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Pablo
11-04-05, 12:04
O'Driscoll to captain:

Lions squad:


Backs:

Full backs:
Iain Balshaw (England and Leeds),
Geordan Murphy (Ireland and Leinster),
Jason Robinson (England and Sale Sharks),
Gareth Thomas (Wales and Toulouse)

Wings:
Shane Williams (Wales and Neath-Swansea Ospreys),
Josh Lewsey (England and Wasps),
Shane Horgan (Ireland and Leinster),
Dennis Hickie (Ireland and Leinster)

Centres:
Tom Shanklin (Wales and Cardiff Blues),
Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland and Leinster, capt),
Gavin Henson (Wales and Neath-Swansea Ospreys),
Ollie Smith (England and Leicester),
Gordon D'Arcy (Ireland and Leinster),
Will Greenwood (England and Harlequins)

Stand-offs:
Stephen Jones (Wales and Clermont Auvergne),
Ronan O'Gara (Ireland and Munster),
Charlie Hodgson (England and Sale Sharks)

Half backs:
Matt Dawson (England and Wasps),
Dwayne Peel (Wales and Llanelli Scarlets),
Gareth Cooper (Wales and Newport Gwent Dragons),
Chris Cusiter (Scotland and Borders).


Forwards:

Props:
Graham Rowntree (England and Leicester),
Andy Sheridan (England and Sale Sharks),
Matt Stevens (England and Bath),
Gethin Jenkins (Wales and Cardiff Blues),
Julian White (England and Leicester),
John Hayes (Ireland and Munster)

Hookers:
Gordon Bulloch (Scotland and Glasgow),
Steve Thompson (England and Northampton),
Andy Titterrell (England and Sale Sharks),
Shane Byrne (Ireland and Leinster)

Locks:
Danny Grewcock (England and Bath),
Ben Kay (England and Leicester),
Malcolm O'Kelly (Ireland and Leinster),
Donncha O'Callaghan (Ireland and Munster),
Paul O'Connell (Ireland and Munster)

Loose forwards:
Michael Owen (Wales and Newport Gwent Dragons),
Richard Hill (England and Saracens),
Neil Back (England and Leicester),
Martyn Williams (Wales and Cardiff Blues),
Lewis Moody (England and Leicester),
Simon Taylor (Scotland and Edinburgh),
Martin Corry (England and Leicester),
Lawrence Dallaglio (England and Wasps).


Comments?

Mat 04
11-04-05, 12:04
No Jonny Wilkinson? good lol

Pablo
11-04-05, 12:04
No Jonny Wilkinson? good lol

Sensibly left out, given his battle with injury. Almost certainly on the reserve list, which SCW won't make public.

Pablo
11-04-05, 12:04
My initial reactions:

Sensible to leave out Wilko, Tindall, Vickery and a few others who would have almost certainly been included but for injury. I had been concerned that SCW might have picked some of them anyway.

Surprise inclusion of Ollie Smith. Not favoured by England, but picked for Lions...

Worryingly Anglo-centric. No Brent Cockbain? No Jonny O'Connor? No Jason White? No Mefin Davies? In favour of (IMHO) weaker English counterparts. (Kay, Back, Hill, Titterell)

It will be interesting to see how Balshaw copes. He had a miserable Lions tour in 2001 and it took him some time to regain his fitness and confidence. Wait and see.

Surely, a record number of Shanes? (Williams, Horgan and Byrne) :P ;)

Pablo
11-04-05, 13:04
Given that selection, here's what I think SCW is thinking for the Test line-up if it happened this weekend:

15. Gareth Thomas (gets nudge over JR only because including tiny JR and tiny Shane Williams in same side against NZ is suicide)
14. Josh Lewsey
13. Brian O'Driscoll, captain
12. Gavin Henson
11. Shane Williams
10. Stephen Jones
9. Dwayne Peel

1. Gethin Jenkins
2. Shane Byrne
3. Julian White (still one of the most destructive scrummagers in the game)
4. Danny Grewcock
5. Malcolm O'Kelly
6. Lawrence Dallaglio
7. Martyn Williams
8. Martin Corry

16. Steve Thompson
17. John Hayes
18. Ben Kay
19. Richard Hill/Lewis Moody (undecided on Hill's form - only played 40 minutes since returning from injury)
20. Matt Dawson
21. Ronan O'Gara
22. Geordan Murphy (can play wing/full back - if a centre is injured, Lewsey moves to centre, Murphy to wing)

That's my attempt to second-guess SCW.

Mat 04
11-04-05, 14:04
Pablo I thought Id never see an englishman say somethign liek that lol. Your quite right, where are Adam and Duncan Jones? and all the others you pointed out, its disgusting. Regardless of what anyone says, I will not beleive that that selection is unbiased.

Waynepipmad
11-04-05, 14:04
Where are Adam & Duncan Jones?? SERIOUSLY??!!

Thought Brett Cockbain and Rob Sidoli would have made it, but have to make do with three Ponty boys in the squad!! :D

Simon Griffiths
11-04-05, 14:04
No O'Connell in your line-up Pablo!?

Very unsure about Titteral's selection over Davies (and I'm not just saying that as I'm from Gloucester). For England I'd select him over Thompson, and I'm not sure about his selection either; but then Sir Clive Woodentop has always had his 'favourites' (Dawson, Dallaglio and Thompson etc.). Very surprised given SCW's record that he didn't pick Cohen, but then that's only a good thing.

My main (controversial) query is with fly-half selection. Agree that Jonny shouldn't go, but I would favour Humphries over O'Gara. When O'Gara was playing for Munster against Castres (and other teams with quality open-side flankers), he was constantly under pressure from Volley and retreated time after time, further back from the rucks/mauls, so much so that his kicks barely made it passed the rucks. As far as I'm concerned, O'Gara is far to easily pressured, and if Volley can do that, imagine what McCaw could do!

SimonSmith
11-04-05, 14:04
So, get the bias out the way early - I'm Scottish.
But what in the name of the wee man is SCW doing with Bulloch instead of White, or even Hines. Big'n nasty.
And whither Chris Patterson? Balshaw? Puhleez. And oh boy Hodgson has shown quality under pressure this season. oh no, wait, that would be someone else.

Pablo
11-04-05, 15:04
To explain: my line-up WASN'T necessarily the side that I would pick, it was my attempt to second-guess what WOODWARD would pick. That's who I reckon SCW thinks is first-choice for their positions at the moment.

I have already questioned the wisdom of selecting certain back-ups (Titterell, etc.) over other nations' first choices.

I would also question the wisdom of putting Richard Hill in the Test side so soon after injury - it is almost guaranteed that Jerry Collins and Richie McCaw will go straight for his injured knee the moment he steps onto the pitch.

As much as SCW denies it, I wonder if some of the "elder statesmen" (Hill, Back, etc.) are being taken solely to provide leadership for the midweek side. Food for thought...

Simon Griffiths
11-04-05, 15:04
Sorry Pablo, omitted to read the first line of your post! I assume you would pick O'Connell?

Probably true regarding the 'elder statesmen' as I can't see them competing against the likes of McCaw et al.

Pablo
11-04-05, 16:04
Yes, I would have put O'Connell and O'Kelly in the Test side and stick with the Irish combo. I think Grewcock is a liability and wouldn't have taken him in the squad. I would have preferred Cockbain or Shaw. BUT, I know SCW has a long-standing favour for Grewcock, hence why I reckon he'll start the Test XV.

HANSON7379
11-04-05, 18:04
Just found out that the womens team i coach Tewkesbury Ladies have won the rugby special comp for a Exec box at the game against the Pumas. :p
I shall look forward to watching the Lions win whilst having a few beers :D FREE BAR FREE FOOD
GOD I LOVE THIS GAME :D :D

OB..
11-04-05, 21:04
I hope you are able to concentrate of the game.

didds
11-04-05, 22:04
"I would also question the wisdom of putting Richard Hill in the Test side so soon after injury "

I wasn't under the impression that the test side had been picked yet? IOr that Hill has a "definite" selection ?

I also thought it clear that LD and maybe Hill were being taken for mid-week leadership. Back would be the more likely test starter or squad member of the three. IMO.

didds

didds
11-04-05, 23:04
<Hanson : Just found out that the womens team i coach Tewkesbury Ladies >

Hanson! Top man! I was coaching Old Leams ladies between Nov & Feb while I was working in the midlands!

And... err.. treading on thin ice gingerly here... what happened against Burton? If that's still not sub-judice of course...

didds

Pablo
12-04-05, 07:04
I wasn't under the impression that the test side had been picked yet? IOr that Hill has a "definite" selection ?

I also thought it clear that LD and maybe Hill were being taken for mid-week leadership. Back would be the more likely test starter or squad member of the three. IMO.


Didds - SCW explicitly stated at the press conference that everybody he was taking in the squad was capable of winning a place in the Test side. While I suspect that this is a smokescreen for taking mid-week leaders, if he is throwing straight dice, then Hill is in the mix somewhere - but if he gets into the Test XV, the ABs have plenty of nasties who will target the injury.

Simon Griffiths
12-04-05, 14:04
Given that Hill is only just back from injury I agree and understand that Back would (under current circumstances) be chosen above him.

However, I suspect by the end of June he will be back to full fitness and form, and under these conditions, I would pick him hands down over Back. Personal opinion of course. It also depends who the other flanker you pick is. The problem (as far as Hill is concerned) is that there are only two out-and-out opensides in the squad - Williams and Back as Moody plays most of his rugby at 6. My personal preference would be:

6. Hill
7. Williams
8. Corry

SimonSmith
12-04-05, 14:04
Not too sure about that.
SCW said that the Test Side would have one Scot if picked today.
It wouldn't be Bulloch - not unless SCW is smoking some Class A stuff.

That means it's between Cusiter and Taylor, and I susspect Peel may be ahead of Cusiter for the 9 berth. That leaves Taylor for one of three back row slots....

Simon Griffiths
12-04-05, 15:04
The problem is, whilst I see what you mean/why, I can't understand why any of the Scots would be picked. Peel is far and away the best scrum-half (possibly in the world at the moment) and Byrne has definitely got the hooker spot (or at least he should have it - then again SCW will probably go for old favourite 'Fatty' Thompson [Wood's words, not mine]). But I still find it hard to swallow that Taylor could be starting - 2 or 3 years ago I'd have agreed whole-heartedly, but he hasn't shown any form to speak of since coming back from injury.

Mat 04
12-04-05, 16:04
It is still a disgrace. there is only just 1 more Welsh and Irish combined then there are English, after England performed ****. As for grewcock he should be banned from rugby the rest of his life in my opinion, scum.

Simon Griffiths
12-04-05, 16:04
Agree that it's not right that the Grand Slam champions only take about a quarter of the party when a very below par England squad is taken virtually en masse. Wales certainly deserved more for their performances this season.

OB..
12-04-05, 16:04
Mat - if you are arguing that the proportion of the various nations' representatives is wrong, then you are essentially arguing that players should be chosen to some extent on grounds of nationality.

If you do not believe that, then logically you have to argue about the relative merits of individual players, and ignore their nationality.

Simon Griffiths
12-04-05, 16:04
Ah, OB. I can see both points (yours and Mat's), but surely a group of individuals can to some extent be 'assessed' by the performance of their team? If a team wins a Grand Slam, surely the said team is made up primarily of quality players.

Mat 04
12-04-05, 16:04
What Im trying to simply say is that, players of Wales and Ireland have performed better individually AND collectively than England players, hence why more of them should have been picked than England players.

didds
12-04-05, 22:04
ooo... i think its a moot point that Ireland really performed "better" than england overall in the 6N. Yes, they acheived a result or two better - but as the cham,pionship went on they were looking less and less useful. ROG was all at sea, BOD looked lonely w/out Darcy, O'Connor looked well off the pace (as did most of the rest of the back row). Their best game by far was the French game but they didn;t really dominate in any others - Italy aside probly!

This isn;t a knock at the Irish - I was just quite shocked at how poorly they looked as time went on.

I would also agree (just to set my stall out) that 20 Englishmen is definitetly two too many, and possibly (and easily as such) four.

didds

OB..
12-04-05, 23:04
"Collectively" is irrelevant. The Lions will be a team of individuals, and Woodward's job is to make them work as a new team. The hope is that the team will be better than the sum of its parts. The only sensible argument is about the relative quality of the parts and their suitability for the team.

If you argue that because Wales won the Grand Slam, their players must (nearly) all be better than their counterparts elsewhere you are making a classic error: you are arguing from the general to the particular, which is logically invalid.