Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lions Selector: Centres

In International rugby there is little room for sentiment. It is a fast, strong, unforgiving world where weakness, no matter how small, is identified and exploited. Never is this more evident than on a Lions tour; a gruelling test of skill, fitness and mentality that only the great will experience and the elite relish.
There is no doubt that, over the years, Brian O’Driscoll has been one of the elite. He is a man steel resolve and in both body and brain he is a natural rugby player. However, it is becoming evident that the body of the great BOD is not what it once was. A career of total commitment has taken it’s toll and with that in mind the question remains; Does O'Driscoll stay at home? If he doesn't, no Irish centres make my squad but experience goes along way with the Lions and it maybe enough for O'Driscoll.
Samoan sledgehammer Manu Tuilagi would miss out on my trip to Oz. Though, I imagine, Gatland will welcome him into the fold, being a fan of crash and bash inside centres. Instead I opt for the more subtle skills of Billy Twelvetrees from England. The aggressive defence of Brad Barritt maybe enough to warrant his place too, despite the detractors questioning ability with the ball in hand.

Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies are sure fire squad members and possible test starters. I'd be very surprised if Gatland didn't start with Dr. Roberts, whilst Jon "Foxy" Davies was the only Northern Hemisphere player to break into the World team of the year. Davies' passing ability has faced much scrutiny of late, but there is little doubt of his running with angles a protractor couldn't match. But, what of James Hook? The versatility of the French based Welshman could see him into the 37 strong pride as a utility back, though making the test XV is unlikely.
Scotland's depth in this area is equal to that of a puddle in summer. However, Edinburgh centre Matt Scott is a 12 time international, bright, young thing and a Lions call up as a midweek player would be a warranted experience for the former outside half, but it's the inclusion of one of the greatest players of his generation that we wait on with bated breath.

My Generation - The Who

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