Picking A British & Irish Lions XV Following The November Internationals
Who’s gonna be on the plane to New Zealand next summer?
The November internationals have come to a close with only England left to play one more game next week against Australia at Twickenham. The last few weeks have completely changed the landscape of the tour selection with Ireland looking really impressive, beating the All Blacks in Chicago along the way and Eddie Jones’ England continuing their unbeaten run under the Australian.
Wales have looked poor under Rob Howley, while Scotland have excelled in parts. Player’s like Tadhg Furlong have come out of nowhere to put their hand up for a test spot, with some of the usual big names under-performing.
Let’s take a look at how a British & Irish Lions XV might look now following the internationals.
1. Jack McGrath
The best loosehead in the northern hemisphere right now. If he stays fit he will start and be key.
2. Rory Best
Hartley’s form has been indifferent of late yet Best just seems to be getting better and better. An excellent November series sees him leading the way at two as things stand.
3. Tadhg Furlong
Furlong has come out of absolutely nowhere this month with some simply sensational performances against Australia and New Zealand. If he keeps going at his current rate that test jersey is his.
4. George Kruis
Recently returned from injury, Kruis is one-half of one of the best lock pairings in world rugby right now.
5. Maro Itoje
He may have missed the November series, but the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year will most definitely be on the plane and should he return to his form of old once his injury clears up, will surely start.
6. CJ Stander
This guys just keeps getting better and better. Another world-class performance against this past weekend against Australia, he simply cannot be overlooked. Devasating ball-carrying skills and a phenomenal work-rate.
7. Sean O’Brien
This is entirely dependant on O’Brien’s fitness. His performance against the All Blacks in Dublin proves the kind of damage he can do to Steve Hansen’s men when at his very best.
8. Billy Vunipola
Suffered a devastating knee injury this past weekend against Argentina but should return in time for some Six Nations action. Devastating ball carrier that has been wreaking havoc for 12 months non-stop.
9. Conor Murray
The best nine in world rugby right now has proven this month that he can cause the All Blacks big problems. A 2013 tourist, Murray will be one of the Lions key players in 2017.
10. George Ford
Johnny Sexton will be in contention here also but you just can’t rely on his fitness at the moment. The 10-12 partnership of Ford and Farrell has worked a treat for England so why not the Lions?
11. Anthony Watson
Currently out injured but was in terrific form before he ended up on the sidelines. Come Six Nations he should be back fit and playing for England. A certain Lion if he can pick up where he left off.
12. Owen Farrell
Nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year, the Saracens man keeps going from strength to strength. Ford and Farrell once again at 10 and 12, it’s a match made in heaven.
13. Robbie Henshaw
One of Ireland’s standout players before going off injured at the Aviva against the All Blacks. Was crucial in their win in Chicago, grabbing the winning try. Comfortable at both inside or outside centre, Henshaw has proved he can cause the All Blacks serious problems.
14. Liam Williams
One of Wales’ few shining lights, Williams is comfortable at fullback or on the wing. Dangerous runner with quick feet, can no doubt cause the All Blacks problems next summer.
15. Stuart Hogg
The 2013 tourist has taken his game up a level in recent months. Safe under the high ball, a powerful runner and offers that spark at fullback that will be needed against the All Blacks.
What do you think of this selection? Where would you make changes?
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