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Thread: British & Irish Lions 2021.

  1. #1
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    British & Irish Lions 2021.

    Well today is the first game of a series that nearly didn't happen. An unusual start for the Lions on home soil against a rusty but formidable international side. I've got a good table in my local and things feel almost normal apart from my mask at hand to go to the bar or toilet.
    I'm so looking forward to this, I think a Lions series is still my favourite of all tournaments, especially when it's SA as kick off times are normal for our time zone, but I do enjoy an early morning couple of pints when its Aus or NZ though! ;)
    I hope today's game is a cracker, if Japan are on fire it certainly will be, and that any of you watching it enjoy as much as I hope to do. C'mon the Lions!!!!

  2. #2
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    Should be a great match!

    I will be watching it at home though....and not the pub!

    I really look forward every 4 years to the Lions...Keep "meaning"! to go on one tour........Time is running out on me though!

    Then its Wales V Denmark later on on the Euros..

    Not so confident of Wales beating the Danes though!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by valleywatch View Post
    Should be a great match!

    I will be watching it at home though....and not the pub!

    I really look forward every 4 years to the Lions...Keep "meaning"! to go on one tour........Time is running out on me though!

    Then its Wales V Denmark later on on the Euros..

    Not so confident of Wales beating the Danes though!
    Time running out for me and definitely money!
    Went to the pub early to bag a table, half expecting to head back home and found most already reserved, but the barmaid sorted a good one for me at short notice.
    Will go home for the footie, is this a knockout game now? If so, could well be our last this time around but who knows, the spirit is there.

  4. #4
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    I'd like to say so far, so good. Already some confident passing and trust showing between the Lions, and the scoreline speaks for itself. But AWJ and JT off injured are a massive worry, this game is won, but it's only the beginning.

  5. #5
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    What's on the telly tonight?
    #plantpot

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    Connor Murray as the new captain for the Lions apparently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by valleywatch View Post
    Connor Murray as the new captain for the Lions apparently.
    I certainly didn't see that coming. But although he didn't have his best game today by a country mile, this will be his third tour I believe. So apparently the thinking is that he knows what is expected of a Lions captain.
    Last edited by Ruggertech; 26th June 2021 at 22:22.

  8. #8
    How annoyed must Ryan and Gray be to see Adam Beard get picked in front of them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Madness View Post
    How annoyed must Ryan and Gray be to see Adam Beard get picked in front of them?
    Probably too pro and grown up to sit there grumbling like a school kid that they should have been picked and not the other guy

  10. #10
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    Wasnít it the Irish, Scot and Welsh lions we saw today. Not a surprise really given that Prem championship was taking place on the same day, but I was disappointed not to see more English players involved.

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  11. #11
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    The Lions were good for 30 mins yesterday, once they had 4 tries they took the foot off the pedal
    Japan are always spirited, very fit and very good technically but play the complete opposite game plan to the Springboks, it was not the best warm up game for a tour to SA but there is lots to work on.

    On the positive side the Prem final was a cracker and Quins won! Happy days.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyg View Post
    Wasnít it the Irish, Scot and Welsh lions we saw today. Not a surprise really given that Prem championship was taking place on the same day, but I was disappointed not to see more English players involved.
    The four from Exeter were still to play in the premiership final in Twickenham and so these were unavailable as you have said, and the rest from Saracens, Bristol, and Sale only finished their season last weekend.
    Last edited by Ruggertech; 27th June 2021 at 12:16.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    The Lions were good for 30 mins yesterday, once they had 4 tries they took the foot off the pedal
    Definitely, and they wont get away with that again. But I'd assume that will be hammered into them now by the coaches.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggertech View Post
    The four from Exeter were still to play in the premiership final in Twickenham and so these were unavailable as you have said, and the rest from Saracens, Bristol, and Sale only finished their season last weekend.
    True, however I imagine the Sarries boys had had a pretty easy season plus they only played 55 minutes last weekend.

    I watched the game and didnít get the warm and fuzzies to be honest. Hopefully they will step up in SA (who they should beat).

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyg View Post
    True, however I imagine the Sarries boys had had a pretty easy season plus they only played 55 minutes last weekend.

    I watched the game and didnít get the warm and fuzzies to be honest. Hopefully they will step up in SA (who they should beat).
    I agree. Perhaps it's because of their lack of time (through no fault of their own of course) in the Lions training camp?
    I'm sure the Lions will step up against SA, massively. The first game is often an odd affair as they learn to gel and has been lost more than once in the past, so at least we have started with a win.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Madness View Post
    How annoyed must Ryan and Gray be to see Adam Beard get picked in front of them?
    Ryan is injured.

    3 boks covid positive, whole squad isolating.
    Feels ominous.
    Whole country likely to go into lockdown today.

    Rassie says other teams have had cases and carried on as normal. I hope he is right.

    Though Henshaw and Aki looked good in centre, duhan worked hard and could have had a few more.

    Murray caught flat footed once by a great Japanese step.

    Decent hit out. Gutted my tickets were cancelled.

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  17. #17
    Also, RSA alcohol ban.

    So unless the lions stocked up in advance, it could be a pretty sober 8 weeks for them.

    Unless they fancy pineapple "beer"

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  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by farquare View Post
    Ryan is injured.

    3 boks covid positive, whole squad isolating.
    Feels ominous.
    Whole country likely to go into lockdown today.

    Rassie says other teams have had cases and carried on as normal. I hope he is right.

    Though Henshaw and Aki looked good in centre, duhan worked hard and could have had a few more.

    Murray caught flat footed once by a great Japanese step.

    Decent hit out. Gutted my tickets were cancelled.

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    There's also a rumour that Gray is having elective surgery this summer to solve a problem.

    Thought Henshaw was good, Aki had one good run but is not going to get over the line like Roberts or Manu can.

    Murray had very slow service but 9 is the biggest problem area for the Lions, Price should not be anywhere near the squad

    Biggar, Adams and Williams were all good.

    VDM is big and strong but his defensive positioning is terrible for an international, Kolbe will destroy him and laugh at same time

    Faletau looked lethargic

    Beirne and Conan were good.

    Lawes and Henderson worked well together

    Furlong the pick of a slightly below par front row, Owens looked his age and Sutherland was anonymous.

    Better players and combos to come in, if corona doesn't wreck the tour.

  19. #19
    Not heard any rumours about gray and elective surgery in any of the places I lurk

    Interested in what makes you say price shouldn't be near the squad. He was arguably the form 6n 9.

    Aki will offer enough of a crash threat to keep the boks honest.

    Japan managed to cause Ireland and Scotland issues at scrum in Japan RWC. I don't recall much going Japan's way at the weekend. I'd say, while not showy it was efficient and gave little away.



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    Last edited by farquare; 28th June 2021 at 19:47.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by farquare View Post
    Not heard any rumours about gray and elective surgery in any of the places I lurk

    Interested in what makes you say price shouldn't be near the squad. He was arguably the form 6n 9.

    Aki will offer enough of a crash threat to keep the boks honest.

    Japan managed to cause Ireland and Scotland issues at scrum in Japan RWC. I don't recall much going Japan's way at the weekend. I'd say, while not showy it was efficient and gave little away.



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    9 is the biggest area of weakness for the Lions, Murray is not the player he was and his strengths are more his game control and box kicking which seems to be at odds with the faster pace game the Lions are allegeldy planning. My biggest memory of Price is really struggling against England when put under pressure. The Welsh seemed to mix and match their 9s in last 6Nations so it could have been one of any of them. I would have taken Cooney, Robson or Spencer over Price.

    Just do not think that Aki offers anything more than the odd crash ball and lets be honest he's not going to cause the Boks sleepless nights. When the Lions settle into their game plan it will be interesting to see if 12 will be Aki/Henshaw or Farrell as very different styles will come from that decision. At one extreme Gatland could (but never would) go for a 10-12-13 of Russell, Farrell Daly versus what we saw on Sat.

    Very little seems to be cast iron in terms of position especially with the injuries but barring anymore injuries my XXIII to play the first test would be

    Wynn Jones
    George
    Furlong
    Itoje
    Henderson
    Curry
    Watson
    Faletau
    Murray
    Farrell
    Watson
    Henshaw
    Daly
    Williams
    Hogg

    Vunipola, LCD, Sinckler, Beirne, Simmonds, Davies, Russell, Reez-Zammit

  21. #21
    Price had a few early box kicks charged down in that game, largely as blockers were ineffective.

    A problem which was rectified after about 14 mins. And when the ref found his whistle for offside charge downs.

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  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by farquare View Post
    Price had a few early box kicks charged down in that game, largely as blockers were ineffective.

    A problem which was rectified after about 14 mins. And when the ref found his whistle for offside charge downs.

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    So what do you think he brings to the party versus other 9s as I would say Murray has box kicking, game control and defence and Davies is a real threat around the breakdown, set piece and very good timing on his blitz defence. Not seen much of Price that stands out to me but does have the advantage of playing with Russell and having Townsend on the coaching ticket.

  23. #23
    Youth and an improving control of a game (see last 10 mins against France in 6n).

    He's improved last 18 months no doubt. Used to take 2 sideways steps away from rucks giving defense a slight edge in shutting him down.

    He is lightning quick. And he's effectively shut George Horne out of the Glasgow and Scotland 9 shirt. Horne is probably the quickest and most threatening 9 i see play.

    I would price to spend a bit less time trying to play the ref, but then I'd like to see that from most 9s.

    I'm not advocating him (or anyone) to start the tests. I'd like all the players to get a good crack at a game before decisions are made, and when they are made I'd like that to bo on performance, not on perception.

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  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by farquare View Post
    Youth and an improving control of a game (see last 10 mins against France in 6n).

    He's improved last 18 months no doubt. Used to take 2 sideways steps away from rucks giving defense a slight edge in shutting him down.

    He is lightning quick. And he's effectively shut George Horne out of the Glasgow and Scotland 9 shirt. Horne is probably the quickest and most threatening 9 i see play.

    I would price to spend a bit less time trying to play the ref, but then I'd like to see that from most 9s.

    I'm not advocating him (or anyone) to start the tests. I'd like all the players to get a good crack at a game before decisions are made, and when they are made I'd like that to bo on performance, not on perception.

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    You've obviously seen a lot more of him than me.
    The good crack at a game is a very good point but with such a short tour and Murray now tour captain he's in a tricky place alongside Davies. Like all 9s he's dependent on the pack giving him a good platform to work with.

  25. #25
    Grand Master ryanb741's Avatar
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    Lions astonishingly lucky. Should have been at least a yellow for Watson and a couple of other rather marginal calls going the Lions way

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    Definitely rode their luck there. SA ill discipline cost them dearly.
    I agree that Watson was a very lucky boy.

  27. #27
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    Take Itoje out of the team and we lose that by 7 points today. He was immense.

    A win is a win though. It seemed the Lions let the Boks blow themselves out and the Lions bossed the 2nd 40.

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    I couldnít see him ever being held up but SA managed it. Such a hard working player.

  29. #29
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    Watson was lucky but it as a 50/50.
    The Lions came out for the 2nd half firing on all cylinders
    Lawes was awesome as was Itoje.
    I was a bit worried about Makos scrummaging but he held his own.
    It was a very good game of rugby.
    Dick of the day = Henshaw - run with the ball in two hands.
    I donít think Daley will start the next game. He was found wanting a bit too often at 13 this evening.

  30. #30
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    As a Scot, I would like to see Hamish Watson start at number 7 next week, heís so great at the breakdown.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    Watson was lucky but it as a 50/50.
    The Lions came out for the 2nd half firing on all cylinders
    Lawes was awesome as was Itoje.
    I was a bit worried about Makos scrummaging but he held his own.
    It was a very good game of rugby.
    Dick of the day = Henshaw - run with the ball in two hands.
    I donít think Daley will start the next game. He was found wanting a bit too often at 13 this evening.
    Agree Lawes was superb as well. Alun Wyn Jones was a bit anonymous it seems but looking at the stats he made the 2nd highest number of tackles so I guess he was there where and when it mattered.

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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanb741 View Post
    Agree Lawes was superb as well. Alun Wyn Jones was a bit anonymous it seems but looking at the stats he made the 2nd highest number of tackles so I guess he was there where and when it mattered.

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    Definitely a game for the big forwards, as SA ones normally are. Laws and Itoje both immense today. AWJ is one who does the hard graft quietly, except when chopsing to the ref of course ;)

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    Quote Originally Posted by alanm_3 View Post
    As a Scot, I would like to see Hamish Watson start at number 7 next week, he’s so great at the breakdown.
    Watson is a fantastic 7 but he has stiff competition from Curry and I do think on the performance today Curry edges it. Now as a former back rower I have to say Conan was a bit anonymous and didn’t do the hard yards I expected. Toby in at 8 next game maybe? If it were me I would play 6 Curry, 7 Watson, 8 Faletau. Not the biggest back row but it would give the boks counter ruck a run for its money.
    Last edited by Sinnlover; 24th July 2021 at 19:35.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    Watson is a fantastic 7 but he has stiff competition from Curry and I do think on the performance today Curry edges it. Now as a former back rower I have to say Conan was a bit anonymous and didnít do the hard yards I expected. Toby in at 8 next game maybe? If it were me I would play 6 Curry, 7 Watson, 8 Faletau. Not the biggest back row but it would give the boks counter ruck a run for its money.

    I don't think you can leave Lawes out of the side. He was immense yesterday.
    He had an immense game at 6 and adds so much in the line out 6) Lawes 7) Curry 8) Felatu

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    I don't think you can leave Lawes out of the side. He was immense yesterday.
    He had an immense game at 6 and adds so much in the line out 6) Lawes 7) Curry 8) Felatu
    After I wrote the post I did think where would you put Lawes, I would start him and Itoje at Lock.
    Either way itís great to have so much depth at Back Row & Lock and I am sure Gats is happy to have this problem.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggertech View Post
    Definitely a game for the big forwards, as SA ones normally are. Laws and Itoje both immense today. AWJ is one who does the hard graft quietly, except when chopsing to the ref of course ;)

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    He's never the flashiest player but he does a huge amount of hard work. The Lions did not use him as a carrier in the first half yesterday - perhaps out of caution, perhaps a fear he would be targeted for big hits in the opening exchanges - so he had a very quiet first half. He was more like his normal self in the second half. Crazy to think he's the oldest player in that team and dislocated his shoulder four weeks ago - to play at that intensity in those circumstances is insane.

    But he's also a great leader. He made two captaincy interventions yesterday that effectively won the game. Firstly the decision to kick to the corner rather than the easy three points that led to the Lions first try. 9/10 captains would not have had the balls to make that call. Secondly, for the South African try that was disallowed he patiently waited when waved back by the ref as the TMO review was called and then spoke at length to the assistant ref asking for the TMO to review a potential knock on way back in the move that led to the touchdown. That was not on the initial list of things that the ref asked the TMO to review. Assistant ref spoke to the ref and pointed back to where a knock on might have occurred. Review happens, clear knock on under the high ball by South Africa. Try ruled out, scrum to Lions near halfway. Just brilliant captaincy.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanK View Post
    He's never the flashiest player but he does a huge amount of hard work. The Lions did not use him as a carrier in the first half yesterday - perhaps out of caution, perhaps a fear he would be targeted for big hits in the opening exchanges - so he had a very quiet first half. He was more like his normal self in the second half. Crazy to think he's the oldest player in that team and dislocated his shoulder four weeks ago - to play at that intensity in those circumstances is insane.

    But he's also a great leader. He made two captaincy interventions yesterday that effectively won the game. Firstly the decision to kick to the corner rather than the easy three points that led to the Lions first try. 9/10 captains would not have had the balls to make that call. Secondly, for the South African try that was disallowed he patiently waited when waved back by the ref as the TMO review was called and then spoke at length to the assistant ref asking for the TMO to review a potential knock on way back in the move that led to the touchdown. That was not on the initial list of things that the ref asked the TMO to review. Assistant ref spoke to the ref and pointed back to where a knock on might have occurred. Review happens, clear knock on under the high ball by South Africa. Try ruled out, scrum to Lions near halfway. Just brilliant captaincy.
    Top notch assessment Ian.
    Regarding his shoulder dislocation, I read that they were able to take shortcuts with the treatment and recovery time that they couldn't have done with a younger player. This was possible bearing in mind he must be near the end of his career now and so potentially with only another 3 matches he will play in, including this last one, the shoulder should'nt take "too many" more knocks. Although watching him yesterday try telling him that!
    Not sure what his contract position is with club and country, but IF the Lions do win this series what a high to finish on.

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  38. #38
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    The Boks getting a bit of luck on some marginal yellow/red calls whereas the Lions had the same luck last week. Absolutely ferocious match. I'm aching all over just watching it!

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  39. #39
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    Todayís game (especially the second half) was a complete car crash for lions. the penalty count (some deserved, some less so) was off the chart. My biggest issue other than the indiscipline was the section of team especially the use of the bench.

    As for Ken Owens. Couldnít hit a barn door with a cow.

    Disappointed.

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  40. #40
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    Not sure I see them coming back from that next week

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hood View Post
    Not sure I see them coming back from that next week
    Hope you're wrong, but I fear you are right.

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  42. #42
    What a dreadful game. Amazing to see Lions not even trying to produce anything with the backs at all, considering they had the talent of 4 nations to choose from. Terrible reflection on Gatland as a coach. Hard to see past SA for the series now, and I don't know if I could be arsed watching another two hours of the Lions hoisting Garryowens at the Saffas and losing every aerial contest. Anyone remember when the Lions used to play like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2gy0sfFOFA

  43. #43
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    That wasn't a great game (if you're British that is!) at all.

    Totally lost the aerial game.

    Id expect a totally different back three next Saturday (though in both games, the backs were rarely used/any good).

    As for next week? They "could" win I suppose, not if they played like yesterday though.

    Will be a tough week for them......Ive still got an open mind that they could win.......need a different gameplan and/or team selection though....When I looked at the bench yesterday? It wasn't great .

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by valleywatch View Post

    Id expect a totally different back three next Saturday (though in both games, the backs were rarely used/any good).
    Totally agree. For me, Josh Adams, LRZ, and Liam Williams (I'm biased admittedly) in the back three would be exciting, but as you say, they would have to be given some service to able to thrive.

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  45. #45
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    Murray was the wrong choice at 9. From the off his delivery was too slow and his box kicking was poor and inaccurate (what he was drafted in to do)
    I counted 2 rucks lost in the first half because he was not there to get the ball out, yes others should take responsibility in such circumstances but he was really slow to the break down all day.
    I think Gats will resort to an almost all Wales team next week. Itís on the cards, under pressure he goes back to what he knows - which will result in a 2-1 series win for the Boks.

  46. #46
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    I think they need to make a fair few changes next weekend. if they stand any chance of winning.

    The back 3...will need at least 2 out of last week-ends starting 3 out...

    Scrum half...out

    No. 10? Stick with Biggar, I cant see him starting with Farrell, If Farrell does start, Id pick him as a centre, trouble is, that leaves you with either Finn Russell (not played for a while....Definitely talented, can make mistakes though...will Gats use him?) or Marcus Smith....he looks like some player by the way!! Maybe too early for him though? Who knows!

    Centres? Yep...changes needed there...When I saw the squad the centres always looked the? "weak point" for me.

    forwards? yep fair few needed changes there too.

    The bench last week end (to me anyway) didnt look that strong..so I think there will be a fair few changes next week.

    Thing is...Does Gatland stick with those he knows and trusts, hoping they will gel on Saturday....or does he make changes a plenty? Ive no idea! He needs to earn his wages making this weeks selection thats for sure!

    Next Lions manager/head coach whatever! ? Gregor Townsend?
    Last edited by valleywatch; 2nd August 2021 at 11:54. Reason: spelling

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by valleywatch View Post
    I think they need to make a fair few changes next weekend. if they stand any chance of winning.

    The back 3...will need at least 2 out of last week-ends starting 3 out...

    Scrum half...out

    No. 10? Stick with Biggar, I cant see him starting with Farrell, If Farrell does start, Id pick him as a centre, trouble is, that leaves you with either Finn Russell (not played for a while....Definitely talented, can make mistakes though...will Gats use him?) or Marcus Smith....he looks like some player by the way!! Maybe too early for him though? Who knows!

    Centres? Yep...changes needed there...When I saw the squad the centres always looked the? "weak point" for me.

    forwards? yep fair few needed changes there too.

    The bench last week end (to me anyway) didnt look that strong..so I think there will be a fair few changes next week.

    Thing is...Does Gatland stick with those he knows and trusts, hoping they will gel on Saturday....or does he make changes a plenty? Ive no idea! He needs to earn his wages making this weeks selection thats for sure!

    Next Lions manager/head coach whatever! ? Gregor Townsend?

    You have pretty much nailed the changes he has made.
    He has gone with his tried and tested but leaving Toby out is a shock for me.
    Glad Simmons will likely get a run out though.

  48. #48
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valleywatch View Post

    Next Lions manager/head coach whatever! ? Gregor Townsend?
    I read this and hope you are joking. It would be a horror story.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
    Friedrich Nietzsche


  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyg View Post
    I read this and hope you are joking. It would be a horror story.
    Absolutely
    Vern Cotter was advancing well with the Scotland team and Townsend has put them backwards with a superior pool of players.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyg View Post
    I read this and hope you are joking. It would be a horror story.
    No I'm not joking.

    Its just what I think.

    I don't think he's a great coach or anything special whatsoever.........

    Its just, I think he could well be the next Lions coach/manager.
    Last edited by valleywatch; Yesterday at 22:59. Reason: spelling!

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