Wales set for Lions share?

Tue, 30 Apr 2013 07:21
Large leigh halfpenny   sam warbu

Wales are set to have their largest share of a British and Irish Lions squad in nearly 40 years when coach Warren Gatland unveils his tour party for Australia.

Wales are set to have their largest share of a British and Irish Lions squad in nearly 40 years when coach Warren Gatland unveils his tour party for Australia.

Cardiff Blues flank Sam Warburton led Wales to a World Cup semifinal two years ago only to be sent-off in a heart-breaking defeat by France in Auckland.

If he has in fact seen off leadership challenges from former Lions captain and Ireland great Brian O'Driscoll, as well as the likes of England skipper Chris Robshaw, who may yet miss out completely such is the competition for back-row places, Warburton would be Wales' youngest Lions' tour captain at the age of 24.

Six Nations Grand Slam champions Wales could have at least 15 players in what is set to be a 38-man squad.

The last Welshman to lead the Lions from the outset of a tour was fly-half Phil Bennett in New Zealand in 1977, with the stand-off one of 16 players from the principality in a squad beaten 3-1 in a four-Test series by the All Blacks.

One intriguing aspect of the build-up to Gatland's announcement is the difficulty pundits and fans alike have had in naming players guaranteed to start in the Test side.

If the identity of the likely loose trio has provoked most debate, front-row combinations have also been much discussed although it appears that England's Dan Cole, Ireland's Cian Healy, Wales' Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones have all done enough to warrant selection.

Behind the scrum, unless Gatland completely changes his previously stated policy, it appears there will be no third Lions tour for Jonny Wilkinson despite the England World Cup-winner's flyhalf masterclass when kicking all of Toulon's points in a 24-12 European Cup semifinal win at Twickenham on Sunday over a Saracens side featuring current Red Rose No.10 Owen Farrell.

But immediately after the match, the 33-year-old Wilkinson was the first to say the likes of Farrell and Ireland's Jonathan Sexton should be selected ahead of him.

Gatland has indicated he won't pick French-based players for the Lions as he wants all his squad to depart together ahead of the tour opener against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1 - when Wilkinson could be required by Toulon if they qualify for France's domestic Top 14 final on the same day.

The Lions will be seeking a first series win since triumphing in South Africa in 1997, having lost 2-1 on their last visit to Australia 12 years ago when Gatland's fellow New Zealander Graham Henry, the man behind the All Blacks' 2011 World Cup victory, was in charge of the combined side.

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 18 February 2018
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Ricoh Arena
Dragons v Treviso 15h30 Rodney Parade
Mon, 19 February 2018
NMMU-Madibaz v Wits 14h45 Port Elizabeth
Maties v CUT-Ixias 16h30 Cape Town
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 16h30 Cape Town
NWU-Pukke v UJ 17h00 Potchefstroom
Fri, 23 February 2018
Dragons v Edinburgh 22h00 Rodney Parade
Highlanders v Blues 06h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Reds 08h45 Melbourne
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 19h00 Irish Independent Park
Leinster v Kings 19h35 RDS
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
France v Italy 20h00 Paris
Sat, 24 February 2018
Sunwolves v Brumbies 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Chiefs 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Stormers 08h45 Allianz Park
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Bath v Sale Sharks 12h30 Recreation Ground
Lions v Jaguares 13h05 Johannesburg
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Ireland v Wales 14h15 Aviva Stadium
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Bulls v Hurricanes 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
B&I Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Australia 0 0 0 0 0
Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0
NSW-Queensland 0 0 0 0 0
Blues 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
NZ Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Maori All Blacks 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0