys who will have long Ireland careers, kind of like Baldwin and Dacey for Wales. What d'you reckon, harsh or fair?

Cronin still looks pretty good when he plays and isn't done with Ireland yet surely, because:
1. He plays for Leinster.
2. He has a central contract??


Not sure about Cronin having a central contract but I think he is out of Andy Farrells plans for ireland. 34 now I think.


Yeah Heffernan and Herring are fairly average in terms of international rugby. There are a few good ones coming through like Tom Stewart but maybe a year or two away from an ireland squad.
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Post by profitius on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 10:58 pm

rugby racing and beer wrote:Fair enough then.

My thinking is IF the tour goes ahead there isn't very much rugby between now and then. That means there will be a natural bias towards players who have 'been there, done that' and as Scannell was the only one who went to the world cup who is in contention he might be in with a shout but then happy to defer to Irish posters on this one.

Also, I was surprised to read Cooney is 30. It makes Schmidt's decision to overlook him even worse. Perhaps it was the haircut but I was under the impression he was mid 20s at most and perhaps inexperience was a reason for ignoring him. He really ought to take the starting shirt for Ireland now.


Cooney was behind Marmion in connacht. Marmion is the forgotten man i think but he had injuries.
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