British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland is keeping his cards close to his chest regarding his 37-man squad but ahead of his announcement on April 19th, polls suggest one Lions hopefully looks set to be disappointed again.
When it comes to the full-back position, like many other spots in the starting 15, there is an embarrassment of riches. Scotland’s Stuart Hogg, Wales’ Leigh Halfpenny and England’s Mike Brown are all in the running for what will likely be the two places made available.
All have proven themselves to be world class full-backs over the course of the last number of seasons and following the recently concluded Six Nations, they appear to be neck-and-neck on paper.
In a recent poll carried out, it appears that fans are almost unanimous about who will miss out the trip to New Zealand – Mike Brown.
Having lost out to Hogg and Halfpenny back in 2013, the poll result show that fans believe the same will happen again, despite Brown being statistically better than his counterparts.
However, it seems that experience and options might win out over Brown’s consistently impressive displays for England. With both Hogg and Halfpenny having toured with the Lions in 2013, they are already battle hardened in Lions arena.
Add to this the Scot’s blistering line breaks and elusive runs and Halfpenny’s kicking abilities and suddenly Browns chances of a summer tour begin to look less favourable.
Ultimately, only Gatland knows who he will take on tour. He could yet surprise everyone and go for a totally different option at the back. Right now we simply don’t know.
However, given the qualities of the aforementioned candidates, surely it will be two of these three, right?
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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