Lions in SA

RICKY21

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Lions Team Selection for 2nd Test :-

15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) #783

14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) #816

13. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) #844

12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #824

11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #841

10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821

9. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790

1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) #787

2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) #851

3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818

4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) #825

5. Alun Wyn Jones – captain (Ospreys, Wales) #761

6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) #826

7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) #853

8. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #839

Replacements:

16. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829

17. Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #840

18. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England) #814

19. Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #838

20. Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) #779

21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) #843

22. Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) #780

23. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822

Saturday 31 July 2021

Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

Kick-off: 5pm (BST)
 

Aled

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Completely out thought and completely outplayed. Congratulations South Africa. We were well beaten. Now for those of you who have seen my rugby posts over the years i tend to be impartial and see the best of things in players...well not tonight.....in the past I couldn't wait to see Hogg wear the Lions no 15 shirt, it gives me no pleasure in saying after today's game i don't think he should wear it again. That back three were not up to standard and i hope the Welsh threesome of Adams, Williams and R-Zammit get picked for the final test. Before anybody accuses me of a Welsh bias i really hope Finn Russell gets the number 10 jersey for the final test. The scrum needs help, and i hope Wyn Jones is fit. No idea what else to suggest to improve things!
Cheers
Aled
 

ozzyian

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Totally agree, Hogg was poor. He overplays his hand and when it starts going wrong it often keeps going wrong, that was a display well below required standard. In defence the basics for a full back are high balls, making important tackles and covering big areas efficiently, he only does one of those well. Who knows in attack?? We certainly won't while that level of dull shyte is served up - 3 phases, nothing on - box kick, 3 phases, nothing on - box kick*

The big question is not necessarily Hogg though. I don't think we had anything like a genuine prospect of a try (edit, disallowed one excepted) What I'm wondering now is whether Gatland has an honest plan b in him. I don't think he does. He'll double down with more dreary forwards based damage limitation.

I'm tempted to agree with you on the back 3. But I would say 9 and 10 need to be Price and Russel, lets try and win a bloody game here with a bit of rugby! Messing around with Murray and Biggar is all great - they don't have any tries in them though. It's time to try and score some points, the only thing I can think of to disrupt that Bokke structure and techniques is some proper variety, get them guessing and get the cat right in and amongst the pigeons :)



*that's if you haven't lost the ball before the box kick
 
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salarchaser

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Completely out thought and completely outplayed. Congratulations South Africa. We were well beaten. Now for those of you who have seen my rugby posts over the years i tend to be impartial and see the best of things in players...well not tonight.....in the past I couldn't wait to see Hogg wear the Lions no 15 shirt, it gives me no pleasure in saying after today's game i don't think he should wear it again. That back three were not up to standard and i hope the Welsh threesome of Adams, Williams and R-Zammit get picked for the final test. Before anybody accuses me of a Welsh bias i really hope Finn Russell gets the number 10 jersey for the final test. The scrum needs help, and i hope Wyn Jones is fit. No idea what else to suggest to improve things!
Cheers
Aled
I'd keep Watson on the wing, but from day 1, knowing the Boks kicking game, would have had Williams and / or Adams with him.
vdM looked like a fish out of water today.

I feel the other coaches have had a big say in selection.
Will next week's side be purely down to gatland? BoD knows the decisions he can make.

Boks outplayed us today. As Martin Johnson said, they go with plan A and if that doesn't work they stick with plan A and do it better.

Meet fire with fire next week with a few extra lumps on the bench. Beard and Aki anyone?
 

Handel

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Williams and Adams at 15 and 11 sure. But that doesn't solve the problems. Henshaw has to move to 13, so who plays 12? Farrell if Russell plays 10 because a kicker is needed. But then would Russell be effective?
In the past with Wales Gatland has played Davies at 9 to harass the opposition half backs. He is much quicker than Murray and Price. The South African half backs are getting a free ride at the moment.
But that isn't the biggest problem either. It is 4, 5 and 6. Beirne needs to play 6 to achieve a balanced back row. But then AWJ and Itoje won't cope at lock. I reckon one of your big lumps needs to start at lock salarchaser but who do you send to the bench?
The Lions could really do with Marler at loose head. Fingers crossed Jones is fit.
 

salarchaser

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Williams and Adams at 15 and 11 sure. But that doesn't solve the problems. Henshaw has to move to 13, so who plays 12? Farrell if Russell plays 10 because a kicker is needed. But then would Russell be effective?
In the past with Wales Gatland has played Davies at 9 to harass the opposition half backs. He is much quicker than Murray and Price. The South African half backs are getting a free ride at the moment.
But that isn't the biggest problem either. It is 4, 5 and 6. Beirne needs to play 6 to achieve a balanced back row. But then AWJ and Itoje won't cope at lock. I reckon one of your big lumps needs to start at lock salarchaser but who do you send to the bench?
The Lions could really do with Marler at loose head. Fingers crossed Jones is fit.
I know I have a different opinion to many over Itoje as he doesnt do enough grunt for me.
I read an interesting article about his performance in the first test analysing his success. It largely came down to what AWJ and Lawes did which allowed him to pick and chose his moments. AWJ and Lawes did the heavy lifting so Itoje could do the fancy stuff.
Its why picking a team is far more difficult than picking the best players.
Once SA got a 3rd 2nd row on the pitch they dominated the tight.
The physicality of SA showed up when there was a scuffle after Murray was tackled in the air. Itoje fronted up to Etzebeth and came off 3rd best.
My feeling is that if you leave Lawes out, Itoje will fail to have any impact against the Boks.
I think our tight head needs more support in the scrums. At times you need to forget about open and blind and put your biggest scrummaging flanker behind the tight head.
Obviously the coaches know far more than me, but ballance is all.
Itoje on the blind side and Beard in the 2nd row? Then you lose the big tackling of Lawes. Itoje is a 'scragger' in the tackle not someone to smash a runner.
Its a tough nut to crack.
Theres no flash in the SA 2nd row, or on the blindside with Steph du Toit.
Does Gatland just match up?
 

peterchilton

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really after that performance you could clear out all the backs and start again, Hogg was particularly pitiful along with the south african on the wing
 

ozzyian

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We're not in a great position here! SA will win next week based on what I've seen of the 2 matches. They are getting better, the Lions have stalled - out of ideas - as was widely predicted.

That being so what do you do? double down - I don't think so - the SA tight 5 are technically better and now operating their pods really well - that simple. Look what happened when de Jaeger came on - from that moment everything set piece was in the Bokkes favour. I agree with you Handel about Marler btw - maybe the only character in World rugby capable of putting a stop to SAs front row - scrum and lineout. And even if he couldn't at least we'd get a laugh watching him try.

So, all things considered we're heading for a loss next week, the Lions don't really have the personnel to play the sort of game Gatland favours - no one really does mind you against this lot.

Who noticed Pollards kick for the first try? Took a look, summed it up, changed his mind and put in a perfect little right side of the boot chip. The only little bit of brightness in a day of dull lowest common denominator rugby. Really, it's too late to tear it up all up now of course but the Lions have a 10 capable of doing that stuff all day long - with a revamped back 3 that must surely be our best chance. It's a panicky thing to do but these are the moments and I think the Lions are going to have play some rugby. Anyway, I'd rather go down like that then sit though another of those ;)
 

ozzyian

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really after that performance you could clear out all the backs and start again, Hogg was particularly pitiful along with the south african on the wing
Hogg was poor no doubt about it. VDM is in the side to be running on to nicely weighted and inventive distribution - not trying to pick roses out of that dung heap when he gets what he needs he's a punishing runner. None of the outside backs have had anything to work with - and what they have Hogg spilled.
 

Handel

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One other thing, on the 2013 tour selection was by committee until the third test when Gatland picked the side. It looks to me like selection has been by committee on this tour. I wonder whether Gatland will now pick the team for Saturday.
 

salarchaser

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One other thing, on the 2013 tour selection was by committee until the third test when Gatland picked the side. It looks to me like selection has been by committee on this tour. I wonder whether Gatland will now pick the team for Saturday.
I agree with that Handel.
Gats will see his reputation on the line and will be more forceful in having the final say.

The forwards look reasonably well balanced though 2nd best to SA yesterday. Changing personnel will be tweaks rather than changes to approach.
I dont think the backs were picked to compliment the pack.
We never got across the gainline to create a target for the forwards, either with ball in hand or regathering kicks.

When the squad was picked most people had a similar view as to how the game would be played. The test selection was far from that.
Maybe the problem is the coaching team is unbalanced with a differing philosophy between Gats and Townsend.
The two key issues in the backs for me were Daly and vdM in the first test. Neither had any impact and vdM was worse in the 2nd test. Daly on the bench didn't allow us to change anything either.

Two ways to go I suppose. Full out bish, bash, bosh or a 2nd playmaker.
Think I'd go for the 2nd playmaker if only for tactical kicking rather than creative play. Then get a back 3 to compete in the air.
Aki on the bench to give something different, Davies at 9 to put more pressure on Faf, Beard on the bench to add grunt to match SA.
The only change Id make up front would be Wyn Jones if fit.

Edit: just remembered an old saying.
A camel - a horse designed by committee.
 

Handel

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Hogg was poor no doubt about it. VDM is in the side to be running on to nicely weighted and inventive distribution - not trying to pick roses out of that dung heap when he gets what he needs he's a punishing runner. None of the outside backs have had anything to work with - and what they have Hogg spilled.
I can't bring myself to read Stuart Barnes's column. He has been against Hogg all along and I am sure he will be saying "I told you so".
 

Roag Fisher

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I have no idea why you are all picking on the backs. Without quick ball (or any ball), no matter who plays in the backs is fecked.
I laughed when, after listening to a commentator say , almost the whole game, "we need Watson", not a peep when Watson spilled the ball forward. Williams was a walking clusterfuck in the warm up games too....
 

Occasional salmon fisher

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Only saw the highlights but SA looked ominous in the second half. They have the strength and power and now the confidence.

The Lions will need a huge improvement to have any chance of stopping the SA steam roller.
 

salarchaser

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I have no idea why you are all picking on the backs. Without quick ball (or any ball), no matter who plays in the backs is fecked.
I laughed when, after listening to a commentator say , almost the whole game, "we need Watson", not a peep when Watson spilled the ball forward. Williams was a walking clusterfuck in the warm up games too....
You know you're going to receive 40 kicks a game from the Boks every game. The back 3 have to deal with that.
The chosen aproach in attack was to reciprocate. We saw that in the first 5 mins with a bomb into the boks 22. The backs, especially the wings have to deal with that.
We saw knock ons, drops and when they did catch it, turn overs or penalties.
Quick ball isnt going to change that.
 

salarchaser

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Well, he's made some changes.
vdM still being in surprises me. Watson is far better.
Daly lucky to be on the bench.

Lions third Test team v South Africa: Liam Williams; Josh Adams, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Duhan van der Merwe; Dan Biggar, Ali Price; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tadhg Furlong, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones (c), Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler*, Adam Beard, Sam Simmonds, Conor Murray, Finn Russell, Elliot Daly.
 

ozzyian

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Well, he's made some changes.
vdM still being in surprises me. Watson is far better.
Daly lucky to be on the bench.

Lions third Test team v South Africa: Liam Williams; Josh Adams, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Duhan van der Merwe; Dan Biggar, Ali Price; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tadhg Furlong, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones (c), Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler*, Adam Beard, Sam Simmonds, Conor Murray, Finn Russell, Elliot Daly.
All depends I suppose. If you have decent distribution and some mentality to create and attack space I'd want VDM as my last set of hands, that sadly though is not what we are going to be getting.

Gatland is prepared to drop players but I don't think is prepared to drop his unsuccessful approach - probably he can't. Lets face it Lions history tells us it doesn't actually work. Bundee Aki and Dan Biggar show us we are about to get more of the same

I wonder if we'll be left wondering whether it could all have been a bit different when from 60 to 80 mins when some space appears (or maybe it won't if Murray comes on at the same time as Russell :) ) I personally think bringing Russell on at that point with Murrays slow delivery is a risky thing to do.
 

Aled

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I agree regarding Watson and VDM, hoped L R-Zammit may of had a chance. I'm glad Wyn Jones will get his test cap, now a tough farmer playing in the front row, we've seen a few of them over the years in many a countries colours!
Cheers
Aled
 

Andrew B

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Only saw the highlights but SA looked ominous in the second half. They have the strength and power and now the confidence.

The Lions will need a huge improvement to have any chance of stopping the SA steam roller.
I think we all knew inc the Lions how SA would respond but I expected the Lions to improve as well, which they did not imo?
 

Handel

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Well, he's made some changes.
vdM still being in surprises me. Watson is far better.
Daly lucky to be on the bench.

Lions third Test team v South Africa: Liam Williams; Josh Adams, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Duhan van der Merwe; Dan Biggar, Ali Price; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tadhg Furlong, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones (c), Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler*, Adam Beard, Sam Simmonds, Conor Murray, Finn Russell, Elliot Daly.
If Russell is to be on the bench it is surprising Farrell doesn't start. Without him Daly has to be on the bench both to cover the back five and for his goal kicking. You can't have Watson or Hogg or Harris on the bench with that starting side and Russell.
Looks to me like Gatland is hoping to win the first half again and then put on some heavyweights which he didn't do in the second test.
SA have brought in Reinach at 9. Gatland will be jealous.
 

ozzyian

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Jaco Johanes team for Sat

Springbok team to face the British & Irish Lions:

15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 64 caps, 60 pts (12t)

14 – Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse) – 16 caps, 40 pts (8t)

13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 17 caps, 20 pts (4t)

12 – Damian de Allende (Munster) – 49 caps, 30 pts (6t)

11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 16 caps, 75 pts (15t)

10 – Handré Pollard (vice-captain, Montpellier) – 51 caps, 494 pts (6t, 79c, 98p, 4d)

9 – Cobus Reinach (Montpellier) – 15 caps, 35pts (7t)

8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 2 caps, 0 pts

7 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 42 caps, 5pts (1t)

6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 53 caps, 30 pts (6t)

5 – Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks) – 47 caps, 25 pts (5t)

4 – Eben Etzebeth (Toulon) – 88 caps, 15 pts (3t)

3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 41 caps, 5pts (1t)

2 – Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) – 39 caps, 40 pts (8t)

1 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 50 caps, 5pts (1t)

Replacements:

16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 36 caps, 30 pts (6t)

17 – Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls) – 45 caps, 5 pts (1t)

18 – Vincent Koch (Saracens) – 22 caps, 0 pts

19 – Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls) – 4 caps, 0 pts

20 – Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo) – 9 caps, 5 pts (1t)

21 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 13 caps, 25 pts (5t)

22 – Morné Steyn (Vodacom Bulls) – 66 caps, 736 points (8t, 102c, 154p, 10d)

23 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 9 caps, 5pts (1t)


Faf de Klerk and Steph du Toit are pretty sizeable losses I think - both injured, I don't think Cobus Reinach is really the same sort of 9, we'll see, now maybe one pass before the kick and maybe Price (or more likely Itoje) can get at him:)

De Jager starting, so probably touch finders on penalties become even less appealing. I don't think Vermuelen is 100% btw, and I noticed the know everything Kiwi claimed in this morning press event that they suspected both Faf and du Toit were doubtful at the end of Saturdays game.
 

ozzyian

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If Russell is to be on the bench it is surprising Farrell doesn't start. Without him Daly has to be on the bench both to cover the back five and for his goal kicking. You can't have Watson or Hogg or Harris on the bench with that starting side and Russell.
Looks to me like Gatland is hoping to win the first half again and then put on some heavyweights which he didn't do in the second test.
SA have brought in Reinach at 9. Gatland will be jealous.

I know that you place a lot of weight on who's kicking (as does Gatland) but I keep coming back to the same conclusion, which is that whatever happens you are forced to accept a less than optimal combination of strengths in the absence of a creative 10 who kicks week in week out.

Thus, a calculation has to be made on the relative benefits. Before we start the fun of attributing value to the alternatives may I just point out that Russell does kick for Scotland (at 85%) and did you see the second tour match? Russell kicked them all that game (5 I think) and 2 of those were far from lay down mizeres :)

So, the calculation. What do we think (on his day) Russell is worth in terms of creativity, vs what do we think he would miss in place kicks.

Personally, I think and have always maintained that in the case of the latter - very little. But, being a generous sort of chap I'll give you 2 misses - lets say 5 points. Now, (on his day) what do we think he can contribute creatively. Based on what we've seen thus far I'm saying 2 tries. Therefore my calculation is that playing Russell is worth 9 points (all going well of course)

We're in a bit of a pickle here, so I'd take that (and the risk that comes with it) Finn should be starting.

Salarchaser I like all your rugby posts but I confess I 'liked' a post of yours up the way - then retracted that like!!!! It was on the basis that you said (paraphrasing) that the selections were by committee and Gatland may stamp all that out 'to protect his reputation'

What is his reputation? Out of 11 Lions test matches he's been in charge of they've basically only been the better side on 2 or 3 occasions. Last time around they led for a grand total of 7 mins out of 240 played!! The series before must have been one of the most fortunate series wins I've ever seen. He's not a very good coach! Not of the Lions he's not, not with that bank of talent at his disposal and to make matters worse it's not exactly daring stuff. The Lions should be about quality players in form - the best ones we have and it should be great rugby. If we're going to get beat we may as well have a smile on our faces:)
 
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salarchaser

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I know that you place a lot of weight on who's kicking (as does Gatland) but I keep coming back to the same conclusion, which is that whatever happens you are forced to accept a less than optimal combination of strengths in the absence of a creative 10 who kicks week in week out.

Thus, a calculation has to be made on the relative benefits. Before we start the fun of attributing value to the alternatives may I just point out that Russell does kick for Scotland (at 85%) and did you see the second tour match? Russell kicked them all that game (5 I think) and 2 of those were far from lay down mizeres :)

So, the calculation. What do we think (on his day) Russell is worth in terms of creativity, vs what do we think he would miss in place kicks.

Personally, I think and have always maintained that in the case of the latter - very little. But, being a generous sort of chap I'll give you 2 misses - lets say 5 points. Now, (on his day) what do we think he can contribute creatively. Based on what we've seen thus far I'm saying 2 tries. Therefore my calculation is that playing Russell is worth 9 points (all going well of course)

We're in a bit of a pickle here, so I'd take that (and the risk that comes with it) Finn should be starting.

Salarchaser I like all your rugby posts but I confess I 'liked' a post of yours up the way - then retracted that like!!!! It was on the basis that you said (paraphrasing) that the selections were by committee and Gatland may stamp all that out 'to protect his reputation'

What is his reputation? Out of 11 Lions test matches he's been in charge of they've basically only been the better side on 2 or 3 occasions. Last time around they led for a grand total of 7 mins out of 240 played!! The series before must have been one of the most fortunate series wins I've ever seen. He's not a very good coach! Not of the Lions he's not, not with that bank of talent at his disposal and to make matters worse it's not exactly daring stuff. The Lions should be about quality players in form - the best ones we have and it should be great rugby. If we're going to get beat we may as well have a smile on our faces:)
The beauty of a forum is that we dont have to agree Ozzyian. Ive no issue with that.🍻
I largely agree with your comment regarding his effectiveness as a lions coach.

However, the record books show Gats has not lost a lions series as head coach (8 games to date, he was assistant the series before). Thats his reputation. He'll want to protect that.

When push comes to shove he'll do it his way.

My biggest concern with the team for Saturday remains vdM. I think Gats is trying to play him in the North role. Not sure he has the experience though. He's not come infield looking for work and getting across the gain line.

Interesting stat from last weeks game. The combined number of passes made by the two starting 13s was a grand total of 2.o_O

As an asside, does anyone know why SAs opensides wear 6 and blind sides 7?
The only team I've seen do it.
 

Handel

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I know that you place a lot of weight on who's kicking (as does Gatland) but I keep coming back to the same conclusion, which is that whatever happens you are forced to accept a less than optimal combination of strengths in the absence of a creative 10 who kicks week in week out.

Thus, a calculation has to be made on the relative benefits. Before we start the fun of attributing value to the alternatives may I just point out that Russell does kick for Scotland (at 85%) and did you see the second tour match? Russell kicked them all that game (5 I think) and 2 of those were far from lay down mizeres :)

So, the calculation. What do we think (on his day) Russell is worth in terms of creativity, vs what do we think he would miss in place kicks.

Personally, I think and have always maintained that in the case of the latter - very little. But, being a generous sort of chap I'll give you 2 misses - lets say 5 points. Now, (on his day) what do we think he can contribute creatively. Based on what we've seen thus far I'm saying 2 tries. Therefore my calculation is that playing Russell is worth 9 points (all going well of course)

We're in a bit of a pickle here, so I'd take that (and the risk that comes with it) Finn should be starting.

Salarchaser I like all your rugby posts but I confess I 'liked' a post of yours up the way - then retracted that like!!!! It was on the basis that you said (paraphrasing) that the selections were by committee and Gatland may stamp all that out 'to protect his reputation'

What is his reputation? Out of 11 Lions test matches he's been in charge of they've basically only been the better side on 2 or 3 occasions. Last time around they led for a grand total of 7 mins out of 240 played!! The series before must have been one of the most fortunate series wins I've ever seen. He's not a very good coach! Not of the Lions he's not, not with that bank of talent at his disposal and to make matters worse it's not exactly daring stuff. The Lions should be about quality players in form - the best ones we have and it should be great rugby. If we're going to get beat we may as well have a smile on our faces:)
I think you have misunderstood my last post. salarchaser commented that Daly was lucky to be on the bench. I replied that with the chosen team Daly had to be on the bench. There is no flexibility in the chosen backs or Russell, they play their position and nowhere else. Someone has as a result to cover the whole of the back 5, that is Daly.
You are right I don't have a lot of faith in Russell's goal kicking but if he gets on he will be kicking at goal. If at some point Daly gets on when Biggar has gone he may take any longer kicks just as Hogg does for Scotland. It doesn't follow he will come on when Russell does.
And I don't think it is just Gatland and me who cares about who is kicking. Almost every top coach did/does. In 1997 they shoe horned Jenkins into the team because the 10 didn't kick well enough. That of course was Townsend.
 
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