B&I LIONS RACE: Roses are blooming

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 12:48

OPINION: The famous rugby365 Team of the Week will continue to focus on the four Home Unions as the British and Irish Lions tour draws ever closer.

Predictably Wales and England dominate our famous weekly selection - providing 13 members of our starting XV and another 11 in our back-up squad.

Wales may have edged England in our first-choice selection, seven to six, but it is the eight bubbling that means 14 of the English starting XV are to found in our selection.

Ireland fill the two remaining spots in our first-choice selection.

Apart from England (eight) and Wales (three), Scotland (three) and Ireland (one) are also represented in our back-up squad.

Five players have retained their places this week - centre Owen Farrell (England), flank Justin Tipuric (Wales), lock Joe Launchbury (England), along with props Tadhg Furlong (Ireland) and Joe Marler (England).

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

15 - Mike Brown (England):
He again showed how dangerous he is on attack, but it is the balance in his game that makes him stand out.
Bubbling under: Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)

14 - George North (Wales):
Showed he is far from being past his best. Silenced more than just a few critics.
Bubbling under: Jack Nowell (England)

13 - Jonathan Joseph (England):
One of many English players thriving under the expert tutelage if Eddie Jones.
Bubbling under: Huw Jones (Scotland)

12 - Owen Farrell (England):
Central to the success of the England backline.
Bubbling under: Scott Williams (Wales)

11 - Simon Zebo (Ireland):
Sometimes, even in a losing cause, a player produces a performance you simply can't ignore.
Bubbling under: Tim Visser (Scotland)

10 - Dan Biggar (Wales):
Was a tough choice, but on the weekend he edged his rivals with better consistency.
Bubbling under: George Ford (England)

9 - Rhys Webb (Wales):
Showed the value of a scrumhalf if a team hopes to get its backline going.
Bubbling under: Ben Youngs (England)

8 - Ross Moriarty (Wales):
Some loose forwards are strong ball carriers, others are big defenders. He can do both in a way that contributes to a winning cause.
Bubbling under: Nathan Hughes (England)

7 - Justin Tipuric (Wales):
Played like a man with a point to prove. We are sure the B&I Lions coaches would have noticed.
Bubbling under: James Haskell (England)

6 - Maro Itoje (England):
A masterstroke of Eddie Jones to move him to the side of the scrum.
Bubbling under: Sam Warburton (Wales)

5 - Alun Wyn Jones (Wales):
The veteran second row forward will be invaluable to the B&I Lions in New Zealand.
Bubbling under: Courtney Lawes (England)

4 - Joe Launchbury (England):
The muscle in an impressive England pack.
Bubbling under: Donnacha Ryan (Ireland)

3 - Tadhg Furlong (Ireland):
He has certainly chosen the right time to have a breakout season.
Bubbling under: Dan Cole (England)

2 - Ken Owens (Wales):
Gives new meaning to workhorse.
Bubbling under: Jamie George (England)

1 - Joe Marler (England):
He has had his ups down. The curve is going up drastically right now.
Bubbling under: Gordon Reid (Scotland)

Our individual selections:

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Mike Brown, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Jamie George, 1 Gordon Reid.

Warren Fortune XV: 15 Mike Brown, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 George Ford, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Nathan Hughes,7 James Haskell, 6 Sam Warburton, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jamie George, 1 Joe Marler.
 
Leezil Hendricks XV: 15 Mike Brown, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Gordon Reid.

Tauriq Ebrahim XV: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 James Haskell, 6 Sam Warburton, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gordon Reid.

Ronan Calvert: 15 Mike Brown, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Sam Warburton, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Christiaan Stander, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Joe Marler.

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Mike Brown, 14 George North, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Joe Marler.

Previous selections:

B&I LIONS TEAM OF THE WEEK - ROUND THREE: 15 Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), 14 Tommy Seymour (Scotland), 13 Huw Jones (Scotland), 12 Owen Farrell (England), 11 Tim Visser (Scotland), 10 Jonathan Sexton (Ireland), 9 Conor Murray (Ireland), 8 Jamie Heaslip (Ireland), 7 Justin Tipuric (Wales), 6 Christiaan Stander (Ireland), 5 Jonny Gray (Scotland), 4 Joe Launchbury (England), 3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 2 Rory Best (Ireland), 1 Joe Marler (England).

B&I LIONS TEAM OF THE WEEK - ROUND TWO: 15 Stuart Hogg (Scotland), 14 Keith Earls (Ireland), 13 Huw Jones (Scotland), 12 Owen Farrell (England), 11 Liam Williams (Wales), 10 Paddy Jackson (Ireland), 9 Rhys Webb (Wales), 8 Josh Strauss (Scotland), 7 Justin Tipuric (Wales), 6 Christiaan Stander (Ireland), 5 Courtney Lawes (England), 4 Joe Launchbury (England), 3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 2 Niall Scannell (Ireland), 1 Joe Marler (England).

B&I LIONS TEAM OF THE WEEK - ROUND ONE: 15 Stuart Hogg (Scotland), 14 George North (Wales), 13 Jonathan Davies (Wales), 12 Owen Farrell (England), 11 Liam Williams (Wales), 10 Paddy Jackson (Ireland), 9 Greig Laidlaw (Scotland), 8 Josh Strauss (Scotland), 7 Hamish Watson (Scotland), 6 Christiaan Stander (Ireland), 5 Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), 4 Richie Gray (Scotland), 3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 2 Rory Best (Ireland), 1 Jack McGrath (Ireland).

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