sport news FAN VIEW: Alun Wyn Jones must start in the Lions' first test after his ...

sport news FAN VIEW: Alun Wyn Jones must start in the Lions' first test after his ...
sport news FAN VIEW: Alun Wyn Jones must start in the Lions' first test after his ...

The time for Warren Gatland to decide his 23 players for the first test is fast approaching. The tour really got underway on July 14 against South Africa A who were the Springboks in all but name. 

Before the South Africa A game, the Lions hadn’t really been challenged on tour. They ended up on the losing side but maybe it was just what they needed before the tests.

The physicality from the South African side was two or three steps higher than the Lions have experienced so far. 

It is now time for Warren Gatland to choose his British and Irish Lions squad for the first test

It is now time for Warren Gatland to choose his British and Irish Lions squad for the first test

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The Lions faced their biggest challenge on tour in their defeat by South Africa 'A' this week

The Lions faced their biggest challenge on tour in their defeat by South Africa 'A' this week

I was surprised by the South African performance, their preparation for the series has been worse than the Lions. They didn’t look like a team that have hardly played since 2019.

The Lions struggled physically, but they grew into the game. When the Lions start to move the ball, they look dangerous. They have mobile forwards who are comfortable with the ball, and link well with the backs. 

Many players have put their hand up for selection. Gatland has a difficult task, some worthy players will miss out. But as we’ve found out from past tours, opportunities present themselves for others as the tests progress.

After struggling physically, the Lions grew into the game and Gatland has a tough decision

 After struggling physically, the Lions grew into the game and Gatland has a tough decision

In my back three, I’ve gone for Liam Williams, Anthony Watson and Duhan Van Der Merwe. It was close between Williams and Stuart Hogg, but the Welshman is near faultless under the high ball and he attacks space. 

For me Williams is more aggressive and will get in the South Africans' faces. On the wings Watson has looked sharp all tour, and Van Der Merwe will bring power out wide. 

Josh Adams is unlucky. He has scored a lot of tries against weak opposition. I think these three players provide a good balance.

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Anthony Watson makes the back three as he is faultless under the high ball and attacks space

Anthony Watson makes the back three as he is faultless under the high ball and attacks space

In the centre, I’ve chosen Robbie Henshaw and Chris Harris. Both players bring pace and power, and are defensively sound. 

Henshaw has spent much of the tour nursing a hamstring injury. But his run out against the Stormers and his form from the Six Nations means he has to start.

My half backs are Ali Price and Dan Biggar. For me Conor Murray hasn’t done enough to start. On occasion he has looked quite laboured in his play. Price on the other hand whips the ball away from the ruck and really gets the team motoring. 

Robbie Henshaw is in the centre with Chris Harris and both players will bring pace and power

Robbie Henshaw is in the centre with Chris Harris and both players

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