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Lions Watch: Six Nations Report

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Post by whatahitson Sun Mar 14, 2021 5:08 pm

First topic message reminder :

Well we're nearly done with the Six Nations so if the Lions goes ahead who do you like the look of and who do you think will be touring?

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Post by Poorfour Mon Mar 15, 2021 2:53 pm

His header aside, Hogg looked a bit shaky yesterday - lots of drops under the high ball.
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Post by mikey_dragon Mon Mar 15, 2021 3:03 pm

Soul Requiem wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:
lostinwales wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:May showed just how class he is on Saturday.

He's the first choice winger for the lions.

May made more metres than anyone in the France game, and for the first time in a while was causing havoc on the kick chase. Watson was sublime. Both are complete players.

Complete players ???
Sorry that is nonsense
Good players yes, but there are other players as good if not better

There are no wingers available with a better all round game than either May or Watson, Adams is also in the conversation to tour.

But LRZ, Adams and Williams have a good all round game. Williams and Watson are probably best all-rounders though.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Mar 15, 2021 3:13 pm

May doesn't really have a weakness though. He's better than Watson.

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Post by mikey_dragon Mon Mar 15, 2021 3:46 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:May doesn't really have a weakness though. He's better than Watson.

Does Watson? He's played a bit at 15 too so he can't be too bad on positioning.

Hogg is probably a good all-rounder too.

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Post by The Oracle Mon Mar 15, 2021 4:01 pm

The interesting thing for me will be Gatland choosing players that play a certain way that suits his style and the style he wants the Lions to play. Certainly that was one of the claims previously as to why there were so many Welsh (his Welsh) in the Lions squad.  But they're not playing Gatlandball or Warrenball anymore as we have moved over to Pivac.  So it might not be so easy for him to make the Welsh player the easier pick, if that makes sense.  I don't see as many borderline picks going Wales' way this time as he's not with them day in day out and they are not familiar with his current style (whatever that might be - Warr-atland-ball, or something perhaps?).
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Post by Oakdene Mon Mar 15, 2021 5:29 pm

My 15 for what it's worth:

15 Hogg
14 Watson
13 North
12 Henshaw
11 Rees-Zammit
10 Farrell
9 G.Davies
1 Jones
2 Owens
3 Furlong
4 Itoje
5 Ryan
6 Beirne
7 Curry
8 Faletau

Some tough calls there, I don't think anyone has stuck their hand up at 10 really but think Farrell will shade it. 7 is a toss up between Curry & Tipuric, Curry's work over the ball just shades it for me. I think Watson will 'tour' but won't be a test lion. Again close in the second row but I opted for Ryan.

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Post by whatahitson Mon Mar 15, 2021 6:32 pm

BamBam wrote:Are we not following the form is temporary, class is permanent line when selecting wingers then? May and Watson are the class acts, I’m sure you’ll all agree ...

Shane Williams 2009 Lions tour is all the evidence you need for the need to pick wingers who are in form.

On the other hand, Ugo Monye is evidence for needing to pick wingers who have shown international class.

Watson is both classy and in form. May is not in form and has major weaknesses that make him a liability. Unless he produces against Ireland he might not even tour let alone start the tests. There's too much competition from fast wingers like LRZ and VDM.

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Post by whatahitson Mon Mar 15, 2021 6:33 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
whatahitson wrote:Wingers: Watson, LRZ, May (2). Duhan VDM/Maitland if 4.

I wouldn't pick any of those over Josh Adams, and yes that includes Lewis Rhys-Zammet. Josh Adams has his name penciled in already in my opinion.

Good point I forgot Josh Adams. I think he will definitely tour. Maybe remove one of the hybrid backs or May.

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Post by whatahitson Mon Mar 15, 2021 6:35 pm

lostinwales wrote:Adams scores tries, which is obviously a very important skill. I am not sure what else he offers (A sort of Welsh Ashton).

This is like describing the exact opposite of Josh Adams. Perhaps you haven't watched him enough and just saw he scored a lot of tries in Japan.


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Post by whatahitson Mon Mar 15, 2021 6:36 pm

LordDowlais wrote:Also, even though I do not think it would be right, but George North has been a bit of a revelation at 13, and he can play on the wing, as he has done most of his career, and he is now a bit of a Lions veteran at the age of 28, do any of you think Gatland would not pick him to tour ?

He's too good to ignore but I think Gatland will try him primarily on the wing he's a defensive liability England cut straight through him twice with simple first phase moves so the Boks will take him apart that is where Jonathan Davies comes in to his own.

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Post by whatahitson Mon Mar 15, 2021 6:43 pm

bsando wrote:I think for Scotland based on their three matches vs their home nations rivals Watson, J Gray and Hogg are nailed on.

I think you're being a bit harsh on Gray Whatahitson, he has very good stats this tournament and even though he wasn't at his best yesterday he wasn't poor. Big part of that Scottish pack and has developed his carrying at Exeter Chiefs as we saw against England and Wales.

Russell, Z Fagerson, Sutherland are pretty close calls. Redpath is our bolter but Jones may well be too if he can have another big game against Italy and France at 13. He's a talented player who has also played well against SA during the autumn internationals in the past. Maitland is a solid winger/fullback who might be a good option as injury cover.

Probably missing out: M Fagerson, Turner, Ritchie, R Gray, Cummings, Price, DVDM, Harris

No doubt some of the players who did well against England and Wales have now lost their place after yesterdays performance. Still, I think 3-5 Scottish Lions is quite likely.

I like J Gray and have done so for years but I want him to be better than he is. His stats might be good but he's a passive player and that's just no good up against the biggest forward pack in the world. I am basing my prediction on the fact that he didn't tour in 2017 when he was playing better. Yes he's looked good for Exeter but one excellent game for England has now been balanced out by two poor performances against Wales and Ireland. To get on the Lions you need to put in a performance like Watson did: dominating and never giving up even when your team is on the back foot. For me, too many Scottish players showed they can't do that, Gray is one of them, Finn Russell another.

Fagerson's red card could be very costly as he's one of the best tight heads available and it's not a position of strength. He is right on the edge of selection and I would like to see him tour as he could even be a test player with Sinckler offering a more mobile option. Sutherland has more competition but England's bad form will help his chances.

Huw Jones has potential as he's good in attack but I think he's up against a player like George North to get in the squad and when you look at it that way, you can see why he won't be touring. Maitland is probably just too old now in a position with lots of options. I woul like to see Redpath go on tour but he's had one game. Is that enough? Probably not.

The problem Scotland have is you can take the best Scottish players like Ritchie and think 'they deserve to go' but when you look at the options in the other 3 teams, it becomes hard to see how Ritchie would be ahead of Connors, vd Flier, Leavy, Doris, Stander, Navidi, Tipuric, Moriarty, Willis (if fit), Curry, and Underhill.

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Post by whatahitson Mon Mar 15, 2021 6:49 pm

miltonkeynesengland wrote:Z Ngwenya..think he has retired...mind he was ready a qualified radiologist if memory serves.
For me against the Boks in the back 3 I'd want Hogg and Williams + an other.
Personally I like Adams..seems to have the nose for where to be.
Watson is a great broken field runner but I worry about his positioning.
May is rapid as is LRZ..
VdM seems the most physical and Stockdale could come back in + countless others.

Good point it is all about balance.

Hogg is nailed on at 15 now no questions.

From there, given how physical and how much kicking there will be (it's South Africa after all) the Lions will want to do what NZ do which is pick two full backs like Ben Smith or Dagg on the wing. So that means either Liam Williams or Watson. It's a toss of a coin which player they choose.

After that, they go for a strike winger who has pace and power to finish off tries. That could be North or VDM if they want power (Cokanasiga was my big hope but he's just not in the picture and didn't get a chance to show what he can do out in Japan) or if they want out and out pace it's LRZ or May.


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Post by whatahitson Mon Mar 15, 2021 6:52 pm

Poorfour wrote:His header aside, Hogg looked a bit shaky yesterday - lots of drops under the high ball.

Two for the first try but you have to put things in perspective. His pack was getting battered around. The Lions (hopefully) won't be as consistently on the back foot as Scotland were in the tackle area and breakdown. Which means high balls won't be so pressured for the full back.

However, going forward, he is immense. He almost single handedly created Huw Jones' try by running at a defensive line that all focused in on him, knowing he can break the first tackle. That left the space for Jones to run in to. He was also the only player who looked like he could win Scotland the game at the death, just as he did against Wales (with some help from VDM). He is class. One or two dropped high balls doesn't mean too much in the grand scheme of things.

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Post by whatahitson Mon Mar 15, 2021 6:53 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:May doesn't really have a weakness though. He's better than Watson.

This is wrong. He's called chicken for a reason (headless at times, capable of silly basic errors, runs laterally).

May has been a huge beneficiary and asset of the Eddie Jones era.

BUT this is all about how can players adapt to Gatand's style of coaching. Hogg is world class and could play under any coach. May works perfectly for Jones' kick chase and blocking game, and his pace suits their fast style of attack that builds off the lineout and gives space for the backs off first phase, or for a kick in behind where he can use his pace.

Gatland's rugby is slower and like everyone says boring. It is about having the full team spread out across the line, going through the phases, building pressure and waiting for mistakes, rather than attacking off the set piece. I think he might take VDM for his physicality and ability to break through a tackle.

Saying May has no weaknesses is just not fair.

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Post by whatahitson Mon Mar 15, 2021 7:02 pm

Oakdene wrote:My 15 for what it's worth:

15 Hogg
14 Watson
13 North
12 Henshaw
11 Rees-Zammit
10 Farrell
9 G.Davies
1 Jones
2 Owens
3 Furlong
4 Itoje
5 Ryan
6 Beirne
7 Curry
8 Faletau

Some tough calls there, I don't think anyone has stuck their hand up at 10 really but think Farrell will shade it. 7 is a toss up between Curry & Tipuric, Curry's work over the ball just shades it for me. I think Watson will 'tour' but won't be a test lion. Again close in the second row but I opted for Ryan.

Nice team. I would go for something similar.

1. Mako
2. George
3. Furlong
4. Itoje
5. Ryan
6. Underhill
7. Tipuric (team captain)
8. Faletau/Vunipola

9. Youngs
10. Ford
11. LRZ
12. Tuilagi if fit, Farrell if not
13. Henshaw
14. Watson
15. Hogg

16. LCD/Owens
17. Wyn Jones
18. Sinckler
19. AWJ (tour captain)
20. Beirne/Curry
21. G Davies/Gibson Park
22. Farrell/Slade if Farrell starts
23. L Williams

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Post by majesticimperialman Mon Mar 15, 2021 7:19 pm

Is there even going to be a Lions tour this year?

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Post by whatahitson Mon Mar 15, 2021 7:20 pm

majesticimperialman wrote:Is there even going to be a Lions tour this year?

Hopefully.

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Post by BigGee Mon Mar 15, 2021 7:35 pm

Some pretty childish posting going on here, which i have tidied up

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue Mar 16, 2021 5:56 am

Interesting discussion regarding the back 3, I'll throw my hat in.

In 2017 (this has to be a strong reference surely) Gatland went with 4 wingers (Seymour, Nowell. North, Watson), 2 flexible options (Williams and Daly) and two fb's (Hogg and Halfpenny).

From those, Daly and Watson started every test. You could argue that Watson is probably in slightly better form now so will tour and has a good chance to start. Daly is not playing as well at FB, but I would say he has a a strong chance to tour again, less chance to start.

So 2/8 - Daly Watson.

I think we can safely rule out Seymour/Nowell and North has not produced on the wing for a long time so probably won't be selected as one. That gives us 3 spots.

Hogg and Williams will also tour, Hogg likely to start at FB and Williams possibly contesting the starting wing/bench spot with Daly and another.

So we have Watson, Daly, Williams and Hogg as pretty nailed on - 4/8

Now it becomes interesting.....

The candidates - LRZ, May, Stockdale, Maitland, Halfpenny, DVDM, Lowe, Earl.

LRZ is exciting...I think we all agree, will he start a test though? No......certainly not the first anyway, although he an outside chance of touring. Stockdale isn't in great form, either Earl....and honestly, I don't think any of the Irish wingers will tour (Lowe has been a bit disappointing).

I'm confused with the headless chicken May remark, almost like somebody hasn't watched him play in the last 5 years, where he has been one of the top 3 wingers in world rugby. May has the most complete game from that list imo but isn't quite at the top of his game...he has enough to tour imo. DVDM offers something none of the others do...brute physicality, for this reason I think he's in. The others are a flip up as Gatland loves Halfpenny, could be tight.

I'm going for:

Watson, Daly, May, Williams, LRZ, Hogg, DVDM, Halfpenny

With a back 3 of:

11. Williams
14. Watson
15. Hogg

23. Daly

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Post by bsando Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:19 am

Nice thinking sgt_pooly, I like the way you've gone about coming up with those back three options.

I'm not an England fan or Saracens fan so I have only seen bits and bobs from Daly, but so far this 6N his performances haven't looked very stable if that's the right word. As he was dropped to the bench for France I just wonder if he is in the best form? Sean Maitland (also at Saracens) has come straight back into the Scotland team and played well in his two games this 6N. Like Daly he can play on the wing or fullback. He's well loved by Scotland fans because he is just super consistent and has a very well rounded game. Last tour he wasn't really in the reckoning because there were so many on form players ahead of him. This tour I think he has a pretty good chance as the options are fewer.

Other than that I think you're pretty spot on. I will be happy if DVDM gets selected but he is still pretty green at international level. LRZ has probably got a better all round game but as you say, he won't offer that brute physicality DVDM does. Having both offers two contrasting styles and may be very useful depending on how each test goes. If Wales win a Grand Slam I wouldn't be surprised to see Josh Adams involved, he is a very good player and 5 wins from 5 would certainly warrant his selection if it doesn't already.

Hogg, Williams, Maitland, LRZ, Watson, May, Halfpenny, Adams or DVDM

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Post by whatahitson Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:39 am

I can't see Gatland leaving George North at home and I can't see him selecting him in the centres for a test match v the Boks.


Last edited by whatahitson on Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:49 am; edited 2 times in total

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:47 am

bsando wrote:Nice thinking sgt_pooly, I like the way you've gone about coming up with those back three options.

I'm not an England fan or Saracens fan so I have only seen bits and bobs from Daly, but so far this 6N his performances haven't looked very stable if that's the right word. As he was dropped to the bench for France I just wonder if he is in the best form? Sean Maitland (also at Saracens) has come straight back into the Scotland team and played well in his two games this 6N. Like Daly he can play on the wing or fullback. He's well loved by Scotland fans because he is just super consistent and has a very well rounded game. Last tour he wasn't really in the reckoning because there were so many on form players ahead of him. This tour I think he has a pretty good chance as the options are fewer.

Other than that I think you're pretty spot on. I will be happy if DVDM gets selected but he is still pretty green at international level. LRZ has probably got a better all round game but as you say, he won't offer that brute physicality DVDM does. Having both offers two contrasting styles and may be very useful depending on how each test goes. If Wales win a Grand Slam I wouldn't be surprised to see Josh Adams involved, he is a very good player and 5 wins from 5 would certainly warrant his selection if it doesn't already.

Hogg, Williams, Maitland, LRZ, Watson, May, Halfpenny, Adams or DVDM

Daly looks really good. Unless you're asking him to catch a high ball, defend or pass.

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Post by whatahitson Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:48 am

I also think Maitland is perhaps a bit too long in the tooth for a back 3 player. If he's going to take a Kiwi in this position it'll be James Lowe.

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Post by whatahitson Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:56 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:I'm confused with the headless chicken May remark, almost like somebody hasn't watched him play in the last 5 years, where he has been one of the top 3 wingers in world rugby. May has the most complete game from that list imo but isn't quite at the top of his game...he has enough to tour imo.

Ok I'll break it down.

May has had a very clear set of instructions from Eddie Jones about what to do and what not to do and he has implemented those instructions to maximise his talent (raw pace).

Take him outside that environment, for the Lions, in a totally different gameplan and style of rugby and you'll still keep his pace and eye for a try but you lose the whole structure that has made him so potent while minimising his weaknesses. He still has instincts to run up blind alleyways, track sideways, doesn't have good basic skills like passing or offloading and is by no means the best defensive winger. So I'm confused why you think he's got the complete game because that describes Josh Adams or Watson in my book. May is a special player not a well rounded player.

If LRZ hadn't come along then this would be moot because he's so fast but now there is someone equally as fast or maybe faster. So May might not tour that's the reality of it. LRZ has taken like a duck to water. It's hard but at least one of May, LRZ, North, and Duhan VDM will miss out to make way for balance. At this point I think it will be VDM due to his lack of all round game and experience eventhough he is very good in attack but May is not a guarantee to tour.

Gatland is all about low errors. May has errors in him.

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Post by lostinwales Tue Mar 16, 2021 9:14 am

At a risk of repeating Pooly's comments you haven't been watching.

I was going to write about the good, really good stuff he does, off the ball, in the air. The ground he can cover. (Yes that game vs argentina where he played both wing positions.) The tries he can score. Doesn't mean he always will, but that is a lot of danger right there. But you won't listen.

I am not saying LRZ won't surpass him one day, but LRZ still has a lot to learn. May has been there and done it.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue Mar 16, 2021 9:46 am

whatahitson wrote:I also think Maitland is perhaps a bit too long in the tooth for a back 3 player. If he's going to take a Kiwi in this position it'll be James Lowe.

Have you watched Lowe this 6N? Nowhere near.....

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Post by mikey_dragon Tue Mar 16, 2021 9:48 am

whatahitson wrote:I can't see Gatland leaving George North at home and I can't see him selecting him in the centres for a test match v the Boks.

Rolling Eyes

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue Mar 16, 2021 10:02 am

Whatahit....you're description of May is about 5 years out of date.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue Mar 16, 2021 10:04 am

Weak nose. Forgot about that.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue Mar 16, 2021 10:24 am

Cant scrummage at Flanker...

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Post by alive555 Tue Mar 16, 2021 10:32 am


How is LRZ defence? I read its not quite as good as some of the other contenders. No opinion myself, havent seen enough of him!

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Post by The Oracle Tue Mar 16, 2021 11:32 am

alive555 wrote:
How is LRZ defence? I read its not quite as good as some of the other contenders. No opinion myself, havent seen enough of him!

I heard that before he was capped but at international level no-one has given him much trouble so far. Don't remember any defensive howlers to date. Not sure if that says lots about his defence or more about the quality of the 6N teams/wingers this year! France will be the big test of course.
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Post by RiscaGame Tue Mar 16, 2021 11:43 am

My impression of his reported defensive issues, was more positioning or perhaps high ball. Can't say it has been an issue yet, as you say.

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Post by The Oracle Tue Mar 16, 2021 11:48 am

To be honest, I can't believe we still have these ridiculous arguments every year! I've been on these boards and the old 606 since the 2006 or something. And every Lions tour build up it's the same. Every 6N in fairness too. Basically, we all see our own players much more frequently. We watch them every game whereas other nations' fans watch our players intently perhaps 1 game per season (when they're facing that nation) and this, coupled with understandable inherent bias, means we not only champion our own more but also feel that they are better in some ways than opposition players. Maybe it's just familiarity? But we see the merits of a player we watch more frequently and share success with as a fan much more than a player we watch infrequently and have no vested interest in. e.g. I am in the camp of thinking Finn Russell isn't that good censored . I hold my hands up. I never come on here and say it as it's not worth the aggro (until now!). But I'm sure part of it is that I do not watch him that closely; I perhaps remember the mistakes more than the good stuff because my team has benefited from his mistakes whereas any success he has had I have not been a part of, etc. Jonny May is another. I see some good tries but something (bias?) just makes me not rate him that highly. I then look at someone like Josh Adams and see a really cracking player with lots of tries scored at international level, loads of good qualities, physical, good positioning, decent defence, etc. and he's basically not got a look in from opposition fans compared to others and I cannot see why.

But my point is that you can take out Adams from my paragraph above, or May or Russell, and just add in your own players from your own nation or another nation, and you've for the basis for millions of words and thousands of pages of discussion on this topic over the last 15 years! I'm not trying to stifle discussion but really it's all rather pointless isn't it? At the end of the day it's likely that we're going to champion players from our own teams and turn our noses up at players from others, for the reasons given above. Not sure that arguing about it will make any difference. e.g. Maitland vs Adams - impossible to actually argue and prove that one is better than the other due to all of the variables. So what's the point?!
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Post by king_carlos Tue Mar 16, 2021 1:32 pm

RiscaGame wrote:My impression of his reported defensive issues, was more positioning or perhaps high ball. Can't say it has been an issue yet, as you say.
LZR mostly been very good defensively. His high ball, positioning in the back field and kicking have all been solid. I've noticed a couple of defensive plays when he's in the d-line and bit in earlier than needed, maybe some nerves not quite trusting the inside man who often has a lot of ground to cover in Wales defensive system. He's had a brilliant tournament and should tour IMO.

The only Lions contender in the back three who's defence really concerns me is Duhan. He's definitely got weaknesses in that regard though he is a weapon going forward.

I'd say May, Adams and Williams have the best all round defensive games of likely options.

Halfpenny is still very good in the tackle and in the air but I do think his pace dropping a bit over time has hurt his ability to cover a ton of ground in the back field like he used to. He was up there with Kearney and Ben Smith in that regard at his peak.

Nowell is up there with the best defensive backs in rugby but sadly might not have the chance to tour this time around due to injuries.

I'd see no issue with any of Watson, Hogg, LZR, Keenan, Lowe or Larmour defensively that's significant enough to outweigh their strengths elsewhere though.

Lots of good options in that back three IMO.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue Mar 16, 2021 1:46 pm

Lowe has had a nightmare tournament in defence Carlos. He's been a bit of liability, especially for the size of him. It's ruined any chance he had of touring imo.

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Post by RiscaGame Tue Mar 16, 2021 1:52 pm

king_carlos wrote:
RiscaGame wrote:My impression of his reported defensive issues, was more positioning or perhaps high ball. Can't say it has been an issue yet, as you say.
LZR mostly been very good defensively. His high ball, positioning in the back field and kicking have all been solid. I've noticed a couple of defensive plays when he's in the d-line and bit in earlier than needed, maybe some nerves not quite trusting the inside man who often has a lot of ground to cover in Wales defensive system. He's had a brilliant tournament and should tour IMO.

The only Lions contender in the back three who's defence really concerns me is Duhan. He's definitely got weaknesses in that regard though he is a weapon going forward.

I'd say May, Adams and Williams have the best all round defensive games of likely options.

Halfpenny is still very good in the tackle and in the air but I do think his pace dropping a bit over time has hurt his ability to cover a ton of ground in the back field like he used to. He was up there with Kearney and Ben Smith in that regard at his peak.

Nowell is up there with the best defensive backs in rugby but sadly might not have the chance to tour this time around due to injuries.

I'd see no issue with any of Watson, Hogg, LZR, Keenan, Lowe or Larmour defensively that's significant enough to outweigh their strengths elsewhere though.

Lots of good options in that back three IMO.

Yeah, I may not have worded that too well. I think that it was highlighted as his possible work ons he was given by Pivac (in the Autumn maybe?). But I can’t say with any certainty obviously.

I think Halfpenny has got a little worse under the high ball, but that’s just me. I do seem to remember him spilling a few. Don’t think he will tour, but you never know. His positioning will always be an asset, so it depends what Gatland wants from his 15, I guess. Gatland might trust him more than Liam Williams in some regards, particularly after reading WG’s book from the last tour.

The options you highlight are all good options. I don’t envy him selecting the squad, full stop. Going from Gatland of old, you can see him being a big VDM fan with his size and power.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue Mar 16, 2021 1:58 pm

RiscaGame wrote:
king_carlos wrote:
RiscaGame wrote:My impression of his reported defensive issues, was more positioning or perhaps high ball. Can't say it has been an issue yet, as you say.
LZR mostly been very good defensively. His high ball, positioning in the back field and kicking have all been solid. I've noticed a couple of defensive plays when he's in the d-line and bit in earlier than needed, maybe some nerves not quite trusting the inside man who often has a lot of ground to cover in Wales defensive system. He's had a brilliant tournament and should tour IMO.

The only Lions contender in the back three who's defence really concerns me is Duhan. He's definitely got weaknesses in that regard though he is a weapon going forward.

I'd say May, Adams and Williams have the best all round defensive games of likely options.

Halfpenny is still very good in the tackle and in the air but I do think his pace dropping a bit over time has hurt his ability to cover a ton of ground in the back field like he used to. He was up there with Kearney and Ben Smith in that regard at his peak.

Nowell is up there with the best defensive backs in rugby but sadly might not have the chance to tour this time around due to injuries.

I'd see no issue with any of Watson, Hogg, LZR, Keenan, Lowe or Larmour defensively that's significant enough to outweigh their strengths elsewhere though.

Lots of good options in that back three IMO.

Yeah, I may not have worded that too well. I think that it was highlighted as his possible work ons he was given by Pivac (in the Autumn maybe?). But I can’t say with any certainty obviously.

I think Halfpenny has got a little worse under the high ball, but that’s just me. I do seem to remember him spilling a few. Don’t think he will tour, but you never know. His positioning will always be an asset, so it depends what Gatland wants from his 15, I guess. Gatland might trust him more than Liam Williams in some regards, particularly after reading WG’s book from the last tour.

The options you highlight are all good options. I don’t envy him selecting the squad, full stop. Going from Gatland of old, you can see him being a big VDM fan with his size and power.

Ain't read Gatlands book what did he say about Williams like? Thought he had a pretty solid tour and had the great break (assist from Te'o) for the O'Brien try.

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Post by mikey_dragon Tue Mar 16, 2021 2:39 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Lowe has had a nightmare tournament in defence Carlos. He's been a bit of liability, especially for the size of him. It's ruined any chance he had of touring imo.

I still think he has a chance of touring because of what he can do in attack, but he's way off the test team due to the much highlighted defensive errors. But in a midweek team, VDM and Lowe on the wings will be pretty neat.

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Post by RiscaGame Tue Mar 16, 2021 2:59 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:

Ain't read Gatlands book what did he say about Williams like? Thought he had a pretty solid tour and had the great break (assist from Te'o) for the O'Brien try.

I'll have a skim later. I also remember him not being happy with him on the dvd at least once. The yellow card he had, when he came on in one of the games was a bit silly (I think).

It obviously didn't really affect his chances, because he played the tests (albeit Hogg got injured) and that break was class. It just made me wonder if Gatland does fully trust him.

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Post by LordDowlais Tue Mar 16, 2021 3:23 pm

RiscaGame wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:

Ain't read Gatlands book what did he say about Williams like? Thought he had a pretty solid tour and had the great break (assist from Te'o) for the O'Brien try.

I'll have a skim later. I also remember him not being happy with him on the dvd at least once. The yellow card he had, when he came on in one of the games was a bit silly (I think).

It obviously didn't really affect his chances, because he played the tests (albeit Hogg got injured) and that break was class. It just made me wonder if Gatland does fully trust him.

I remember Gatland was fuming with him when he gave a cheap shot penalty whilst we were touring South Africa that cost us the game.

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Post by king_carlos Tue Mar 16, 2021 3:36 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Lowe has had a nightmare tournament in defence Carlos. He's been a bit of liability, especially for the size of him. It's ruined any chance he had of touring imo.
A poor tournament yes but I don't think he's massively weak there. He's been good with Leinster.

Watson has been a revolving door at times in the tackle and Stockdale had some tough games from 15 defensively but it wouldn't make me overly worried about them in a Lions side.

Most winger do have some defensive weaknesses whether it's in contact, positioning or high ball work. Duhan worries me more than Lowe as he has been susceptible with Edinburgh as well as Scotland. I'm a big fan of Duhan, he's great to watch but currently he'd be just outside Lions contention for me due to those weaknesses.

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Post by bsando Tue Mar 16, 2021 4:30 pm

The Oracle wrote:To be honest, I can't believe we still have these ridiculous arguments every year!  I've been on these boards and the old 606 since the 2006 or something.  And every Lions tour build up it's the same.  Every 6N in fairness too.  Basically, we all see our own players much more frequently.  We watch them every game whereas other nations' fans watch our players intently perhaps 1 game per season (when they're facing that nation) and this, coupled with understandable inherent bias, means we not only champion our own more but also feel that they are better in some ways than opposition players.  Maybe it's just familiarity?  But we see the merits of a player we watch more frequently and share success with as a fan much more than a player we watch infrequently and have no vested interest in.  e.g. I am in the camp of thinking Finn Russell isn't that good  censored .  I hold my hands up.  I never come on here and say it as it's not worth the aggro (until now!).  But I'm sure part of it is that I do not watch him that closely; I perhaps remember the mistakes more than the good stuff because my team has benefited from his mistakes whereas any success he has had I have not been a part of, etc.  Jonny May is another.  I see some good tries but something (bias?) just makes me not rate him that highly.  I then look at someone like Josh Adams and see a really cracking player with lots of tries scored at international level, loads of good qualities, physical, good positioning, decent defence, etc. and he's basically not got a look in from opposition fans compared to others and I cannot see why.  

But my point is that you can take out Adams from my paragraph above, or May or Russell, and just add in your own players from your own nation or another nation, and you've for the basis for millions of words and thousands of pages of discussion on this topic over the last 15 years!  I'm not trying to stifle discussion but really it's all rather pointless isn't it?  At the end of the day it's likely that we're going to champion players from our own teams and turn our noses up at players from others, for the reasons given above.  Not sure that arguing about it will make any difference.  e.g. Maitland vs Adams - impossible to actually argue and prove that one is better than the other due to all of the variables.  So what's the point?!

The Oracle has spoken!

That's true Oracle, I'd say when I don't know enough about a player I prefer not to put them down without getting to watch them perform in a run of games. LRZ was all hype at the start as far as I was concerned because I wasn't watching him play at Gloucester week in and week out. After checking out some of his Gloucester form and now international form I'm happy to agree he is a very talented player. I always knew Lowe was a great player because I've seen him play a lot (and win a lot) for Leinster in the Pro14, but he's not been that great for Ireland so far. I wouldn't write him off at international level yet because I'm aware of how good he has been in that Leinster backline. Adams has done some very impressive work for Wales and I really do think he is a great player. It's very hard to put him down really and he'd be a worthy tourist. Wales win this weekend and he's surely going to be a part of this Lions team.

My opinion may be influenced on Daly because I have a lot of memories of him being skinned by Scottish backs in recent years (Sco vs Eng 2018 onwards). Perhaps unfairly, because I've not seen him play against some other teams whilst lining up for England where he may have shined. I watched England vs Wales this year and thought he had a pretty poor game in that one, but full backs all make mistakes, it's a tough position. To try and explain Maitland to someone who doesn't really watch Scotland, he's mr reliable. You know it's unlikely that he'll make a complete hash of anything but quite likely he'll finish off a well worked try. You wouldn't know that unless you watched all of Scotland's games and his games for Saracens. You can't say that of Russell, Kinghorn, Graham and Hogg, as despite their various talents they could all still do something pretty costly from time to time. Kinghorn has been dropped completely due to his flakey form with Edinburgh and Scotland this season. Hogg makes up for any errors with moments of pure brilliance and more importantly, points on the board.

Anyone who contributes on here knows fine well how talented all these players are, it's always minute differences and I think it is fun to compare and contrast. The biggest grievance I have with rugby at times is that some talent can be overlooked and others can be singled out simply due to the performance of their team, the status of their rugby world ranking and rugby history. Italy are being flogged continuously in the 6N but I think they have some excellent players in their side. To the average fan they're all rubbish because Italy can't win games, which is grossly unfair.


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Post by theslosty Tue Mar 16, 2021 4:31 pm

From an Irish POV Stockdale is a strange one - for 18 months from late 2017 to early 2019 he was the most potent back I'd seen play for Ireland since BOD. His defence and aerial skills left a bit to be desired but he was still young enough at that stage that it wasn't a huge concern. He broke the 6N try scoring record in 2018, scored that try vs the All Blacks and was close to unplayable in the 2018/19 European Champions Cup.

For me the turning point in his career transpired in the space of a few seconds. The 2019 ECC QF between Ulster and Leinster was very tight and not far off Test level in terms of the intensity and calibre of players. Early in the second half Stockdale made a searing break from around 40 yards out on the left wing and the Leinster defence were powerless to stop him racing to the tryline. At that exact moment I felt Stockdale was close to being the best winger in the world. However he then inexplicably drops the ball over the tryline, Ulster lose the QF by a few points and his confidence has been shot since. Andy Farrell is also persisting with this failing experiment with him at 15 where his fielding skills are not close to being good enough.

He'd be a real contender for the Lions Test XV if he was put back to his best position at 11 and somehow regained that confidence he had 2 years ago. I'm hopeful it will happen at some stage but almost certainly looks too late for this tour.
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Post by whatahitson Tue Mar 16, 2021 5:53 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
whatahitson wrote:I also think Maitland is perhaps a bit too long in the tooth for a back 3 player. If he's going to take a Kiwi in this position it'll be James Lowe.

Have you watched Lowe this 6N? Nowhere near.....

Yes very good in attack big clearing boot and pretty much the only Irish player that posed any real threat against defences other than Italy.

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Post by whatahitson Tue Mar 16, 2021 5:54 pm

lostinwales wrote:At a risk of repeating Pooly's comments you haven't been watching.

Wrong. If I were to make silly accusations I'd say you clearly haven't been watching him this tournament. He was minging against Scotland.

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Post by whatahitson Tue Mar 16, 2021 6:00 pm

theslosty wrote:From an Irish POV Stockdale is a strange one - for 18 months from late 2017 to early 2019 he was the most potent back I'd seen play for Ireland since BOD. His defence and aerial skills left a bit to be desired but he was still young enough at that stage that it wasn't a huge concern. He broke the 6N try scoring record in 2018, scored that try vs the All Blacks and was close to unplayable in the 2018/19 European Champions Cup.

For me the turning point in his career transpired in the space of a few seconds. The 2019 ECC QF between Ulster and Leinster was very tight and not far off Test level in terms of the intensity and calibre of players. Early in the second half Stockdale made a searing break from around 40 yards out on the left wing and the Leinster defence were powerless to stop him racing to the tryline. At that exact moment I felt Stockdale was close to being the best winger in the world. However he then inexplicably drops the ball over the tryline, Ulster lose the QF by a few points and his confidence has been shot since. Andy Farrell is also persisting with this failing experiment with him at 15 where his fielding skills are not close to being good enough.

He'd be a real contender for the Lions Test XV if he was put back to his best position at 11 and somehow regained that confidence he had 2 years ago. I'm hopeful it will happen at some stage but almost certainly looks too late for this tour.

Farrell messing about with him at full back has really hurt Stockdale's chances. LRZ coming along means that the strike winger position Stockdale is competing for now looks like it's been taken.

Wing is one of the few positions where I think you really want to pick on form. It's a bit like a striker in football, if they're scoring goals, they'll win you games. If a winger is on a hot streak, confident, fit and in form, their contribution can be the difference between winning and losing because it is so black and white: score a try with the chances you are presented, or don't score a try. To carry that analogy on, the goalkeeper would be shared out between a tight head prop and a full back. If your tight head is mince, you won't have a platform and it'll be a long old day (Australia). If your full back is poor as the last man he will let in tries (Daly) that better full backs would stop. But in terms of scoring, of winning games, then the wingers are the strikers and they are probably the most 'form dependent' positions in the whole team given they don't have too much to do (unlike half backs) but when they are involved it's almost always win or bust.

This is why Ugo Monye and Shane Williams were bad picks in 2009. Monye had pace and it paid off with his intercept but he probably lacked the test match quality so when it came the Lions, and those two try scoring chances he had presented to him, he just wasn't up to the job. Shane Williams was in horrible form and despite his talent probably shouldn't have played in the tests he was that ineffective.

Picking an out of form winger, particularly one valued for their try scoring (May) over their all round effective play and decision making (Watson, Adams), is surely a mistake Gatland won't make again?

Then again he ignored Seymour eventhough he was bang in form so you never know.

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Post by whatahitson Tue Mar 16, 2021 6:23 pm

The Oracle wrote:To be honest, I can't believe we still have these ridiculous arguments every year!  I've been on these boards and the old 606 since the 2006 or something.  And every Lions tour build up it's the same.  Every 6N in fairness too.  Basically, we all see our own players much more frequently.  We watch them every game whereas other nations' fans watch our players intently perhaps 1 game per season (when they're facing that nation) and this, coupled with understandable inherent bias, means we not only champion our own more but also feel that they are better in some ways than opposition players.  Maybe it's just familiarity?  But we see the merits of a player we watch more frequently and share success with as a fan much more than a player we watch infrequently and have no vested interest in.  e.g. I am in the camp of thinking Finn Russell isn't that good  censored .  I hold my hands up.  I never come on here and say it as it's not worth the aggro (until now!).  But I'm sure part of it is that I do not watch him that closely; I perhaps remember the mistakes more than the good stuff because my team has benefited from his mistakes whereas any success he has had I have not been a part of, etc.  Jonny May is another.  I see some good tries but something (bias?) just makes me not rate him that highly.  I then look at someone like Josh Adams and see a really cracking player with lots of tries scored at international level, loads of good qualities, physical, good positioning, decent defence, etc. and he's basically not got a look in from opposition fans compared to others and I cannot see why.  

But my point is that you can take out Adams from my paragraph above, or May or Russell, and just add in your own players from your own nation or another nation, and you've for the basis for millions of words and thousands of pages of discussion on this topic over the last 15 years!  I'm not trying to stifle discussion but really it's all rather pointless isn't it?  At the end of the day it's likely that we're going to champion players from our own teams and turn our noses up at players from others, for the reasons given above.  Not sure that arguing about it will make any difference.  e.g. Maitland vs Adams - impossible to actually argue and prove that one is better than the other due to all of the variables.  So what's the point?!

Good post.

I don't think it's national bias though as I am English and agree with you on May. He is lethal and it is all to do with his speed. BUT we have just seen that there is another option who is just as quick, younger and more malleable to a different coaching set up, and by the looks of things has a better kicking and passing game as well. He probably doesn't have the aerial game that May does but he also shows no sign of the lack of rugby IQ that May showed in his early years, and which Eddie Jones' England has been able to mitigate and coach out of him. In pressure situations, that sort of lack of rugby instinct could be costly for a Lions teams where adapatability is key. Fast learners who are versatile is basically the Lions mantra. I don't know if that is May.

Another point is that the opposition will know May. There is far more video analysis and also personal experience for the Boks players having played against him numerous times. None of them have faced LRZ. I think it's easy to look at things from the sidelines and forget what it is like to play. Sometimes, tactics go out of the window, and actually it's about that previously mentioned instinct and understanding about how to respond against certain players. For a winger, that will be how close you get to them, where you try to tackle them (high/low), how you try to tackle them (use their weight to drag them down, try to trip them up, hold them up and wait for support, try to smash them), how quick they are over the first 5-10 metres, what their footwork is like and how likely they are to beat you in a tight space, and finally out and out speed over 30-40m. The South Africans wingers do not have any experience of this with LRZ and they can analyse, and speak to the Bok players playing in the Prem, but it's not quite the same. It's not the same as knowing, one on one, or as a defensive unit, what it is like to actually play against him and what you have to do in a certain situation (back off, take him down early, try to get across his hands to stop the offload etc). There aren't too many players who strike fear in to the SH boys. Hogg is pretty much the only one who consistently rattles defences. Liam Williams now has a reputation as well.

Now for me, all of these are great benefits going in LRZ's favour. Inexperience also works in the favour of the Lions as all it takes is one poor read or assumption from a Bok player, in a test match, to go high on LRZ because he's slender, get bumped off, and he offloads to Hogg for a try. Or they try to show him the outside and LRZ burns him and makes a dive for the corner. You cannot coach these exact situations, even with all the analysis, as no rugby incident is exactly like a coached scenario. The spacial awareness, the actual field space you have to play within, the fatigue, the options receiving a pass (or kick behind) - all of these things matter and occur within split seconds, which is why instinct and rugby intelligence are absolutely key. Because that's what the very best players use on the field. Coaching and preparation goes some of the way but they still need their actual talent and ability when it matters.

So for me, that fact goes in LRZ's favour and works against May as May is not the most intelligent winger in the world and as lethal as he is, he's almost a one man roadrunner. So many of his tries come from his sheer speed and the tempo England play at. As I said before, the Lions will play a different style of rugby. Just look at the Wales v Sotuh Africa game and compare to the England v NZ game. Totally different styles of rugby. It's like 12 rounds of gruelling boxing on the inside and clinching, vs. England coming out early with the knockdowns and then holding on with rigid defence and sharp counterpunching. May suits that short, sharp, shock style of rugby that Eddie Jones has England playing as it suddenly produces space with few defenders to beat, which is where he comes in to his own.

For me, Watson is a better rugby player, there's no doubt about that. May has scored some fantastic tries but he's almost like a Michael Owen striker, someone who uses his extreme speed and scores goal without offering much else. Watson, Liam Williams, and even Josh Adams are more like Harry Kanes or just a well rounded striker. They still score, but they can cover 15 as well, they have that 'all court game' and they're far less one dimensional.

LRZ is clearly not the finished article but that risk might be worth taking in the test matches as no SH player has come up against him and all it takes is that split second misread by Mapimpi to mean LRZ scores the tour-winning try. With May, that seems less likely given their experience against him. For me, anyway. There's not much in it. If the Boks box kick all day long then maybe you bring May in but we'll have to see how good he actually is under the high ball without England's blocking runners giving him excellent protection. It's no good expecting him to do what he does for England if the Lions don't want to protect the high ball in that way by dragging so many defenders out of a flat line to protect the catcher.

What's the point? A bit of fun really and to see how our predictions turn out! chin

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Post by Mr Bounce Tue Mar 16, 2021 7:57 pm

It's interesting that some posters have mentioned that May has an attitude problem. He's more of a complicated character, an oddball rather than having a problem with anyone. Watching him scream like a girl as he puts his hand into a covered box and touches a snail is hilarious. Oddball, that's all, and looks like a well-respected England squad member.

I would have thought if any of the wingers have a perceived attitude problem, it's Adams. Bunking off from the squad for a family party and ignoring Covid rules is nothing but idiocy and about as far from a team player as you can get. It could count against him if it's between him and another player.

Both are class players though and both are likely to tour. I just think it's amusing to see the amount of bias from each country's fans.

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Lions Watch: Six Nations Report - Page 2 Empty Re: Lions Watch: Six Nations Report

Post by The Oracle Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:04 pm

I don’t think it’s amusing per se. I think it’s natural and expected.
The Oracle
The Oracle

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Lions Watch: Six Nations Report - Page 2 Empty Re: Lions Watch: Six Nations Report

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