With the first round of the Six Nations behind us, it is perhaps a good time to start speculating on the composition of the team that will take on the Aussies later this year. I base my selection on this past weekend’s performance only, so bear that in mind before you start baying for my blood!
15. Rob Kearney and Stuart Hogg both put up their hands this weekend with strong displays but I reckon that Leigh Halfpenny is still the top fullback in the northern hemisphere. Solid in defence, safe under the high ball, good on the counter attack and he can kick out of hand and off the tee.
14. Although he featured on the other side, I pick Simon Zebo for the right wing. He has the potential to become the next Shane Williams / Bryan Habana like player. With Chris Ashton, Alex Cuthbert, Craig Gilroy and Sean Maitland in the mix, the Lions have plenty to choose from in the wing department.
13. BOD is back. There other candidates of whom Brad Barritt is probably the strongest but I reckon he will carry bags on the tour, whilst Brian O’Driscoll will feature in the tests.
12. The introduction of Billy Twelvetrees have neatly upset the inside centre position. He has the skill, size and speed to match Frans Steyn, Sonny Bill Williams or Jamie Roberts in the 12 channel. Manu Tuilagi was always in contention and I was looking forward to seeing Jamie Roberts in a repeat performance inside BOD but based on this weekend’s performance the 12 jersey goes to Billy Twelvetrees.
11. It is a strange world where the northerners suddenly boast a number of exciting outside backs. Despite being exciting players, Tim Visser and George North have, in my opinion, been edged by Mike Brown. A good turn of pace, and eye for the gap and sound defence characterised his performance against the Scots. I have always been a fan of wingers and fullbacks that can cover the other position too, which adds to Brown’s appeal.
10. Probably the toughest call amongst the backs with both Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell putting in big performances. I have to go with Owen Farrell purely because of his man of the match performance.
9. I am a big Mike Phillips fan, if only for what he does on-field. He is the closest Joost-like scrumhalf I have seen in action since the man himself retired. He is unfortunately prone to indiscipline and tends to be a divisive force off the field. Greig Laidlaw and Connor Murray were adequate in my opinion but in the end I have to go with the steady performance of Ben Youngs.
I am sure you all have your opinions on who should make the BIL squad, so feel free to share!Tweet