Discussion in 'General Rugby Union' started by big ginger 8, Mar 20, 2020.
Why not faz, out of interest? Not that I’m disagreeing, I’m just interested.
Faz is definitely influential, but I’d see him as a great wingman not a formal leader. Captain, FH and goal kicker is a hell of an ask.
But I could see it happening.
Farrell keeping the no.10 shirt for all three tests is by no means certain. If the Lions lose the first test and are outplayed in the process then fly half is an obvious position to change. I can see Farrell starting the first test with Biggar on the bench but it wouldn't surprise me if Russell starts the second test.
As I said in reply to Olyy, Captain, 10 and kicker is a hell of an ask at any time.
On the pitch he’s hotheaded when calm heads are often needed and his dealings with the ref aren’t great. I think he’s good sticking to a plan, but less convinced about him adapting on the hoof and if things aren’t going his way he tries to take on the world by himself. The captain needs to have more of a cold headed detachment.
He’s also a Saracen. It’s not impossible that some other players will carry a lingering resentment towards them and be unable to separate club / player or take the view that the players were complicit in the cheating. Probably a small risk, but something to be considered.
I love what he brings and would have him starting at 10. But I’d much prefer the captain to be in the pack somewhere.
So if we are looking outside of national team captains what other players regularly captain their club side and/or occasionally the national side?
Justin Tipruic is Osprey's captain, I believe Jon Davies has been captain of Scarlets a number of times. Stuart McInally has captained Scotland and Edinburgh. I'm sure there are ones from other countrires.
Henderson and O'Mahony captain their provinces but are unlikely to be in the test team at this stage.
Ireland's official 'leadership group' is made up of Sexton, POM, Henderson, Furlong, Ringrose and Ryan. Stander was in it up until the WC but isn't anymore.
The '09 Lions had PO'C as captain over his national team captain. He was however, already very experienced and a Heineken Cup winning captain.
To sum up to collective brain storming:
The captaincy question is valid because, for different raesons, there are widespread doubts about Alun Wyn Jones assuming this role. Sexton is hardly mentioned. Leaves only Farrell and Hogg. Of the home country incumbents.
A choice of two justifies looking wider. On to names like Itoje and Ryan.
If a captain will be appointed for the tour, only a limited number of players can be assured a starting place: Ryan, Itoje, Farrell, and Hogg. Perhaps George. In Gats' mind there might be more if he has a strong preference. (For Tuilagi there is always the fitness risk.)
This list is short because there is so much competition in certain position: Sinckler versus Furlong, all the (other) excellent wingers and fullbacks. And Curry is only at the moment an automatic starting choice. There are half a dozen guys who might catch up with him after a full international season.
So who of those four in the end? (Or five.)
At that point, I do share the doubts about Farrell (occasional hot-headedness, overwhelmed in a couple of big matches like the WC final.) And Itoje to me is a star player more than a captain.
So valid choices to me would be Ryan and Hogg. With Hoggy checking two boxes more: Been on a Lions tour before (not an essential box.) And (foremost then) more captaincy experience.
Even if he had to "lead from behind."
I still think there's an argument for Itoje. It would be a much discussed call, but he's one of the few guarenteed starters and has definite leadership potential. If it's not AWJ it's got to be him or Faz really, hate to say it but don't see any of the Irish or Scots as options.
Should Ryan not be in the conversation as much as Itoje assuming this is the likely second row partnership? I know he's a couple of years younger (so maybe it's come a wee bit too soon) but know people who thought Andy Farrell could have given him the captaincy after Best given his leadership qualities and captaincy experience at youth level. I still think Gatland will pick AWJ to start and captain the test side.
Apologies if someone has already said this further up the thread, but in an era of leadership groups, will Gatland be too hung up on having an automatic starter as tour captain? He benched his tour captain for the first test in the last tour, although maybe the result of that match makes a case for not doing it again!
This is a really tough call for anyone without inside knowledge. We get to see how captains behave on the field and deal with the media, but we're in the dark about what they're like on the training paddock, their off field leadership, how they read the game and work with the coaches.x
British Irish Lions
Maro for me as tour captain. To line up against Kolisi. Symbolism is important in this Lions series, especially against the Boks and Maro is an almost certain starter because he is a test match animal. He'll be supported by a good leadership group - Faz, AWJ, POM, Ryan, Hogg.
You'd have POM in the squad? I could see him out of the Ireland 23 from whenever the next test windows are.
A year is a long time and his form atm is temporary, but class is permanent. But no doubt for me he is a quality player.
Do some of these arguments apply to itoje too? He definitely gets fired up, though That usually about good things rather than bad things?
yeah the inside knowledge thing makes it tough for us to speculate.
but if he doesn’t play 10 he will probably play 12, don’t you think?
They totally do. Like Farrell let him be a senior lieutenant leading by example rather than burdening him with all the captaincy responsibilities
Now if you wanted a skipper from Sarries.....Barritt is a very experienced captain, highly respected, massively physical and probably a better player than when he was playing for Eng and will also immediately get the culture being from SA. I think my tongue’s firmly in my cheek, but stranger things have happened.....
I agree that on his day POM is a test match animal (and another excellent lineout option) but his problem is that there is a wealth of talent in the back row these days. Ireland, Wales, England and now even Scotland with Ritchie and Watson have players who have been in better form than POM. I also feel that Gatland will give the nod to the likes of Faletau, Tipuric, Navidi and Wainwright for any marginal calls.
Depends on how Manu is doing. Personally I'd be curious to see what a Russell / Farrell 10/12 axis can do in one of the build up games but feel that Gatland will want a bit more meat in there for the tests.
The captaincy question touches a different aspect. Due to the availabilty of Alun Wyn Jones.
The lockdown enforced restriction (or focus) to fitness work alone for a long time is entirely unprecedented.
There is clearly less wear and tear compared to a crowded fixture list of hard fought pro games. And this recuperation could well allow for a couple of careers to be longer. That would put a question mark behind some of the conservative assumptions I made in this regard (which stopped at Courtny Lawes. But excluded, with regret, AWJ, Faletau, POM, Marler, Healey, Owens, and Aki.)
The captaincy debate is two-fold i think.
You can either go for the best off the field motivator and squad captain, as sam warburton was at the last tour, or Owen Farrell is for england now.
Or you can go for the on the pitch leader, who has to be a starter realistically.
For the former, the obvious option would be farrell I think, the way that the Eng players talk about his off the pitch role, it was a huge factor in their run to the final and an integral part of the team. I don't think there is an option like that in Ireland, Wales (maybe tipuric or AWJ?) or Scotland...
The latter has to be a garunteed starter, or at least one which is very,very likely. This leaves us with AWJ (because Gats is coach), Itoje or Faz, but that's it. Even Hogg isn't a garunteed starter, you can make a strong case for Williams instead.
The players that fall into both those categories are AWJ and Faz.
Which one has more of a claim to start, and even be on the tour out of the two?
I have seen nobody suggest that Faz shouldn't be there. The debate over AWJ is ongoing...
Clear enough choice no?
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