( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Wed 14 Jun 2017, 06:39

embee wrote:How many Scotland players in the Lions squad?

Do they get released for the Wallabies Test?


No.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Big Dog on Wed 14 Jun 2017, 07:24

taipan wrote:
embee wrote:How many Scotland players in the Lions squad?

Do they get released for the Wallabies Test?


No.

They won't need them.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by PeterCS on Fri 16 Jun 2017, 08:34

PeterCS wrote:Such setbacks are always two-edged swords.

Wins build confidence.

But losses (as long as narrow) are better to strip any false illusions of confidence, more urgently focus on who's fit and in form, who is shaping up, what is and not working.

One lesson is surely that Farrell now HAS to play, whether at 10 or 12. And again: much as I love him, Jack Nowell's tackling - in NZ? Hmmm.

I still contend that this Lions squad is not as wholly inadequate as some suggest (though I'd wish for a more imaginative head coach, as before). A couple of right old drubbings might alter that view. Wink

On the other hand, I've always thought that All Blacks could even in their leanest years at worst match - when not easily be - the best rugby squad in the world. Even when some pretty much rubbished them. I was 90+% sure they'd win the last WC, for example. They have the passion, focus, all the physical and mental attributes for the sport, and keep turning out stars.

So whatever happens is sure to be tough!

Lordy. Farrell - of all people - out injured. May miss at least First Test. ....
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Sat 17 Jun 2017, 08:01

Big Dog wrote:
taipan wrote:
embee wrote:How many Scotland players in the Lions squad?

Do they get released for the Wallabies Test?


No.

They won't need them.
Correct.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Big Dog on Sat 17 Jun 2017, 08:55

Maori's leading 7-6 early in the game.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by JGK on Sat 17 Jun 2017, 08:56

Australian Rugby may as well pack it in.

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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Big Dog on Sat 17 Jun 2017, 09:09

JGK wrote:Australian Rugby may as well pack it in.

Weakest Wallaby side since the early seventies imho but when you are on bottom there is only one direction to go.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Big Dog on Sat 17 Jun 2017, 09:20

Lions by 2 at the break. NZ with the only try so far.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Big Dog on Sat 17 Jun 2017, 09:51

Lions starting to run away with it after a pushover try. 22-10
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Big Dog on Sat 17 Jun 2017, 09:56

29-10
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Sat 17 Jun 2017, 09:57

Well we now know the Saturday team is far better than the dirt trackers.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Big Dog on Sat 17 Jun 2017, 10:16

Lions well in control. After the poor performances the Lions had against the provincial sides i thought the MAB's would perform better.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Sat 17 Jun 2017, 10:27

Big Dog wrote:Lions well in control. After the poor performances the Lions had  against the provincial sides i thought the MAB's would perform better.

Aye, beginning to look like tests might be competitive.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by PeterCS on Sat 17 Jun 2017, 11:20

Better performance from the motley visitors. Working as a team, esp a cohesive pack. And - after a few errr, hiccups early on- discipline, crucial esp as the ABs know how to provoke. (The skills are there, but that's only part of the story.)

I was thinking before this match what the best starting XV might be vs NZ, from those chosen in the squad and still available.

It was very close to the team selected vs the Maori:



I was thinking Wyn Jones instead of Kruis. But the latter is undoubtedly the more mobile, and I am not sure if the old man is really in form. So too with Warburton. O'Mahony - impressive character, saw him at a Cork wedding, sociable type too - seems to be red-hot though, and have leadership genes. If a stereotypically Irish fiery character, which will be exploited. Itoje (has to be lock or #8, wasted as a flanker), Sean O'Brien is back to his best, Faletau are in great form, are all on song, and that's certainly the best front row they have out there.

Sexton - I have concerns for his relative frailty, for all his bits of magic and good kicking skills. (Hence Farrell - more of a middleweight - is a loss.) But Sexton is a plucky bugger - if he cops another injury, perhaps so be it - and the fact Murray is there makes for good understanding, cohesion in the team (Itoje - Kruis similarly.) I like Laidlaw as a replacement #9, though. Wilier than either Englishman.

Henderson makes a very useful utility player for impact anywhere behind the front row - powerful and skilful. Similarly Daly: great impact player to bolster the three-quarter line, solid as a brick shithouse combined with an express train.

Has this squad found its feet? Has it found its feet soon enough to test the best rugby side in the world? Who knows? Could be fun, if bloodcurdling and bonecrunching, to find out.



Oh, and well played Scotland. It's not just about the Aussies having or being in a lull: Scotland have come on in leaps and bounds under Cotter, we'll see if that progress continues under the home-grown coach.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by PeterCS on Sat 17 Jun 2017, 11:25

PS: It's a pity that for the six squad call-ups, they went only for the guys out there. Four Wales, two Scotland.

Finn Russell is the standout - if Farrell is crocked, maybe he should be in the running.

Otherwise, I presume the other five are to make up numbers, not for Test consideration. Otherwise there are more obvious choices, from Ireland and England. Even with "jetlag" and acclimatisation considerations.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Aditya on Sat 17 Jun 2017, 18:56

Quixotic sport. Apparently there are rules and such. Haha.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by PeterCS on Sun 18 Jun 2017, 01:49

But no tilting at windmills.

At least not officially.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Tue 20 Jun 2017, 18:06

Just watched most of today's game. The Lions are improving. Could be a good game on Saturday.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by PeterCS on Wed 21 Jun 2017, 16:12

Still a couple of games too early, I think.

The starting line-up of the team that stiffed the Chiefs were probably pencilled in as a second string (though including most if not all of the bench-holders for the Test, admittedly) - it would probably take two more games to get the best blend right. Two games they haven't got.

On the other hand, I suppose, the likelihood of mounting injuries and niggles ...


Daly and L Williams look two great utility backs. And genuine utility: versatile and also very skilful, not jacks-of-all-trades.


I've no idea how the first Test will go. But it may be competitive, at least.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Growler on Wed 21 Jun 2017, 20:00

I will be massively disappointed if the Lions are not competitive at the very least, Peter. The biggest thing will be not giving away easy possession through daft penalties. Defending without doing that will be difficult enough. Now, while accepting that NZ can create havoc from virtually nothing, this squad are as well coached defensively as any I've seen. Despite plenty of gobbing off from various Kiwi fans on t'internet about how we'd be shredded by Crusaders & Co before the tests even started, the defence has been pretty decent. I don't believe it's co-incidence that Andy Farrell was defence coach for both England and Ireland when they last beat them. He's up there with the best in that respect.

The other big debate, of course regards Farrell minor and Jonny Sexton. As an *out-and out visionary, creative stand-off*, I'd agree with many that Jonny shades it - just. However, I think Owen is the more complete rugby player, and is certainly somewhat more robust. Also, between selection and travelling, Jonny's form fell off a cliff. He's been given plenty of game time, I think, to find his best form again, and I think it's worked. Owen has hardly had any game time - but he's not needed it the same way JS has, and obviously Dan Biggar has had to play also (nice to see him being so solidly - reassuring if he's going to be needed later.

So - how to play it? I do think Farrell must start - but where, 10 or 12? Difficulty with 12 is trying to keep SBW in his box - and somone like Teo will probably do a better job. Downside is that the wings will be a bit redundant in attack IMO. So, OF at 10, Jonny on the bench. Throw the kitchen sink at them in defence, try and force errors, and make sure we take the few chances we get. Make it a physical game - they aren't supermen and a hard 50-55 minutes will take its toll as it does on any team. Then use the bench - I think ours will be stronger. Jonny to come on at 10, Owen to IC, and re-shuffle the others as needed depending on the starters/2 backs off the bench. The game may just open up a bit for us. That's my thoughts. They may be complete bollards, we'll wait and see. I'm aware that as I type, its 10 minutes to squad announcement. That may give a couple of clues to WG's plans.

Finally, many have questioned whether Jonny and Owen can play the England "2-playmaker midfield". Personally, I always thought Faz reads a game well enough to play outside any stand-off, and especially a world-class one.

This analysis from the short while they did actually play 10-12 shows it could just unlock the kiwi defence in the only way possible for this squad.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Wed 21 Jun 2017, 20:49

Lions
15. Liam Williams, 14. Anthony Watson, 13. Jonathan Davies, 12. Ben Te'o, 11. Elliot Daly, 10. Owen Farrell, 9. Conor Murray; 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Jamie George, 3. Tahg Furlong, 4. Alun Wyn Jones, 5. George Kruis, 6. Peter O'Mahony (captain), 7. Sean O'Brien, 8. Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: 16. Ken Owens, 17. Jack McGrath, 18. Kyle Sinckler, 19. Maro Itoje, 20. Sam Warburton, 21. Rhys Webb, 22. Jonathan Sexton, 23. Leigh Halfpenny.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by PeterCS on Wed 21 Jun 2017, 21:08

Isn't Farrell still out injured?
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Growler on Wed 21 Jun 2017, 21:28

No - WG as good as said outright he'd at least be in the 23 after last saturdays game. He's been playing well enough to not need even a bench spot for 20 minutes yesterday ...... so I was inclined to think he was a likely starter. Still possible WG may go as I outlined above.

I like the look of that 23 TBH. It's strong in defence, certainly not Warrenball. Some will be questioning the starting spot for AWJ ahead of Itoje - but there's a strong case for the old warriors experience to settle the new kids - it's a nice blend of youth and experience. As for NZ, I'm sure they'd rather have an older, slightly slower AWJ coming off the bench after a hard hour ..... Itoje should do much more damage as a substitute.

The only selection I can't really figure out is Leigh 1/2p. He won't let anyone down, of course, and won't weaken the team on the field .... but I'm not sure he really strengthens it either. His kicking should by rights be redundant, and he's not all that creative in attack either. JJ would have made more sense to me, but Mr Gatland obviously has reasons we can't see. It's certainly not Welsh bias as he made two huge calls in leaving both George North and tour captain Warburton out of the squad.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by taipan on Wed 21 Jun 2017, 21:39

Two Scarlets in the team and one on the bench. Carwyn would have been proud.

Growls, Warburton is in the squad. If North isn't starting he isn't versatile enough for the bench. Sexton and Farrell will cover flyhalf and centre. Williams will cover the wing.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

Post by Growler on Wed 21 Jun 2017, 22:50

You're right of course taips, SW is on the bench. I meant to point out that he's the first tour captain not in the first test  starting XV 87 years (since 1930, when Doug Prentice dropped himself). I'd still say it's a big call for WG to do that though.

I don't honestly think it's North's lack of versatility that's the problem, mate - it's his relatively poor form. On song he's as good as anyone playing just now, but he's not strung more than a couple of really good games together for ages. I agree with you mind - on form he'd almost certainly start. He's a bit like 1/2p though ..... no obvious benefits to him being on the bench, and better options to start on Saturday. He'll almost certainly play midweek though, and a stormer then could still see him displace Elliott Daly to the bench as versatile back replacement for second or third tests.
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Re: ( Rugby Union: ) Lions tour to New Zealand, 2 June - 8 July 2017

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