Lions must make the right picks

Sat, 29 Dec 2012 09:59
Large gatland farrell rowntree ho Large rob howley points 630 Large graham rowntree hands on 2 Large howley gatland rowntree fa2 Large graham rowntree hands on he Large graham rowntree gestures 63

Rob Howley and Graham Rowntree have pinpointed selection as the key to series success in Australia next year.

Rob Howley and Graham Rowntree have pinpointed selection as the key to series success in Australia next year.

Howley and Rowntree will head Down Under as part of Warren Gatland's backroom staff and both men will have a huge say on who's on the plane next May.

The pair joined Gatland, Andy Farrell and Andy Irvine in picking a provisional squad in Edinburgh earlier this month and they know it's an area of their preparation they simply have to get right if they are to topple the Wallabies in their own backyard.

The first two weeks that we get together is obviously the time to establish a style of play. For four countries to come together

"The one thing we have to get right over the next three or four months is selection," said Howley, who knows the importance of picking both the right initial squad and then the right Test team.

"The key to international games, and particularly with the Lions, is getting selection right.

"We all talk about form and confidence and we talk about class. We lost the series in 2009 so we obviously got selection wrong. Ultimately, that's key to the foundations of the tour.

"Creating a strong foundation is vital and momentum is important with the Lions. The whole focus is obviously on the Test series but the building blocks to that are the midweek games."

December's post-November internationals selection meeting took around three hours such is the competition for places from all four Home Unions.

Forwards coach Rowntree admits the discussions were far from straightforward, even with four months still to go before the final call has to be made.

"In my area, the back row options alone took an hour. We're very strong there," said Rowntree.

"That's the beauty of the Home Unions: we've had our disappointments over the past year, particularly in the autumn series, but we've got an exceptional player base.

"We've got some great players that we can choose from and trying to narrow them down to a workable group is going to be a challenge for us.

"But as Rob says, we've got to get it right.

"We haven't won a series since 1997. That's not being negative, it's a fact, and it's a real driving force.

"I think now's probably the best chance we've got of doing it with this group of players. We have to deliver."

Source: lionsrugby.com

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 01 July 2016
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Suva
Brumbies v Reds 09h40 Canberra
EP Kings v Griquas 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Blue Bulls v Boland 17h00 Loftus Versfeld
Sat, 02 July 2016
Sunwolves v Waratahs 05h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Blues 07h35 Wellington
Rebels v Stormers 09h40 Melbourne
Free State Cheetahs v Falcons 10h05 Bloemfontein
Golden Lions v Griffons 12h05 Johannesburg
Western Province v Eagles 13h00 Newlands
Namibia v Border 13h00 Windhoek
Cheetahs v Force 13h00 Bloemfontein
Sharks v Leopards 15h00 Durban
Kings v Highlanders 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Lions v Sharks 17h10 Johannesburg
Jaguares v Bulls 21h40 Buenos Aires
B&I LIONS
MORE LOGS