Gday all, thought I would quickly have a look at the AB's stats for 2016 and it quickly became apparent how lopsided games with Peyper have been. Stats speak for themselves. Hopefully no errors, stats taken from NZ Herald site.
Whom do the 'fern see as the respective best players for the Lions...?
Considering the AB's lineup vs Ireland on the weekend is probably our #1 lineup incl. Kaino and Crotty or SBW for Fekitoa - ALB stays in. Maybe Milner-Skudder for Dagg, maybe not. Its shaping to be a hell of a series...
Personally, I don't think the Lions will be lucky enough to have all their best players available by the 1st test...they're going to be seriously battered by the time they get to the AB's
Heres a most of a XV that have impressed me...
2 Best or Hartley
4, 5 from: Donnacha Ryan, Devon Toner, Courtney Lawes, (Marco Itoje will get in there somewhere) Irish Locks impressed me, they mostly held their own ball, and matched it well enough with Whitelock and Retallick in key locking areas. Retallick is the man because he just offers all the extras - can he start taking shots at goal ala John Eales?
6 Robshaw maybe
7 O'Brien (Warburton is overrated - O'Brien just wants to mix it with the AB's)
9 Conor Murray
11 North (looked good until injured in 2nd test?)
I reckon the AB's will have parity in the Front Rows, advantage in Locks, maybe slight disadvantage in back row - depending on how Cane, Kaino, Read hold up.
Pretty even in 9 & 10, thank god A.Smith has a super season to sort his shit out.
Wings & Midfield even. I like the Crotty/ALB combo. How will SBW go outside Barrett?
Ben Smith > than anything the B&I have.
We won't have that advantage of going boom with 20min to go. We'll have to be up for it from 1st minute.
One more time out for the First XV? Or tinkering around the edges?
I'm inclined to hope for the former.
Expect TJP to start.
How is Cane's ankle? So does Todd start? Ardie looked handy in his cameo.
JK back at 6 surely.
Crotty back and available?
BFA was apparently knocked. His availability or otherwise could shake up the back three. Dagg would have to be 15 but what yo do on the wings in that eventuality?
Not going to posit a team until we know who is available. Which will make it difficult for Shag not havIng suitable guidance ... but am sure he'll manage.
WRT France. Who has watched them? I didn't take all that much notice of the game this morning but it was obviously close. How ate they looking as a team.
I did think they blew that last play (despite Hometown refusing to award a penalty). If they were going to go for the dg they should have worked the pick and go to the posts a bit more rather than trying from 35m out.
Well ... watching BeIN Sport's round up of the Test matches from overnight it seems green is the new black.
Having just thrashed Canada all they have to do is turn up next week ...
Ok that's a little overstated but it will be a fascinating clash.
So what do the good guys do to fix up the fuck up from Soldier Field?
My conjecture as to selections as follows.
Don't expect too many surprises. Mainly the bench mix.
Not 100% sure on injuries so let me know if I'm wrong.
The top four on rotation. LH starting option open due to Moody's propensity to give away penalties. Mind you it might be good to have the option to drag the guy should a YC loom.
Franks to start as Charlie is a better impact benchie.
Coles starting. Taylor bench. Duh.
BBBR and Barrett.
JK, Cane, Read.
The interest for me is around the mix on the bench to cover locks and loosie.
Given the JK experiment did not go 100% to plan I'd be tempted to have a lock option. Either Paddy T - who would have benefitted from a couple of games in a row - or Luatua over Squire. You guys who watched v Italy will have to tell us Aus based Ferners if eithef of those is an option.
I expect Ardie as back up 7.
I'd pick Smith on reputation. How did he look last night? Regardless AS and TJP in the XXXIII.
Ioane Jr would be my choice.