With no rugby to keep us occupied at the moment, we are already eagerly awaiting the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa next year and discussing who Warren Gatland will choose in his starting XV.
Last week, we asked you to suggest your preferred British & Irish Lions XV to face the Springboks in the first Test in Johannesburg. We then compiled all the suggestions and based on the four most popular choices in each position, we created a poll to vote for the ultimate starting line-up.
The results are in.
To no one’s surprise, the team is dominated by England, the World Cup finalists, who have 10 representatives. The rest of the team is comprised of three Irish representatives, and just one each from Scotland and Wales – how will Warren Gatland feel about that?
Stuart Hogg takes his place at full-back with England’s Anthony Watson and Jonny May taking their places on the wing.
The centre partnership is made up of Manu Tuilagi and Jonathan Davies. While Owen Farrell was the most popular choice at both 10 and 12, he received more votes in the fly-half position leaving second-choice Davies to take up the mantle at centre.
Farrell is joined in the half-backs by the experienced Conor Murray who has two British & Irish Lions tours under his belt.
The front row is once again dominated by Eddie Jones’ side. Mako Vunipola takes his place at loosehead while Jamie George was the overwhelming favourite at hooker. They are joined by Ireland’s Tadhg Furlong who was preferred to Kyle Sinckler.
There were also clear favourites in the second row with the young combination of Maro Itoje and James Ryan chosen to start against South Africa with the Irish man one of five players to make their Lions XV debut.
It is an all-English back row with Tom Curry proving a very popular choice while Sam Underhill and Billy Vunipola narrowly beat out Justin Tipuric and CJ Stander respectively.
Don’t agree with the team? Have your say in the poll here.
British & Irish Lions XV v South Africa:
15. Stuart Hogg (58%)
14. Anthony Watson (57%)
13. Manu Tuilagi (47%)
12. Jonathan Davies (34%)
11. Jonny May (39%)
10. Owen Farrell (46%)
9. Conor Murray (40%)
1. Mako Vunipola (53%)
2. Jamie George (73%)
3. Tadhg Furlong (66%)
4. Maro Itoje (89%)
5. James Ryan (64%)
6. Tom Curry (59%)
7. Sam Underhill (45%)
8. Billy Vunipola (56%)