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British & Irish Lions vs Japan, 26 June

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Post by George Carlin Sat 22 May 2021, 11:14 am

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British & Irish Lions vs Japan, 26 June  - Page 3 Lions_10                     British & Irish Lions vs Japan, 26 June  - Page 3 Japan_10
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS v JAPAN
Saturday 26th June
3:00pm KO
BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Channel 4 Live

Referee: Pascal Gaüzère
Assistant Referees: Romain Poite, Pierre Brousset
TMO: Eric Gauzins

TEAMS:

BRITISH & IRISH LIONS:

15. Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) #833
14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales)
13. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #824
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821
09. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790

01. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
02. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829
03. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818
04. Iain Henderson (Ulster Rugby, Ireland) #808
05. Alun Wyn Jones – Captain (Ospreys, Wales) #761
06. Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland)
07. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys, Wales) #786
08. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)

16. Jamie George (Saracens, England) #819
17. Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales)
18. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England) #814
19. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) #826
20. Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) #779
21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
22. Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) #780
23. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) #816

JAPAN:

15. Ryohei YAMANAKA
14. Kotaro MATSUSHIMA
13. Timothy LAFAELE
12. Ryoto NAKAMURA
11. Siosaia FIFITA
10. Yu TAMURA
09. Kaito SHIGENO

08. Amanaki Lelei MAFI
07. Pieter LABUSCHAGNE
06. Michael LEITCH (c)
05. James MOORE
04. Wimpie VAN DER WALT
03. Jiwon KOO
02. Atsushi SAKATE
01. Keita INAGAKI

16. Kosuke HORIKOSHI
17. Craig MILLAR
18. Asaeli Ai VALU
19. Jack CORNELSEN
20. Kazuki HIMENO
21. Tevita TATAFU
22. Naoto SAITO
23. Rikiya MATSUDA

COMMENTARY:

Japan head coach Jamie Joseph has named 21 uncapped players in a 52-man training squad – his first squad announcement since the 2019 World Cup – ahead of the nation’s historic clash with the British and Irish Lions in June. The Brave Blossoms are scheduled to face the Lions at Murrayfield in Edinburgh on June 26 in what will be the first-ever clash between the two sides.

Joseph has called on a mix of his 2019 World Cup stars, uncapped players, homegrown talent and foreign imports to prepare for the match. 21 members of the World Cup squad, such as standout wing Kotaro Matsushima and captain Michael Leitch, have been recalled back into the training camp.

18 of those players were part of the match day side that featured in Japan’s first-ever World Cup quarter-final appearance in Tokyo two years ago, a match the Brave Blossoms lost 26-3 to eventual champions South Africa.

Among the cohort of uncapped prospects included in Joseph’s enlarged squad, there are a raft of names that will be familiar to Super Rugby fans.

Former Highlanders prop Craig Millar, who moved to Japan to join the Sunwolves in 2018, is one such player, as are ex-Blues lock Liaki Moli. The pair join the likes of former Hurricanes lock Mark Abbott, ex-Southern Kings midfielder Shane Gates and experienced outside back Gerhard van den Heever as uncapped foreigners who have completed residency requirements in order to become eligible for Japan.

All five players have subsequently been named in Joseph’s squad, as have three Australian youngsters – Dylan Riley, Jack Cornelsen and Ben Gunter – who are all one step closer to switching their allegiance to Japan.

Other notable uncapped players to have earned selection include those who have starred in the domestic Top League competition.

Tongan-born Kobelco Steelers No 8 Lui Naeata, who stands at 1.93m and 118kg, has been a dominant force for the reigning Top League champions since joining the club in 2018. As a result, the 27-year-old has been handed a maiden call-up to the national side and will compete with Highlanders star Kazuki Himeno, Canon Eagles powerhouse Amanaki Mafi and Suntory Sungoliath behemoth Tevita Tatafu for a place at the back of the scrum.

Likewise, halfback Naoto Saito has been in fine form while working in tandem with Beauden Barrett as halves partners at Suntory Sungoliath this season, and the 23-year-old is one of three scrumhalves in line for a potential test debut.

Based on the performances he has seen throughout the Top League this season, Joseph said he was “excited” for his side’s chances in the upcoming fixture, even if it has been 18 months since Japan last played a test match.

“It’s been a long time coming since our last squad announcement and I am very excited about our upcoming challenge against the British and Irish Lions,” he said in a statement.

“It will be a very special occasion for the team to play the Lions for the first time ever. Announcing this squad is the first step in our preparation.

“The 2021 Top League has produced some great team performances and the competition between the teams is a lot closer than past years which is great for the development of the game in Japan.”

Joseph added the Lions clash presents his uncapped players with a chance to prove their worth on the test scene following the departures of former senior players.

Two days after the announcement of the final squad to travel to the Scottish capital, the selected players will assemble for a 12-day training camp in Beppu, Oita between May 26 and June 8.

The Brave Blossoms will then play a warm-up match against a Sunwolves select in Shizuoka on June 12 before flying out to Scotland on June 16.


Last edited by George Carlin on Fri 25 Jun 2021, 12:21 pm; edited 7 times in total
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Post by 123456789. Tue 22 Jun 2021, 12:01 pm

Starting to get quite excited for this whole thing now. In previous tours I have been of the attitude that the Lions are the Lions and I'd support them wholeheartedly regardless of the make up of the squad or test size. I must say I am much more excited now there's a real mix of nationalities in there. I have always wondered if that has counted against Gatland. From the nadir of 2001 and 2005 no one has done more to facilitate the Lions brand more than Warren Gatland and if he pulls off a win on this tour he deserves a hell of a lot of recognition.

I like the look of this side. I'm not sold on Aki but looking at the Lions squad there are only three players listed at centre. Now that may be an administrative quirk but it tells a story.

I many respects this is the most important game of the tour outwith the test series. A defeat at home to Japan could derail the tour before it even reaches SA. It is a genuine possibility and the Lions must be attuned to that. Interestingly of the four Scots, only one played in the defeat to Japan in the world cup.

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Post by RDW Tue 22 Jun 2021, 12:31 pm

Will be interesting to see how the Lions utilise Watson. He's usually called upon to be one of Scotland's main ball carriers but in that team there's plenty other options. More breakdown focus?

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Post by flyhalffactory Tue 22 Jun 2021, 12:45 pm

Can't wait to actually feel the heady anticipation of an international. I like the side and whilst we know this probably won't be the total starting 15 & bench, it's got a good balance.. Some early indicators suggesting Henshaw & Farrell will be the test centre pairing, neither Daly or Harris not in the 23 is a surprise. I am excited to see Henderson at 4, he could put in a starring performance & a stake in the ground for test spot. Love the back row combo as well
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Post by LordDowlais Tue 22 Jun 2021, 12:51 pm

flyhalffactory wrote:Can't wait to actually feel the heady anticipation of an international. I like the side and whilst we know this probably won't be the total starting 15 & bench, it's got a good balance.. Some early indicators suggesting Henshaw & Farrell will be the test centre pairing, neither Daly or Harris not in the 23 is a surprise. I am excited to see Henderson at 4, he could put in a starring performance & a stake in the ground for test spot. Love the back row combo as well

Although I think you are right. I hope to God that Farrell is not 1st choice center. Fingers Crossed

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Post by flyhalffactory Tue 22 Jun 2021, 12:52 pm

RDW wrote:Will be interesting to see how the Lions utilise Watson. He's usually called upon to be one of Scotland's main ball carriers but in that team there's plenty other options. More breakdown focus?

I think Henderson, Beirne and to an extent Conan will be the jackals, disrupting the breakdown, leaving Watson to have a free rein at running the offensive line ala Sam Simmonds role at Exeter. Wouldn't surprise me if he will be on the shoulder of VdM quite a few times during the game
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Post by Oakdene Tue 22 Jun 2021, 3:54 pm

Really looking forward to this now, still gutted we can't go following the re-ticketing but still making the trip to Edinburgh!

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Post by flyhalffactory Tue 22 Jun 2021, 4:37 pm

Oakdene wrote:Really looking forward to this now, still gutted we can't go following the re-ticketing but still making the trip to Edinburgh!

Welcome up here mate, you're a true fan, hope you have a great time. It was a bit of a lottery regarding the revised allocation process, quite a few of our usual gang have lost out. Personally it's going to be a manic trip to get (from Oxford) back home before the game starts but like you really looking forward to it



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Post by The Oracle Tue 22 Jun 2021, 5:15 pm

flyhalffactory wrote:
Oakdene wrote:Really looking forward to this now, still gutted we can't go following the re-ticketing but still making the trip to Edinburgh!

Welcome up here mate, you're a true fan, hope you have a great time. It was a bit of a lottery regarding the revised allocation process, quite a few of our usual gang have lost out. Personally it's going to be a manic trip to get (from Oxford) back home before the game starts but like you really looking forward to it  




Just don’t go via Manchester. Or you’ll be barred!
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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 22 Jun 2021, 5:53 pm

flyhalffactory wrote:
RDW wrote:Will be interesting to see how the Lions utilise Watson. He's usually called upon to be one of Scotland's main ball carriers but in that team there's plenty other options. More breakdown focus?

I think Henderson, Beirne and to an extent Conan will be the jackals, disrupting the breakdown, leaving Watson to have a free rein at running the offensive line ala Sam Simmonds role at Exeter. Wouldn't surprise me if he will be on the shoulder of VdM quite a few times during the game

As Japan like to move the ball freeing up the openside to work in the wide channels makes a lot of sense. Try and spoil all over the field and take away momentum.

Very much like that backrow. Struggling to get excited by the backs but hopefully they prove me wrong.

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Post by Cyril Wed 23 Jun 2021, 1:14 am

Any lions selection should be good enough to put 30 on Japan but 9 Murray 10 Biggar 12 Aki 13 Henshaw is just depressing in terms of any flair. Hopefully Russell will come on and get a red or suffer yet an another intercept to liven it up.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 23 Jun 2021, 7:54 am

Cyril wrote:Any lions selection should  be good enough to put 30 on Japan but 9 Murray 10 Biggar 12 Aki  13 Henshaw is just depressing in terms of any flair. Hopefully Russell will come on and get a red or suffer yet an another intercept to liven it up.

Hopefully not another red. Would mean we need to call up another 10 and Ford has the summer to get over an injury he's been nursing for months and Sexton doesn't sound to be much better. Likely to mean another safe 10 call up and then Biggar and Farrell as the options for each test  Crying or Very sad

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 23 Jun 2021, 8:24 am

Well Russell ain't on the bench so he'll have to leave the red for another time. Smith will be the option if someone drops out.

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Post by Oakdene Wed 23 Jun 2021, 8:29 am

flyhalffactory wrote:
Oakdene wrote:Really looking forward to this now, still gutted we can't go following the re-ticketing but still making the trip to Edinburgh!

Welcome up here mate, you're a true fan, hope you have a great time. It was a bit of a lottery regarding the revised allocation process, quite a few of our usual gang have lost out. Personally it's going to be a manic trip to get (from Oxford) back home before the game starts but like you really looking forward to it  




Thanks! Yes flying up from Bristol on Friday, we were gutted about the tickets but the other side of it is that the refund has now paid for our hotel so every cloud. I will say that it feel funny having to plan the whole day in terms of pubs. Looking forward to the good old Scottish hospitality!

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 23 Jun 2021, 8:48 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Well Russell ain't on the bench so he'll have to leave the red for another time. Smith will be the option if someone drops out.

Doubt it. The uncapped 22 year old flyhalf with little to no big game experience is not going to be a Gatland style call up to SA. Especially as he is not built like a tank. Sheedy or Byrne maybe but even then they are both a little creative for Gatland's taste, particularly Sheedy.

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Post by The Oracle Wed 23 Jun 2021, 9:04 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Well Russell ain't on the bench so he'll have to leave the red for another time. Smith will be the option if someone drops out.

Doubt it. The uncapped 22 year old flyhalf with little to no big game experience is not going to be a Gatland style call up to SA. Especially as he is not built like a tank. Sheedy or Byrne maybe but even then they are both a little creative for Gatland's taste, particularly Sheedy.

I'm not sure sure about the 'built like a tank' ethos of Gatland's 10's.  Sure, Biggar is a fairly well built 10.  But he was not always Gatland's favorite for Wales.  The other 10s Wales have used under Gatland have been players like Gareth Anscombe, Jarrod Evans, Sam Davies, James Hook, etc.  Not exactly monsters!  It was only 2 or 3 seasons ago roughly that Biggar was 2nd choice to Anscombe too.  So I don't think Gatland has a preference for beefy 10s.  It's just that Biggar has stood the test of time better than others (for Wales).  More consistent.  If he was a consistent but flashy 10 then I reckon he'd have just as many caps for Wales.

Edit: Rhys Priestland too. Built like a tank? Nah!
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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 23 Jun 2021, 9:18 am

Smith was supposed to be on the potentials list (though I've never seen anything definitive from the coaches). He's also been the form fly half in the prem this year. Smith is seen as a 'creative' fly half as he can pretty much do it all but it's his control of games in the last 18 months or so and his defence which will turn coaches heads. The amount of ground he was making and hard work in defence at the weekend was very promising.

As an England fan I'd prefer that Sexton or Ford was chosen as as with Wade 2 tours ago I think he would be too far through the tour to force his way in and would put a dent in him getting established with England.

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Post by mikey_dragon Wed 23 Jun 2021, 10:13 am

A long shot here, but does anyone know of any rugby pubs in Liverpool? Perhaps around Liverpool Central, but might go further afield if necessary.

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Post by flyhalffactory Wed 23 Jun 2021, 10:24 am

mikey_dragon wrote:A long shot here, but does anyone know of any rugby pubs in Liverpool? Perhaps around Liverpool Central, but might go further afield if necessary.

Mikey, try one of the Irish pubs close to the docks, I went to Flanagans once and watched a 6Ns match (many moons ago) not sure if its still open but if they are, they probably will have the Lions game on
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Post by flyhalffactory Wed 23 Jun 2021, 11:20 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Smith was supposed to be on the potentials list (though I've never seen anything definitive from the coaches). He's also been the form fly half in the prem this year. Smith is seen as a 'creative' fly half as he can pretty much do it all but it's his control of games in the last 18 months or so and his defence which will turn coaches heads. The amount of ground he was making and hard work in defence at the weekend was very promising.

As an England fan I'd prefer that Sexton or Ford was chosen as as with Wade 2 tours ago I think he would be too far through the tour to force his way in and would put a dent in him getting established with England.

Spot on 7.5
Smith has been on top form this season and he's got a good all round game, his game management is very impressive. However you have to take into account he's consistently played for Quins, if he had been in and out of the side (e.g. if he had played for England during the 6Ns) then who knows how his EPL form would have been

Personally, I don't think he has the attacking flair of Finn or even Anscombe but he's definitely the best English FH for the last three seasons (travesty and mind numbing how Eddie still perservers with Farrel instead of Smith) but at 22 he's not too young and he has the game experience to go on the Lions tour. As you say, he's that good then why would a Lions tour dent his reputation.

Reference to Gatland preferring FH's "built like a tank", I've never seen evidence of that, if anything he has treated Biggar poorly, caving in to frenzied welsh media clamour of a traditional "prince of 10s" and preferring the perceived "faster, creative" 10's e.g. Hook, Ascombe, Patchell, Sheedy, Evans, even Sam Davies.

The best current 10's in Gats eyes are (coincidently proven at the highest level very good man-management players) quite big guys e.g. Sexton, Farrell, Biggar are all 6' 2" with Faz weighing over 15 st, Finn comes in at 6' and a good stone and half lighter than Farrell.

Nice article abought Biggar today, where he thinks about 90% of 10s are more "naturally talented" than him, sounds a humble and grateful guy
https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/dan-biggar-interview-90-per-20874969

On a personal footnote, I feel quite proud that I'm going to cheer three Edinburgh (and a Glasgow) boys starting & running out in a Lions jersey in my home town. Probably will never happen again in my lifetime Yahoo

Best of luck to all the Lions and our supporters
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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 23 Jun 2021, 12:37 pm

The Oracle wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Well Russell ain't on the bench so he'll have to leave the red for another time. Smith will be the option if someone drops out.

Doubt it. The uncapped 22 year old flyhalf with little to no big game experience is not going to be a Gatland style call up to SA. Especially as he is not built like a tank. Sheedy or Byrne maybe but even then they are both a little creative for Gatland's taste, particularly Sheedy.

I'm not sure sure about the 'built like a tank' ethos of Gatland's 10's.  Sure, Biggar is a fairly well built 10.  But he was not always Gatland's favorite for Wales.  The other 10s Wales have used under Gatland have been players like Gareth Anscombe, Jarrod Evans, Sam Davies, James Hook, etc.  Not exactly monsters!  It was only 2 or 3 seasons ago roughly that Biggar was 2nd choice to Anscombe too.  So I don't think Gatland has a preference for beefy 10s.  It's just that Biggar has stood the test of time better than others (for Wales).  More consistent.  If he was a consistent but flashy 10 then I reckon he'd have just as many caps for Wales.

Edit: Rhys Priestland too.  Built like a tank?  Nah!

Compared to 5ft6 less than 13 stone Marcus Smith they are. Those stats are from the Quins website as well.

https://www.quins.co.uk/team/players/marcus-smith/

Biggar, Priestland, Anscombe are all significantly taller and heavier. Those were the favourites with Wales (well from what I remember which may be wrong). Anscombe is the smallest of the three and is 6ft and nearly a stone heavier according to the WRU website. None of those flyhalfs are diminutive though I suppose built like a tank was for effect because most modern backs are at least 6ft and 13 and a half stone these days.

I'd seriously consider Smith because Ford is injured so isn't going and Sexton there are big doubts over. For me it would be Smith or Sheedy as I think you've got to be able to open up the Boks you aren't going to grind them down. I just can't see Gatland picking him. At 22 I also think he's got a great chance to play in a final and then get a couple of England caps under his belt this summer. By the next Lions Tour he should be at his peak and England's first choice as I can't see us persisting with Farrell to his mod thirties and I suspect Ford will venture abroad after the next world cup.

7 1/2 Care was allegedly on the potentials list as well but that was blatantly bull poo, I think mainly started by Care's own podcast and then taken up by some media commentators in a romantic notion of a final swansong for a player not good enough for international rugby in years.

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Post by Hazel Sapling Wed 23 Jun 2021, 12:50 pm

To be fair, 1.7m is 5'7. Quins site has used a bad conversion or given Smith an extra cm or two. Every inch counts at that height.

Marcus Smith or Joe Simmonds would both be reasonable shouts for next cab off the rank. Both manage games well at club level, though Simmonds has the benefit of having played in far more big games than M Smith.

Hastings has had a mixed season or else would be another option. Sheedy, for me, is tainted by his team blowing a 28-0 lead in one of his few big games against a side they really should have beaten.

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Post by flyhalffactory Wed 23 Jun 2021, 12:50 pm

Crikey, that's shorter than Shane Williams. He doesn't look that short, I would say he is about 5' 9"
I think Smith is a superb player I would deffo have him on the standby Lions list
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Post by Poorfour Wed 23 Jun 2021, 1:37 pm

Hazel Sapling wrote:To be fair, 1.7m is 5'7. Quins site has used a bad conversion or given Smith an extra cm or two. Every inch counts at that height.

Marcus Smith or Joe Simmonds would both be reasonable shouts for next cab off the rank. Both manage games well at club level, though Simmonds has the benefit of having played in far more big games than M Smith.

Hastings has had a mixed season or else would be another option. Sheedy, for me, is tainted by his team blowing a 28-0 lead in one of his few big games against a side they really should have beaten.

Quins offy is notoriously inaccurate on how big its players are - for instance Jack Kenningham is listed at 15kg below his actual weight.

Wikipedia has Smith at 1.75m (5'9") and 82 kg - which compares to George Ford at 1.75m and 87kg. Smith is also a pretty aggressive tackler. He rarely fells big men on his own, but he gets up fast, puts his body on the line and slows them down enough for a team mate to complete the tackle. He hits a surprising number of rucks for a fly half, as well.

flyhalffactory, if you think he's less creative than Russell or Anscombe then you probably need to watch him more closely. Quins are averaging close to 40 points a game at the moment and they don't have the kind of pack that sticks it in the corner and rumbles it over.

Take Saturday's game. 7 tries. One from a Bristol mistake that bounced well for James Chisholm. One from a short ball from Care (after a break from Dombrandt created off a pass from Smith). One from a Smith kick that Malins failed to field. One Smith to Tapuai to Dombrandt on an inside line to Lynagh. Three from passes by Smith that put Green, Marchant or both outside the Bristol defence. In short: only one try that he didn't have a direct hand in creating.

Over the course of the season, we've also seen him deliver countless pinpoint kick passes; chip Jacob Umaga, regather and run in to score; and create a vital match-winning try from nothing, going past 5 defenders. He's got the creativity and this season he's sharpened up his game management a lot. Since the departure of Gustard in late January, Quins have lost only one league game by more than 7 points (where they fielded a reserve team against Sale), and when there has been a last ditch chance to clinch victory he has delivered repeatedly.

I think he'll almost certainly get a chance with England this summer, though there's no accounting for Eddie.



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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 23 Jun 2021, 1:51 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Well Russell ain't on the bench so he'll have to leave the red for another time. Smith will be the option if someone drops out.

Doubt it. The uncapped 22 year old flyhalf with little to no big game experience is not going to be a Gatland style call up to SA. Especially as he is not built like a tank. Sheedy or Byrne maybe but even then they are both a little creative for Gatland's taste, particularly Sheedy.

I'm not sure sure about the 'built like a tank' ethos of Gatland's 10's.  Sure, Biggar is a fairly well built 10.  But he was not always Gatland's favorite for Wales.  The other 10s Wales have used under Gatland have been players like Gareth Anscombe, Jarrod Evans, Sam Davies, James Hook, etc.  Not exactly monsters!  It was only 2 or 3 seasons ago roughly that Biggar was 2nd choice to Anscombe too.  So I don't think Gatland has a preference for beefy 10s.  It's just that Biggar has stood the test of time better than others (for Wales).  More consistent.  If he was a consistent but flashy 10 then I reckon he'd have just as many caps for Wales.

Edit: Rhys Priestland too.  Built like a tank?  Nah!

Compared to 5ft6 less than 13 stone Marcus Smith they are. Those stats are from the Quins website as well.

https://www.quins.co.uk/team/players/marcus-smith/

Biggar, Priestland, Anscombe are all significantly taller and heavier. Those were the favourites with Wales (well from what I remember which may be wrong). Anscombe is the smallest of the three and is 6ft and nearly a stone heavier according to the WRU website. None of those flyhalfs are diminutive though I suppose built like a tank was for effect because most modern backs are at least 6ft and 13 and a half stone these days.

I'd seriously consider Smith because Ford is injured so isn't going and Sexton there are big doubts over. For me it would be Smith or Sheedy as I think you've got to be able to open up the Boks you aren't going to grind them down. I just can't see Gatland picking him. At 22 I also think he's got a great chance to play in a final and then get a couple of England caps under his belt this summer. By the next Lions Tour he should be at his peak and England's first choice as I can't see us persisting with Farrell to his mod thirties and I suspect Ford will venture abroad after the next world cup.

7 1/2 Care was allegedly on the potentials list as well but that was blatantly bull poo, I think mainly started by Care's own podcast and then taken up by some media commentators in a romantic notion of a final swansong for a player not good enough for international rugby in years.

Care not good enough? Can't say I agree.

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Post by The Oracle Wed 23 Jun 2021, 1:56 pm

I still don’t think Gatland has a thing for picking massive no. 10s just because Marcus Smith is small and is not in the Lions squad. Had the squad announcement been a year or two later Smith probably would have been in regardless of size, such is his career trajectory. Looks to be a great player.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 23 Jun 2021, 2:08 pm

Thank goodness there will be no covid risk due to hugging. Even more bizarre than the football and Scotland Enland. They will be spending 80 plus minutes man handling each other for petes sake.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/jun/22/british-irish-lions-leave-england-players-on-bench-for-tour-curtain-raiser-against-japan-rugby-union

God according to the article Gatland likes the look of Daly. We're all doomed.

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Post by flyhalffactory Wed 23 Jun 2021, 2:23 pm

PoorFour wrote:lyhalffactory, if you think he's less creative than Russell or Anscombe then you probably need to watch him more closely. Quins are averaging close to 40 points a game at the moment and they don't have the kind of pack that sticks it in the corner and rumbles it over.

I have watched most of the Quins games this season (mainly due to having me having Virgin) as they seem to be on the box a lot

Perhaps you may have seen Finn playing in the French league a lot this season, if not I'd suggest try to get some games down loaded, then perhaps we'll be having another conversation. Finn unfortunately is not the most accurate dead ball kicker but without doubt based on this season alone he is by far the most creative standout half back in France and that includes Jalibert, N'tmack etc. When you get Kurtley Beale saying that Finn is one of the most exciting players he's ever seen or played with, then yes we sit up and take notice.
I've seen Smith manage the game better this year than he has ever done, he's the most creative (and best) 10 England have got and he's not a loose cannon maverick that Finn can be. Smith's only 22 and he's performing brilliantly at EPL level but we are yet to see what he can do at International level when he will see the ball, the gaps that much less quicker, he very good but in my mind, he's not as creative as Jalibert, N'tmack or even Mo’unga yet but many would say Finn above them
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Post by mikey_dragon Wed 23 Jun 2021, 2:33 pm

I wouldn't use the term tank, but 6'2 is big for a fly-half. My concern with Sheedy, Lloyd and Costelow featuring at international level is that they're small. Great players with plenty of pace, but the size issue is cause for concern when teams have centres bigger than forwards. Dan Carter probably had the most ideal build, not too short and with a stocky frame. He was a solid tackler.

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Post by BamBam Wed 23 Jun 2021, 3:15 pm

Watson out for the game on Saturday with concussion. Tipuric replaces him in the starting line up,

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 23 Jun 2021, 3:16 pm

Hamish Watson has concussion so has been replaced by Tipuric. Finn Russell is carrying an ankle injury apparently so wasn't risked for this.

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Post by RiscaGame Wed 23 Jun 2021, 3:50 pm

Shame for Watson. Was looking forward to him having an opportunity to lay down a marker.

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Post by flyhalffactory Wed 23 Jun 2021, 3:51 pm

Absolute gutter for Watson
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Post by doctor_grey Wed 23 Jun 2021, 3:54 pm

flyhalffactory wrote:
PoorFour wrote:lyhalffactory, if you think he's less creative than Russell or Anscombe then you probably need to watch him more closely. Quins are averaging close to 40 points a game at the moment and they don't have the kind of pack that sticks it in the corner and rumbles it over.

I have watched most of the Quins games this season (mainly due to having me having Virgin) as they seem to be on the box a lot

Perhaps you may have seen Finn playing in the French league a lot this season, if not I'd suggest try to get some games down loaded, then perhaps we'll be having another conversation. Finn unfortunately is not the most accurate dead ball kicker but without doubt based on this season alone he is by far the most creative standout half back in France and that includes Jalibert, N'tmack etc. When you get Kurtley Beale saying that Finn is one of the most exciting players he's ever seen or played with, then yes we sit up and take notice.
I've seen Smith manage the game better this year than he has ever done, he's the most creative (and best) 10 England have got and he's not a loose cannon maverick that Finn can be. Smith's only 22 and he's performing brilliantly at EPL level but we are yet to see what he can do at International level when he will see the ball, the gaps that much less quicker, he very good but in my mind, he's not as creative as Jalibert, N'tmack or even Mo’unga yet but many would say Finn above them
Interesting comments. I haven't seen much of Russell this season because the Top 14 was not shown over here. I know they changed carrier in France and are hoping this is rectified and actually liked seeing the games in French. My problem with Russell is that trip in the England game (to me in 40 years of Rugby a trip is always a deliberate attempt to injure) and the forearm to the chops in the France game. This kind of behaviour could cost the Lions a game or even the series. It's a shame because he is by far the most creative 10 in the Lions camp.

I know many of us have said this but Marcus Smith is such an interesting player. Clearly needs exposure with England to see if he has the goods at that level, which I think he probably does. He certainly appears to have the potential to present challenges no other current Premiership 10 does. And no way to really compare him to other players until he laces up his boots for England. Maybe the closest thing was Cipriani in his prime, but hopefully without his personal challenges and a wee bit better defensively. Still the last England 10 to beat the Boks.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 23 Jun 2021, 4:17 pm

Going over Russell's highlight reel this year - which is admittedly impressive - he's got one trick that we haven't seen Smith do on a regular basis, and that's cute offloads under pressure. But Smith doesn't get caught in possession that often; his comparable trick is to get the defence moving one way and then pass back inside to a runner on a hard diagonal line.

Obviously they're currently playing in different leagues and we haven't yet had a chance to compare them head to head, but I am not seeing a gulf in creativity. It's also worth noting that Smith is 7 years younger than Russell.

The comparison with Cipriani keeps cropping up too, and I can kind of see it in terms of talent, but everything we hear from Quins suggests that Smith is a much more professional player than Cips was at the same age. Nick Evans has praised his coachability and work off the pitch, and he's seen within Quins as a clear member of the leadership group at 22.
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Post by BamBam Wed 23 Jun 2021, 4:35 pm

Talking of leadership groups, Gatland has said that Farrell got the highest number of votes from the rest of the squad when they chose their leadership group. He didn't say how many, so I suppose he could have been the only player to get more than 1 vote in theory, but says a fair bit for how he's viewed by other players.

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Post by George Carlin Wed 23 Jun 2021, 4:39 pm

Shame for Watson, but there's nothing to be gained by rushing a concussion recovery.

Good to see Tips in there. Beirne, Tips and Conan still a very mobile back row.

Starting to realise that the tour is finally here. Presumably there will only be massive and tiny sizes of merchandise left? That might suit me but I cannot work out whether the Canterbury stuff is close or regular fitted.
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Post by flyhalffactory Wed 23 Jun 2021, 5:37 pm

BamBam wrote:Talking of leadership groups, Gatland has said that Farrell got the highest number of votes from the rest of the squad when they chose their leadership group. He didn't say how many, so I suppose he could have been the only player to get more than 1 vote in theory, but says a fair bit for how he's viewed by other players.

He's a honest, hard working, top quality player with a winning attitude and a wealth of experience at all levels, on and off the pitch including Lions tours. As he hasn't got the shackles of captaincy duties, he's even more valuable, any rookie would want him as a mentor, his golden nuggets of advice on tour are going to be the one-percentors that might help win the series and convert a young player from being potential very good to world class status.......he breeds confidence.

And rightly so
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Post by flyhalffactory Wed 23 Jun 2021, 6:13 pm

Poorfour wrote:Going over Russell's highlight reel this year - which is admittedly impressive - he's got one trick that we haven't seen Smith do on a regular basis, and that's cute offloads under pressure. But Smith doesn't get caught in possession that often; his comparable trick is to get the defence moving one way and then pass back inside to a runner on a hard diagonal line.

Obviously they're currently playing in different leagues and we haven't yet had a chance to compare them head to head, but I am not seeing a gulf in creativity. It's also worth noting that Smith is 7 years younger than Russell.

The comparison with Cipriani keeps cropping up too, and I can kind of see it in terms of talent, but everything we hear from Quins suggests that Smith is a much more professional player than Cips was at the same age. Nick Evans has praised his coachability and work off the pitch, and he's seen within Quins as a clear member of the leadership group at 22.

Smith has got the all around game that Cips and Finn haven't got and both of them can self distruct, whilst Smith is going to be the consumate professional.
At 22 he is way ahead of them in maturity and experience, he's also a team player. What he possesses is a natural creative flair without being an headless chicken, his heads up rugby is just super-cool, Eddie Jones should have selected him and Dombrandt/Simmonds for this years 6Ns.
However (there's always an however), Russell now...always is man marked, sometime by two players, he's often taken out with cheap shots in France and whilst he is not a small guy, he is a tremendous defender but sometimes is too brave, yet even though he is marked out of existence he still makes attacking creative movemnets that cannot be coached and at times are mind-boggling. That's currently the difference between Russell and Smith, the question is; could Smith be as good when he is that marked man, when he hasn't got the time on the ball and get's the late big hits on a regular basis.

I'd have Smith on tour in an instance, he's that good
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Post by RDW Wed 23 Jun 2021, 11:12 pm

Really gutted for Watson. A concussion could mean anything anything from a week to his tour being over, and the frustrating thing is he just needs to wait and see.

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Post by mikey_dragon Wed 23 Jun 2021, 11:53 pm

I hope it isn’t too serious and Watson makes a speedy recovery. Really looking forward to watching him in SA. He’s a great player.

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Post by TJ Thu 24 Jun 2021, 6:10 am

Smith has got the all around game that Cips and Finn haven't got and both of them can self distruct, whilst Smith is going to be the consumate professional.
At 22 he is way ahead of them in maturity and experience, he's also a team player. What he possesses is a natural creative flair without being an headless chicken, his heads up rugby is just super-cool, Eddie Jones should have selected him and Dombrandt/Simmonds for this years 6Ns.
However (there's always an however), Russell now...always is man marked, sometime by two players, he's often taken out with cheap shots in France and whilst he is not a small guy, he is a tremendous defender but sometimes is too brave, yet even though he is marked out of existence he still makes attacking creative movemnets that cannot be coached and at times are mind-boggling. That's currently the difference between Russell and Smith, the question is; could Smith be as good when he is that marked man, when he hasn't got the time on the ball and get's the late big hits on a regular basis.

I'd have Smith on tour in an instance, he's that good[/quote]

Have you been w5atching finn play in the last few years?  His maturity and allround game is truely impressive - look at the way he controlled the game against england and france.

Its something we hoped playing in france would add to his game and it has.  The reason he gets tackled in possession and offloads is deliberate - he uses himself as a decoy to take a player out of the defensive line and plays much much flatter than Farrell

I would still have Biggar as my lions 10 tho even tho he is nothing like as creative - because the game Biggar plays will suit the lions better

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Post by RDW Thu 24 Jun 2021, 6:19 am

Wait, are we really comparing an un-capped 22 year old with a 55 time capped International?

Marcus Smith is an incredible talent and probably a star of the future, but let's see him replicate it at international level first before we make him starting Lions 10!

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 24 Jun 2021, 6:39 am

Poorfour wrote:
Hazel Sapling wrote:To be fair, 1.7m is 5'7. Quins site has used a bad conversion or given Smith an extra cm or two. Every inch counts at that height.

Marcus Smith or Joe Simmonds would both be reasonable shouts for next cab off the rank. Both manage games well at club level, though Simmonds has the benefit of having played in far more big games than M Smith.

Hastings has had a mixed season or else would be another option. Sheedy, for me, is tainted by his team blowing a 28-0 lead in one of his few big games against a side they really should have beaten.

Quins offy is notoriously inaccurate on how big its players are - for instance Jack Kenningham is listed at 15kg below his actual weight.

Wikipedia has Smith at 1.75m (5'9") and 82 kg - which compares to George Ford at 1.75m and 87kg. Smith is also a pretty aggressive tackler. He rarely fells big men on his own, but he gets up fast, puts his body on the line and slows them down enough for a team mate to complete the tackle. He hits a surprising number of rucks for a fly half, as well.

Comparing him to Ford another quality flyhalf not given a look in for two tours in a row sort of proves my point. Though Ford has a niggle that caused him to miss the end of the season he was still playing at the time of the announcement and also gave Smith a good lesson in how to manage a game at WR around that time.

Smith's summer will be best spent getting caps for England. A little to early for him in a Lion's shirt.

The three flyhalfs selected were the two biggest best defenders in Farrell and Biggar and then arguably the form flyhalf who would have caused a riot if he'd not made the tour Russell. Gatland also picked Farrell to start at 10 in the first test Vs the ABs which anyone with a brain cell would have told him was a bad move but it facilitated having Te'o at 12 because Gatland does like a big direct midfield. We weren't close to the ABs in that game. I'm expecting a Farrell, Henshaw and Harris combination in the first test Vs SA to be similarly ineffectual.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 24 Jun 2021, 6:50 am

RDW wrote:Wait, are we really comparing an un-capped 22 year old with a 55 time capped International?

Marcus Smith is an incredible talent and probably a star of the future, but let's see him replicate it at international level first before we make him starting Lions 10!

Not sure he needs to be ripping up trees for England to be considered for the Lions. Look at Simmonds. And to be fair Rees-Zammit. I'm a huge fan of the latter but he's got a handful of caps and I've seen other players go downhill fast after that. As above I think Gatland will be temptednto take him next especially if it were Russel who got an injury or suspension.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 24 Jun 2021, 6:52 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Poorfour wrote:
Hazel Sapling wrote:To be fair, 1.7m is 5'7. Quins site has used a bad conversion or given Smith an extra cm or two. Every inch counts at that height.

Marcus Smith or Joe Simmonds would both be reasonable shouts for next cab off the rank. Both manage games well at club level, though Simmonds has the benefit of having played in far more big games than M Smith.

Hastings has had a mixed season or else would be another option. Sheedy, for me, is tainted by his team blowing a 28-0 lead in one of his few big games against a side they really should have beaten.

Quins offy is notoriously inaccurate on how big its players are - for instance Jack Kenningham is listed at 15kg below his actual weight.

Wikipedia has Smith at 1.75m (5'9") and 82 kg - which compares to George Ford at 1.75m and 87kg. Smith is also a pretty aggressive tackler. He rarely fells big men on his own, but he gets up fast, puts his body on the line and slows them down enough for a team mate to complete the tackle. He hits a surprising number of rucks for a fly half, as well.

Comparing him to Ford another quality flyhalf not given a look in for two tours in a row sort of proves my point. Though Ford has a niggle that caused him to miss the end of the season he was still playing at the time of the announcement and also gave Smith a good lesson in how to manage a game at WR around that time.

Smith's summer will be best spent getting caps for England. A little to early for him in a Lion's shirt.

The three flyhalfs selected were the two biggest best defenders in Farrell and Biggar and then arguably the form flyhalf who would have caused a riot if he'd not made the tour Russell. Gatland also picked Farrell to start at 10 in the first test Vs the ABs which anyone with a brain cell would have told him was a bad move but it facilitated having Te'o at 12 because Gatland does like a big direct midfield. We weren't close to the ABs in that game. I'm expecting a Farrell, Henshaw and Harris combination in the first test Vs SA to be similarly ineffectual.

I think Farrell is nailed on for inside centre myself. We may see him switching to fly half back end of games.

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Post by George Carlin Thu 24 Jun 2021, 8:50 am

RDW wrote:Wait, are we really comparing an un-capped 22 year old with a 55 time capped International?

Marcus Smith is an incredible talent and probably a star of the future, but let's see him replicate it at international level first before we make him starting Lions 10!
Yes, I think that this is getting a little squirrely. I like Smith but to say he is comparable to Russell is living on a different planet.

It was only a few years ago when a number of new caps for Scotland (and Wales as I remember) were being pooped on from a considerable height by a number of posters on these boards with the argument that playing at club level is nothing like playing at test level and until you have a respectable number of test caps, nobody will actually believe that you're an international standard player. Let's just be consistent in that methodology.

Makes me laugh that a lot of people will comment on Russell's "value" or "weaknesses" based on watching a few YouTube highlight reels. There aren't many highlights clips of Russell making successful kicks to touch or making solid midfield tackles. However, that's as much part of his game now as the high wire act stuff.
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Post by flyhalffactory Thu 24 Jun 2021, 9:55 am

George Carlin wrote:
RDW wrote:Wait, are we really comparing an un-capped 22 year old with a 55 time capped International?

Marcus Smith is an incredible talent and probably a star of the future, but let's see him replicate it at international level first before we make him starting Lions 10!
Yes, I think that this is getting a little squirrely. I like Smith but to say he is comparable to Russell is living on a different planet.

It was only a few years ago when a number of new caps for Scotland (and Wales as I remember) were being pooped on from a considerable height by a number of posters on these boards with the argument that playing at club level is nothing like playing at test level and until you have a respectable number of test caps, nobody will actually believe that you're an international standard player. Let's just be consistent in that methodology.

Makes me laugh that a lot of people will comment on Russell's "value" or "weaknesses" based on watching a few YouTube highlight reels. There aren't many highlights clips of Russell making successful kicks to touch or making solid midfield tackles. However, that's as much part of his game now as the high wire act stuff.

George Carlin wrote:Wait, are we really comparing an un-capped 22 year old with a 55 time capped International?

And why not?
I'm as biased a Scot as anyone but you can't ignore consistent performances in a decent league ala Sam Simmonds, (except if you are an ex-Saracens & now England coach!) if Gatland can look at the likes of non-current internationals e.g. Aki, Simmonds then he can look at the best performing english FH.

I remember many Scots doing exactly the same when criticising Dan Parks and demanding that a mercurial insanely talented 19 year old be fast-tracked into the Scotland senior team based on his first season for Glasgow and half a dozen U20 caps

There's always bit of hyperbole from certain quarters and the usual English media frenzy, but the performances Smiths' been putting in for the last 3 years one can't simply ignore. He's better than Farrell, Ford, Simmonds or Umaga

Regarding Finn. he's always been well known for his defending, tackling and bravery even as a 16 year old (this year for Racing, he been hitting the rucks before the bleeding forwards), but he'd be the first to admit his dead ball kicking is good but not great and he will take "calculated risks" which sometimes don't come off and that's why the likes of a Smith, Farrell, Sexton or Biggar can be touted as more of an "all round" half back.

However there is no one comparable to him in the EPL, Pro 14 or Top 14 for producing unbelievable creative try scoring opportunities and from all over the park, his delayed pass, his blind pass, his miss-pass, his feigned pass, his acceleration, his kicking out of hand and his offload are insane , even in slow-motion you still can't believe how he does some of the things. I've been blessed to have watched him live pitchside many times against Edinburgh, for Scotland U20s/Seniors, the BaaBaas and even a few times for Racing.

You're 100% correct watching him on the box or "best of" Utubes is one thing but to fully appreciate his skill set you have see, feel, hear and smell the atmosphere all around the ground
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British & Irish Lions vs Japan, 26 June  - Page 3 Empty Re: British & Irish Lions vs Japan, 26 June

Post by RDW Thu 24 Jun 2021, 10:26 am

Fagerson replaced by Furlong - out with a back spasm.

FFS!

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Post by flyhalffactory Thu 24 Jun 2021, 10:33 am

https://www.scotsman.com/sport/rugby-union/zander-fagerson-ruled-out-of-british-and-irish-lions-v-japan-at-murrayfield-3284747

Zander out Crying or Very sad
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Post by Rugby Fan Thu 24 Jun 2021, 10:36 am

RDW wrote:Fagerson replaced by Furlong - out with a back spasm.

FFS!

Hogg was injured out of the NZ tour. Perhaps there is a Lions equivalent of the Shakespeare Scottish play curse, and we need to work out which word or name we should stop saying.

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