Possible Lions Test XV
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9 Days and just 2 warm-up games left… Question is who’s in your Test XV at the moment? The boys over at Collegetimes.ie put together their possible Test XV (http://collegetimes.ie/college-times-possible-lions-test-xv/) and they challenged us to put together ours… So being LADS and all, we agreed. Here it is… Our possible Lions Test XV…
1. Mako Vunipola
This man has been given a glorious chance with injuries to Gethin Jenkins and Cian Healy. Impressive against the Reds. Should get the number 1 jersey although there’s still time for Corbisiero or Grant to impress.
2. Tom Youngs
Right now Hibbard is first choice but we’re predicting that Mr. Youngs will step up his game and slot in front of him in time for the first Test. Hibbard played poorly against the Combined Country and perhaps played himself out of his Test jersey. The most competitive position in the squad.
3. Adam Jones
Never any question here. One of the world’s best scrummaging tightheads. Set in stone in our opinion.
4. Alan Wyn Jones
Stiff competition from Parling and Gray but we think his experience will get him the nod. Will have to perform well in the 1st Test to keep his jersey as the other boys will be biting at his heels.
5. Paul O’Connell (C)
A born leader. Inspired since day one of the tour, scoring the opening try Vs the Barbarians. Bit of a spoiler reading this as you may have noticed we have selected him as Captain. No place in the Test team in our opinion for Tour Captain Sam Warburton based on his current form and players form around him.
6. Tom Croft
A late call up in 2009 that went on to have an impressive Tour in South Africa. Huge competition in the back-row but as the boys over in CollegeTimes.ie said his lineout prowess alone gets him the nod.
7. Sean O’ Brien
The Tullow Tank gets the nod here in our books. No place for Tour Captain Sam Warburton, in fact he’s third choice at the moment with Justin Tipuric being the in-form 7 on tour. O’Brien’s explosive runs and exhilarating ball carrying skills have to get him the nod. He proved in the Rugby World Cup 2011 that he can terrorize the Wallabies, Gatland has to pick him at 7.
8. Jamie Heaslip
Gatland will be glad that Leinster’s Jamie Heaslip has arrived on tour and not Ireland’s. A man who can’t seem to produce his best in the Green has produced the kind of performances that have seen him nominated for European Player of the Year for the Lions this year. One of the players of the Tour in 2009, good chance he will be again this year.
9. Mike Phillips
The favourite to begin with, and a superb performance against the Barbarians only cemented his legacy. Huge tour in 2009, will need much of the same from him this year. Can be a bit greedy at times but a superb passer and the ability at times to act like an extra back-row.
10. Johnny Sexton
Another man who was favourite for the Test 10 before the Tour began. Has schooled Farrell in almost every game. Has been an injury concern in the last week, lets hope Gatland wraps him in cotton wool till the 22nd.
11. George North
With Simon Zebo yet to play a game he may have a thing or two to say about this test jersey just yet, but ever since we heard the news of Tommy Bowe’s injury, North was always gonna get this spot.
12. Jamie Roberts
2009 Player of the Tour. Has showed glimpses of how he attained that accolade. An absolute battering ram and developed a great partnership with O’Driscoll in 2009, will get the nod in our books.
13. Brian O’Driscoll
Unbelievably on his 4th Lions Tour. The greatest centre the world has ever seen. The standout player on the tour and he’s in his mid thirties. A class act who can and will create magical moments.
14. Alex Cuthbert
A lethal finisher. Maitland has impressed the last few games but as in the 2013 Six Nations decider Vs England, Cuthbert has shown that he can rise to the occasion when it matters. Will take his game to a new level once the Tests come around in our opinion.
15. Leigh Halfpenny
Rob Kearney hasn’t featured yet due to injury and while Hogg has been impressive, Halfpenny gets the nod from us. The 6 Nations player of the Tournament is 13 from 14 with is kicks and surely has made the test 15 jersey his own at this stage.