The Silverfern B&I Lions...



  • In Vunipola (what a serious career turnaround he's had, from fat bosh merchant to serious player), Faletau, and Heaslip, the Lions are swimming in #8 talent. Their locks will be awesome, and the equal of ours. Front row is never a problem.

    The talent on show shouldn't be an issue, it's whether or not Gatland can actually pick it, and find a plan to compliment it. If he turns up with the 23 biggest blokes he can find and tries to bash us, then it's 3-0 to us.

    We won't win just by talent, and we won't win by depth. Our biggest advantage, as always, will be the ability of our entire 23 to play with the ball. And it's a settled cohesive side v a scratch team. Gatland will need to sort out how he uses the tour. In Aus he chopped and changed each week, and it took until the 3rd test to properly gel. He can't wait that long on this tour.



  • I reckon the Lions would do better if they picked a squad of 32. Spent some serious time bounding in camp, played a couple of games with their best XV and hit the AB's fresh.

    We're always a bit dusty that first test.

    I just can't see how the best 23 players the Lions have will make it to the first test. They are going to lose players during the games against the super sides - can you remember the last game the AB's didn't lose someone to injury (actually the Italian test maybe) but again, B.Smith, Cane out just in the last test.

    Hope we keep Cruden through even just one more year.



  • @Duluth said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    @Catogrande said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    1. Liam Williams or Brown, not sure

    Hogg?

    Good call. I'd forgotten about him.



  • Long way out still, but for what it's worth

    1. McGrath

    2. George

    3. Furlong

    4. Gray

    5. Kruis

    6. Itoje

    7. O'Brien

    8. Vunipola

    9. Murray

    10. Farrell

    11. Wiliams

    12. Henshaw

    13. Joseph

    14. Watson

    15. Hogg.

    16. Hartley

    17. Vunipola

    18. Cole

    19. Launchbury

    20. Stander

    21. Webb

    22. Sexton

    23. North

    Definitely a lot more depth than it looked like there would be a year or two ago, so reasonably confident that they'll be more competitive than the 2005 lot.



  • @Duluth said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    @Catogrande said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    1. Liam Williams or Brown, not sure

    Hogg?

    Halfpenny lost his mojo?



  • Halfpenny is excellent from the tee, but offers nothing much outside of that these days. If you're playing Farrell, there's really no need to waste a back three slot on him.



  • For mine

    15 Liam Williams (W). Was on fire in NZ, remains on fire. Hogg is an attacking alternative, but can be a bid dodgy in defence. Halfpenny if you want a goalkicker, but Farrell will provide that so HP not needed. Mike Brown as an outside bet.

    14 Anthony Watson (E).
    11 George North (W).

    Don't laugh but some of the Scots might be in with a shot on the wings, depending on 6N form.

    13 Robbie Henshaw (I)
    12 Owen Farrell (E)

    10 Jonny Sexton (I) - very injury prone though
    9 Conor Murray (I)

    8 Billy Vunipola (E). But you can make sensible arguments for Faletau & Heaslip
    7 Sean O'Brien (I). But you can make sensible arguments for Warburton, and I highly rate Van der Flier.
    6 CJ Stander (I) I'm not sure - depends whether he goes pure 6, or converts Itoje (E) or Henderson (I) into 6/locks for example.

    5 Itoje (E)
    4 Kruis (E) or AWJ (W) - who has refound some form

    3 Would have said Cole (E), but if Furlong (I) keeps up his form he could be a major bolter
    2 Hartley (E)
    1 McGrath (I)



  • I thought Connor Murray was poor on Saturday.

    Is he the best 9 in the Lions?

    Who is next cab off the rank?



  • @infidel said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    I thought Connor Murray was poor on Saturday.

    Is he the best 9 in the Lions?

    Who is next cab off the rank?

    Rhys Webb Wales can be very good, the English scrumhalf Youngs, and I suppose the Scot Laidlaw but he is too slow.

    Webb has more of a running game than Murray and the combination makes a perfect 9/21 combo.



  • Billy V is 130kgs in mho he needs to work harder and lose 15kg or CCC are going to have to supply a sports bra. At the moment he's heavier than England's props



  • @Wreck-Diver

    Vunipola's been putting in stand out 80 minute performances for a while now. Has been England's best player this season imo and certainly not an obvious choice for a weak link here.

    Besides he's 126kg these days...



  • @Margin_Walker said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    @Wreck-Diver

    Vunipola's been putting in stand out 80 minute performances for a while now. Has been England's best player this season imo and certainly not an obvious choice for a weak link here.

    Besides he's 126kg these days...

    I didn't say that he hasnt put in the work I still think he has a lot more too do. He does need a bra though he must have a bad tit rash after the game



  • @westcoastie said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    Whom do the 'fern see as the respective best players for the Lions...?

    Considering the AB's lineup vs Ireland on the weekend is probably our #1 lineup incl. Kaino and Crotty or SBW for Fekitoa - ALB stays in. Maybe Milner-Skudder for Dagg, maybe not. Its shaping to be a hell of a series...

    Personally, I don't think the Lions will be lucky enough to have all their best players available by the 1st test...they're going to be seriously battered by the time they get to the AB's

    Heres a most of a XV that have impressed me...
    1
    2 Best or Hartley
    3
    4, 5 from: Donnacha Ryan, Devon Toner, Courtney Lawes, (Marco Itoje will get in there somewhere) Irish Locks impressed me, they mostly held their own ball, and matched it well enough with Whitelock and Retallick in key locking areas. Retallick is the man because he just offers all the extras - can he start taking shots at goal ala John Eales?
    6 Robshaw maybe
    7 O'Brien (Warburton is overrated - O'Brien just wants to mix it with the AB's)
    8 Faletau
    9 Conor Murray
    10 Sexton
    11 North (looked good until injured in 2nd test?)
    12 Farrell
    13
    14
    15 Halfpenny

    I reckon the AB's will have parity in the Front Rows, advantage in Locks, maybe slight disadvantage in back row - depending on how Cane, Kaino, Read hold up.
    Pretty even in 9 & 10, thank god A.Smith has a super season to sort his shit out.
    Wings & Midfield even. I like the Crotty/ALB combo. How will SBW go outside Barrett?
    Ben Smith > than anything the B&I have.
    We won't have that advantage of going boom with 20min to go. We'll have to be up for it from 1st minute.

    Laidlaw would be an option at 9 wouldn't he?

    Don't reckon 9 and 10 is even at all. In form Smith and TJP are better than any Lion and BB makes Sexton his bitch. Actually a Smith, BB, SBW, ALB axis would be a huge advantage IMHO.

    I'm most worried about the forwards and the air. Even if NMS is back his lack of height is a weakness under the high ball.



  • Is Sexton really the best 10 available to them? I know he's been in the Ireland side for some big games, but IMO he's a pretty limited player, reminds me a lot of Beaver.



  • @Bones said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    Is Sexton really the best 10 available to them? I know he's been in the Ireland side for some big games, but IMO he's a pretty limited player, reminds me a lot of Beaver.

    Wouldn't that make him a legend who'll never have to pay for a Waikato DraughtGuiness in his life?



  • @Bones said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    Is Sexton really the best 10 available to them?

    Surely it's George Ford who according to Eddie Jones could be better than Beaudy.



  • @antipodean said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    @Bones said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    Is Sexton really the best 10 available to them?

    Surely it's George Ford who according to Eddie Jones could be better than Beaudy.

    Nothing wrong with that surely? Both were blue-chip prospects from that 2011 JWC final (Ford at 10 for England, Barrett at 15 for NZ). 2 years ago I would have said that Ford actually looked the better bet to become a world-class fly-half, but Barrett has kicked on massively over the last year and Ford has gone through a rough patch of form. Ford's form seems to be picking up though, and they're both still young.

    For the Lions, if Ford is able to put together a string of performances at the hop of his ability, then I'd say he offers more than Sexton. For now though, Sextons consistency and experience puts him in pole position.



  • @SimonAdd_2 said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    @antipodean said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    @Bones said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    Is Sexton really the best 10 available to them?

    Surely it's George Ford who according to Eddie Jones could be better than Beaudy.

    Nothing wrong with that surely?

    If it comes across as me suggesting Eddie's taking the piss, that's not my intent. I do think Ford on form is the best first five-eighth in the Home Nations. Eddie's got form picking talent, e.g. Giteau.



  • Thanks @Margin_Walker

    Only asked as I recall ge was awesome a few years back

    I struggle to watch Super Rugby and NPC (and even non-AB Tests nowadays) so there's no way i can keep up with NH footy. So I rely on the opinion of those who do. Appreciate the help 🙂



  • Hartley will get a ban sometime around Easter, thereby ruling him out.

    It will be interesting to see how Gatland shoehorns a load of Welsh players into the team. I look forward to that PR job.

    An interesting question for him to ponder, is will his reputation be better enhanced by (the best case scenario) losing competitively in this or by resurrecting Wales from what will be a crap 6N this year into a 2018 Grand Slam.



  • Gatland will take the following into consideration, and not all have equal weighting

    1. Fitness
    2. Form
    3. Played for him in the past
    4. Played for the Lions

    So by the time the selection comes round I'm guessing half the suggestions will be missing

    From a Welsh perspective, if he continues his development then Moriarty wil be on the plane.



  • @MiketheSnow Moriarty not a bad call Mike. I was impressed with him v Aussie earlier on. One of the few to really put his hand up. I was a bit peeved that he didn't get the call for England but then again 8s and 6s we have. An out and out 7 would be nice. Would you check Tipuric's England eligibility for me seeing as Gatland doesn't seem to rate him?

    Whilst it's fun to speculate now the real decider will be 6N form and that is a whole different kettle of fish.

    it will be even more fun speculating then and of course rubbishing Gatland's eventual squad choices until the boys get over to NZ when they stop being Taff, Sweaties, Paddies and Poms and are just Lions.

    Well, for some anyway.



  • @Billy-Tell said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    If you're going to do this probably you will need to start by watching the 6N as a minimum but probably the European rugby championship too. Watching NZ play Ireland twice and then chuck a few names just won't cut it.

    While I agree to an extent I think you are going to learn more about how someone is going to go against the ABs next year in watching a two test series against the ABs this year - rather than beating up on Scotland and Italy on wet tracks etc.

    @westcoastie said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    I reckon the Lions would do better if they picked a squad of 32. Spent some serious time bounding in camp, played a couple of games with their best XV and hit the AB's fresh.

    We're always a bit dusty that first test.

    Blues, Crusaders, Highlanders last fixture before Lions series is 3rd June. First test is 24 June. There is a very good chance they shoehorn a test in before hand against Fiji, Tonga etc or at the absolute least a possibles v probables.

    You would think it would be all mapped out years in advance but in the last two world cup years and the last Grand Slam year they added extra tests during Super Rugby (Fiji @ Carisbrook in 2011, Samoa @ Apia in 2015, Samoa @ New Plymouth in 2008). I'm sure it'll happen again.



  • @Catogrande said in The Silverfern B&I Lions...:

    until the boys get over to NZ when they stop being Taff, Sweaties, Paddies and Poms and are just Lions.

    Gatland may be good. But miracle worker?



  • A selection panel chooses the Lions squad doesn't it? Gatland will have more influence once on tour but I don't think he will be Welsh-centric. He'll select the players that give him the best chance to win.



  • We played Fiji on Friday 10 June 2005 prior to the Lions series starting on Saturday 25 June. I agree a decent game together beforehand for the ABs (not just a "game of three halves") is a must.

    However, in 2005 the Lions played provincial sides plus the Maori. In 2017 they play mostly SR sides. The first test is June 24 and they play the Blues on Jun 7, Crusaders on Jun 10 and Highlanders on Jun 13. I think we were assured that ABs test players will play in their SR sides in the leadup to the first test (not sure if this means core ABs or just fringe ABs - and injury concerns will scupper these plans quick smart).

    I'm pretty sure that means the Blues and Crusaders (at least) will have their ABs. This means that ABs preview game would have to be the week before the first test (while the Lions play the Maori).


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