British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has some big decisions to make in the coming weeks as he looks to select a 37-man squad for the tour of New Zealand this summer.
Following an enthralling Six Nations, it is clear that the home nations are all putting forward players with Lions credentials and across all 15 starting positions, competition is fierce.
With a 37-man panel, Gatland has the luxury of having a first and choice for each shirt number. Another seven players will be chosen at his discretion, where he feels he will need extra cover.
The reality is that those seven spots will be filled with extra forwards and perhaps a winger or two.
When it comes to the pivotal positions in the half-back line however, things begin to get pinched.
Looking at the scrum-half spot, there are three if not four players all vying for the coveted No.9 jersey.
Wales’ Rhys Webb made an emphatic statement of intent during the Six Nations and likely played himself into contention for a starting place that had until recently been a battle between Ireland’s Conor Murray and England’s Ben Youngs.
According to rugby.net, Webb was the statistical standout scrum-half of the Six Nations. With Murray missing the final three halves of Ireland’s campaign, Webb was allowed to overtake the Irishman.
Youngs was forced, at times, to compete with Danny Care, another if a less likely Lions candidate, and while he showed flashes of brilliance early in the championships, he failed to inspire later on.
So where does all of this leave Gatland? With only two seats on the plane likely available and three scrum-halves in the mix for selection, it is clear someone is going to miss out.
The question is who?
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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