Lions – Jonny Turned It Down

So we have the British & Irish Lions squad and apart from Matt Stevens no real surprises in though perhaps a couple who missed out. It was interesting to hear the Warren Gatland had spoken with Jonny Wilkinson and that he had turned down any chance of being on the full tour though not that he would not go out for part of it if needed!

The full squad follows here with our comments beside them, let us know what you think.

Fullbacks: Leigh Halfpenny, good to see him picked at fifteen. Stuart Hogg, had a great Six Nations and worth the pick. Rob Kearney, not quite playing at his peak but offers more than Alex Goode the other option.

Wings: Tommy Bowe, we thought Zebo would have got in in front of him. Alex Cuthbert and George North, never in any doubt. Sean Maitland slight surprise but a good all round footballer who must be chuffed to be included.

Centres: Jonathan Davies, perhaps a bit of a surprise but then centre is the weakest of all from a point of depth. Brian O’Driscoll, you could not leave him behind still playing brilliantly! Jamie Roberts, he was a shoe in. Manu Tuilagi, no surprise here but overall a lack of a deft hand flair player amongst all these.

FlyHalfs: Jonathan Sexton, Gotta be the test ten. Owen Farrell, jury is out after his panic against Toulon and being out played by Jonny.

Scrumhalfs: Conor Murray, going well and worth the call. Mike Phillips, picked for size not distribution hope hard grounds suit him. Ben Youngs, expect he will be third choice so the midweek man as both the others are bigger!

Props: Dan Cole, he has held his own and should get a good run. Cian Healy, nothing to comment still strong. Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones, both bolt on test props. Matt Stevens and Mako Vunipola, both given a torrid time in the Heineken Cup semi, though rate Mako more than Matt and sure there are others who would do better.

Hookers: Dylan Hartley, not on my first list but worth the seat possibly third choice. Richard Hibbard, test hooker so all Welsh front row to start. Tom Youngs, earned his slot expect him to get a shout as a test reserve.

2nd Row: Ian Evans and Alun-Wyn Jones, no surprise given how they have performed. Richie Grey, back to hi best could be a test man. Paul O’Connell, massive in the last two games he has played, just hope he can take that form on tour. Geoff Parling, now he was a suprise not sure what he brings ahead of Launchberry of Palmer?

Backrow: Tom Croft, think he got it for his mobility and hands on hard grounds though it could have gone to a couple of others. Toby Faletau, he should be a test player will be an interesting battle with Heaslip. Jamie Heaslip, another who has ended the season playing some of his best rugby. Dan Lydiate, Sean O’Brien, Justin Tipuric and Sam Warburton, no surprises with any of these.

Skipper: Sam Warburton, another decision which did not surprise us although O’Connell or BO’D could just have easily been called up though given the number of Welsh it was hard to see past one of them.

warburton

So bring on the first game in Hong Kong on the 1st June against the Barbarians.