NWR 6N 2021.

Agreed Ian. I just don't think that a team that poor deserves to play in the competition. On the other hand, I would like to see another country play. South Africa has been mooted I think, and perhaps Georgia could step up. A second tier 6N might be a good idea.
 
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Great result for Scottish rugby against France, we have been treated to some wonderful games even if the seats were empty and some refs had apparently spent too much time in isolation.

is it worth having a discussion about Lions selection?
 
The rights for 2022 onwards have not been agreed, I think. Rumour has it Amazon have been sniffing at the door but other reports say they aren't in the bidding process.

The standard of coverage has not been that good in my opinion so I'm open minded for someone to disrupt things a bit. The BBC coverage in particular has been stale for a long time with pundits that are drier than a desert, and of course the awful Davies commentating.

Amazon's coverage of the autumn nations was genuinely good - not that I want the organisation to continue its domination, but the quality was undeniable.
 
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I actually find the BBC and ITV commentary quite good. I happen to like Brian Moore and Jonathan Davies - Eddie Butler is a bit of a wally but ok. Warburton has been a wonderful addition, so lucid. Jonny Wilkinson’s psycho babble is also quite entertaining.

So if it were up to me I wouldn’t change things too much
 
Eddie Butler probably best suited to a more poetic summary of a tournament
Jonny Wilkinson does rather go on (and on) doesn't he? Putting him and Clive Woodward on together rather doubles down on the problem.
Jonathan Davies never made that transition from player to independent commentator, something that Andy Nicol looked even worse at, but has adapted in recent years. If Mr Benaud was still around, then I'd have suggested him teaching Mr Davies the key lesson he learnt.
I do like Keith Wood's commentary
John Inverdale I find embarrassingly parochial
 
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There’s talk today of South African teams joining European rugby in some way. Would it possible that the national team could play in the 6 nations and Italy etc into a second tier?
 
There’s talk today of South African teams joining European rugby in some way. Would it possible that the national team could play in the 6 nations and Italy etc into a second tier?
Possible - yes, though logistically it's a greater challenge. I suspect the IRB's plans for an annual global test tournament will take precedence.

I fear the focus remains on milking the competition between the established nations, rather than a conscious investment in growing the game by supporting the likes of Kenya, Spain and so on. Sevens has shown what is achievable, with some striking breakthroughs. The result is much greater competitiveness and thus widening the appeal. Barring Japan's emergence, the 15 a side game feels like it's not progressing outside the top nations.
 
Much talk of how poor the Saracens players were for England, and I certainly wouldn't have picked as many of them if I had been the England coach. But perhaps worth mentioning that the Scottish Saracen, Sean Maitland, played well in all the games he was allowed to participate in. There's more than Saracens wrong with England: the sum of their parts is so much less than their individual talents. Probably won't stop Gatland picking a bundle of them though........
 
Very good point Hugh, shame Saracens deprived him of the last game, whilst having only 1 out of the 6 English players turn out this weekend.

Talk of Alun Wynn Jones captaining the Lions, which would be a fitting end to his career.
 
Very good point Hugh, shame Saracens deprived him of the last game, whilst having only 1 out of the 6 English players turn out this weekend.

Talk of Alun Wynn Jones captaining the Lions, which would be a fitting end to his career.
My concern with Alun Wynn Jones as captain, is that Beirne and Itoje would be my preferred locks, with Beirne's flexibility to switch to 6 not as appealing considering the likes of Ritchie, Watson, Underhill and Curry, plus a resurgent Navidi (plus Tipuric) feels flanker is a position of strength. So I reckon AWJ is a good choice for the squad and a squad leadership role, but I'd not have him on field for 80 minutes, so uncomfortable with him as captain. That said, anyone but Farrell please!
 
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Inverdale I think imagines himself as Nigel Starmer-Smith.

AWJ is a Gatland favourite but is he playing well enough to be selected at lock, much less captain the Lions? I’d have thought it would be Beirne Itoje?

Edited: our posts crossed, my thoughts precisely Ian
 
I realise it's an unfashionable view, but Itoje wouldn't get near my starting XV. Ryan, Beirne, AWJ, Henderson, Gray, all ahead of him in my book. He's had a very poor 6N. He's shown no sign of being a captain. I firmly believe the captain should be Alun Wyn Jones. He's in form, he's a good lock, and he's a brilliant captain. If Stephen Jones can leave Stuart Hogg out of his tour party, I can surely leave Maro Itoje out of my starting XV!
 
I realise it's an unfashionable view, but Itoje wouldn't get near my starting XV. Ryan, Beirne, AWJ, Henderson, Gray, all ahead of him in my book. He's had a very poor 6N. He's shown no sign of being a captain. I firmly believe the captain should be Alun Wyn Jones. He's in form, he's a good lock, and he's a brilliant captain. If Stephen Jones can leave Stuart Hogg out of his tour party, I can surely leave Maro Itoje out of my starting XV!
I’d suggest that judgement depends heavily on whether they’ve lined up any french refs for the tests. :rolleyes:
 
I realise it's an unfashionable view, but Itoje wouldn't get near my starting XV. Ryan, Beirne, AWJ, Henderson, Gray, all ahead of him in my book. He's had a very poor 6N. He's shown no sign of being a captain. I firmly believe the captain should be Alun Wyn Jones. He's in form, he's a good lock, and he's a brilliant captain. If Stephen Jones can leave Stuart Hogg out of his tour party, I can surely leave Maro Itoje out of my starting XV!
Itoje played with heart and talent throughout the 6N. But he also through out the 6N gave away countless penalties. Against non French refs as well .

There's a wealth of talent in the second row and back row. Tadgh Beirne was outstanding, Tom Curry and Hamish Watson stood out for me aswell. Not so sure about Ryan and Gray. Henderson played out of his skin in the last 2 games. Anybody fancy Tadgh Furlong for inside centre?

Stuart Hogg would be my man for captain. He played solid in his position and has done his part as Captain of Scotland to bring them on. Ben Youngs would be my man for scrum half. Sexton and him would make an interesting combination.
 
Whilst we're on the subject of captaincy...

An interesting comparison of how two sportsmen handled questions about potentially being made captain

1. Smith 'would be keen' on captaincy return in which Steve Smith says he wants to be captain of the Aussie cricket team again

2. Itoje backs 'phenomenal' captain Farrell in which Maro Itoje deflects questions about captaincy and offers praise for the current England captain.

Now the press are good at asking probing questions and emphasising snippets of a conversation (and ignoring other elements that might give context), but a smart professional sportsperson is wise to this.

I must say, if I were Tim Paine reading that first article, I'd be spitting tacks at Smith angling for my job as captain, and with it the likely end of my career as an Aussie test cricketer. Coming so soon after Paine's own poor judgement in the India series, I could see him viewing it as 'sticking the knife in at the first opportunity'.

Conversely if I were Farrell or indeed anyone in the England camp I'd be thinking Itoje handled that very well, and did what was right for the team.

p.s. I like the Stuart Hogg suggestion. A shoe-in for the starting line-up and now with experience leading the national team.
 
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Youngs is maddening. Despite the number of caps and the potential to have a good game, he’s never quite made the most of his early promise.

I like Hogg and he would be my 15 but I think you need a captain in the forwards
 
The lions pack is decent enough to compete with SA , I like the front five of furlong , Healy , Owens, AW Jones ( c ) and Itoje with Tipuric,curry and faletau .....( like beirne too ) . then it kinda falls apart with the half backs worryingly and apart from Henshaw I’m struggling abit.
final back three suppose picks itself Watson ,Hogg , Reece-Zammit
as always the tour throws up a couple of surprises and an unexpected player comes to the fore.
should be very exciting and hard going on the players as I can’t see the SA rolling over to easil.
 
I feel optimistic that Marcus Smith might finally get his break as one of the young picks, but it'll probably be at the expense of another 10 that many people will feel confident is going on tour. It's an interesting one - Sexton, Biggar, Sheedy, Russell, Ford and Farrell (?!) are the options I guess. Can't help but think the latter two are far from nailed on, but that argument would say Itoje isn't nailed on either (which he surely is - top 5 player in the NH). Biggar had a really good 6N...Sexton still in reasonable form. Genuinely don't know.
 
I'm still an Itoje fan. I think he's the best second row of all among the home nations and he has the promise of youth. Alan Wyn Jones is my number two, but is surely right at the end of his career. Amazing commitment shown by the latter player to keep performing so well. I do wonder whether Itoje is being over-coached or poorly coached - I can't really understand why he is being penalized so much more at the breakdown where he has been so strong. He is the perfect athlete. Wyn Jones and Itoje would be a formidable pairing.
 
I'm still an Itoje fan. I think he's the best second row of all among the home nations and he has the promise of youth. Alan Wyn Jones is my number two, but is surely right at the end of his career. Amazing commitment shown by the latter player to keep performing so well. I do wonder whether Itoje is being over-coached or poorly coached - I can't really understand why he is being penalized so much more at the breakdown where he has been so strong. He is the perfect athlete. Wyn Jones and Itoje would be a formidable pairing.
I agree Richard.I think the problem with Itoje is he is so athletic he can play on the line but is slightly inexperienced to master when and where.Macaw was a genius at it,constantly infringing but never penalised.I think we will see a different Itoje alongside AWJ. I also think after 60 AWJ will make way for some extra pace in the test games which is perfect.
I can’t help feeling the midweek side will be strong likes of Sinckler,Russel etc just the Half backs is a huge area of inconsistency
 
I'm still an Itoje fan. I think he's the best second row of all among the home nations and he has the promise of youth. Alan Wyn Jones is my number two, but is surely right at the end of his career. Amazing commitment shown by the latter player to keep performing so well. I do wonder whether Itoje is being over-coached or poorly coached - I can't really understand why he is being penalized so much more at the breakdown where he has been so strong. He is the perfect athlete. Wyn Jones and Itoje would be a formidable pairing.
So you recognise there is a problem with Itoje. My view is he’s being over and poorly coached. But mainly, in line with the other Sarries, he’s ONLY being coached. He should certainly tour (in the unlikely event it happens) but his potential is for 2025. It isn’t correct to judge his Lions potential on what he did in 2016, 17, 18 19 or 20. He needs to be judged on 2021. He wasn’t great.
 
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