Home Rugby Fantasy Lions Trial Match: England And Wales V Scotland And Ireland

Fantasy Lions Trial Match: England And Wales V Scotland And Ireland

As we approach the beginning of a new year and the start of the countdown to the next Lions tour, we have put together two teams for a fantasy Lions trial match, by combining the four ‘home’ nations into two sides.

Although trial matches are almost a thing of the past (with the odd exception in the case of Wales and New Zealand in recent years), this writer would love to see a trial match involving all eligible Lions players.

Back in 1955 this game took place to celebrate the opening of the new West Upper Stand at Lansdowne Road, with Scotland and Ireland running out 18 – 15 winners on that occasion.

A re-match took place at Twickenham in 1959 with England and Wales victorious 26 – 17 to draw the ‘series’ one apiece.

In 1970 the teams combined once more to celebrate the centenary of the RFU, with a 14-14 the result at the end of that game.

Further matches took place in 1972, 1975 and 1980.

So, who would make our teams?

England and Wales XV:

Love him or loathe him, despite his appalling disciplinary record Dylan Hartley is a wonderful captain and actually a far more level-headed player at international level than for his club. He gets in our team ahead of Ken Owens and Scott Baldwin.

Whilst many fans will want to see Justin Tipuric included ahead of Sam Warburton, the latter is a fantastic player and one who rises to the grandest of occasions.

One of the more controversial selection decisions here is the inclusion of Elliot Daly over both Mike Brown and Leigh Halfpenny, with the young England star having started for his country at only wing and centre, but he is a phenomenally talented attacking player and it is very possible he could get on to the tour as one of the fullback options.

1) Mako Vunipola
2) Dylan Hartley (c)
3) Samson Lee
4) Maro Itoje
5) Alun Wyn Jones
6) Toby Faletau
7) Sam Warburton
8) Billy Vunipola

9) Rhys Webb
10) Owen Farrell
11) Liam Williams
12) Jamie Roberts
13) Jonathan Joseph
14) Anthony Watson
15) Elliot Daly

Scotland and Ireland XV:

Whilst the side is dominated by Irish players, that is no surprise given the form of the men in green in recent games. Their victories over the All Blacks and Australia put them right at the top of the tree with England and the All Blacks in terms of the best sides in world rugby right now.

However, Jonny Gray is an impressive engine in the second row, and of course Finn Russell is playing beautiful rugby for Glasgow Warriors at the moment.

Finally, Stuart Hogg is still the outstanding fullback in the British Isles and is very likely to start for the Lions in the summer unless his form drops dramatically.

1) Jack McGrath
2) Rory Best (c)
3) Tadgh Furlong
4) Devin Toner
5) Jonny Gray
6) CJ Stander
7) Sean O’Brien
8) Jamie Heaslip

9) Conor Murray
10) Finn Russell
11) Sean Maitland
12) Robbie Henshaw
13) Garry Ringrose
14) Andrew Trimble
15) Stuart Hogg

So, who do you think would win out of these teams?

Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena

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