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LIONS ANNOUNCEMENT

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 13 Apr 2021, 3:02 pm

First topic message reminder :

Forwards: Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Luke Cowan Dickie, Tom Curry, Zander Fagerson, Taulupe Faletau, Tadhg Furlong, Jamie George, Iain Henderson, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones, Wyn Jones, Courtney Lawes, Ken Owens, Andrew Porter, Sam Simmonds, Rory Sutherland, Justin Tipuric, Mako Vunipola, Hamish Watson.

Backs: Josh Adams, Bundee Aki, Dan Biggar, Elliot Daly, Gareth Davies, Owen Farrell, Chris Harris, Robbie Henshaw, Stuart Hogg, Conor Murray, Ali Price, Louis Rees-Zammit, Finn Russell, Duhan van der Merwe, Anthony Watson, Liam Williams.

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Post by y ddraig goch Sun 02 May 2021, 3:15 pm

North getting injured really helps van der merwe and Bundee Aki. We don't have many players to replace North's skillset but those two are the most likely.

I think Gatland will pick this for the test team:

10. One of Sexton, Russell, Biggar, Ford.
12. Owen Farrell
13. Robbie Henshaw

If Aki goes on tour he will get a chance to play 12. But they're not going to leave Farrell out of the starting team and I don't think he will play at outside-half.

Having Farrell at 12 also frees up the bench to go with a 6-2 split if they want to. The only thing is with Hogg at 15 they already have a second playmaker. So maybe they don't want 3 playmakers but it's the only way I can see Russell being trusted to start.

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Post by flyhalffactory Sun 02 May 2021, 3:49 pm

y ddraig goch wrote:North getting injured really helps van der merwe and Bundee Aki.

Do you realise North is playing OC for Ospreys/Wales currently and Aki is an IC and DvdM us a winger?. Also Aki hasn't played the last 4 matches for Connact, the last match was early March

y ddraig goch wrote:So maybe they don't want 3 playmakers but it's the only way I can see Russell being trusted to start.

I don't understand that at all, Hogg has played one game at 10 and why on earth wouldn't you trust a player who was superb for Glasgow and is performing outstandingly in one of the hardest leagues in the world?
What don't you trust about?
10 Russell
12 Henshaw
13 Jon Davies
or
10 Russell
12 Faz
13 Henshaw


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Post by RiscaGame Sun 02 May 2021, 5:08 pm

Always Jon Davies Wink

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Post by Rugby Fan Sun 02 May 2021, 11:18 pm

Well, Europe is over for everyone except Leicester. A couple of players had moments this weekend. Still, it's hard to imagine anyone went from a possible to a probably on the strength of their performance. All told, Europe hasn't really added much to the Lions picture. I had visions of seeing the likes of Russell, Sam Simmons, Zebo and Lowe taking the channce to shine but it never really panned out for one reason or another.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 03 May 2021, 10:06 am

Genge and Ford won't have hurt their chances this weekend. They were both very good Vs Ulster. With Youngs out could we see Cooney in? He offered a bit of everything before the head knock.

Lowe has probably ended his given the competition for wing spaces and that performance Vs La Rochelle.

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Post by George Carlin Mon 03 May 2021, 10:06 am

Rugby Fan wrote:Well, Europe is over for everyone except Leicester. A couple of players had moments this weekend. Still, it's hard to imagine anyone went from a possible to a probably on the strength of their performance. All told, Europe hasn't really added much to the Lions picture. I had visions of seeing the likes of Russell, Sam Simmons, Zebo and Lowe taking the channce to shine but it never really panned out for one reason or another.
Yep. Unfortunately for us, one of the players who shone was Cheslin Kolbe.
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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon 03 May 2021, 10:43 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:Lowe has probably ended his given the competition for wing spaces and that performance Vs La Rochelle.

...or any of his performances in an Ireland jersey. I'd have put good money on him taking to Internationals like a duck to water, but it just hasn't happened (yet).

As an aside, great seeing Matt Scott get a couple of starts for Leicester.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon 03 May 2021, 10:47 am

George Carlin wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:Well, Europe is over for everyone except Leicester. A couple of players had moments this weekend. Still, it's hard to imagine anyone went from a possible to a probably on the strength of their performance. All told, Europe hasn't really added much to the Lions picture. I had visions of seeing the likes of Russell, Sam Simmons, Zebo and Lowe taking the channce to shine but it never really panned out for one reason or another.
Yep. Unfortunately for us, one of the players who shone was Cheslin Kolbe.

Kolbe is a complete menace. Get your positioning even fractionally wrong and he'll make you look foolish. I think Duhan is a wonderful player, and if he's given the chance to run at Kolbe he'll go through him, but in defence I'd be terrified every time the Boks went wide. I dont want the Lions to pick players solely on defence, we have to attack as well, but they'll need to have a plan for Kolbe.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 03 May 2021, 11:21 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:Lowe has probably ended his given the competition for wing spaces and that performance Vs La Rochelle.

...or any of his performances in an Ireland jersey. I'd have put good money on him taking to Internationals like a duck to water, but it just hasn't happened (yet).

As an aside, great seeing Matt Scott get a couple of starts for Leicester.

He's played regularly for Tigers, mainly at 12 but occasionally at 13 due to rotation. The problem for Scott is that he needs to step up his solid performances and offer something more because young Dan Kelly looks to be matching those performances and is still improving. Kelly was a bit unfortunate to miss the Ulster game having been knocked out the previous week Vs Saints. Kelly Vs McCloskey would have provided and added layer of interest for the Irish fans.

As an aside there may be some competition for Kelly in a couple of years his rate of improvement has been quite significant. English born and raised but represented Ireland under 20s at 18 (as a starting centre) due to family connections (grandparent I think).

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Post by Old Man Mon 03 May 2021, 11:30 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:
George Carlin wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:Well, Europe is over for everyone except Leicester. A couple of players had moments this weekend. Still, it's hard to imagine anyone went from a possible to a probably on the strength of their performance. All told, Europe hasn't really added much to the Lions picture. I had visions of seeing the likes of Russell, Sam Simmons, Zebo and Lowe taking the channce to shine but it never really panned out for one reason or another.
Yep. Unfortunately for us, one of the players who shone was Cheslin Kolbe.

Kolbe is a complete menace. Get your positioning even fractionally wrong and he'll make you look foolish. I think Duhan is a wonderful player, and if he's given the chance to run at Kolbe he'll go through him, but in defence I'd be terrified every time the Boks went wide. I dont want the Lions to pick players solely on defence, we have to attack as well, but they'll need to have a plan for Kolbe.

There are very few players with as much guts as Kolbe, he will know V d Merwe would want to run through him, and that is easier said that done, Kolbe has good tackling technique on big guys, and he takes them down more often than not.

Besides, Faf will mark v d Merwe, and he punches way above his weight Very Happy

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Post by flyhalffactory Mon 03 May 2021, 11:41 am

Kolbe 5' 7"  11st 9lb
Can also play FB at ease!
Can't legislate for speed, timing and awareness


Toulouse v Leinster
Lions Watch

Guys who did ok
* Kelleher - can't remember him missing a tackle and some mighty hits
* Furlong - Took try well and won a couple of T/Os
* v d Flier - Couple of great tackles

Disappointing
* Ryan - Lack of game time probably and looked rusty
* Ringrose - same as Ryan
* Henshaw - very quiet game


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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 03 May 2021, 11:41 am

As a Lions fan, Faf does not worry me. His form over the last season, maybe even 2, has been pretty poor. He seems to have lost his mojo somewhat, lets hope it stays that way.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 03 May 2021, 11:46 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:As a Lions fan, Faf does not worry me. His form over the last season, maybe even 2, has been pretty poor. He seems to have lost his mojo somewhat, lets hope it stays that way.

 I think he's been asked to change the way he plays at Sale. They need him less to improvise moments of genius and more just to keep their forwards in the right areas of the pitch and moving forward. To be fair he does that well.

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Post by Old Man Mon 03 May 2021, 12:39 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:As a Lions fan, Faf does not worry me. His form over the last season, maybe even 2, has been pretty poor. He seems to have lost his mojo somewhat, lets hope it stays that way.

I think that happens to players when the European season becomes a slog. The Lions tour will up everyone’s motivation as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most South Africans.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 03 May 2021, 1:48 pm

Old Man wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:As a Lions fan, Faf does not worry me. His form over the last season, maybe even 2, has been pretty poor. He seems to have lost his mojo somewhat, lets hope it stays that way.

I think that happens to players when the European season becomes a slog. The Lions tour will up everyone’s motivation as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most South Africans.

So we just ignore recent form you say? Some on here will have a mini-breakdown if you suggest that for the Lions Wink

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Post by The Oracle Mon 03 May 2021, 2:34 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Old Man wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:As a Lions fan, Faf does not worry me. His form over the last season, maybe even 2, has been pretty poor. He seems to have lost his mojo somewhat, lets hope it stays that way.

I think that happens to players when the European season becomes a slog. The Lions tour will up everyone’s motivation as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most South Africans.

So we just ignore recent form you say? Some on here will have a mini-breakdown if you suggest that for the Lions Wink

Especially when Gatland picks a player on previous form and ‘class’. SA do it - not a problem. Gats does it - disrespecting the jersey, death of the Lions, etc!
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Post by lostinwales Mon 03 May 2021, 2:58 pm

The Oracle wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Old Man wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:As a Lions fan, Faf does not worry me. His form over the last season, maybe even 2, has been pretty poor. He seems to have lost his mojo somewhat, lets hope it stays that way.

I think that happens to players when the European season becomes a slog. The Lions tour will up everyone’s motivation as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most South Africans.

So we just ignore recent form you say? Some on here will have a mini-breakdown if you suggest that for the Lions Wink

Especially when Gatland picks a player on previous form and ‘class’. SA do it - not a problem. Gats does it - disrespecting the jersey, death of the Lions, etc!

But previous form and 'class' are both highly subjective - hence Farrell will go and none of us (including the England fans) will think it deserved.

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Post by Rugby Fan Mon 03 May 2021, 3:08 pm

Old Man wrote:I think that happens to players when the European season becomes a slog. The Lions tour will up everyone’s motivation as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most South Africans.

Can you recall John Smit expressing some disappointment over his Lions experience. I vaguely remember an interview - or maybe his book - where he said he had grown up with stories of Lions tour rugby camaraderie, but found the whole experience very ill-natured, which left a bad taste.

I wonder whether that was just a reaction to the white hot temperature of the confontations on that tour, and his memories might be happier twelve years on. The tour is still remembered as a great occasion by supporters, so it would be sad if the principals have reservations.

EDIT: I went back and checked. I'm fairly sure this bit from his book is what I remember.

https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/smit-reveals-beer-snub-in-time-for-book-launch-26582210.html

Smit devotes a chapter, titled 'Bad Blood', to the Lions in his book Captain in the Cauldron, which is due out this week. He writes that the invitation was extended a week before the first Test "so that we could create the friendships and memories that Lions tours are renown (sic) for. The older ex-players talk about these memories all the time.

"This happened long before we had played each other, when there was no reason for anybody to be pissed off with anybody. Nothing had been said or done. I later heard that this stemmed from one of the senior Irish players who said that he wasn't interested. We don't know why they made a decision contrary to the ethos of rugby, but we do know that we made the effort. We thought 'to hell with them' and that snub added to the needle that was there in all three Tests and it made the series victory all the sweeter."

Smit maintains that the atmosphere between the squads was further damaged by the Lions not swapping the correct shirts with them after the game. Typically players get two jerseys, one of which they wear in the second half if they want to change at half-time. This also allows them to keep one and swap one.

"When our guys got back to the change room we realised that the jerseys we had been given were not the real thing. A genuine Lions Test jersey is embroidered with the player's name, number of caps, and the name and date of the fixture, but the ones they gave us could have come from any sports shop.

"We sent our logistics manager Charles Wessels to their change room to ask for their original jerseys. They must have felt bad because they eventually sent back the embroidered originals. They had been cheeky, they had taken a chance and we thought: 'Stuff you, you aren't getting away with it.'"


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Post by flyhalffactory Mon 03 May 2021, 3:11 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Old Man wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:As a Lions fan, Faf does not worry me. His form over the last season, maybe even 2, has been pretty poor. He seems to have lost his mojo somewhat, lets hope it stays that way.

I think that happens to players when the European season becomes a slog. The Lions tour will up everyone’s motivation as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most South Africans.

So we just ignore recent form you say? Some on here will have a mini-breakdown if you suggest that for the Lions Wink

I think you might be onto something Pooly, forget about form lets go with "potential" and motivation for the big games

So just for the 3 test games, I reckon if we keep these under wraps, then we can forget the form of Russell, AWJ, Itoje etc, lets go potential
15 Robinson
14 Offiah or even Duckham
11 Underwood
13 Greenwood
12 Guscott
10 Wilkinson
9 Dawson
8 Dallaglio
7 Winterbottom
6 Hill
5 Johnson (c)
4 Beaumont
3 Vickery
2 Moore
1 Leonard

and lets not forget the fun bus
1 / 3 Leonard...... I mean he is so potentially good that he can play both at the same time so we only really need 14

Job done
I think

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Post by Old Man Mon 03 May 2021, 3:30 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Old Man wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:As a Lions fan, Faf does not worry me. His form over the last season, maybe even 2, has been pretty poor. He seems to have lost his mojo somewhat, lets hope it stays that way.

I think that happens to players when the European season becomes a slog. The Lions tour will up everyone’s motivation as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most South Africans.

So we just ignore recent form you say? Some on here will have a mini-breakdown if you suggest that for the Lions Wink

Well I am talking from a South African perspective, so Faf will be in the running, and hopefully his motivation comes with him. I can’t speak for the Lion selections

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Post by king_carlos Mon 03 May 2021, 4:12 pm

Old Man wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Old Man wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:As a Lions fan, Faf does not worry me. His form over the last season, maybe even 2, has been pretty poor. He seems to have lost his mojo somewhat, lets hope it stays that way.

I think that happens to players when the European season becomes a slog. The Lions tour will up everyone’s motivation as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most South Africans.

So we just ignore recent form you say? Some on here will have a mini-breakdown if you suggest that for the Lions Wink

Well I am talking from a South African perspective, so Faf will be in the running, and hopefully his motivation comes with him. I can’t speak for the Lion selections
Faf has been quieter for Sale but he's world class and likely to be the best scrum-half on the pitch in the tests given the Lions options there.

I think Sale's change in tactics have been the bigger cause of him being quieter. For a while with Steve Diamond as DOR they played off 9 most the time and it was very effective with Faf available but if he wasn't their performances could fall off a cliff. Interestingly similar happened with Worcester for a while with Francois Hougaard at his peak. They were dangerous in attack with Hougaard and frequently hapless without.

With the change of coaching at Sale they've mixed their attack up more to play off 9 and 10 which has brought AJ MacGinty into the game more but left Faf a bit less prominent. I'd argue that Sale have become a more rounded side for it.

With Faf, Jantjies and Reinach as unbelievably good attacking 9 options and having had no games since the RWC it would presumably take a stroke of madness from Jacques Nienaber to not play off their scrum-half a lot. Playing off 9 suits Pollard as well, plus switching the focus of attack when needed shouldn't be an issue with Willie le Roux is at fullback.

Kolbe being one of the best individual attacking threats in rugby helps too. Radrada and Beauden Barrett are the only two I can think to challenge Kolbe there.

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Post by king_carlos Mon 03 May 2021, 4:48 pm

The closer we get to the tour the more similar my thoughts on selection are to just after the Six Nations. I wouldn't say anyone's form since has absolutely demanded getting selected or being left out. Below is a 37 man squad which if rumours are right is about what will initially be selected.

1.Sutherland, Healy, Wyn-Jones
2.Cowan-Dickie, Owens, George
3.Furlong, Sinckler, Porter
4.Itoje, Henderson
5.Ryan, AWJ
6.Curry, Bierne, Navidi
7.Watson, Tipuric
8.Faletau, Stander

9.Williams, Murray, Davies
10.Biggar, Russell, Ford

11.LZR, May
12.Farrell, Davies
13.Henshaw, Harris, Ringrose
14.Watson, Adams
15.Hogg, Williams

Players who just missed out - Z Fagerson, J Gray, Cummings, Lawes, Ritchie, Underhill, Connors, Sexton, Aki, H Jones, Duhan, Nowell, Keenan

Given his experience Jack Nowell wouldn't really be a bolter but he is a player that I could see Gatland taking a punt on having just got back fit. He's a fantastic defender who could mark Kolbe as well as any, plus he was a test player on the last tour so Gats must rate him.

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Post by doctor_grey Mon 03 May 2021, 6:03 pm

Just when I thought Ford had played himself out of any Lions possibilities, he had a really good game this weekend. Farrell worries me because he kills the back line. If whomever is the 10 can miss pass the 12, then perhaps something will happen out wide. Otherwise, not so much.

Russell also worries me because he could be a yellow card or red card just waiting to happen. And that's based on the 6 Nations alone. It is also a shame because he is one of the few attacking difference makers we could have along with Hogg and the wings who must take inside lines looking for work.

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Post by Old Man Mon 03 May 2021, 6:51 pm

king_carlos wrote:
Old Man wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Old Man wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:As a Lions fan, Faf does not worry me. His form over the last season, maybe even 2, has been pretty poor. He seems to have lost his mojo somewhat, lets hope it stays that way.

I think that happens to players when the European season becomes a slog. The Lions tour will up everyone’s motivation as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most South Africans.

So we just ignore recent form you say? Some on here will have a mini-breakdown if you suggest that for the Lions Wink

Well I am talking from a South African perspective, so Faf will be in the running, and hopefully his motivation comes with him. I can’t speak for the Lion selections
Faf has been quieter for Sale but he's world class and likely to be the best scrum-half on the pitch in the tests given the Lions options there.

I think Sale's change in tactics have been the bigger cause of him being quieter. For a while with Steve Diamond as DOR they played off 9 most the time and it was very effective with Faf available but if he wasn't their performances could fall off a cliff. Interestingly similar happened with Worcester for a while with Francois Hougaard at his peak. They were dangerous in attack with Hougaard and frequently hapless without.

With the change of coaching at Sale they've mixed their attack up more to play off 9 and 10 which has brought AJ MacGinty into the game more but left Faf a bit less prominent. I'd argue that Sale have become a more rounded side for it.

With Faf, Jantjies and Reinach as unbelievably good attacking 9 options and having had no games since the RWC it would presumably take a stroke of madness from Jacques Nienaber to not play off their scrum-half a lot. Playing off 9 suits Pollard as well, plus switching the focus of attack when needed shouldn't be an issue with Willie le Roux is at fullback.

Kolbe being one of the best individual attacking threats in rugby helps too. Radrada and Beauden Barrett are the only two I can think to challenge Kolbe there.
Good post, I don’t know much of the Premiership as I don’t watch a lot of it, but your reasoning sounds good.

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Post by y ddraig goch Mon 03 May 2021, 7:33 pm

flyhalffactory wrote:
y ddraig goch wrote:North getting injured really helps van der merwe and Bundee Aki.

Do you realise North is playing OC for Ospreys/Wales currently and Aki is an IC and DvdM us a winger?. Also Aki hasn't played the last 4 matches for Connact, the last match was early March

It's about skillsets. There are only two other players who can do what North does. Don't get too concerned with the number on the back of the shirt.


"What don't you trust about?

10 Russell
12 Faz
13 Henshaw"

I'm not sure what you mean by this as you've picked the same backline I did?

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Post by y ddraig goch Mon 03 May 2021, 7:41 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
Old Man wrote:I think that happens to players when the European season becomes a slog. The Lions tour will up everyone’s motivation as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most South Africans.

Can you recall John Smit expressing some disappointment over his Lions experience. I vaguely remember an interview - or maybe his book - where he said he had grown up with stories of Lions tour rugby camaraderie, but found the whole experience very ill-natured, which left a bad taste.

I wonder whether that was just a reaction to the white hot temperature of the confontations on that tour, and his memories might be happier twelve years on. The tour is still remembered as a great occasion by supporters, so it would be sad if the principals have reservations.

EDIT: I went back and checked. I'm fairly sure this bit from his book is what I remember.

https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/smit-reveals-beer-snub-in-time-for-book-launch-26582210.html

Smit devotes a chapter, titled 'Bad Blood', to the Lions in his book Captain in the Cauldron, which is due out this week. He writes that the invitation was extended a week before the first Test "so that we could create the friendships and memories that Lions tours are renown (sic) for. The older ex-players talk about these memories all the time.

"This happened long before we had played each other, when there was no reason for anybody to be pissed off with anybody. Nothing had been said or done. I later heard that this stemmed from one of the senior Irish players who said that he wasn't interested. We don't know why they made a decision contrary to the ethos of rugby, but we do know that we made the effort. We thought 'to hell with them' and that snub added to the needle that was there in all three Tests and it made the series victory all the sweeter."

Smit maintains that the atmosphere between the squads was further damaged by the Lions not swapping the correct shirts with them after the game. Typically players get two jerseys, one of which they wear in the second half if they want to change at half-time. This also allows them to keep one and swap one.

"When our guys got back to the change room we realised that the jerseys we had been given were not the real thing. A genuine Lions Test jersey is embroidered with the player's name, number of caps, and the name and date of the fixture, but the ones they gave us could have come from any sports shop.

"We sent our logistics manager Charles Wessels to their change room to ask for their original jerseys. They must have felt bad because they eventually sent back the embroidered originals. They had been cheeky, they had taken a chance and we thought: 'Stuff you, you aren't getting away with it.'"

Thanks for sharing this.

You have to assume a lot of this had to do with trying to save the concept of the Lions after 2005? They needed a result and they were going to the backyard of the world champions. They couldn't afford to be soft.

It was also a period where professionalism was starting to increase year on year but at the same time you still had players who had grown up knowing amateur rugby values. The players now are more professional and dedicated as they come through the elite system from the age of 5 and 6 but they don't have the tribalism from the amateur days. You listen to rugby players talk now and they just treat it like a job because they don't know anything else. The club game has probably played a part as well as players are so used to cosmopolitan dressing rooms.

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Post by flyhalffactory Mon 03 May 2021, 8:26 pm

y ddraig goch wrote:
flyhalffactory wrote:
y ddraig goch wrote:North getting injured really helps van der merwe and Bundee Aki.

Do you realise North is playing OC for Ospreys/Wales currently and Aki is an IC and DvdM us a winger?. Also Aki hasn't played the last 4 matches for Connact, the last match was early March

It's about skillsets. There are only two other players who can do what North does. Don't get too concerned with the number on the back of the shirt.


"What don't you trust about?

10 Russell
12 Faz
13 Henshaw"

I'm not sure what you mean by this as you've picked the same backline I did?

y ddraig goch wrote:It's about skillsets. There are only two other players who can do what North does. Don't get too concerned with the number on the back of the shirt.

I'm not concerned with numbers on shirts, I am flummoxed by playing style and positions!
Aki is an I/C, upper body strength, a tad like Roberts was for Wales. DvdM never runs straight lines, it's all about coming off his right, almost a dog-leg to come in supporting possibly the 10/12 route. North is all about driving through his (massive) thighs, quite soft distribution and solid defence, hence his easier than anticipated conversion to O/C.

North injured maybe helps Chris Harris but I cannae see how it provides a opportunity for a left winger DvdM to cover the opposite side of the field

I am unsure what you mean by not trusting Russell?......
He is a risk taker, we know, sometimes it come off, sometimes it doesn't but he is the most aware player on the pitch, Harris covers the risk-takers (Russell/Johnson) for Scotland, it works very well as can be seen by our impressive defensive stats.

Russell has almost pished on his chips, last years 6Ns run in with Toonie and this years 6Ns red & yellow, I think may have decided his fate

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 04 May 2021, 8:41 am

y ddraig goch wrote:
flyhalffactory wrote:
y ddraig goch wrote:North getting injured really helps van der merwe and Bundee Aki.

Do you realise North is playing OC for Ospreys/Wales currently and Aki is an IC and DvdM us a winger?. Also Aki hasn't played the last 4 matches for Connact, the last match was early March

It's about skillsets. There are only two other players who can do what North does. Don't get too concerned with the number on the back of the shirt.


"What don't you trust about?

10 Russell
12 Faz
13 Henshaw"

I'm not sure what you mean by this as you've picked the same backline I did?

Well there's Manu who in theory should be fit for the Lions tour that offers exactly what North does at 13...

Be interesting to see if Gatland takes a chance on Manu. Massive upside but also could maybe annoy some people picking a guy who's been injured a long time and who's reputation not form is getting him in.

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Post by LordDowlais Tue 04 May 2021, 8:59 am

Bookies have suspended all bets on AWJ being captain.

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Post by George Carlin Tue 04 May 2021, 9:14 am

If Gatland chooses players on the basis of credit in the bank rather than current form, we will have a repeat of 2005 which would be a shame.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 04 May 2021, 9:20 am

Would be an almighty risk in taking Tuilagi, but he took injured players last time so wouldn't surprise me. Bigger risk if he takes the smaller squad. Still doesn't make sense to me that given covid a larger squad to ensure people aren't constantly coming in would make more sense to me. Obviously being swayed as the time to SA isn't prohibitive to get players on a plane there.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 04 May 2021, 9:27 am

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/may/03/marcus-smith-emerges-shock-possible-british-irish-lions-pick-south-africa-tour-rugby-union

If this is true I hope Gatland actually uses him and doesn't just dent his international career as he did with Wade.

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Post by BamBam Tue 04 May 2021, 10:18 am

Would be a great experience for Smith to go on the tour, but I don't want to see him getting dropped unceremoniously when he misses a tackle on a monster SA forward

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 04 May 2021, 10:36 am

I want him to force Jones hand through the England tour as I can't see Gatland including him in the test squads despite his form. If he starts or gets decent time from the bench he's going to impress.

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Post by The Oracle Tue 04 May 2021, 10:40 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/may/03/marcus-smith-emerges-shock-possible-british-irish-lions-pick-south-africa-tour-rugby-union

If this is true I hope Gatland actually uses him and doesn't just dent his international career as he did with Wade.


It's so difficult though isn't it. 36 players and only a small number of games. Do you 'do the right thing' in terms of being nice and give everyone a game? Or will people complain that Gatland and co can't make their minds up and the test team is under-cooked as they haven't all played as a team before the first test due to trying different players and combos every game? All of these are complaints I've heard in the past Lions tours! So it's a tricky balance for the coaches. You need to take a big squad for obvious rotation and injury reasons, and to get a better look at them in that environment. But inevitably that means some end up with limited game time.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 04 May 2021, 10:53 am

The Oracle wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/may/03/marcus-smith-emerges-shock-possible-british-irish-lions-pick-south-africa-tour-rugby-union

If this is true I hope Gatland actually uses him and doesn't just dent his international career as he did with Wade.


It's so difficult though isn't it.  36 players and only a small number of games.  Do you 'do the right thing' in terms of being nice and give everyone a game?   Or will people complain that Gatland and co can't make their minds up and the test team is under-cooked as they haven't all played as a team before the first test due to trying different players and combos every game?  All of these are complaints I've heard in the past Lions tours!  So it's a tricky balance for the coaches.  You need to take a big squad for obvious rotation and injury reasons, and to get a better look at them in that environment.  But inevitably that means some end up with limited game time.

I think his job is made harder due to the pandemic and the Saracens situation as well, but ideally you'd want to see all the players get a run out before the tests, and then for the form to be rewarded. I think the planned 5 warm ups are still going ahead as I haven't read anything to contradict that? Specifically in relation to Smith, possibly Redpath too if either goes, its because despite what he will shows I think Gatland will go with the experienced player. I would like to think that players like that get a realistic chance. If he's in at the start he does stand more chance than Wade who was plucked from an England tour after a potm award thrown to the wolves in a scratch side and didn't get a look in.

Got these from the Lions website so presumably they are still inked in:

MATCH DATE
MATCH
LOCATION
STADIUM
03/07/2021

DHL Stormers v British & Irish Lions

Cape Town

Cape Town Stadium

07/07/2021

South Africa 'Invitational' v British & Irish Lions

Port Elizabeth

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

10/07/2021

Cell C Sharks v British & Irish Lions

Durban

Jonsson Kings Park

14/07/2021

South Africa 'A' v British & Irish Lions

Mbombela, formerly Nelspruit

Mbombela Stadium

17/07/2021

Vodacom Bulls v British & Irish Lions

Pretoria

Loftus Versfeld

24/07/2021

Springboks v British & Irish Lions

Johannesburg

FNB Stadium

31/07/2021

Springboks v British & Irish Lions

Cape Town

Cape Town Stadium

07/08/2021

Springboks v British & Irish Lions

Johannesburg

Emirates Airline Park



Last edited by No 7&1/2 on Tue 04 May 2021, 11:00 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by flyhalffactory Tue 04 May 2021, 10:59 am

I agree it's real difficult call, reduced squad, reduced games, so Gats has to select 36 who are going to bang on the money

Smith is not young, at 22 he's been performing better than Farrell and Ford for the last two seasons; he's the best offensive English 10, it beggars belief how he has been ignored by Steady but it's no coincidence that Smiths form coincides with 34 year old Danny Care being the outstanding form 9 in the Premiership and the Quins pack being so formidable.

The question is how would Smith do against a world class pack and possibly the best midfield in the world, the same can be said for any of the bolters e.g. Hardy, Redpath, Cooney etc

Different kettle of fish with regards to Manu, he's proved he can match up against the best in the world, but will he be match fit?

So difficult

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue 04 May 2021, 11:11 am

I'd 100% take Manu, even if he gets on the park for a half....he's that good. On the flip, I don't really see the benefit of taking Smith, this doesn't seem like a Gatland pick.

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Post by Poorfour Tue 04 May 2021, 11:12 am

The Oracle wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/may/03/marcus-smith-emerges-shock-possible-british-irish-lions-pick-south-africa-tour-rugby-union

If this is true I hope Gatland actually uses him and doesn't just dent his international career as he did with Wade.


It's so difficult though isn't it.  36 players and only a small number of games.  Do you 'do the right thing' in terms of being nice and give everyone a game?   Or will people complain that Gatland and co can't make their minds up and the test team is under-cooked as they haven't all played as a team before the first test due to trying different players and combos every game?  All of these are complaints I've heard in the past Lions tours!  So it's a tricky balance for the coaches.  You need to take a big squad for obvious rotation and injury reasons, and to get a better look at them in that environment.  But inevitably that means some end up with limited game time.

I imagine that the Japan game will be a bit random based on which of the England players are actually available, but then the next 4 matches are Sat - Weds - Sat - Weds so with only 36 players on tour everyone will play and at least a couple of players will have to start one game and then be on the bench in the next. The Bulls game may be a last hurrah for the players who would be in the midweek team, or a fine tuning for the Test team, and then we're into Tests. But with a small squad, the attritional nature of the game some of the "midweek" players will undoubtedly get promoted to the Test team over the course of the series. Add to that the usual pattern of a Gatland series: a wobbly first couple of tests followed by a shake up and a storming performance in the finale, and anyone who travels will feel they have a realistic chance of playing in at least one test.
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Post by mikey_dragon Tue 04 May 2021, 12:39 pm

Interesting. I know Marcus Smith is rated very highly but he sits behind Biggar, Sheedy, Lloyd, Priestland and Paddy Jackson; so he's 6th best fly-half in England Very Happy.

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Post by flyhalffactory Tue 04 May 2021, 12:44 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:Interesting. I know Marcus Smith is rated very highly but he sits behind Biggar, Sheedy, Lloyd, Priestland and Paddy Jackson; so he's 6th best fly-half in England Very Happy.

Tumbleweed Now Now Mikey, if you carry on like that, you have the mysterious "thumbs down" assassin downmarking you no matter what you post.......wonder who that can be Laugh Laugh

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Post by mikey_dragon Tue 04 May 2021, 12:45 pm

flyhalffactory wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:Interesting. I know Marcus Smith is rated very highly but he sits behind Biggar, Sheedy, Lloyd, Priestland and Paddy Jackson; so he's 6th best fly-half in England Very Happy.

Tumbleweed Now Now Mikey, if you carry on like that, you have the mysterious "thumbs down" assassin downmarking you no matter what you post.......wonder who that can be Laugh Laugh

Laugh Laugh He's back already is he Yahoo

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 04 May 2021, 1:36 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:Interesting. I know Marcus Smith is rated very highly but he sits behind Biggar, Sheedy, Lloyd, Priestland and Paddy Jackson; so he's 6th best fly-half in England Very Happy.

You have him as high as 6th. You must have forgotten someone Mikey.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 04 May 2021, 1:47 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:Interesting. I know Marcus Smith is rated very highly but he sits behind Biggar, Sheedy, Lloyd, Priestland and Paddy Jackson; so he's 6th best fly-half in England Very Happy.

Mikey you are a cheeky soul.

For the record Jackson is consistently good but not excellent if he was English he probably wouldn't be threatening selection. Biggar has looked very good recently but that form hasn't always been the case, if he keeps playing as he has been he's right up there. Lloyd got benched recently so Malins could play 10, way to early for him but huge potential. Priestland just nope and he's injured. Now Sheedy he's up there and if he continues to play like he did Vs Ulster so is Ford. Had Russell or Cipriani made the passes Ford did for Genge and Porter's tries we'd be seeing clips and hearing about it for months. As it's Ford not heard anything since Warburton bigging it up in commentary. 

Joe Simmonds is the most consistent but maybe not flashy enough to catch attention.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 04 May 2021, 2:06 pm

walesonline seem to reckon Spencer has got one of the emails to enquire on availability. The best English scrum half for me at present.

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Post by LordDowlais Tue 04 May 2021, 2:10 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:walesonline seem to reckon Spencer has got one of the emails to enquire on availability. The best English scrum half for me at present.

They also reckon Keiron Hardy has been contacted.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 04 May 2021, 2:15 pm

Hardy's on the BBC bolters article too. Along with Cooney and Care from a scrum half perspective. certainly seems an area where they're casting a net.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 04 May 2021, 2:53 pm

Agree that 9 is wide open. I think Connor Murray will tour, but no idea who the other two will be.

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Post by cb Tue 04 May 2021, 3:23 pm

Smith is very good but I don't think if he had played instead of Ford in the 6N's there would have been much difference.  Smith will need the right players around him, and the 6N's set-up did not help anyone.  I think pitching him into the Lions would be a mistake even if I think he would not play too badly

But in the (England) summer matches he should be given a chance.

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 04 May 2021, 3:38 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:If this is true I hope Gatland actually uses him and doesn't just dent his international career as he did with Wade.

Wade's call-up was disastrous because it stopped him from showing what he could do on the England tour. In 2013, we were still labouring under the misapprehension that late call-ups could make it into the Test team on performance. As it turned out, the nature of the tours meant that was no longer true. It's the reason Gatland went for his infamous geography call-ups. At the time, I thought Gatland cheapened the shirt but now I can see his point. He had come to realize that late call-ups were just cannon fodder to protect his actual Test selections, and had no chance to be in the Test squad barring a freak thumb injury from someone playing too much Call of Duty.

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