Test Rugby 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand

Jascave

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With the 2017 Lions tour to New Zealand fast approaching, pick a 30-man Lions squad to (hopefully) win their first Test series on NZ soil since 1971.

Tour Fixture

Game 1: Saturday, June 3 v Provincial Union Team in Whangarei
Game 2: Wednesday, June 7 v Blues in Auckland
Game 3: Saturday, June 10 v Crusaders in Christchurch
Game 4: Tuesday, June 13 v Highlanders in Dunedin
Game 5: Saturday, June 17 v Maori All Blacks in Rotorua
Game 6: Tuesday, June 20 v Chiefs in Hamilton
Game 7: Saturday, June 24 First Test v All Blacks in Auckland
Game 8:
Tuesday, June 27 v Hurricanes in Wellington
Game 9: Saturday, July 1 Second Test v All Blacks in Wellington
Game 10: Saturday, July 8 Third Test v All Blacks in Auckland
 

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robbieando

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Had a go at picking a likely squad of 38. Takes into consideration form and long term injury (players not returning to play before the squad is picked) and not Gatland picking his favourites. Pretty easy squad to pick save for the Locks (once Itoje is moved to Blindside flanker and Kruis is left out due to injury) and the Wings are not a strong point. Anyway here is my squad:

Hookers: Rory Best (Ireland), Jamie George (England), Dylan Hartley (England) Props: Dan Cole (England), Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), Joe Marler (England), Jack McGrath (Ireland), WP Nel (Scotland), Mako Vunipola (England) Locks: Jonny Gray (Scotland), Richie Gray (Scotland), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), Courtney Lawes (England), Devin Toner (Ireland) Flankers: James Haskell (England), Maro Itoje (England), Sean O’Brien (Ireland), CJ Stander (Ireland), Justin Tipuric (Wales) Number 8: Taulupe Faletau (Wales), Billy Vunipola (England)

Scrum Halfs: Conor Murray (Ireland), Rhys Webb (Wales), Ben Youngs (England) Fly Halves: George Ford (England), Jonathan Sexton (Ireland) Wings: Elliot Daly (England), Sean Maitland (Scotland), George North (Wales), Anthony Watson (England) Centres: Owen Farrell (England), Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), Huw Jones (Scotland), Jonathan Joseph (England), Scott Williams (Wales) Full Backs: Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Stuart Hogg (Scotland), Liam Williams (Wales)

England - 15, Ireland - 9, Wales - 8, Scotland - 6

That would make my 1st Test team look a little like this - 8. B.Vunipola 7. Tipuric 6. Itoje 5. J.Gray 4. Jones 3. Furlong 2. Hartley 1. M.Vunipola - 15. Hogg 14. Daly 13. Henshaw 12. Farrell 11. North 10. Sexton 9. Murray - Bench: Best, McGrath, Cole, Lawes, Faletau, Youngs, S.Willams L.Williams
 

robbieando

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41 man Lions Squad to Tour New Zealand

Forwards

Hooker: Rory Best (Ireland), Jamie George (England), Ken Owens (Wales) Props: Dan Cole (England), Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), Joe Marler (England), Jack McGrath (Ireland), Kyle Sinckler (England), Billy Vunipola (England) Locks: Iain Henderson (Ireland), Maro Itoje (England), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), George Kruis (England), Courtney Lawes (England) Flankers: Ross Moriarty (Wales), Sean O'Brien (Ireland), Peter O'Mahony (Ireland), CJ Stander (Ireland), Justin Tipuric (Wales), Sam Warburton (Wales) Number 8: Taulupe Faletau (Wales), Mako Vunipola (England)

Backs:

Scrum-Half: Conor Murray (Ireland), Rhys Webb (Wales), Ben Youngs (England) Flyhalf: Dan Biggar (Wales), Owen Farrell (England), Jonathan Sexton (Ireland) Centre: Elliot Daly (England), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), Jonathan Joseph (England), Jared Payne (Ireland), Ben Te'o (England) Wing: George North (Wales), Jack Nowell (England), Tommy Seymour (Scotland), Anthony Watson (England), Liam Williams (Wales) Fullback: Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
 
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Jascave

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41 man Lions Squad to Tour New Zealand

Forwards

Hooker: Rory Best (Ireland), Jamie George (England), Ken Owens (Wales) Props: Dan Cole (England), Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), Joe Marler (England), Jack McGrath (Ireland), Kyle Sinckler (England), Billy Vunipola (England) Locks: Iain Henderson (Ireland), Maro Itoje (England), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), George Kruis (England), Courtney Lawes (England) Flankers: Ross Moriarty (Wales), Sean O'Brien (Ireland), Peter O'Mahony (Ireland), CJ Stander (Ireland), Justin Tipuric (Wales), Sam Warburton (Wales) Number 8: Taulupe Faletau (Wales), Mako Vunipola (England)

Backs:

Scrum-Half: Conor Murray (Ireland), Rhys Webb (Wales), Ben Youngs (England) Flyhalf: Dan Biggar (Wales), Owen Farrell (England), Jonathan Sexton (Ireland) Centre: Elliot Daly (England), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), Jonathan Joseph (England), Jared Payne (Ireland), Ben Te'o (England) Wing: George North (Wales), Jack Nowell (England), Tommy Seymour (Scotland), Anthony Watson (England), Liam Williams (Wales) Fullback: Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
While I can't see the Lions winning the Test series against the All Blacks, they could at least give some of the NZ Super Rugby teams like the Blues and the Crusaders a run for the money. The All Blacks to win the series 3-0.
 

robbieando

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Since the 41 man squad has been named scrum half Ben Youngs has pulled out of the Tour to stay home with his brother Tom (2013 Lion) whose wife received the news that her cancer is now terminal, his place was taken by fellow scrum half Greig Laidlaw of Scotland. Number 8 Billy Vunipola couldn't get over his shoulder injury and was replaced by flanker James Haskell of England.
 

robbieando

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First match of the Tour is the NZ Provincial Barbarians XV vs the Lions XV this Saturday 5.35pm AEST at Toll Stadium in Whangarei.

The Lions have named a weakened team due to club commitments back in Europe so no real insight to what the Test side will be at this stage. Gives the likes of Hogg, Sexton and Warburton a run out while bench options and fringe players a chance to impress early before the big hitters come in.

British and Irish Lions: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ben Te'o, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 1 Joe Marler, 2 Rory Best, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 5 Iain Henderson, 6 Ross Moriarty, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 8 Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 George Kruis, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Elliot Daly.

The NZ Baa-Baa's have named the following side, with the subplot of Warren Gatland son, Bryn having been named at 10 looking to put a dagger in his father's tour early but also earn a place in the Auckland Blues squad for next week match against the Lions.

New Zealand Barbarians: 15 Luteru Laulala, 14 Sam Vaka, 13 Inga Finau, 12 Dwayne Sweeney, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Jack Stratton, 1 Aidan Ross, 2 Sam Anderson-Heather (c), 3 Oliver Jager, 4 Josh Goodhue, 5 Keepa Mewett, 6 James Tucker, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 8 Mitchell Dunshea.

Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Tolu Fahamokoia, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Matt Matich, 20 Peter Rowe, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Jonah Lowe, 23 Junior Ngaluafe.

Good game to start the tour with the promise of the Baa-Baa's to spread it around
 

robbieando

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Lions won 13 to 7

Baa-Baa's really should of taken more from the match and Gatland's son Bryn was very impressive. For the Lions Te'o, Watson and Moriarty put forward good cases for Test spots and Sinckler impressed while Sexton basically dropped himself and Hogg again will open himself up to the debate that he can't defend.

Still have more players to rotate though but the early signs still say the test series will be a 3-0 whitewash to the All-Blacks

On to Auckland and the Blues this Wednesday
 

robbieando

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Well, the real fun starts now and if Saturday wasn't a sign that this tour is close to impossible here we have the Auckland Blues running out a fairly strong side including Sonny Bill Williams. For the Lions themselves they are playing what I consider a second choice back line with their 3rd choice halves combination, so attacking playing will be an area I see the Lions struggling in. Their forwards are a mix of what we'll see come the Tests and players battling it out for bench spots. Really looking forward to seeing how Itoje and Stander play.

Think the Blues win this match

Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 George Moala, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu; 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (c), 3 Charlie Faumuina, 4 Gerard Cowley Tuioti, 5 Scott Scrafton, 6 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 8 Steven Luatua. Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Ihaia West, 23 TJ Faiane.

British and Irish Lions: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb; 1 Jack McGrath, 2 Ken Owens (c), 3 Dan Cole, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Courtney Lawes, 6 James Haskell, 7 Justin Tipuric, 8 CJ Stander. Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Peter O'Mahony, 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 Johnny Sexton, 23 Liam Williams.
 

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Aucklander

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Very good win for the Blues with the last try being one of the best of the year. Lions didn't look that bad, but if they want to beat the AB's the'll need to be a bit more inventive.
 

robbieando

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and the Lions lose their first game and certainly won't be their last to the Blues 22-16. Not really surprising with the backline picked.

Lost it in the backs, the Blues pace really cut the Lions up and the winning try was a classic symbol of that and the forwards gave away far too many penalties so the territory gain wasn't taken advantage of. Impressed with Itoje, Lawes and Stander but overall Gatland has to get the team to improve its wing play, its been shocking so far this tour.
 

LewyBroome

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Itoje is a big pork chop, carried on like one anyhow around the rucks . Would really look to be getting stuck into him when the first test comes around if I were the AB's. would've loved to bake someone like him after that try.
 

Seedsfan

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After the Lions almost lost to the Provincial Barbarians and have now lost to the Blues it's got me thinking maybe the Aussie sides aren't that bad maybe the NZ sides are just that good. Australian rugby is facing its problems no doubt but as much as I hat to say it I don't think we give enough credit to NZ
 

Jascave

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When was the last time the British & Irish Lions lost to a provincial/SupeRugby team on a Lions Tour of NZ?


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robbieando

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When was the last time the British & Irish Lions lost to a provincial/SupeRugby team on a Lions Tour of NZ?


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Tonight was the first time they have played a NZ Super Rugby side, beat all the NRC sides in 2005 but lost to NZ Maori and lost 4 times to provincial sides in the 93 tour of NZ so its not a new or rare thing. It will likely happen again on Saturday when they face the Crusaders. Forget about the All Blacks this tour is hard enough as is it.
 

chibimatty

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Early days yet, though I do wonder if England, with it's long-practised core systems and length of time playing together as a unit, are actually a better team than the Lions.
 

robbieando

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Early days yet, though I do wonder if England, with it's long-practised core systems and length of time playing together as a unit, are actually a better team than the Lions.
I wouldn't say they are, we are yet to see anything near what the Lions Test side will be either in the Backs or the Forwards in either match so far on Tour and will be unlikely to see that until the NZ Maori game, so the results to an extent are to be expected. I know Gatland will look to play club/national combinations as much as possible to speed up the team getting on the same wave length which is something he learnt on the last tour against the Australians and something he did tonight in some positions (locks and halves) as a start. Much to work on over the next few matches.
 

Jascave

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The All Blacks squad to face the British & Irish Lions in the Tests will be announced today by coach Steve Hansen.


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robbieando

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Teams named to play this Saturday. Close to what I expect to be the Lions Test backline

Crusaders (15-1): Israel Dagg, Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, David Havili, George Bridge, Richie Mo’unga, Bryn Hall; Jordan Taufua, Matt Todd, Heiden Bedwell- Curtis, Sam Whitelock (captain), Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody.

Reserves: Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett, Michael Ala’alatoa, Quinten Strange, Jed Brown, Mitchell Drummond, Mitchell Hunt, Tim Bateman.

Lions (15-1): Stuart Hogg, George North, Jonathan Davies, Ben Te’o, Liam Williams, Owen Farrell, Conor Murray; Taulupe Faletau, Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony, George Kruis, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Tadgh Furlong, Jamie George, Mako Vunipola.

Reserves: Ken Owens, Jack McGrath, Dan Cole, Maro Itoje, C.J. Stander, Rhys Webb, Johnny Sexton, Anthony Watson.
 

robbieando

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Well, Stuart Hogg is out of the rest of the Tour though injury (thanks Conor:mad:) throwing the Full Back spot up into the air completely with no replacement being brought in and the group behind him a real mixed bag and no real point of difference.

So with that and after beating the Crusaders on Saturday Night, the tour heads to Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin and what really is a true mud track Lions team.

British & Irish Lions J Payne; J Nowell, J Joseph, R Henshaw, T Seymour; D Biggar, R Webb; J Marler, R Best, K Sinckler, C Lawes, I Henderson, J Haskell, S Warburton (capt), CJ Stander. Replacements K Owens, J McGrath, D Cole, AW Jones, J Tipuric, G Laidlaw, O Farrell, E Daly.

Highlanders R Buckman; W Naholo, M Fekitoa, T Walden, T Li; L Sopoaga, K Hammington; D Lienert-Brown, L Coltman, S Tokolahi, A Ainley, J Hemopo, G Evans, D Hunt, L Whitelock (capt). Replacements G Pleasants-Tate, A Seiuli, S Halanukonuka, J Dickson, J Lentjes, J Renton, M Banks, P Osborne.
 

StingBitten

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I'm confused about the tour - England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales are currently playing international's at the same time as the Lions.

Which have the B-sides? The national teams or the Lions? I want to know if the Lions are fielding the best possible side at present.
 

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