Friday, June 7, 2013

Lions team for the Reds, Irish team for the USA

I got to see the Lions Force match last night, and dodgy tackling and defence aside, there are a few players in very good form. SOB was in sparkling form , Vunipola, Bowe, Heaslip, Tualagi, Sexton, BOD – all showed they are ready to start. Helays up and down week has ended sadly cleared of biting, but out of the tour injured. What impressed me about the match was the effort the Lions are putting in to team work – most of the tries were from putting other players into space, and they all make a point of acknowledging good play. And the after match camaraderie between the Force and the Lions, a full stadium – that’s what rugby’s about.

On Saturday, the Lions will get their first real test of the tour against a near full strength Reds team. Warburton makes his debut, and Tommy Bowe get’s another start.  I’d love to see Ben Youngs get a bit of decent game time with Jonny Sexton, I think they could really produce some fireworks. As there are no centre’s on the bench though, we might see Sexton in centre too, more likely George North though. I think this Lions team is way better than the Aussies realize yet, and I’d say they are going to get another good win. I want to see what Quade Cooper does to show he should be in the Wallabies.

Lions: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Tommy Bowe, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (capt), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Dan Cole, 18 Adam Jones, 19 Paul O'Connell, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Jonathan Sexton, 23 George North.
The good rugby goes on and on this weekend with Ireland also taking on the USA. I like the look of this young team – in come Henshaw and Olding for their first caps, and Madigan and Henderson been given starting spots – that’s what we want to see! And the All Blacks are playing France!
Ireland: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Peter O'Mahony (capt), 7 Chris Henry, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Mike McCarthy, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 David Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 Jamie Hagan, 18 Tom Court, 19 Dan Tuohy, 20 Tommy O'Donnell, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Felix Jones.

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