NWR 2021 Lions

Looking forward to the game with Japan on Saturday
ko 15.00 Channel 4
Both the Scotland props starting.
A few players missing but gives others opportunities
 
I think it's a really, really interesting team. Demonstrates just how strong this particular Lions squad is, in my opinion.

Before having seen anything at all, I will make a fairly uninformed guess that we'll edge the series 2-1.

I wonder how many red cards there will be? I think there's a strong chance of a test match being "ruined" by an early red card. Hopefully that'll push World Rugby into finding a better solution. The prem was a mess this year and I don't think the teams ever really got a hold of changing tackle technique like I expected them to. Even the teams who take drill training to the extreme, such as Exeter, still got caught out. I think I've changed my mind on the idea that players will eventually adapt to high tackles being penalised so heavily - I'm not sure the nature of the game as things stand can really tolerate it if you want strong defense as a team. The only option I can see is banning tackles above chest height or something, but as long as there are Manu Tuilagis in the game, doing that will result in a riot of offensive rugby as the upright tackle is the only reliable way of slowing bigger players down when there is a size mismatch.
 
Just announced as Conor Murray.

Makes sense. He is likely to start all the tests whereas I’m not certain that Farrell will. I presume Gatland prefers a captain closer to the action which may explain why it’s not Hogg either.
 
Murray makes more sense to me than Farrell but not a lot more! Itoje would have been the bold choice but Gatland never is bold!
Navidi deserves his place but Beard? What! The selection of the second rows going already was a bit weird: Hill and Lawes over Gray or Ryan or the consistently underrated Launchbury?
So very sad for AWJ one of the greats of the modern game.
 
Shame for Wynn Jones, this was the cherry on the top of an illustrious career, not to be now.

The back row knitted together very well and we're the lynch pin to the success of the team along with Dan Biggars decision making. Thought Williams at full back had a good game and will give Gatland a headache for a starting full back. Overall a good team performance. Bodes well for the tour.

On another note, well done Harlequins. Showing that open flowing gung ho rugby can sometimes win the day. I've listened the Flatman and Durden Smith for the past 2 months go on about how deserving they would be and are of a semi final place, but their inability to defend would not get them any further. Well cracking wins against Bristol and Exeter proved them wrong!
 
On another note, well done Harlequins. Showing that open flowing gung ho rugby can sometimes win the day. I've listened the Flatman and Durden Smith for the past 2 months go on about how deserving they would be and are of a semi final place, but their inability to defend would not get them any further. Well cracking wins against Bristol and Exeter proved them wrong!
Yep, wholeheartedly agreed. A brilliant game of rugby - Smith is the real deal. I was ambivalent a couple of years ago but he's matured into a spectacular player this season. Hope he nails on the England spot, so much more exciting to watch than Farrell.
 
It's not looking good in either camp on the Covid front.
It is a COVID-driven circus. With Saturday’s game off, there is a frenetic effort to either reschedule mid-week before 1st test or with a different opposition but unless that group has been bubbled for 5 days seems unlikely. The game against SA A is meant to involve a number of fringe Boks who did not feature in their warmup games but with 2nd warmup cancelled who knows what will happen. And potential for all tests to be in CT at sea level. SA rugby desperate to at least get TV money but this series really feels like it has devalued the Lions and put it‘s long term future at risk
 
Tough game for the Lions tonight. South Africa A are just about the strongest A side you could imagine. Wyn-Jones returning to the tour should give the players a boost.
 
Location
UK
Indeed. However the tour is a mess. Unfortunately it's a bit Russian Roulette with the players so it's not going to be a representative contest.

Watching Morne Steyn will dredge up bad memories...
 
Excellent game tonight. The physical wake up call was just what these lions players needed after some very poor opposition tour matches.
Ten World Cup winners in the starting 15 for SAA were too strong for the lions in the first half.
I felt a number of lions players struggled with the physical pressure and the aggressive speed of the breakdown, Navidi,falleitto for example. Currie had a big game and I personally belive he can do a job at 6.
MO had an incredible game.
my only concern was the half backs both of whom I felt were too slow.Connor Murray should of stamped his authority more when the SAA were down to 13. Poor decision making by 9 and the half back kicking game was woeful under pressure. I thought the replacement 9 was more dynamic in the last 15
A lot to be taken away from the first defeat on tour , lots to improve upon.
perfect opportunity to see who can play with the intensity required for the test shirt and I’m afraid more than a few lions fell way short tonight.
 
The test team will have a bit more about them. For me it’s good news AWJ is coming back and will likely take captaincy, as Murray won’t have to play every test, Farrell has booked a place on the bench. Curry put his hand up and was excellent, Wyn Jones also was having a great game so is a useful option,
SA showed how their short on the line defence is immense.
Playing SA at home is never going to be easy but things are now shaping up in this unusual series.
 
Agree with two posts above re 9. I think Murray has been bang average and Price has impressed so far. Especially if the lions want to play a faster game and move the boks about. I want Price to start the tests but seems unlikely with the Murray captainship, makes it look like Garland had already made up his mind.

Mike I though Farrel has played himself right out of any place in 23. Perhaps useful as bench cover and much is made of his attitude which might be good to have in the team. On his form though I think he is out.

Lions slow to adapt to breakdown from the start and the back row and whole pack will need to be sharper in the tests.
 
Agree with two posts above re 9. I think Murray has been bang average and Price has impressed so far. Especially if the lions want to play a faster game and move the boks about. I want Price to start the tests but seems unlikely with the Murray captainship, makes it look like Garland had already made up his mind.

Mike I though Farrel has played himself right out of any place in 23. Perhaps useful as bench cover and much is made of his attitude which might be good to have in the team. On his form though I think he is out.

Lions slow to adapt to breakdown from the start and the back row and whole pack will need to be sharper in the tests.
Yes I was sort of saying he was bench at best, not had a good game to put himself in contention.
The lions clearly didn’t show much either as who wants to show play patterns and tactics just before the main event.
pick and go 20 times into a brick wall :)
 
Is anyone able to pick the starting test side ???
im really struggling
I think the reason is …….. to many very good players no really great players
I can’t help thinking beirne has to be in there somewhere
front five all over the place …….
price is my pick over Murray
cowan dickie and George both great
 
I'd be giving these guys a run out - Cowan-Dickie, George, Itoje, Laws, Price, Watson, van de Merwe, Adams, Rees-Zammit, Beirne, Furlong, Daly, Hogg, Biggar (I never thought I'd see myself typing that), Williams and Watson.
 
Location
UK
I share your scepticism about Biggar Richard - or rather shared. I think he's been the form flyhalf of the home nations if you want to play a control game. The only thing that puts me off is his constant whingeing at referees but that's nit-picking. I would say a similar thing about Ali Price - what has happened to Gareth Davies? - but Murray is still not at his best and the Lions need quick distribution. We saw repeatedly against South Africa A that any delay causes the outside backs to get isolated by the rush defence and that will just snuff out any momentum for the Lions.

I think it's imperative that Gatland can mobilise a heavyweight pack throughout the 80 minutes, otherwise it's going to be a comparatively simple outcome. I wouldn't claim to really know what's really going on in the scrum but it seems to me that unless the Lions have parity it's going to be a repeat of the RWC against England. I think this means that Gatland cannot afford to play agile players like Simmonds. I would have thought it likely he's thinking about playing Itoje at 6 and having Beirne and Henderson for instance - after all that's what SA are doing
 
I was very ambivalent about Biggar when Northampton signed him - but over time I have come to relish watching him play. I think it's the ultra-competitiveness that leads to things we don't like to see in the game, and indeed we see exactly the same thing for the same reason with Farrell.

Either way though for me - Biggar starts. As Tom says, he's the in form fly half for these types of games. Played very well for Wales in the 6N. I think he deserves it.
 
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