These are the headlines from Monday’s rugby morning, July 19.
Sir Clive Woodward says that starting Alun Wyn was a ‘risk’
Sir Clive Woodward thinks that Alun Wyn Jones should not be started in South Africa’s first Test and the Lions captain should sit on the bench.
He believes Maro Itoje should be considered a starter lock, and Iain Henderson the second best. However, he admits that Adam Beard, Jonny Hills, Corutney Lawes, Tadgh Beirne, and Corutney Lawes have all been doing “well”.
He wrote about the Wales skipper in Sunday’s column for The Mail: “The recovery by Alun Wyn Jones was remarkable, but will he really begin on Saturday?” It’s risky for me, but I believe he will make it to the bench.
Wyn Jones and Ken Owens are the front rows, Furlong is in the back row and Beirne, alongside Tom Curry or Hamish Watson, and the “more experienced” Taulupe Fletau in No. 8 who has “never let Gatland down”.
He believes it is only Itoje Furlong, Josh Adams, and Josh Adams that are certainties. Therefore, Owen Farrell at fly-half prefers Dan Biggar to him.
“No. “No. 10 is one those hard calls. Although Dan Biggar is the frontrunner, it was a difficult 20-minute match against South Africa A. I began to notice Owen Farrell’s competitive spirit. Gatland implicitly trusts them both and it’s close. Farrell would be my choice, but only.”
Jonathan Davies is ‘not going away’
Jonathan Davies, the Wales summer captain and centre of the team, plans to keep his top-level performance in next season’s internationals.
The Scarlett, aged 33, stated to the BBC that “I’m not going away” (hopefully).
I am competitive, and always want to prove myself. Rugby is a great sport because there’s always a new player.
“I must make sure that I continue to work hard and maximize my opportunities. It’s what I love that I do, and it is the most important thing.”
After missing nearly a year due to injury to his knee at the 2019 World Cup, he admitted that this season was “very slow-start”.
After missing over a year due to injury, I’ve enjoyed coming back and I want to maximize the time I have left.
Warren Gatland, staff and other candidates will have to make tough decisions about their first test selections
Warren Gatland and his coaches are ready to have a “robust discussion” as they decide on the British Lions and Irish Lions teams that will face South Africa for Saturday’s Test.
After defeating the Stormers at Cape Town Stadium 49-3, the Lions are now ready to start the warm-up phase.
There are not many certainties aside from Josh Adams, Josh Adams, and Tadhg Furlong. Players previously considered fringe candidates like Ali Price or Chris Harris argue compelling arguments for inclusion.
Gatland revealed that it will be most discussed topic is the structure of the back row, and the back three.
I’ve begun to think about combination ideas and have started to remember names. “We’re closer. We’ll have a look on the Stormers games and speak to the medical staff about the various players,” Gatland stated.
We’re quite fit so it’s worth starting to think about combining those two things. We’ll be going through this process in 48 to 72 hours. It will likely be a heated debate.
I don’t come in with any preconceived notions. That’s why I let the ideas develop, and give players that chance to speak up.
It’s not always about the numbers or stats, but sometimes the gut feelings about players and certain combinations are what it is.
Even though it’s something I have already begun to consider, that will actually happen over the coming days.
There will be tight decisions regarding the makeup of the back three. You should also consider the forwards loose and how it will look.
They are probably the most difficult calls we have to make when trying to balance these positions.
We’ll look at the starting team XV and go through each player. It’s also important to consider how the bench might impact our game.
Luke Cowan Dikie believes he is ready for the Lions Test role
Luke Cowan–Dickie feels he’s done all he can to be a part of the British and Irish Lions Test series against South Africa that begins Saturday.
Alun Wyn Jones’s comeback from dislocated shoulder was hailed by Warren Gatland, while Marcus Smith shined in the last quarter. But it was Cowan-Dickie, the confrontational England hooker who stood out against the Stormers at Cape Town Stadium.
Jamie George, Ken Owens and Ken Cowan-Dickie are both competing to hook against world champions. Cowan-Dickie has a clear advantage over his competitors but Cowan–Dickie sees the ultimate goal as a Lions series that is successful.
“I have tried my best to do what I can, both in the games before and against Stormers,” said Cowan-Dickie. Cowan-Dickie said that if this is not enough, he’ll take it on his chin.” Cowan-Dickie touched down in the second-half.
I didn’t get the best game time because I arrived a little late at camp with the Exeter players. So to be able to start again here was huge for me. To see how the tour goes, I am trying to get as much time as possible on it.
“I believe I’ve been playing fairly well. So far, it has gone well. It is important to note that both the set-piece and line-outs are going smoothly.
“I believe I put one foot forward towards possibly getting in the 23, and that was a good thing. If I do not get in the 23 I just want the boys to win.
It was exciting, and it was great to cross the finish line. But there were 22 outstanding guys. It’s exciting to see the next week.
It would be incredible to have a Test under me, but it is about winning the Test series.
“The coach will pick the top 23 players and even if I don’t get involved, so long as I go out there and do my job, then I’ll still be happy.”
Faf de Klek Challenge: Ali Price is excited for Ali Price
Ali Price, Lions scrum half is thrilled to face Faf de Klek in the Test series.
Springboks’ star de Klerk has been widely considered one of the best players anywhere in the world.
Price said, “He’s a great player.”
He is very active. “He’s very competitive and a busy player both on the court and off it.
He has been a leader in the nines, not the largest players on the field but his influence and physical strength in defense has made him a great player.
You saw it again Wednesday (in South Africa, ‘A’ against Lions). He is close to the line. It is always a great idea to test yourself and compete against those in the top positions.
Price spoke out about de Klerk and also said that Conor Murray, his positional rival in Test selections was given the Tour captaincy.
He said, “Everyone is a quality player in their position groups so whether or not you get the captaincy you know that it will be a fight for the starting shirt. To be part of the Test team.”
Conor is a great choice to replace Al as captain if he has the experience.
I don’t know whether it will have any value in this section of the tour. However, everyone is a high-quality player. You just need to get out there and do your best.
Steyn declares South Africa a defeat
South African flyhalf Morne Stewart has won South Africa A’s loss to his team, the Bulls. This is important for the Bulls preparations before the three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions.
Steyn informed Bulls Chief Jake White that the 17-14 loss for the Boks was the ideal result ahead of Saturday’s Test against the Lions.
White stated to Sport24 that “Morne said this was exactly what the Boks wanted.” They wanted an opponent that was physically strong and played in a specific way.
We did it. The Currie Cup was a completely different format. We were looking to try a few new things. The tests begin at zero. The real action begins next week when both sides choose their first-choice side.
Springboks see no friendlies. The Test series will be remembered by people, but they also remember the major games of 1974, 1997, and 2009. “The Springboks won’t be focusing on next week, and that is a good thing.”
White, who was clearly proud of his players operating without the Springbok contingent, added that: “The young forwards presented nicely but it is not a portent for what’s to follow in Tests.
“I am very happy. It was a pleasure to play and it was a joy when we returned. This is what’s stored in the memory banks. You guys know I want to tell you that there is a crisis, and there should be headline news.
The ‘Boks had to hit the ground running and gave some players game time. This result is not indicative of the next week’s Test series.
“I do not think that this performance should be read too deeply, much like the Lions’ against SA’A.”
Publited Mon, 19 July 2021 at 08:14.16 +0000