Will Greenwood has expressed his surprise at the British and Irish Lions backline that will face the Springboks in the first test.
Lions head coach Warren Gatland has made a number of big calls in his starting backline, as temporary tour captain Conor Murray and the tourist’s top try-scorer Josh Adams have both missed out.
Three-times Lions tourist Will Greenwood was speaking to Sky Sports about the selections in the backline and argued that “no one” would have predicted the combinations chosen for the first test.
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Will Greenwood on the Lions’ focus on attack.
“Wow, no one picked that backline. Maybe a few Scots got close,” Greenwood started.
“But Liam Williams, you talk about the attacking threat [of Stuart Hogg] but don’t forget Liam Williams was the bloke who set off and created possibly one of the greatest Lions tries of all time in the first test in 2017.
“Williams has always been one of those players Gatland has gone to. It’s fascinating. He’s always gone to Murray, he’s always gone to [Owen] Farrell, he’s always gone to [Taulupe] Faletau.
“You’ve got to love Gatland, he picks players on form. You get on a plane on a Lions tour with Warren Gatland and you play well and you’ve got a chance of playing in the test series. That’s what has happened.
“He’s picked a backline to play… but he’s not picked his best defensive collective. He’s definitely gone attack-focused. If we’re going to beat the Springboks in South Africa we’re going to have to score tries… and that’s what he’s put all his eggs in.”
Exciting backline selected for the first test against the Springboks.
The Lions have found tries easy to come by this summer, as the tourists have scored a whopping 39 tries in six matches so far.
However, they struggled to break down the defence of South Africa ‘A’, only scoring one try in the warm-up match through a pick and go from prop Wyn Jones.
The selections of Ali Price over Conor Murray and Elliot Daly over Chris Harris are perhaps the most obvious sign of the Lions’ attacking intentions, while they also have plenty of firepower in the back three.
Welsh winger Adams has missed out on a starting spot despite scoring eight tries in four games, but Gatland explained yesterday that the 26-year-old had picked up a couple of knocks against the Stormers.