Welsh to get the Lions' share

Sun, 17 Mar 2013 17:39
Large adam jones   gethin jenkins Large leigh halfpenny   sam warbu Large wales celebrate 6n win Large wales celebrate 6n win2 Large alex cuthbert wales v eng

Wales are set to be the dominant nation when coach Warren Gatland announces his squad next month for the B&I Lions tour.

Wales are set to be the dominant nation when coach Warren Gatland announces his squad next month for the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia after deservedly retaining their Six Nations title.

A tournament that started promisingly, before sagging badly in the middle, finished with a flourish as Wales routed England by a record 30-3 at the Millennium Stadium at the weekend to deny the visitors both the Grand Slam and the consolation of the Championship trophy.

But for the opening 43 minutes against Ireland, where they conceded three tries, Wales could have been looking at back-to-back Grand Slams.

However, they made amends by not conceding a try in their next four matches.

Wales came into the tournament on a run of eight straight defeats, a testament to their poor record against Southern Hemisphere nations that could prove costly at the 2015 World Cup.

But under the closed roof of the Millennium Stadium they dispatched England with a fast and powerful running game that should be suited to the hard-pitch conditions the Lions are likely to encounter in Australia in June.

Back row forwards Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric combined splendidly and not even England captain Chris Robshaw, manful though he was, could repel their efforts in an area that could provide Kiwi coach Gatland with a real selection headache.

Leigh Halfpenny, wonderfully secure in defence, as well as a reliable goal-kicker, put himself in pole position to be the Lions' full-back while wings George North and Alex Cuthbert, whose two tries ended England's resistance, also advanced their tour claims.

Meanwhile the way Wales props Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones monstered England at the scrum will not have gone unnoticed by Gatland, seconded to the Lions from his 'day job' as Wales boss.

Interim Wales head coach Rob Howley, a former Wales and Lions scrumhalf, said: "As a player you know coming into a Championship in a Lions year how important your performances are going to be."

"They are under the microscope throughout the Championship and they performed as you would expect, they turned up."

Before this tournament started, Jonathan Sexton was regarded as the Lions' flyhalf in waiting but the No.10 is one of several sidelined Ireland players on a long injury list that hampered his side's Six Nations chances.

Scotland's Greig Laidlaw, who can play at both scrumhalf and flyhalf, could find himself selected for his versatility - a useful trait on a Lions trip.

With Warburton reluctant to resume the Wales captaincy, the question of who should lead the Lions against the Wallabies remains a talking point.

Ireland great Brian O'Driscoll, despite nearing the end of his career, remains in contention for the honour and a place as a starting centre.

Despite their Welsh chastisement, England coach Stuart Lancaster is still expecting to lose a number of his youthful Red Rose brigade to Lions duty as he continues to build towards the 2015 World Cup on home soil.

"We've got some good players to come back into the equation and a mid-year tour [to Argentina] to look forward to while the rest of our players go away with the British Lions," he said.

Certainly the likes of Owen Farrell, Manu Tuilagi, Geoff Parling and Joe Launchbury, as well as Robshaw, have played themselves into Tour contention during the tournament.

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 26 August 2016
Golden Lions v Boland 15h00 Johannesburg
Pumas v Griquas 17h10 Kimberley
Sat, 27 August 2016
New Zealand v Australia 07h35 Wellington
EP Kings v Western Province 14h00 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Blue Bulls 16h10 Durban
Argentina v South Africa 19h40 Salta
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 20 August 2016
South Africa v Argentina 30 | 23
Golden Lions v Griquas 24 | 30
Australia v New Zealand 8 | 42
Fri, 19 August 2016
Blue Bulls v EP Kings 49 | 35
Western Province v Free State Cheetahs 25 | 32
Boland v Sharks 20 | 41
Sat, 13 August 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 43 | 20
Golden Lions v Pumas 68 | 26
Fri, 12 August 2016
Sharks v Griquas 46 | 24
EP Kings v Boland 10 | 28
Sat, 06 August 2016
Boland v Free State Cheetahs 16 | 44
Hurricanes v Lions 20 | 3
Fri, 05 August 2016
Pumas v Sharks 10 | 33
Blue Bulls v Western Province 45 | 26
Sat, 30 July 2016
Lions v Highlanders 42 | 30
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 5 5 0 132 10
Wales 5 3 1 1 7
Ireland 5 2 1 2 5
Scotland 5 2 0 3 4
France 5 2 0 3 4
Italy 5 0 0 5 0