B&I LIONS RACE: Where the Celts rule

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 21:24

OPINION: In this year when the British and Irish Lions go on tour, we will focus on the four Home Unions when selecting the famous rugby365 Team of the Week.

We will reveal the players that most impressed us, as we play selectors and name the rugby365 B&I Lions team.

In our first instalment, two of the Celtic nations completely dominate selections.

There are five each from Scotland Ireland in our starting XV, following their thrilling encounter at Murrayfield at the weekend.
Wales provide another four starters and England provide just one member of our first-choice selection.

There is further award for Scotland in our back-up squad, as they have six players bubbling under.

England get some reward here, with five players in our back-up squad - followed by Wales (three) and Ireland (one).

B&I LIONS TEAM OF THE WEEK - ROUND ONE:

15 - Stuart Hogg (Scotland):
Perhaps not perfect - given he missed a couple of tackles and coughed up the ball on occasion - but still streets ahead of the next best. He was particularly devastating on the attack.
Bubbling under: Mike Brown (England)

14 - George North (Wales):
Despite all his concussion issues, he remains fearless and a constant threat.
Bubbling under: Sean Maitland (Scotland)

13 - Jonathan Davies (Wales):
The number of defenders he beat and clean breaks he made is what sets him apart from his rivals.
Bubbling under: Huw Jones (Scotland)

12 - Owen Farrell (England):
Not just a powerful runner and a solid defender, but also winning some crucial turnovers.
Bubbling under: Alex Dunbar (Scotland)

11 - Liam Williams (Wales):
While he may have the occasional soft moment on defence, he remains a very special player on attack.
Bubbling under: Elliot Daly (England)

10 - Paddy Jackson (Ireland):
He had an iffy first half, but once he settled down he got his team back in the game with a classic flyhalf masterclass.
Bubbling under: Finn Russell (Scotland)

9 - Greig Laidlaw (Scotland):
Tough call and a huge debate, but Laidlaw added a 100 percent kicking record to all the other aspects of his game.
Bubbling under: Conor Murray (Ireland)

8 - Josh Strauss (Scotland):
Huge workrate, especially on defence, that contributed significantly to his team's victory.
Bubbling under: Nathan Hughes (England)

7 - Hamish Watson (Scotland):
He carried as much as any other No.7, but made more than double the number of tackles than his rivals did.
Bubbling under: Justin Tipuric (Wales)

6 - Christiaan Stander (Ireland):
When you carried the ball 24 times in a game, made plenty of metres, made 11 tackles, won a few turnovers and a handful of line-outs, you had a good day at the office.
Bubbling under: Sam Warburton (Wales)

5 - Alun Wyn Jones (Wales):
The veteran is still strong, like a steam engine.
Bubbling under: Jonny Gray (Scotland)

4 - Richie Gray (Scotland):
Another player who excelled in all aspects of his game.
Bubbling under: Joe Launchbury (England)

3 - Tadhg Furlong (Ireland):
He has come along in leaps and bounds in the last year or so.
Bubbling under: Samson Lee (Wales)

2 - Rory Best (Ireland):
Another veteran that is just not slowing down.
Bubbling under: Ross Ford (Scotland)

1 - Jack McGrath (Ireland):
He does a lot more than just scrum.
Bubbling under: Joe Marler (England)

Our individual selections:

Ronan Calvert XV: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 George North, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Sam Warburton, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Joe Marler.

Warren Fortune XV: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Christiaan Stander, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best, 1 Jack McGrath.

Tauriq Ebrahim XV: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Greig Laidlaw,  8 Josh Strauss, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Christiaan Stander, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best, 1 Jack McGrath.

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Christiaan Stander, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Rory Best, 1 Jack McGrath.

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Christiaan Stander, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Jack McGrath.

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