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but Richard Hibbard's power, experience and relationship with fellow Osprey, Adam Guess Belt Mens
If Warburton is struggling there will be implications for the rest of back row selection. In order to assist the skipper, I guess Gatland will play someone whose game enhances the captain's. But should Tom Croft be left out? He is in the form to win a test but Dan Lydiate's constant tackling could liberate Warburton to play his game to best effect.
The gasp was audible; Sunday morning in the refined old world atmosphere of the Royal Automobile Club in Sydney and Andy Irvine read the Lions team sheet out, "Shane Williams." I swear he looked sheepish as he named the two years internationally retired Welsh legend's name.
, Do you think the Lions' tour matches have given them enough preparation before the first test? I think they may be in for a bit of a shock when they collide with Australia on Saturday!
Yet twenty four hours after the astonishing selection the Lions doctor, James Robson, was scotching the idea that the physicality of the game was at an uncontrollable, runaway level. The good doctor (whose daughter, Emma will be 15 on the day of the first test Happy Birthday, Emma) made a few telling points. Firstly that the medical team are working no harder in Australia than they did in South Africa. A niggle suffered by a player whose team perform weekly is easier to treat than one whose role might be to back up a doubtful first team starter. The back up ends up running himself into the ground and if the first choice is injured, finds himself in no position to deliver a test standard effort come the weekend.
The hooking position is another conundrum with none of the hookers finding their range apart from Tom Youngs on Saturday. But he did not try and throw long and that is his Achilles Heel. There is a lot of support for Youngs from the camp followers and I hear Clive Woodward Hermes Belt For Cheap
The rest of the back line looks after itself. It is up front where selection could play a gigantic role in whether the Lions are leading or chasing come the second test.
Is Warburton ready to lead the Lions? We will not know until after the match Gucci Belt Uk
O' Driscoll, like Barritt on Tuesday, should defend the 13 channel where his experience has more chance of checking the Wallabies out wide. In attack he can move to 12 and create for Davies outside him. George North is reported to be in with a "great chance" of making the test which would do something to offset the loss of Roberts's power.
The half full glass says power, individual excellence and extra game time compared to the Wallabies will see them home; the half Ferragamo Belt Replica empty Barnes glass keeps muttering "they haven't played a Super 15 team at even half strength yet and defensively they are struggling and the breakdown is an issue".
given the non chances for Justin Tipuric and Sean O' Brien to shine against meaningful opposition until Tuesday's game.
There is a nagging fear and on a cold night in Canberra I cannot shake it off.
, What impact do you expect Shane Williams will have on the young players in the Lions squad?STUART REPLIES: If Shane handles the ominous Heny Speight he will have set a magnificent example but if the great Welsh winger gets out of Canberra with honour in tact that'll do nicely.
These choices are terribly difficult and the plus side is that most of the back row is in good nick but are the Lions in good enough form all round to prevail?
STUART REPLIES: No, I do not but it's better than Australia's preparation.
Jones makes him the man that should begin the series.
Mako Vunipola has been superb in the loose but his scrum is suspect and his inexperience could become an exploitable weakness. Bring him on to change the game with twenty left when legs are going wobbly and the game is breaking up but do not start with him and allow the Australian team a soft lead via a few set piece penalties. Alex Corbisiero is the man to start.
His selection for Tuesday's game against the Brumbies (they appeared very impressive in training Monday afternoon) was the crowning moment of the 'injury crisis' story that has been simmering away.
DilemmaIf there are major selection headaches in the front row, there is a case of migraine for Warren Gatland in the back row. The centre of the dilemma is Sam Warburton. A notable rugby figure of great renown said to me during the Brumbies training run, "Hooper will be a second ahead of him every time." The Lions, uncertain to date at the breakdown, will be in trouble should this prophecy be fulfilled.
Some of the perceived niggles are no more than flat batteries. Sean Maitland is a case in point: the bloke needs a rest. In these circumstances the strange story of Shane Williams reads a little less surreal. A little.
By the time some of you read this column the match with the Brumbies will be over. The biggest question for the Lions generally will be whether they can solve the conundrum of their inadequate wide channel defence. They have gone to the States and a recuperating Brad Barritt for the answer.
Tuesday night's game will be thrilling for the tabloid and purist fans for myriad reasons. Don't obsess solely on tests. This brings me finally back to the first test! James O' Connor plays fly half and the Lions win.
He and Billy Twelvetrees combined superbly for England against Scotland although this Brumbies team even missing half their personnel appear a tougher prospect than Scotland. On Saturday, with Jamie Roberts "a grave doubt" to quote the doctor on Monday, the centre pairing must be Brian O' Driscoll and Jonathan Davies. The Welshman has played his way ahead of Manu Tuilagi despite the Englishman being a more like for like replacement should Roberts miss out.
A nagging fear
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