Former Wales centre Jamie Roberts has named just one of his countrymen to start for the British and Irish Lions in the backline this summer against the Springboks.
Wales were crowned as Six Nations champions this year after a underwhelming first season under Wayne Pivac in 2020, and were rewarded with 10 Welsh players in the Lions squad as a result, with five of those being backs.
While Wales owe much of that success to a fit and firing backline, Roberts has selected just Dan Biggar to start in the Lions backline against South Africa on World Rugby’s The Wrap.
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) May 12, 2021
‘It has to have tactical nous, power, pace and footwork.’
“When I think about the Lions backline I think it has to cover all bases. I think it has to have tactical nous, power, pace and footwork,” Roberts said.
“I think Conor Murray and Biggar are in pole position (at half-back) with their tactical ability and control of the game so I will go with them.
“I think Robbie Henshaw has to play in the midfield, but I think alongside Owen Farrell. I think Farrell as a second receiver, a second kicker, with Henshaw at 13.
“That for me means Duhan van der Merwe comes in on the wing as a ball carrier. I’d love to see him on the wing as a ball carrying option. I have a feeling he is going to light up South Africa.
“Then I’d go Anthony Watson. He’s been on form and he’s fantastic in the air and has footwork and pace. And I would go Stuart Hogg at full-back.”
Roberts’ Lions backline would see Welsh backs Gareth Davies, Liam Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit and Josh Adams all miss out on a starting spot.
While the two-time Lions tourist was unable to pick his former teammate George North after the Ospreys player suffered an ACL injury, Roberts certainly showed that he isn’t swayed by national bias when selecting his team.
Check out Jamie Roberts startin Lions backline below.
9. Conor Murray (Ireland)
10. Dan Biggar (Wales)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland)
12. Owen Farrell (England)
13. Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)
14. Anthony Watson (England)
15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)