Quite a lot of poor decisions for me - some players picked on previous form and a few decisions that could prove costly. |
I'll start with the captaincy - as a Welshman, i love Sam Warburton, but as a captain im not so sure. He is the ultimate professional and leads by example. However, there is a big difference between getting up at 5am every morning to put some extra gym time in and leading the Lions.
He said himself that he didnt want to captain Wales during the 6 nations so he could concentrate on his game - to me, this was a clear warning sign. Captaining a country at such a young age, with huge pressure and expectancy from the fans must be very difficult. So, they gave the armband to Ryan Jones and Sam was outstanding against Scotland then again against England.
Gatland should have given the captaincy to Brian O'Driscoll - this is his last international tournament and probably his last year in rugby. He is easily one of the best players to ever play rugby in the Northern hemisphere, plus he's got all the experience required to carry the captaincy and not let it affect his game.
So theres the first mistake. Secondly, Matt Stevens. The guy who wasnt available for the last Lions tour for some reason i cant remember........OH WAIT!, thats right!, he was banned for cocaine use!. The guy who hasnt played International rugby for over a year and the guy who is generally just a terrible prop. Dont get me wrong, he had a lot of promise earlier in his career, but not anymore. This is easily the most bizarre decision Gatland has made.
Next, he is taken 3 scrum-halves but only two 10's?. Also, the 10's they have inspire no confidence in me : Sexton?, very hit and miss. Can be outstanding but, when things dont go his way, he's very capable of going missing during matches. Owen Farrell?, no chance. For me, he is definitely a future Lion and i have no doubt he will get in at least the next two squads in 2017 and 2021, but this tour is WAY too early for him. Hes a good kicker, but his contribution at 10 on the pitch and his ability to control a game are not there yet. I would be much more confident with either a) Jonny Wilkinson or b) the most consistent 10 at the 6 nations this year, Dan Biggar, in the squad.
There are other strange decisions that i wont waffle on about (Maitland over Ashton? Murray over Laidlaw? ,Hartley over Best?, Parling over Launchbury?) but this is obviously the squad they are happy with. Its going to be a tough tour i think, but we'll see what happens on the 1st of June.
Edited by Ultrasoundwave at 09:22:57 01-05-2013