A combined starting XV from the All Blacks vs Lions series

Adam Julian Roar Guru

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    The series was drawn, but who would make a combined a starting XV based on form across the three Tests?

    Looking at positions 1-15 through an individual prism, this series is hard to split.

    15. Liam Williams
    Started every Test, by contrast the All Blacks employed three fullbacks. Sparked one of the great tries in the first Test at Eden Park. Had a few jitters in the decider, but a very good series overall.

    14. Anthony Watson
    Withstood Sonny Bill Williams’ forearm in Wellington and looked lively with every touch. Solid defensively.

    13. Jonathan Davies
    Almost scored in the first five minutes of the series with a piercing dash. Resolute on defence and always threatening on attack. Did Davies make an error in 240 minutes?

    12. Ngani Laumape
    Owen Farrell kicked some crucial goals, but Laumape rose to the undermanned challenge in Wellington and is far more damaging overall.

    11. Rieko Ioane
    Elliot Daily kicked a brilliant penalty in the third Test, but Ioane scored two tries in the All Blacks’ only win which shows massive promise for a youngster.

    10. Beauden Barrett
    Creates so many chances with his searing pace and audacity.

    9. Connor Murray
    Pinpoint box kicks and scored the winning try in the second Test. Aaron Smith had a strong series, but Murray at present is the best in the business in the nine jersey.

    8. Toby Faletau
    Scored a vital try in the second Test and worked like a trojan throughout.

    7. Sean O’Brien
    Scored a classic try in the first Test. Immense defensively and a stronger presence with ball in hand than Sam Cane.

    6. Sam Warburton
    A sluggish start to the tour, but grew in stature with every appearance. By contrast Jerome Kaino appears to be living on borrowed time after a great career.

    All Blacks British and Irish Lions Rugby Union 2017

    (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

    5. Maro Itoje
    A huge presence for a youngster. Will be the future captain of England.

    4. Brodie Retallick
    An absolute machine, Retallick remains the gold standard for locks.

    3. Owen Franks
    Tadhg Furlong didn’t quite live up to the hype. Franks is a real survivor.

    2. Codie Taylor
    A few blemishes in the lineouts, but steady in the scrums and dynamic around the field. Jamie George had a really good tour to. These two hookers will duel again.

    1. Joe Moody
    Out scrimmaged the much vaunted Tadhg Furlong and appears set for a long tenure in the black jersey.

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • July 9th 2017 @ 6:13am
      Corporal Punishment said | July 9th 2017 @ 6:13am | ! Report

      Adam, an interesting exercise. Who kicks the goals? Although I don’t like him, don’t you have to have Sexton at 12?

      Over the 3 games, the AB’s pack edged the Lions pack. For that reason, I would have one more AB forward, Read ahead of Faletau. Both were immense but Read got in the game far more on attack than Faletau and in the lineout.

      I’m happy to have Warburton on for his ref whispering – that penalty reversal is the most pursauasive bit of captaincy I have seen in 30!years of watching rugby.

      I would have Dagg over Watson for Daggs kicking game, and because I think a 8/7 split in favour of the AB’s is about right given the Lions only led for 5 mins of the 240mins across the series.

      The rest of your picks seem to me be improvements over the AB team.

    • July 9th 2017 @ 8:19am
      rebel said | July 9th 2017 @ 8:19am | ! Report

      I would change Cane for O’Brien but the rest are fairy spot on. ABs had too many changes in the backs for any player to cement a spot.

    • Roar Guru

      July 9th 2017 @ 8:27am
      Fionn said | July 9th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      I thought Whitelock massively outplayed Itoje – Itoje was poor in the second Test and unlucky not to have had more penalties scored against him; meanwhile, Whitelock was extremely good in all three Tests, too often he is unfairly overshadowed by Retallick.

      I thought Aaron Smith was definitely better than Murray, I can’t even fathom how Murray is here.

      I thought Read was probably on par with Faletau, but can accept either, and the same with Cane/O’Brien and Furlong/Franks (although I preferred Furlong).

      I’m not sure what Anthony Watson did during the series.

      That being said, I can see the arguments for most of your selections, shows what a tight series it was.

    • July 9th 2017 @ 10:15am
      ethan said | July 9th 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

      Izzy Dagg was the best wing of the series. Can’t take Reiko who played only one good game. Laumape was good in one and a half games, but Farrels boot was the difference in two, so probably have to take him. Read played three quality games and Warburton two, so have to take Read.

    • Roar Guru

      July 9th 2017 @ 2:05pm
      sheek said | July 9th 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

      Beauden Barrett has been blamed on another thread for costing the ABs the series through erratic goal-kicking.

      Because of the extremely subjective nature of refereeing in rugby, you need a dead-eye goal-kicker. Consequently Owen Farrell has to be in the team irrespective of whether someone else played better in open play.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 9th 2017 @ 7:14pm
        Phantom said | July 9th 2017 @ 7:14pm | ! Report

        Sad but true. Leave out rugbys most dynamic player for the best goal kicker.

        • July 12th 2017 @ 12:25am
          Londoner said | July 12th 2017 @ 12:25am | ! Report

          exactly why its time to change the rules regarding penalties and the points system…..make a try 6 points and make less offences ones that are kickable……..Farrell place kicking aside, did not play overly well, particually in the 3rd test where he threw a pass that for some reason the ABS did not score from. great defence work by the lions on that intercept…….

    • Roar Guru

      July 9th 2017 @ 10:23pm
      Harry Jones said | July 9th 2017 @ 10:23pm | ! Report

      J Barrett, I Dagg, J Davies, O Farrell, E Daly, D Biggar, C Murray, T Faletau, S O Brien, J Kaino, S Whitelock, B Retallick, O Franks, J George, T Furlong

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