Picking A Current British & Irish Lions Starting XV
What would happen if the British and Irish Lions toured this summer, instead of last? How different would the starting XV look? A lot different if you ask us.
This time last year the Lions were getting ready for the all important 2nd Test in Wellington, that proved to be a turning moment in the series. The Lions won that game and went on to draw in the decider at Eden Park, resulting in a tied series.
Yesterday we had a look at what the squad might have looked like if the tour took place this summer, not let’s take a look at the starting XV. Call us biased, but things would have been a lot greener, following Ireland’s success this season.
1. Cian Healy (Ireland)
The Irish prop has just had arguably his best season as a professional, having overcome his horrid spell of injury. On current form we reckon he’d just about pip Mako Vunipola but it would be a really close call.
2. Jamie George (England)
With no real outstanding candidates at hooker, we can’t see past George retaining the Test jersey he held all last summer.
3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
The Leinster and Ireland prop is probably even better this year than he was last summer. Probably the best tighthead in the world right now.
4. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
His experience proved to be vital last summer and there’s no doubt he’d be there again this year is the Lions were touring.
5. James Ryan (Ireland)
The 21-year-old has take the rugby world by storm, having only lost one game all season. With Maro Itoje not in form, Ryan would likely get the nod over the Englishman.
6. Peter O’Mahony (Ireland, Captain)
Captain in the 1st Test, he was perhaps unlucky to miss out on the remaining two. O’Mahony has been in super form in recent weeks and would just probably just about pip teammate CJ Stander.
7. Dan Leavy (Ireland)
With Sean O’Brien and Sam Warburton missing most of the season through injury, Leavy is the form openside in Europe right now. Lions duty is a big step up, but so was this year’s Six Nations – and we all know how that turned out.
8. Taulupe Faletau (Wales)
One of the star performers last summer, we simply cannot leave the Welshman out.
9. Conor Murray (Ireland)
No one comes close to taking the nine jersey of Murray. Still number one by some distance.
10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)
Worked really well with Farrell last summer and has just had one of his best seasons for club and country.
11. Elliot Daly (England)
Another man that starred last summer. His monster boot and incredible consistency no matter where you play him, makes him one of the first names on the team sheet.
12. Owen Farrell (England)
Yes is probably is a better ten but you simply cannot leave him or Sexton out.
13. Garry Ringrose (Ireland)
With no Jonathan Davies the Lions would need another creative outside centre that can get things moving. He may not have Davies’ power, but makes up for it with his incredible footwork.
14. Keith Earls (Ireland)
Has been so consistent this year, and always turns it on against top opposition.
15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
Would have started last year if he didn’t pick up that freak eye injury after clashing with Conor Murray. Still one of the best fullbacks in the world.