So yesterday we found out the selection of the mammoth British lions squad – who gets through customs and a days worth of inflight movies, and who gets a front row seat down the local with complimentary beer mats.
Well, firstly I’d like to point out I’m no Jiffy or Jezza, just a biased Welshman with a heart over logic attitude who’s excited to see the boss of the animal kingdom devour the wallaby. So please find an honest, slightly tongue-in-cheek take on all things lions.
First thoughts on Captain Warbo…
I guess what everyone’s been talking about in the build up to today has been who takes the skipper role, and I must confess I was pretty surprised with warbo getting the call. Don’t get me wrong – I love the guy, the commitment he gives every time he puts on a 6 or a 7 is second to none. Gatters says…
“he leads from the front”
Even if I don’t share his enthusiasm for climbing ladders, I can’t argue with the big guy on that. Having said that, the flip side to the coin is look how much Sam
thrived in the 6 nations when the pressure of skipper was taken off his shoulders. I mean his try saving tackles, his impact at the breakdown…turnovers! I do have faith in Captain Sam, and I’m not just saying that because he can crush me with his left eyebrow. He’s over ‘that red’ and that’s been crucial for him getting back to his best. I just hope it’s not too much too soon; I guess time will tell whether ‘Gatters’ made the right call.
Let’s face it – if Adam Jones wasn’t picked to put the Australian scrum under pressure there’ll be some serious screws loose somewhere, but don’t panic – the lions coaching staff aren’t going to get the straight jacket treatment just yet – the 32 year old grizzly bear’s made team. And to join him, fellow Ospreys team mate Richard ‘Hard hitting’ Hibbard. I’m chuffed about this – he really made a fantastic impression in the six nations. Einstein said
… “each action has an equal and opposite reaction”
The action – Hibbard tackles you. The reaction? The opposing teams order a lorry load of deep heat. That being said, Hibbard’s my choice hooker to start.
Gethin Jenkins – for me one of the best all rounder props there is. Perhaps not as dominant in the scrum as others but who needs that when you can charge down and side step like good old Geth.
Cian Healy is a controversial selection I hear you cry? Well, you’re right. After his sighting I guess he’s not going to be nominated for role model of the year award.
But a more pressing matter for me, how does Tom Youngs get the call ahead of Rory Best?…Any ideas? Maybe ‘Gatters’ is trying to be ironic or something. (I love that kiwi deadpan sense of humor.)
– Mouth watering to think of Alun Wyn, Paul O’ Connell and Richie ‘Lion-O’ Gray competing for two spots in the middle of the pack. Also glad the skyscraper; Ian Evans made the cut – his performances for Wales have been very solid. With these giants competing for the ball, they’ll need to duck to catch the ball at the lineouts.
The back row…
I love the fact that Dan ‘leg snapping’ Lydiate has made it onto the plane. Such a shame he was out for the six nations so Gatland installed 24 hour surveillance to analyze his club level form.
Tipuric definitely deserves his spot – how can you argue with a 7 who’s good at the breakdown and has the creative flair of a back? Choosing a first place 6 and 7 is going to be as easy as getting a word in edgeways with Phil Vickery (ask Jason Mohammad).
In at No.8? Toby Falatu and Jamie Heaslip – close for me, don’t think I could call it if I wasn’t so blatantly bias to the Welsh, congratulations Toby – take your tracksuit off pal and start stretching.
‘What about Robbo?’
Laidlaw was unlucky to miss out although Phillips for me was a dead cert. He may have a mouth on him but he knows how to wind up opposing forwards. Not to mention his physicality at nine his like having a 6ft 3inch brick wall that knows how to pass. The only downside to Phillips at nine is the time he takes to recycle the ball – I usually have time to the put the kettle on and make it back before the pass. But with Ben Youngs as the other choice – I’m hopeful we have the best of both worlds.
Even though I thought Biggar established himself well in the six nations, he’s probably still a couple paces behind Sexton, who was an obvious Lions choice despite his recent injury. Farrell’s young but he’s got flair. Putting aside the fact he chocked against Wales and that he is indeed English – I think he’s a good choice. Spot kicks to Halfpenny, and with only 2 backs maybe ‘Wilko’ can get the call up if things go pear shaped. On another note, guess I’ll have to pray Farrell doesn’t get munched in a tackle (that reminds me, I better edit my prayer list).
Well this gets me very excited – bulldozer Roberts, Manu ‘the shuttle train’ Tuilagi, Jonathan ‘try scoring’s a habit’ Davies (and his tongue)…alongside arguably the greatest and most consistent centre to ever graced the game; so great all he needs as introduction is 3 letters; B.O.D. It will be interesting to see which partnerships ‘Gatters’ goes for. Personally, I’d chuck the 4 of them on and see if the ref notices.
Are looking very strong. Tommy Bowe coming back from injury will give on form Cuthbert a run in at 14, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the left hand side has the words ‘George North’ written, stamped and sealed… and posted…with special delivery… (I mean I’d put him on the left).
Both been highlighted as top full backs in the six nations, Hogg and Halfpenny both deserved the call up. Hogg’s ability to counter attack at 15 took the competition by storm, especially in the first two rounds while Halfpenny must be one of the most prolific defensive backs in world rugby at the moment. A tight contest, but as Halfpenny is in fact allergic to making mistakes under high ball, alongside a kicking boot more accurate than a fancy pregnancy test – the Cardiff blues boy gets my vote.
All in all I think we have a very strong side, so much so we knew some quality players were going to be left back at home. The biggest challenge from now is uniting the squad and getting them gelling quickly. Not to mention Sam earning the right to lead the team into battle. How old dogs such as BOD and O’Connell respond will be key to the younger, less experienced players following suit.
So here’s to giving Bruce, Sheila and Skippy the bush kangaroo a dressing down.
“What’s that Skip? There’s an injured wallaby?…Who has just been mauled by a savage lion?…And he needs our help?…Sorry skip, me and Lassie are a bit pushed for time at the minute. I mean gloating’s not going to take care of itself is it?”
Over and out.