Your Lions Squad Based on this Season?

Discussion in 'General Rugby Union' started by big ginger 8, Mar 20, 2020.

  1. TobyBeastTeague

    TobyBeastTeague First XV

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    Yeah Maro was U20s Captain in 2014 and I’m fairly certain he captained Sarries to an Anglo-Welsh victory. That said, I wouldn’t back him as captain. Seems much more like the kind of guy who needs to be tied in rather than the kind of guy to be tying in others.
     
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  3. big ginger 8

    big ginger 8 International

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    According to wiki Itoje was co-captain for the JWRC. Which is weird because I definitely remember him being hyped as a leader coming up. It's bizarre how similar him and Ryan's trajectories are. Both have that sense of inevitably ending up as captains after successful u20s stints and had ridiculously long unbeaten runs to start of their career.

    I do wonder about the scope for a separate tour captain and matchday squad captain. Although that can be a distraction.

    I think Sexton is being underrated as a captain but there's obviously no knowing what level his play will be at by then. Though you can only imagine this extended break will do most of the players some good.
     
  4. RedruthRFC

    RedruthRFC First XV

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    I suspect that people are reading a bit too much into the leadership role that he appeared to have been given in the 6N. My take was that it was as much for his benefit as anyone else's, a bit like a teacher giving the naughty kid in class a job to do to stop him acting up. Maybe I'm being harsh / unfair, just my take on it.
     
  5. The_Blindside

    The_Blindside International

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    yeah I personally can’t see Gatland opting for Sexton or Farrell as captain. He rarely chooses a back to be captain. I think he did choose JD2 as captain for Wales didn’t he (Welsh fans please correct me if I am wrong). But the fly half in SA will have enough on his plate than also being captain. It’s going to be such a forwards orientated game with lots of kicking that it needs a forward to be captain.
     
  6. Old Hooker

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    A huge difference between then and now is the amount of media and other distractions that now come with the captaincy.

    We have no idea if Itoje can cope with that and a Lions tour visiting the world champions wouldn’t be a great time to find out that he couldn’t. I’m inclined towards the view that if he really was that much of a natural leader he’d have been given a bigger role with Eng esp given the paucity of other contenders.

    AWJ is used to that level of scrutiny and wouldn’t be fazed by it. He’s got enough Lions experience to know what it takes to keep everyone honest off the pitch and on it you’d prob still get honest 7/10 performances from him. Itoje occasionally delivers 9.5/10 that turns matches, why take the risk of fettering one of your potential match winners with a pressure that you have absolutely no idea if he can handle.

    There’s a good argument that the Eng captaincy should move from Farrell. If that happens soon, Itoje gets it and is successful then I may think differently. But right now, while not ideal, AWJ might just be the least worst compromise candidate.
     
  7. The_Blindside

    The_Blindside International

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    The Lions will have a leadership group like any other Lions team so it wouldn’t be like Maro would be leading on his own.
     
  8. Old Hooker

    Old Hooker First XV

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    True, but he’d still have a hell of a lot of distractions away from concentrating on his own game. And a short tour means he’d need to get it right from outset, there wouldn’t be time to make mistakes and grow into the role by the tests.

    Itoje might be a totally inspired choice, but his lack of captaincy experience means Gats would really be rolling the dice and I don’t think he’s an instinctive gambler.
     
  9. The Oggmonster

    The Oggmonster First XV

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    I agree it's a bit early for Itoje based on his limited captaincy experience thus far and that AWJ is probably the natural choice subject to form and fitness. I think Geechs selecting Johnson was a bit different in that he wasn't convinced with the alternatives (other home nation captains at that time) and I think Johnson had more experience at club level. Similar to Paul O'Connell who I don't believe was Ireland captain at the time, captaining the Lions in 2009. Geechs loved a big scary lock at the front of the queue.

    The big question is if Gatland will manage to shoehorn Rob Howley in as an attack coach. I bet he will :)
     
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  10. Leinster Fan

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    Do sidestep the captaincy discussion for a moment, is it feasable to call up British/Irish players who aren't eligable for their national team? Pretty sure there isn't a rule against it but it might be unworkable because of contracts/scheduling/whatever. Just wondering because I'd say Kruis is worth a spot in the squad even if he is playing in Japan next year.
     
  11. big ginger 8

    big ginger 8 International

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    It definitely is possible, but I can't think of anyone who was in the initial squad that as playing outside the Lions Nations. Pretty sure Shane Williams was playing in Japan in 2013. It does work against players though. I think Steffon Armitage and Wilkinson at one stage wouldn't have been available until very late in the tour and there's also the fact most of them aren't playing test rugby.
     
  12. Leinster Fan

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    Yeah, was thinking it wouldn't work with players playing in France because of how late the season runs there. No idea if it's feasable with Japan though.

    Edit: checked and Shane Williams was playing in Japan but to be fair was only called up for three days as injury cover and was going to Australia anyway for media work.
     
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  13. ragerancher

    ragerancher International

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    I see what you did there
     
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  14. BPM

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    Agreed. I’m pretty they’re eligible for selection, but as Big Ginger 8 said, sometimes the league schedules make it impractical.

    Also worth thinking about players who are for whatever reason overlooked by their country’s current coaching set up. He’s not currently in the form to warrant selection, but there’s no reason to say a player like Cipriani can’t be picked.

    Unrelated, but I saw someone mention Ellis Jenkins the other day. A bit like Leavy, he could be an interesting wild card if he can get some rugby under his belt.
     
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  15. The Alpha Bro

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    Is there any young Chiefs lads with British or Irish Grannies who are a couple of years away from NZ selection? I could totally see Gatland picking a 21 year old Kiwi who'll end up playing against the Lions 8 years after playing for them!
     
  16. TRF_Olyy

    TRF_Olyy English Arrogance

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    He had his son training with the Wales squad during the world cup - it's inevitable.
     
  17. themole25

    themole25 First XV

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    Finlay Christie Lions #[] here we come
     
  18. The Oggmonster

    The Oggmonster First XV

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    I guess he could in theory but surely he will have an embarrassment of riches to select from and wouldn't need to go there. I can still see a few Wales players getting the nod in any marginal calls.
     
  19. BPM

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    I’m not so sure. When Gatland was interviewed post RWC about which players he was excited to work with for the Lions, most of the players he name checked weren’t Welsh.

    Last time, it would have been difficult for him not to favour the Welsh players without creating significant fall-out. Now he doesn’t have that pressure.

    I can understand that it might have an influence if he’s making a marginal call between a player he’s worked with one he hasn’t, but he definitely he has a bit more freedom to make tight selection calls without bias.
     
  20. Leinster Fan

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    On a tour as short as this one, I'd expect him to favour players he's worked with before, either with Wales or on the last two Lions tours, and wouldn't blame him either. If he only has a few weeks to put together a scratch team to beat the world champions then it's understandable if he wants to minimize the amount of teething problems by largly sticking with known (to him) quantities. Makes it a bjt less fun for the fans and the players outside that group though. Can imagine him picking something like this

    1. Vunipola/Marler
    2. George
    3. Furlong
    4. Jones
    5. Itoje
    6. Underhill
    7. Curry
    8. Vunipola
    9. Whichever welsh 9 is in best form
    10. Farrell
    11. May
    12. Tualagi
    13. Davies
    14. Adams
    15. Williams
    16. Owens
    17. Vunipola/Marler
    18. Sinkler
    19. Ryan
    20. Navidi
    21. Another Welsh 9
    22. Biggar
    23. Hogg

    Not what I'd pick at all but I wouldn't be surprised to see something very similar to that line up for the first test.
     
  21. TRF_Olyy

    TRF_Olyy English Arrogance

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    Billy Vunipola has just confirmed he's staying at Saracens/playing in the Championship next season - be interesting to see how that effects his international/Lions season. Reduced workload/competition level will aid his injuries but will he be fully up to speed?
     
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