Mike Phillips, Will Greenwood & Ugo Monye Have A Go At Picking Their Lions XVs

Selection time.

The British and Irish Lions series against South Africa looks increasingly likely it will go ahead with the two sides set to battle it out in Britain and Ireland and with that, it’s time we started talking about selection decisions.

We’re just three rounds into the Six Nations with two more to go but there have already been some real standout performers. Perhaps more than ever this year the microscope will be put on individual players.

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England and Ireland have both lost two games, with Scotland losing one, while Wales are three out of three but having exactly blown us away with their performances, with circumstance helping them massively in all their victories.

Taking that into account, three former Lions have had a go at picking their selections, starting with 2009 tourist Ugo Monye, via World Rugby’s social media channels.

Monye has selected no fewer than six Welshmen in his team with Alun Wyn Jones named as captain. Two Irish players make his selection in the form of Robbie Henshaw and Jamison Gibson-Park with just four England players named.

At outhalf he’s gone for Scotland’s Finn Russell with Stuart Hogg one of two other Scotsin his team alongside Hamish Watson.

UGO MONYE’S LIONS XV

15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
14. Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales)
13. Henry Slade (England)
12. Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)
11. Anthony Watson (England)
10. Finn Russell (Scotland)
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (Ireland)

1. Wyn Jones (Wales)
2. Ken Owens (Wales)
3. Kyle Sinckler (England)
4. Maro Itoje (England)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales) CAPTAIN
6. Justin Tipuric (Wales)
7. Hamish Watson (Scotland)
8. Toby Faletau (Wales)

Writing for The Telegraph, Will Greenwood, who toured with the Lions in 1997, 2001 and 2005, has gone with a very Irish-heavy selection. Seven Irishmen make his team with Garry Ringrose, Johnny Sexton and Iain Henderson among them.

The former England centre’s Lions XV looks more of a selection of the week with just one England player making his team in Anthony Watson and not one single Scotland player making his team.

WILL GREENWOOD’S LIONS XV

15. Liam Williams (Wales)
14. Anthony Watson (England)
13. Garry Ringrose (Ireland)
12. Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)
11. Josh Adams (Wales)
10. Jonathan Sexton (Ireland)
9 Kieran Hardy (Wales)

1. Wyn Jones (Wales)
2. Ronan Kelleher (Ireland)
3. Tomas Francis (Wales)
4. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
5. Iain Henderson (Ireland)
6. Tadhg Beirne (Ireland)
7. Will Connors (Ireland)
8. Taulupe Faletau (Wales)

2009 and 2013 tourist Mike Phillips on the other hand has gone more with an overall selection to take on the Springboks, with England’s Manu Tuilagi at 12 despite the fact that the centre is currently out injured.

Phillips has gone with five Welsh players in his team for Sky Sports, including Alun Wyn Jones once again as captain, four Ireland players, including young hooker Ronan Kelleher, two Scots including Rusell at ten and four Englishmen including Tuilagi and Kyle Sinckler over Tadhg Furlong at tighthead.

MIKE PHILLIPS’ LIONS XV

15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
14. Anthony Watson (England)
13. Garry Ringrose (Ireland)
12. Manu Tuilagi (England)
11. Josh Adams (Wales)
10. Finn Russell (Scotland)
9. Tomos Williams (Wales)

1. Cian Healy (Ireland)
2. Ronan Kelleher (Ireland)
3. Kyle Sinckler (England)
4. Maro Itoje (England)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales) CAPTAIN
6. Tadhg Beirne (Ireland)
7. Justin Tipuric (Wales)
8. Taulupe Faletau (Wales)