Best Lions XV 1989 to date (yes, there are Sotsmen in it. And a pacific islander.)

Discussion in 'General Rugby Union' started by FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4, Jun 13, 2020.

  1. FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4

    FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4 Academy Player

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    This is based on the talent available at the time, regardless who actually made it on a tour or not (see Ferris or Armstrong.)
    Each player is valued by his abilities at the maximum of his powers. Not about lifetime achievement or longevity.
    The balance of the team mattered (otherwise also Scott Gibbs would be in. Somewhere)

    1 Andrew Sheridan
    2 Keith Wood
    3 Adam Jones
    4 Wade Dooley
    5 Paul O'Connell (captain)
    6 Lawrence Dallaglio
    7 Stephen Ferris
    8 Ben Clarke

    9 Rob Howley
    10 Jonny Wilkinson
    11 George North
    12 Brian O'Driscoll
    13 Manu Tuilagi
    14 Shane Williams
    15 Jason Robinson

    16 Steve Thompson
    17 Nick Popplewell
    18 Alex Corbosiero
    19 Martyn Johnson
    20 Mike Teague
    21 Gary Armstrong
    22 Owen Farrell
    23 Stuart Hogg

    I might go for a different team if I picked up a white piece of paper tomorrow. By then Tadhg Furlong might have dispelled my doubts. It's so much fun.

    If you go “what, no Jeremy Guscott?” George North on 14 not 11? Or a lighter pack with Alun Wyn Jones and Majo Itoje, please state if this selection of yours is based on different assumptions than stated above.
     
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  3. FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4

    FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4 Academy Player

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    The second team would look like this


    1 Nick Popplewell
    2 Steve Thompson
    3 Alex Corbosiero
    4 Martyn Johnson
    5 Alun Wyn Jones
    6 Richard Hill
    7 Sam Warburton
    8 Mike Teague
    9 Gary Armstrong
    10 Jonathan Sexton
    11 Ben Cohen
    12 Scott Gibbs
    13 Jeremy Guscott
    14 Simon Geoghegan
    15 Stuart Hogg

    Since a Lions tour needs more than 30 players, the following would make up a squad of 40

    Kenny Milne
    Gethin Jenkins
    Tadhg Furlong
    Paul Ackford
    Majo Itoje
    Jamie Heaslip
    Rhys Webb
    Owen Farrell
    Jonny May
    Rob Kearney
     
  4. The_Blindside

    The_Blindside International

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    I was thinking about this. But my Best of Lions team is only from 1997-2017 (ones I watched) based on performance in the tests and also how they would fit into a fantasy team and work:

    1. Tom Smith
    2. Keith Wood
    3. Adam Jones
    4. Johnson (Captain)
    5. POC
    6. Richard Hill
    7. Warburton
    8. Dallaglio

    9. Dawson
    10. Sexton (tough one over Wilko and Townsend.)

    11. North
    12. Gibbs
    13. Guscott (such a hard one over BOD but for that drop goal in the 2nd test v the Boks).
    14. Robinson.
    15. Halfpenny (just edged Jenkins and Kearney).
     
  5. Tallshort

    Tallshort International

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    Going from 89 as well. Picking the players I have the best memories of in their positions so absolutely no science involved:

    1. Tom Smith
    2. Brian Moore
    3. Adam Jones
    4. Martin Johnson
    5. POC
    6. Richard Hill
    7. Finley Calder
    8. Dean Richards
    9. Rob Howley
    10. Gregor Townsend
    11. Rory Underwood
    12. Scott Gibbs
    13. BOD
    14. John Bentley
    15. Gavin Hastings

    16. Keith Wood
    17. Jason Lenord
    18. Paul Wallace.
    19. Wade Dooley
    20. Mike Teague
    21. Matt Dawson (yes **** off)
    22. Wilkinson
    23. Jerry Guscott

    So very bias towards 93/97/01 and probably quite English too but tough. Might do a amateur v Professional team..
     
  6. The_Blindside

    The_Blindside International

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    Yeh, unfair to include pre 1997 when it was amateur IMO. The game was really changed when it went Pro and that 1997 tour really was special. Looking forward to 2021.
     
  7. The Oggmonster

    The Oggmonster First XV

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    Just watched this decider v Australia in 1989. Absolutely superb. Amazing to see how quickly scrums form and what about Mike Teague nailing the ball boy at 1:43:00 in order to get the match ball. Superb!

     
  8. The_Blindside

    The_Blindside International

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    yeah different game. The scrum was so much better back then and the put ins were straight. And scrums were a much more frequent part of the game and players just got on with it. Not the interminable bloody deliberate time wasting we have now.

    Rucking as well where you could rake players on the wrong side out of the way.

    Was the game better then than today where the breakdown and winning the gain Line key? I will leave that on here to discuss/debate.
     
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  9. Old Hooker

    Old Hooker First XV

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    I’m supposed to be working, but am so tempted to bite at this.....
     
  10. FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4

    FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4 Academy Player

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    That is the thing. Different eras mattered.

    Mostly for how I looked at it in the case of Deano. Eightmen from some point on were expected to pick up the ball and use the wiggle room provided by the flankers being forced to stay bound at the scrum. By charging with some pace.

    A new still beefy type yet but with some speed of the mark became the standard. Different to heavy static guys like Richards. Despite the class of the best such specimen (Phil Davies, Mark Jones, Laurent Rodriguez to name but few.)

    More in demand then or concidered to be “modern" when covering that position: Players like Scott Quinnell (Wales,) Jerry Collins, Sione Lauaki (both New Zealand,) Rocky Elsom, Toutai Kefu (booth Australia,) Shalk Burger (South Africa.)
     
  11. FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4

    FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4 Academy Player

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    Richards, Mark Jones, and Phil Davies were among those I could not fit in. But there was more regret on other positions as well. Like with the Vunipola brothers, Martin Corry, Jonathan Davies (the elder,) Mike Catt, Brian Ashton, Mike Brown, Liam Williams. Always at their (sometimes brief) best.

    Some of these names are good evidence of my “wider” assumptions. The rule I followed was not to go for lifetime achievement. And it did not matter to me whether they performed for the Lions themselves. They just had to be eligible. Just be nuff.
     
  12. FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4

    FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4 Academy Player

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    Since the fine people who picked this up are obviously well versed with the Lions history in question: It makes sense to honor this selection by naming one such team against which they measured themselves against.
    Yummy.

    Tendai Mtwarira
    Dr. Uli Schmidt
    Flippie van der Merwe
    Eben Etzebeth
    Bakkies Botha
    Schalk Burger
    Wahl Barthmann
    Pierre Spiess
    Joos van der Westhuizen
    Joel Stransky
    Chester Williams
    Danie Gerber
    Andre Snyman
    Brian Habanna
    Percy Montgomery

    Bismark Du Plessis
    Os DuRandt
    Cobus Visagie
    Victor Matfield
    Andre Venter
    Faf de Klerk
    Francois “Frans” Stejn
    Breyton Paulse

    Obviously this was not New Zealand. Again it did not matter to me, what those players achieved in Lions tour games. But that their playing careers coincided with the historical episodes for which these Lions were picked.

    I know, being able to choose only 23 names led to some glaring omissions.
     
  13. Tallshort

    Tallshort International

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    Something special about the lions in SA
    So wish I was going next year
     
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  14. The_Blindside

    The_Blindside International

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    Agree, I love the times of the matches, which are much more friendly than the ones down under. I read the Lions players also prefer the match times being in the afternoon. They get to bond and socialize after the matches as well, whereas the evening kick offs, they don’t.
     
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  15. FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4

    FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4 Academy Player

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    WHO KNOWS THE AMAZING FLIPPIE VAN DER MERWE ?

    Great South African players, still something cockeyed in the selection: too much choice at loose head, too little at tight head. There is no place for galloping rhinos like Willie Hills or “Ritchie” Bands. On the other side mostly big static men like Guy Kebble or Balie Swart. Perhaps CJ van der Linde …

    Problem is that the really good one played for France. Pieter de Villiers. Disruptive in the scrum, yet agile around the park.
     
  16. FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4

    FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4 Academy Player

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    Also left out are true like greats Krynauw Otto, Duane Vermeulen, Cobus Reinach, Henry Honnibal, Braam Van Staaten, JJ Engelbrecht, Deon Kayser, Pieter Roussow, James Small, Cheslin Kolbe, Brent Russell, Andre Joubert, Gavin Johnson.
     
  17. FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4

    FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4 Academy Player

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    One measure is obvious. Since there was not too much “dissent” on the South African team. And since unsurprisingly the epic battle against Australia 1989 was so much appreciated:

    1 Cameron Lillicrap
    2 Stephen Moore
    3 Sekope Kepu
    4 John Eales
    5 Garrick Morgan
    6 Willie Ofahengaue
    7 David Pocock
    8 Rocky Elsom

    9 Nick Farr-Jones
    10 Stephen Larkham
    11 Lote Tuquiri
    12 Brett Papworth
    13 Tim Horan
    14 David Campese
    15 Chris Latham

    16 Brendan Cannon
    17 Benn Robinson
    18 Mark Hartill
    19 Warrick Waugh
    20 Ilivasi Tabua
    21 Will Genia
    22 Michael Lynagh
    23 Izzy Folau
     
  18. FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4

    FrankfurtRugbyWatcher4 Academy Player

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    Most of the players named for the Lions or the two host nation teams assembled here deserve to be in close consideration as the best in their position in those three more decades.

    The same applies to the individuals liste in the honorable-mention-category. This group would contain for Australia Polota-Nau, Lawton, Rodriguez, Campbell, Frawley, Cutler, Samo, Finegan, Kefu, Miller, Hooper, Gregan, Foley, Cooper, Giteau, Herberth, Kuridrani, Rathbone, Ashley-Cooper, Tune, Sailor, Burke, O'Connor and Beale.
    Also here, I surely forgot one.
     
  19. Saracenswulfpackdef

    Saracenswulfpackdef Academy Player

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    It is just hard to make a disciplined judgement on these things. Some guys play at quite a different level compared to their best for a long time in their career. In extreme cases not corrobating a few absolutely outstanding displays by consistently performing at this level.

    The two lock forwards picked for Australia are a case in point.
    Morgan was outstanding on one European tour. Then his fitness deteriorated as he gained weight. So his carrying was not seen any more.
    For Waugh this could not even be assessed properly. He shone in the limelight in one saison. But was never picked any more.
     
  20. TRF_Olyy

    TRF_Olyy English Arrogance

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    Weird watching one person have a conversation with themself.
     
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  21. Blachernaecastle

    Blachernaecastle Academy Player

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    That was a good point. Since the 70ties the lead changed between defence and attack. With attackers trying to find space and defenders filling it. Until the advent of the Blitz or umbrella defense it was a lot about handling the drift.

    Fitness improved on a broad level together with more liberal replacement rules.
    So collisions and recycling became more important. With different types of playes required. Stuff like jackling.

    I think it is hard to compare, each episode had their thrills. And none exclusively had exiting games.
     
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