Lions talk - SA's Gary Gold gets involved

Discussion in '2017 British & Irish Lions Tour' started by An Tarbh, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. An Tarbh

    An Tarbh Guest

    Lions talk - SA's Gary Gold gets involved

    The Lions is a constant if rather low-wattage theme of this RBS 6 Nations; basically, you won't catch an Irish, Scottish, English or Welsh playing saying much beyond the obvious about hoping to make the squad but it is there.

    I really do doubt the players think of it all that much, but the thing is, the media love a bit of it. Why? Because it's speculation that you can't be proved wrong about until everybody's forgotten what you said in the first place? Bring it on!

    Oddly enough, the traditional silence on the subject from the people likely to be involved hasn't stopped South Africa forwards coach Gary Gold sticking his oar in on Lions' selection even at this early stage.

    Asked by South African newspaper Die Burger Gold said: "I would agree most of the Lions players would come from within Ireland and Wales' ranks. There are also individuals in the England and Scotland teams that can bolster the squad.

    "Paul O'Connell may be the captain. He will definitely make Ireland's side and forms a formidable lock pairing with Donncha O'Callaghan."

    On the half-backs, he had this to say: "They also have a lot of options at half-back. I have a high regard for Dwayne Peel, but expect Mike Blair to start. Ronan O'Gara will probably be used at fly-half due to his experience. I also rate James Hook very highly."

    Starting with the half-backs, you have to wonder if he got to see much Six Nations rugby this weekend. Peel got on for 20 minutes for Wales against Scotland but is well down the pecking order there and barely got into the match-day 22 – only being called up after an injury to Gareth Cooper. Blair looked well short of his best in the same match. The man in pole position is, of course, Welsh Grand Slam winning number nine Mike Phillips.

    As for out-half, Stephen Jones is probably just about the favourite ahead of O'Gara, purely on the basis that he can pull the strings fairly well but also has a harder edge to his game – South Africa will be tough. He's also Phillips usual partner at Wales.

    "On the other hand, he didn't play terribly well against Scotland and might need to show a little form, particularly with Llanelli doing nothing in the Heineken Cup. It's a very tight call though and if Danny Cipriani so much as knocks over a regulation penalty in Lions' Red, there'll also be a clamour for him to get the Test 10 shirt from the usual suspects in the UK – though he is perhaps more likely to end up as a utility back. Hook could do with getting selected ahead of Stephen Jones in the Welsh set-up at this stage.

    As for the captaincy, there is plenty of merit in the idea of having a second-row or back-row as captain in the trenches against South Africa – outside-centre could be a tough spot to lead from in a three test series. O'Driscoll's desire to take on the role for a second time is also open to question.

    From England and Scotland, I don't believe Mike Blair is a runner, and on the basis that he can't be sure of his place on the plane let alone the Test squad, neither is Steve Borthwick. Ryan Jones of Wales certainly is, though, and whichever of he and O'Connell puts in a dominant display in their clash on the final weekend will have made a significant statement.

    RTÉ Sport
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  3. An Tarbh

    An Tarbh Guest

    there should be a slight health warning involved here as Cole was advocating that Shane Horgan start last weekend instead of Tommy Bowe.
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