BIL & AB teams for Test #1 (AKA - who's impressing you at the moment?)



  • For the BIL
    1 - Furlong
    2 - Best
    3 - Vunipola
    4 - Lawes
    5 - AWJ
    6 - O'Brien
    7 - Warburton
    8 - Faletau
    9 - Murray
    10 - Farrell
    11 - North for me
    12, 13, 14 - dunno, shapes as a weak point for the BIL I think... Maybe Sexton at 10, Farrell at 12?
    15 - Halfpenny
    16 - George
    Res Props - Marler, Stinckler (changeable with starting props TBH)
    19 - Itoje
    20 - Stander
    21 - Webb
    22 - Sexton
    23 - ??

    For the MIB (keeping with the Anagrams...
    1 Moody
    2 Taylor
    3 Franks
    4 Retallick
    5 Whitelock
    6 Kaino
    7 Cane
    8 Read
    9 TJP
    10 Beaudy
    11 Reiko Ioane
    12 SBW
    13 Crotty (if recovered)
    14 Naholo
    15 Ben Smith
    16 Harris
    17 Crockett
    18 Faumuina
    19 Scotty B
    20 Savea
    21 A.Smith
    22 Cruden
    23 ALB

    Honestly can't see Jordie, Laumape getting a first test spot - wouldn't be surprised to see this though:
    9 A.Smith
    10 Cruden
    11 Savea
    Centres...
    14 B.Smith
    15 Beaudy
    Cruden can probably handle that rough stuff in close a bit better, and Beaudy will be frightening coming into the backline as he pleases. B.Smith would play wing better than any options at present. The Bus looks like he has a few misfiring cylinders.



  • Furlong is a tighthead and Vunipola a loosehead?

    Best has got to be a joke.



  • Kruis will be at lock I would think with AWJ. Lawes would be ranked 4th behind Itoje.

    Owens to start at hooker for the Lions.

    If we are picking an AB side on form the halfback should be TKB. As I've said previously Smith will be in the no.9 jersey.



  • After three matches, taking into consideration form, fitness, fit for purpose and Gatland's tried & tested this is what I think the 1st Test 23 will look like

    For the BIL
    1 - Vunipola
    2 - Owens
    3 - Furlong
    4 - Kruis
    5 - AWJ
    6 - O'Mahoney
    7 - Warburton
    8 - Faletau
    9 - Murray
    10 - Farrell
    11 - Watson
    12 - Te'o
    13 - Davies
    14 - North
    15 - Halfpenny

    16 - George
    17 - McGrath
    18 - Cole
    19 - Itoje
    20 - Tipuric
    21 - Webb
    22 - Sexton
    23 - Daly



  • @westcoastie

    There is no way BB is not starting at 10 with Ben Smith at 15. Smith for the inevitable barrage of box kicks, BB to find a way through or round the rush defence.



  • Lions
    11-15: Just anyone that can execute a draw and pass under pressure, really.



  • This is what I think they'll go with for test one:

    1 Moody
    2 Taylor
    3 Franks
    4 Retallick
    5 Whitelock
    6 Kaino
    7 Cane
    8 Read
    9 A Smith
    10 B Barrett
    11 J Savea
    12 Crotty
    13 ALB
    14 Dagg
    15 B Smith
    16 Harris
    17 Crockett
    18 Faumuina
    19 Romano
    20 A Savea
    21 TJP
    22 Cruden
    23 SBW

    If Crotty is injured, then SBW starts with Rieko on the bench.

    A Smith and TJP could be either way but I think TJP offers more from the bench.

    Romano can cover lock/6 with Ardie to provide the usual impact that he does.

    Cruden/SBW combo for the final 20 with B Barrett dropping to 15 and B Smith to the right wing.



  • bollocks, clicked on a Treason article...

    headline:

    Lions tour: All Blacks should be 'fearful' of Lions - upbeat British and Irish media

    First line:

    Jet lag seemed to have crippled the drowsy Lions, but now All Blacks coaches will have sleepless nights after watching the Crusaders lose 12-3 in Christchurch, according to British and Irish media.



  • @No-Quarter Pretty close IMO. I've got Sonny-Bill locked in as a starter. I think he'll be paired with ALB due to Crotty being uncertain - but, I'm fairly sure they'd like to have all three in the match day 23.

    Hansen's explanation of the midfield options and Laumape's selection (and Fekitoa's non-selection) seemed a bit convoluted - he seemed to be saying they needed Laumape as a 2nd five option, but then noted that all four of his midfielders could play 2nd five, but Crotty and ALB could also both play centre.

    So, as a wildcard, I reckon Hansen might pull a swift one and pick SBW at 12, but actually play him at 13. 🙂

    Taylor and Harris could swap and, as you say, A. Smith and TJP.

    Dagg might be under an injury/form cloud, so we could see Rieko take his place or - as I suggested on another thread, Ben Smith move to the wing and Jordie start at fullback (which would be a big call).



  • @Chris-B I'd be pretty surprised if Dagg is not picked, regardless of form. They'll want two proven fullbacks in the back three, and Dagg's boot will come in handy. As unpopular as that will be on here...



  • @No-Quarter Yeah - I'm sure they'll be very keen to have Israel if he's fit. He was very good in the first half vs the Lions, but not in the second. Saw one of the English scribes referring to him as "an ailing Dagg", which reflects comments on here. If he's not 100% they can't afford to pick him - but pairing any two of Savea, Ioane, Naholo weakens the "two fullbacks" theory.



  • The Crusaders game has reinforced the need to have wingers who are safe under the high ball. That makes Dagg a certainty on the right wing.

    Savea will likely be their target though.



  • Masterstroke from Gatland and Warburton, and showing why Warburton is the Tour Captain.


    British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton admits he could miss out on the first Test against New Zealand.

    The Wales open-side has recovered from an ankle injury to lead the side against the Highlanders on Tuesday.

    But with fierce competition for places, Warburton says his current form has not yet secured a Test spot.

    "If I play Tuesday and I still feel I'm a bit undercut, then I might not be ready for that first Test," said Warburton.

    "Maybe that would be the situation, or maybe I could have a blinder on Tuesday and feel absolutely fine so we'll see how it goes really."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/40242020


    With the Test 23 starting to take shape, Warburton's anouncement / admission / kidology will keep the squad united with all feeling they have a shot at test selection if they play to their potential.



  • @MiketheSnow I wasn't happy about Warburton being made tour captain when he was out injured as I felt this was Gatland painting himself into a corner (much the same as Woodward's over reliance on an injured Wilkinson in 2005). However great credit to Warburton in the way he is conducting himself. I hope he does gain sufficient fitness, he's a very good player and deserves his chance.



  • @Bovidae said in BIL & AB teams for Test #1 (AKA - who's impressing you at the moment?):

    The Crusaders game has reinforced the need to have wingers who are safe under the high ball. That makes Dagg a certainty on the right wing.

    Savea will likely be their target though.

    Bring back CJ.



  • No change to my 23 after tonight's match



  • @Crucial Naholo was excellent under high ball. Monster in first half.



  • @MiketheSnow My general impression is that you're on the money.

    Webb got a rattled a couple of times tonight and maybe Laidlaw will push him?

    Warburton probably did enough to see off any pressure on his spot.

    Left wing is a weakness - I haven't been that impressed with Watson, but I've not seen anyone better. I thought Joseph went well on attack - has he played wing at all?



  • Naholo, Dagg and Ben Smith should definitely be the back three if all are fit.



  • @Chris-B. said in BIL & AB teams for Test #1 (AKA - who's impressing you at the moment?):

    @MiketheSnow My general impression is that you're on the money.

    Webb got a rattled a couple of times tonight and maybe Laidlaw will push him?

    Warburton probably did enough to see off any pressure on his spot.

    Left wing is a weakness - I haven't been that impressed with Watson, but I've not seen anyone better. I thought Joseph went well on attack - has he played wing at all?

    Not sure. But Watson, Daly and Liam Williams offer more across the back three.