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Lions Tour 2017 Rugby Discussion Thread

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    #91
    Originally posted by sewa View Post
    Dillane at least plays second row for his club when selected, Henderson rarely does. Henshaws try scoring rate is appalling for an international centre and its not like you could argue he is a Mike Catt / Giteau style distributor from 12 who creates all day long for others, his main attributes are athleticism and tackling

    Gatland doesn't have a big history with Mike Catt style distributors at 12. He likes strong, crashy lads who'll get over the gain line and tackle all day.

    It's not a vintage period for 12s. Roberts is past his best, Farrell is filling a gap, Scotland used 3 in the last 6 nations.

    Given the coach and the competition, I think he has a solid shout.
    "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men" Edward R Murrow

    "Little by little, we have been brought into the present condition in which we are able neither to tolerate the evils from which we suffer, nor the remedies we need to cure them." - Livy


    "I think that progress has been made by two flames that have always been burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world" - Tony Benn

    Comment


      #92
      Originally posted by Balla Boy View Post
      Given the coach and the competition, I think he has a solid shout.
      Judging by the events of the weekend Steve Hansen thinks so too.
      Munster – Champions of Europe 2006, 2008, 2020.

      Comment


        #93
        Brilliant Ireland inject hope into Lions’ brutal All Blacks assignment

        https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2016/nov/28/ireland-lions-all-blacks-england-scotland-warren-gatland
        ous victories combined with the improvement of England and Scotland will have Warren Gatland believing
        England still have one game to go but for the rest of the home nations the autumn internationals are done. Regardless of Saturday’s Twickenham outcome it will be remembered as one of the more intriguing periods of recent times, particularly in relation to the British and Irish Lions tour next year. Suddenly there are glimmers of realistic hope where once there was only dense black nothingness.


        For this Ireland, above all, deserve immense credit. As well as defeating New Zealand for the first time in 111 years they saw off Australia and South Africa as well, breathing encouraging fresh Gaelic air into the 2017 Lions series in the process. With England making progress and Scotland also improving – we will come to Wales later – Warren Gatland will privately be wondering if the impossible dream may after all be feasible.



        Keith Earls seals Ireland win over Australia to complete big-three sweep

        A sense of proportion is required, as ever. New Zealand will be at home, with all the subtle and not-so-subtle advantages that brings. The tour schedule remains an absolute brute, the shortage of preparation time still scandalous but finally we are seeing the emergence of some key building blocks, not to mention several reliable individuals around whom Gatland can construct a realistic challenge between now and June.


        A quick glance down the list of those struggling to make the tour is not a bad place to start. Jamie Roberts, Dan Lydiate, Manu Tuilagi, Tommy Bowe, Rob Kearney, Dan Biggar, Keith Earls, Scott Williams, Jared Payne, Anthony Watson … at least half of them would have been inked in to the squad six months ago. Partly that is a consequence of Wales struggling to perform but it also reflects the rise of several other likely lads, many of them clad in green.
        Take Tadhg Furlong. The 24‑year‑old from Wexford has started just four games for Ireland and two European Cup games for Leinster but looks precisely the kind of young bullocking tighthead who could flourish in a Lions context. Add in WP Nel and Dan Cole and the Lions could have three good, strong tightheads capable of keeping the All Black scrum honest. In the back row CJ Stander never seems to have a bad game and Sean O’Brien remains a force of nature. Add in the sharply-improving Vunipola brothers and a fit-again Maro Itoje and there is a pack who could potentially rewrite the terms of engagement, just as Ireland did in Chicago.


        What else do the All Blacks not ideally want to face? A world-class goal-kicker, a strong tactically aware scrum-half and a brilliant counterattacking full-back? In Owen Farrell, Conor Murray and Stuart Hogg, the Lions should have those bases covered, too. The list of lock contenders – Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Devin Toner, Iain Henderson, Ultan Dillane, Jonny Gray and Luke Charteris are fighting over maybe five spots – indicates the lineout will be another area of strength. If Scotland’s Huw Jones, Duncan Taylor and Alex Dunbar, Ireland’s Garry Ringrose and England’s Elliot Daly and Henry Slade keep on improving the midfield options will be almost as tantalising.
        The other bonus is an Anglo‑Irish dominated squad will make it easy for certain crucial units to dovetail. Whatever happens, an Englishman or an Irishman seems likely to be throwing into the lineout or pulling the strings at fly-half. Andy Farrell, seemingly lined up as an assistant coach, knows both sets of players well and will not need to conduct many 11th-hour crash courses. While his son will be a prominent tour member, he will also enjoy the confidence of Jonathan Sexton, Robbie Henshaw and others. In terms of getting a Lions team rapidly up to speed, that is a major advantage.



        Rugby union autumn internationals: talking points from the latest action


        Mix in Gatland’s extensive local knowledge and experience of what worked in Australia in 2013 and the chance of the home unions striking back in New Zealand for the first time since 1971 improves a little more. Much will hinge on the forthcoming Six Nations, not least for Wales with Sam Warburton, Wyn Jones, Roberts, Samson Lee, Rhys Webb and Leigh Halfpenny all under pressure to justify Gatland’s selectorial faith. If they keep struggling, though, the chances are Ireland and England will flourish; the final Saturday of the Six Nations in Dublin in March would then resemble a final trial for players such as Daly, Ringrose, Kruis, Dillane, Jamie George, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Joey Carbery, Simon Zebo, Jonny May and Jack Nowell.

        The captaincy might also hinge on the outcome, although the Lions have enough players – Rory Best, Dylan Hartley, Wyn Jones, Itoje, Billy Vunipola, Farrell – down their potential Test spine to consider appointing a tour skipper but then sharing around the on-field armband. If the nominated tour captain has to sit out a game or picks up a knock – remember the victorious Lions had two Test captains in 2013 – it is no longer quite the seismic deal it was in days of yore. If the Lions are smartly selected and the injury gods are merciful they have enough good players to be competitive whoever attends the coin toss.

        Lions 2017 Test XV?


        S Hogg (Scotland); L Williams (Wales), E Daly (England), R Henshaw (Ireland), G North (Wales); O Farrell (England), C Murray (Ireland); M Vunipola (England), D Hartley (England), T Furlong (Ireland), AW Jones (Wales), M Itoje (England), CJ Stander (Ireland), S O’Brien (Ireland), B Vunipola (England).
        Replacements: R Best (Ireland), J McGrath (Ireland), W Nel (Scotland), I Henderson (Ireland), T Faletau (Wales), B Youngs (England), J Sexton (Ireland), J Nowell (England).


        Distant heroes

        It is a sign of the times that, despite England winning a long-awaited grand slam, not a single rugby player features among the contenders for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award. Of course Andy Murray has been an inspiration and there have been umpteen wonderful Olympians. Maybe recognition will come in another form but, despite 12 games unbeaten in 2016 and three players making the six-man shortlist for World Rugby’s player of the year, it seems England’s finest are not as lodged in the public consciousness as they used to be. There are obvious mitigating factors such as limited terrestrial exposure and last year’s World Cup underachievement but could it also be that too much of their media activity is now restricted to the Rugby Football Union’s in-house platforms, with one-to-one newspaper interview access to players significantly reduced in favour of more lucrative corporate gigs? There are numerous impressive people in the England setup; showing a little more of their real selves to a wider, non-rugby audience should be a higher priority.

        And another thing …


        Sometimes you can just tell in an instant whether a sportsman has ‘it’ or not. Maybe Baptiste Serin, France’s new 22-year-old scrum-half from Bordeaux Bègles, will sink without trace and never be mentioned in these pages again. Looking at his glorious reverse flick pass against New Zealand, though, you suspect Serin has the ability and nerve to be a classy performer for years to come.





        I am the million man.

        Comment


          #94
          didnt realise henshaw was up to 24 caps already
          "Some people don't know their easy lives... I wouldn't be so ungrateful" - Fiacre Ryan - #AutismAndMe

          Comment


            #95
            Nice balance to that backrow, three barnstorming ball carriers and another one on the bench.

            Comment


              #96
              Daly at 13 is a fair sign that that shirt is wide open.
              "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men" Edward R Murrow

              "Little by little, we have been brought into the present condition in which we are able neither to tolerate the evils from which we suffer, nor the remedies we need to cure them." - Livy


              "I think that progress has been made by two flames that have always been burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world" - Tony Benn

              Comment


                #97
                Originally posted by Balla Boy View Post
                Daly at 13 is a fair sign that that shirt is wide open.
                One of the Glasgow centres or J Davies perhaps.
                I am the million man.

                Comment


                  #98
                  Originally posted by Cowboy View Post
                  One of the Glasgow centres or J Davies perhaps.
                  Andof course certainly not young Ringrose of Leinster.
                  Gwan Joe!!

                  Comment


                    #99
                    Originally posted by ustix View Post
                    Andof course certainly not young Ringrose of Leinster.
                    Would be great, Gatland likes his giants though.
                    I am the million man.

                    Comment


                      Originally posted by ustix View Post
                      Andof course certainly not young Ringrose of Leinster.
                      Ringrose would really have to tear up the 6Ns (assuming he even makes the starting 15s) and champions cup to be in with a shout I think... He doesn't have the size that Gatland likes. I think the tour is a year too soon for him

                      Comment


                        I think the Lions can actually win this series, as Paulie pointed out to the Second Captains last week the pressure the Kiwi media and fans put on that squad is unlike anywhere else in rugby. They were genuinely pressured into a corner after we beat them and really came out to try and relieve that pressure with a win.

                        If the Lions go 1 up after the first test I would think he should pick the biggest-meanest-most durable 23 possible for game 2. They lash out.
                        I am the million man.

                        Comment


                          If Sexton is fit enough and has had enough game time to be on the bench then he will start and not bench imo.

                          Especially if Murray is stating at 9.

                          Comment


                            Looks like Rob Howley will be the attack coach on the Lions. Gregor Townsend has turned down the opportunity, apparently wants to do as Joe Schmidt is doing: spend time with his international team on their summer tour.

                            http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/wales-coach-rob-howley-set-12256084

                            What's interesting is that this and possibly future Lions parties will not be touring with the best available coaching talent.
                            "I don't believe in fairytales," O'Connell once told me, "even though it feels like I've been lucky enough to live through a few. However it ends, I'll feel lucky."
                            Donald McRae, Guardian Rugby, October 2015

                            Comment


                              Surely Joseph would be ahead of Daly for that 13 shirt? Henshaw and Joseph could be a tasty combo. I could see Gatland going with Roberts and Henshaw though. Can't see him going without his trademark 70% of ball going crash bang wallop up the middle.

                              I'd pick Williams at fullback with Hogg at 23 to come on and inflict damage later. Watson and Zebo on the wings ahead of North. Zebo's ability to come infield as a receiver and make plays happen gives him an edge over any other wing in the home nations while Watson is the best finisher up here.

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by diarm View Post
                                Surely Joseph would be ahead of Daly for that 13 shirt? Henshaw and Joseph could be a tasty combo. I could see Gatland going with Roberts and Henshaw though. Can't see him going without his trademark 70% of ball going crash bang wallop up the middle.

                                I'd pick Williams at fullback with Hogg at 23 to come on and inflict damage later. Watson and Zebo on the wings ahead of North. Zebo's ability to come infield as a receiver and make plays happen gives him an edge over any other wing in the home nations while Watson is the best finisher up here.
                                Zebo's defensive game in the last year is what makes me think he's in with a shout this tour. He's been so solid in addition to his usual creative play.

                                Comment

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