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  #1  
Old 11-03-2017, 07:43 PM
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Lions tour 2017

As requested separate thread. Who is on the plane? Who is starting? Who is captain?

Anyone going?
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Old 12-03-2017, 06:04 AM
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All Black players have taken a battering in the first few weeks of the Super Rugby season. At least 4 went down this weekend with long term leg injuries. Good job their is a solid reserve pool but this is the Lions best chance ever.

Kiwis are certainly keeping an eye on the 6 Nations and not taking the tour lightly. Cant wait for it to get started.

Ive tickets for the Provincial Select, Maori ABs, Blues, Chiefs and final test, hopefully i can blag one to the first test too.
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Old 12-03-2017, 07:39 AM
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Would love to go, but unfortunately unable to this year. Will definitely go to 2021 in South Africa.

For me:

1. M Vunipola
2. Hartley
3. Furlong
4. Itoje
5. Jonnie Gray
6. Stander
7. Warburton
8. B Vunipola
9. Murray
10. Sexton
11. Nowell
12. Farrell
13. Joseph
14. L Williams
15. Hogg

England bias - but why wouldn't I - they've just won 18 on the trot. I'd have Hartley as captain too - I dont buy into AWJ as captain as he doesn't start for me.
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:29 AM
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Mako on the bench for me. I think Hartley has a shout but he isn't even the best England hooker. I'd have Launchberry before Gray. Daly and Watson ahead of Nowell although if North finds form I'd prefer him. Very difficult to choose a captain. If Warburton is a starter then why not have him again but I'm not sure he is.
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Old 12-03-2017, 09:05 AM
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Don't see how Warburton starts. He's not getting close to 6 or 8 and Tipuric is a much better open side.

In fact I really don't see many Welsh players making the 15. I like the scrum half and I can see arguments for halfpenny over Hogg (though personally I wouldn't. The front five is going to be English and Irish with maybe a Gray in there. North if fit and playing well would obviously make the team but it's been an awful long while and I want to see more than just one game. Faletau is also exceedingly good if fit but again 8 is loaded.
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Old 12-03-2017, 02:02 PM
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I'd have thought the sensible thing would be to base the squad around the form side, England. He did similar for the Aussie tour as Wales were doing well.

I do have reservations about Hartley being captain simply due to his disciplinary record. I am sure the AB's will target him to get him sent off. Can't really afford to risk that happening.
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Old 13-03-2017, 09:37 AM
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Have no problem with the side being predominantly English. Actually no, rephrase. I have no problem with the side being predominantly made up of players who play for England. Those 15s are quite different

Anyway, starting from there you look at where an Irish, Scots or Welsh player may improve that side.

Second Row, half backs, one or more of the back three - there's not many standouts.

All that said you could make a case for this being the most nationally balanced Lions side in a while purely because all 4 countries have good players - no longer the need for the token Scotsman for example. Can't see Warburton being the 7 given he's behind Tipuric there this season.

For me when it's the lions I support the players on the pitch regardless of what country the play for normally, sure I have a bit of bias to the welsh as is natural, but I want the best players on the pitch especially against NZ.
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Old 13-03-2017, 11:06 AM
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My question on these tours is who is your best team and which players from others would improve that team. Generally the first question isn't easy to answer but in this case it is.

So who from the other nations improves England?
Furlong does.
Any of the hookers do (assuming we're comparing to DH, not George, Taylor or LCD who are all better hookers).
There's a back rower or 2 in there - Stander definitely.
The half-backs have to be Murray and Sexton, although the annoying gobby Welsh duo proved they can run them close. (FYI - that's not a go at the Welsh so much... but has anyone noticed how every half-back pairing seems to be full of gobby little shits at the moment? Other than Ford, who I'm not sure can actually speak)
Wingers - I like Daly but he isn't yet a Test wing, so probably Williams here.
Full back - Hogg and HP are way ahead of what England have (unless you put Watson there).

For me the starting 15 could be 9/10 English players but the bench would be almost entirely non-English.

1. Mako
2. Best (and possibly captain)
3. Furlong
4. Itoje
5. Launchbury
6. Stander
7. Tipuric
8. B Vunipola
9. Murray
10. Sexton
11. Watson
12. Farrell
13. Joseph
14. L Williams
15. Halfpenny

I'd have considered the Scottish hooker based on the 6N prior to Saturday, but his meltdown on Saturday tells me otherwise now.
Lawes and Warburton on the bench.
Webb, Biggar and Daly are my three backs on the bench.
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Old 13-03-2017, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by saxoneagle View Post
My question on these tours is who is your best team and which players from others would improve that team. Generally the first question isn't easy to answer but in this case it is.

So who from the other nations improves England?
Furlong does.
Any of the hookers do (assuming we're comparing to DH, not George, Taylor or LCD who are all better hookers).
There's a back rower or 2 in there - Stander definitely.
The half-backs have to be Murray and Sexton, although the annoying gobby Welsh duo proved they can run them close. (FYI - that's not a go at the Welsh so much... but has anyone noticed how every half-back pairing seems to be full of gobby little shits at the moment? Other than Ford, who I'm not sure can actually speak)
Wingers - I like Daly but he isn't yet a Test wing, so probably Williams here.
Full back - Hogg and HP are way ahead of what England have (unless you put Watson there).

For me the starting 15 could be 9/10 English players but the bench would be almost entirely non-English.

1. Mako
2. Best (and possibly captain)
3. Furlong
4. Itoje
5. Launchbury
6. Stander
7. Tipuric
8. B Vunipola
9. Murray
10. Sexton
11. Watson
12. Farrell
13. Joseph
14. L Williams
15. Halfpenny

I'd have considered the Scottish hooker based on the 6N prior to Saturday, but his meltdown on Saturday tells me otherwise now.
Lawes and Warburton on the bench.
Webb, Biggar and Daly are my three backs on the bench.
Hard to disagree with your selection apart from possibly of a few changes i would make. As Locks i would go for the pairing that have done superbly so far, Laws has been a revelation this season and Launchbury outstanding after seizing his unexpected opportunity. As for Itoje, he is a MUST in the team and so versatile, i would have him as One of my flankers(7) along with Stander(6) and Billy Vunipola(8). And my final change instead of Watson would be George North (if fully fit) is a must as he truly is world class and a player the All Blacks would be very aware off on the pitch and his capabilities of turning a game in a moment. One other possible change? would be as you stated Daly for Williams, yes he is inexperienced but such an unpredictable explosive talent that i would take the gamble and play the All Blacks at their own game for the surprise element.
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Old 13-03-2017, 01:40 PM
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Now I don't see how you play Itoje in the back row. I mean where? I don't see that leaving out Stander to get Lawes in the team is a sensible choice (I don't think they'll leave Tipuric out, but I am not entirely against Itoje at 7, though if they were going down that route Warburton would have a better claim with Itoje in the second row). In fact I am not even sure Lawes is close to a certainty for the squad. Is he going ahead of Itoje or Launchbury, not for me. Is he going ahead of the two Irish locks, again no for me. I think Gray probably goes, so it is between him and AWJ for a sixth lock (assuming we take six).
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Old 13-03-2017, 01:45 PM
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Now I don't see how you play Itoje in the back row. I mean where? I don't see that leaving out Stander to get Lawes in the team is a sensible choice (I don't think they'll leave Tipuric out, but I am not entirely against Itoje at 7, though if they were going down that route Warburton would have a better claim with Itoje in the second row). In fact I am not even sure Lawes is close to a certainty for the squad. Is he going ahead of Itoje or Launchbury, not for me. Is he going ahead of the two Irish locks, again no for me. I think Gray probably goes, so it is between him and AWJ for a sixth lock (assuming we take six).
I'd say lock is our strongest position but, based on form, England have the best 3.

AWJ was terrible last match, great this. That's not what you need, a potential captain having shocking off days and making poor decisions.

Based on the Autumn series and 6Ns, AWJ wouldn't be in my squad... yet he'll be Gatland's captain (which I appreciate then means he'd have to be in the team I pick, but I refuse to put him in!)
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Old 13-03-2017, 01:54 PM
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Hard to disagree with your selection apart from possibly of a few changes i would make. As Locks i would go for the pairing that have done superbly so far, Laws has been a revelation this season and Launchbury outstanding after seizing his unexpected opportunity. As for Itoje, he is a MUST in the team and so versatile, i would have him as One of my flankers(7) along with Stander(6) and Billy Vunipola(8). And my final change instead of Watson would be George North (if fully fit) is a must as he truly is world class and a player the All Blacks would be very aware off on the pitch and his capabilities of turning a game in a moment. One other possible change? would be as you stated Daly for Williams, yes he is inexperienced but such an unpredictable explosive talent that i would take the gamble and play the All Blacks at their own game for the surprise element.
Lawes is definitely on the bench for me. Players like him and Itoje (same as Daly) could well make it for their versatility even if not the strongest in a single position.

It's noticeable that England continue to pack down with Lawes in the back row and Itoje in the second. They threw to Itoje more on Saturday, too. We're used to the 6 and a halves, but England have two 5 and a halves. Those kind of things have to come into Gatland's thinking as it makes your bench options so much better.

Playing like Friday, North is in the squad but for me he does one thing poorly: he can't read the game situations to know when to come infield and seek the ball, and when to wait his chance. He's massively improved this for Saints (who generally always need him to seek the ball lately!). Jonny May does the same thing but in reverse - he never seeks the ball. Against Italy he was glued to the wing while Italy non-rucked. George North would've had a field day there as he'd have been in the thick of it! Against NZ, I'd start the first test with 2 more defensive, positionally aware wingers, and that for me is Watson and Williams (with North, Daly, Nowell all potentials to add something different).
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Old 13-03-2017, 05:25 PM
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Why is everyone picking Mako as a starter? I would have thought he is an obvious finisher.
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Old 13-03-2017, 09:42 PM
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Lions tour 2017

Lions always used to have world class wingers. I don't find the likes of Williams, Zebo, Watson convincing. Joseph is not the strongest tackler and he's coming up against Sonny Bill with little help from small wingers. I think Joseph gets moved to wing to allow Gatland to bring in his big Welsh centres and Henshaw.

Hope Daly goes, one of my favorites and a perfect bench option.
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Old 13-03-2017, 09:44 PM
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The Gray brothers may have lost their chance, they got outplayed by Launchbury and Lawes.

Moriarty has been superb, maybe they take four number 8s. Plus Haskell, Warburton, Tipuric, Stander, O'Brien

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Old 13-03-2017, 10:02 PM
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Id say its highly unlikely SBW would be a starter for the ABs let alone in the matchday squad at the moment. The only way i can see it is if the injuries keep piling up and you have to remember he is coming back from major injury, seems prone to breaking down and hasnt played a game since the Olympic 7s.
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Old 13-03-2017, 10:24 PM
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wouldnt surprise me to see george in and hartley not. Furlong also looking good for a place..possible wp nel if he can get back from injury.
Itoje as a lock. Tipuric and Moriarty have had great tournaments - second and back rows very hotly contested.
murray and sexton nailed on with one of care/youngs and one of webb/laidlaw probably the former. farrell, henshaw, davies, joseph pushing for the centres. wing and fb pretty open but north will go, probably seymour too. Nowell is a great worker and a decent defender. hogg is great going forward but lacking defensively, brown is the opposite as is kearney these days.. halfpenny is off form.

nz looking like they may have some injury problems too - naholo, dagg, milner-skudder all picking up injuries this week.
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Old 14-03-2017, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoreditch CPFC View Post
Why is everyone picking Mako as a starter? I would have thought he is an obvious finisher.
Eddie Jones isn't coach and I wouldn't trust WG to know what one was. Mako for me is the strongest in his position, when fully fit, so starts.

Besides, finishers will be worthless in a game where you could be 30-40 points down by then!
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Old 14-03-2017, 10:30 AM
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You do want game changers on the bench though. Faletau/Vunipola will be one and Itoje could be another considering the strength in depth of locks.
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Old 14-03-2017, 11:14 AM
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All change on the captaincy odds in the last few days. Warburton now favourite. I fancied a couple of quid on Itoje and Launchberry at 125:1. Now 50:1 and 33:1 respectively.

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