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
Mon, 20 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 14h45 Bloemfontein
TUT v WSU 16h30 Pretoria
UWC v Rhodes 16h30 Cape Town
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16h30 Durban
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 16h30 Stellenbosch
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Potchefstroom
UJ v UP-Tuks 17h00 Johannesburg
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 08h45 Melbourne
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
B&I LIONS
MORE LOGS