Who’s in and who’s out?
Morgan Roberts picks his squad of 37 forwards and backs to be included in the British and Irish Lions Squad, one week before the official Squad Announcement on 19th April 2017.
After the latest round of the European Champions and Challenge Cup rounds and of course with the end of the RBS 6 Nations; its that time once again where people from all of this land and in the Emerald Isle, choose the men that will be representing the British and Irish Lions. A true icon of rugby, and a unique phenomenon unparrelled in all sports; the British and Irish Lions in their 129th year will be touring to New Zealand to face the All Blacks in the sea of red. The question is, who’s in and who’s out.
Warren Gatland has mentioned that there will be talent left behind, so obviously selection is going to prove as difficult and as painful as a parrot pecking on your head with its sharp beak. In every position, there is debate and in every position, there is competition. So below is a review of which of the players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales that have made the plane for me.
Now these guys are traditional known as the plumper members of a rugby team, but the crop that I have gone with are very powerful, athletic and crucially, good scrumages. Props along with hookers and second rows, set the platform for set piece:
Loose Head Props: Mako Vunipola (ENG), Rob Evans (WAL), Jack McGrathv(IRE)
Tight Head Props: Tadhg Fulong (IRE), Dan Cole (ENG), Kyle Sinclair (ENG)
These guys have the crucial job of throwing into the lineouts and can influence the direction of the scrums. The no.2 men that I have gone for have shown great accuracy in the lineout throwing but are agile around the rugby pitch:
Hookers: Ken Owens (WAL), Rory Best (IRE) and Jamie George (ENG)
Second Rows (4)
These men not only bolster the front row, in what I like to call the ‘boiler house’ in the scrums (because your ears do feel as if they are in a furnace, having played there many times); they are the main men to throw to in the lineout:
Second Rows: Alan Wyn-Jones (WAL), Joe Launchbury (ENG), Courtney Lawes (ENG), and Maro Itoje (ENG)
Back Row (7)
Now this, I argue, is the most difficult of the positions to pick out of the whole starting XV. This RBS 6 Nations saw brilliant performances from Back Row players, with their physicality, strength and agility. These guys are the ones that will bring the fight to the All Blacks as they set the tone:
No.6: CJ Stander (IRE) and Peter O’Manhony (IRE)
No.7: Sam Warbuton (WAL), Justin Tipuric (WAL), James Haskell (ENG)
No.8: Billy Vunipola (ENG) and Taluape Faletau (WAL)
Scrum Half (3)
These chaps along with the Flyhalf, set the tone of the game that the Lions will want to play. The scrum-half has to be as quick, slight of hand and as cunning as a fox, to make sure that the defense of the opposition has to keep guessing what’s going to happen next:
Scrum Halves: Connor Murray (IRE), Rhys Webb (WAL) and Ben Youngs (ENG)
Fly Half (3)
These are the generals on the field of battle or as a French rugby fan might say, the little Napolean’s on the rugby pitch. They have to poses a great kicking game, kicking strategically and competitively. They also have to be a dab hand at kicking through the posts to score points:
Fly Haves: Jonathon Sexton (IRE), Finn Russell (SCO) and Sam Davies (WAL)
International sides tend to favour a mixture of centers, the passing and the running center or the center of a bulldozing variety. Against New Zealand, these guys arguably have the most difficult position to defend, so they have to be strong tackles as well as quick intelligent runners and passers:
No.12: Owen Farrell (ENG) and Robbie Henshaw (IRE)
No.13: Johnathon Davies (WAL) and Johnathon Joseph (ENG)
Again like the centers, there seems to be a notion to have a mixture; a speedster with good feet and a powerhouse who can run through barn doors:
No.11: Elliot Daly (ENG), and Jack Knowle (ENG)
No.14: George North (WAL), Anthony Watson (ENG)
Full Backs (3)
These guys are the last line of defense, so they have to be strong tacklers. They can also influence they kicking game and come into the back play:
Full Backs: Staurt Hogg (SCO), Liam Williams (WAL) and Leigh Halfpenny (WAL)
Below, are the amount of players from each of the four countries that I picked to be in my 37 man squad:
England 15 (40%)
Ireland 8 (21%)
Scotland 2 (7%)
]Wales 12 (32%)
This is a list of players who might get on the plane to New Zealand for external factors:
Chris Ashton (Winger), George Ford (Flyhalf) and Denny Solomona (Winger)
Gary Ringrose (Center) Joe Carbury (Flyhalf/Fullback) Ian Henderson (Second Row/Back Row) Devin Toner (Second Row) and Simon
Zebo (Winger/Full Back)
Johnny Grey (Second Row) and Hamish Watson (Back Row)
Luke Charteris (Second Row) Richard Hibbard and Ross Moriary (Back Row).
So there you have it, my 37 man British & Irish Lions Squad and the potential candidates that could go pending various factors. The Brum Rugby Show hopes to publish a podcast after Warren Gatland announces his squad, which happens on 19th April 2017. Yes it has some big omissions but what the British and Irish Lions need out there in New Zealand, are naturally gifted rugby players. Players who are regarded as “the best of the best”, who are quick, agile, powerful and most of all, intelligent. Only time will tell what happens on this tour. However, you can be sure that The Brum Rugby Show will keep you posted all the way through the tour to July.