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@253 - agreed and that's why a good Lions manager likes in form pairings if possible. It provides short cuts when building a scratch team. The last tour to NZ was a travesty of selection but that aside I thought the strength in depth wasn't there. The NH has come a long way sInce. I'd be happy to see both Grays on the plane & be satisfied with their quality - but 6/7 other locks in contention too
251 [England]... biggest under achievers in sporting history???My,my. Won the world cup? Equalled (and may just break) a world record? Newly crowned winners of the 6N? On the verge of a possible GS? I think most of the English are pretty happy with that. But please do continue to publicly console yourself. Ha ha..
wales have had a poor 6N but if you look at their losses they had 1 bad half against scots (same as irish did) and a terrible 7 minutes against england. not exactly wooden spoon criteria.But Wales are only team not to get a bonus point win against Italy so far.
What I am trying to say in my 252 comment is a team will always achieve more than just skilled players, who he picks will be based on individual performance of players and not team finishing places only. Then it is who is judged to fit the playing style and whether they can quickly be part of a team.
WG is going to need a balanced team. I speak as a Welshman, looking at how they play Scotland good players with 1 or 2 excellent players superb team play. Ireland good and excellent players more depth than Scotland but not quite as clicked as a team. Wales some exceptional individuals but team play has been disjointed at times. England strong and some exceptional players with Scotlands team spirit
With the biggest pool of players, most money, best infrastructure and absolutely no morals whatsoever in their residency process surely anything but a grand slam every year and a world cup win every tournament should be judged a monumental failure for england. When you compare the setup with NZ/Aus/SA/Wal/Ire/etc, the english rugby team are surely the biggest under achievers in sporting history???
@248 Scotland came third though, didn't they, before the last Lions tour. Where Ireland finished fifth, below Italy. Yet Ireland provided three times as many players. And England supplied just two players less than Wales, despite the fact Wales had just hammered them by a margin of 27 points. Seems it's all a bit more complicated than you thought.
@248 would that apply to irish/scots as well. they could finish 5th as well. wales have had a poor 6N but if you look at their losses they had 1 bad half against scots (same as irish did) and a terrible 7 minutes against england. not exactly wooden spoon criteria.
If Wales lose this game and finish 5th in the 6N then surely like Scotland on the last Lion's tour they can only expect to have two or three in the squad?
Course WG is going to pick AWJ as captain, (Prob just call it tour captain). Who else does he pick? None of the others have done anything outstanding. Hartley... Prob not first choice hooker & likes a punch, Barclay/Laidlaw...not first choice & wont go, Best...prob not first choice. AWJ prob isn't first choice either...but he is Welsh & WG knows his leadership qualities.
@242 i take it you are a soccer supporter who has decided to join the new age club supporters. why dont we get rid of internationals all together. players can play more club rugby in front of a few thousand supporters and a sky dish. i love my club and have been watching them since i was a child. the pinacle of a players career should be playing for his country and then if good enough the lions.
@243 And my biggest problem with selecting a coach of a national side is that it's almost impossible of them to be neutral and take an objective look at all players. On the one side you've got people you've watched & judged, on the other players you've trained with, lived with & know back to front. Their never going to be able to give a neutral standpoint & the players you know will win 50/50s
235 - sure, there is pressure to be found in any international, they all have consequences. But to place so much on these last games (which WG appears to be doing) on the basis of pressure, is nonsensical. An individuals ability to play when under pressure is better gauged during a tournament where the result impacts directly on the outcome. WG knows this, but IMO is looking for excuses.
Beating NZ with the Lions would be Gatland's manifesto for becoming the next All Blacks coach so he will pick what he thinks is the best team to win irrespective of previous loyalties.Whether he is right about who to pick is another matter (and I write as a Wales supporter). He prefers people who do as they are told and that might be a reason for him to pick players in the current Wales side.
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@232 how old are you? i ask because lots of youngsters who follow club sides and then internationals think the same way as you. old school supporters in there 30's and above think the barabarians and the lions are sacred parts of world rugby and should never be binned because of money. SH nations want the lions and players in the north want to be lions. i have spoken to players and they are for it
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