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Pundit Arena Wishlist: The Key Calls For Lions Selection

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 07: Warren Gatland is announced as the Head Coach of the British & Irish Lions for the 2017 Tour to New Zealand during the British and Irish Lions Press Conference at Standard Life House on September 7, 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The day is finally here. After months of speculation, Warren Gatland will announce his Lions squad this afternoon.

There are numerous shoo-ins throughout the squad, but here at Pundit Arena HQ, we’re focusing in some some of the key decisions.

Our rugby team look ahead to the big calls, and offer their opinions on what Gatland should do.

Who should captain the Lions squad?

Brian Barry: Owen Farrell. Going by precedent, there is, unfortunately, no way Johnny Sexton is going to start three tests in as many weeks. The Saracens fly-half will either be at 12 or 10 if fit. His starting place looks more assured than that of Warburton.

Nick Heath: Billy Vunipola. This is a controversial one! But he would be my 8 all day and is the only position that’s nailed on to start for me.

Gary Brennan: Sam Warburton, but only for his relationship with referees. Otherwise, I’d be going for Peter O’Mahony!

Paul Wassell: Dylan Hartley. He is being tipped to miss out, and perhaps there are more in-form hookers in the northern hemisphere, but no one can question Hartley’s record as captain.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 25:  Sam Warburton of Wales is tackled by Richie Gray of Scotland during the RBS Six Nations match between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield Stadium on February 25, 2017 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Who is the bolter you would include?

Brian Barry: Does Keith Earls count? He has been in serious form of late, with not many giving him a chance a few months back.

Nick Heath: Kyle Sinckler was immense again on Friday vs Exeter, and is less known to the All Blacks.

Gary Brennan: Kyle Sinckler, a Tadhg Furlong type of monster.

Paul Wassell: Warren Gatland tends to favour experience over youthful exuberance, but Kyle Sinckler is a player of tremendous potential.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Kyle Sinckler of Harlequins takes on Jackson Wray of Saracens during the Aviva Premiership match between Saracens and Harlequins at Wembley Stadium on April 8, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

If Gatland gave you one guaranteed selection, who would you bring?

Brian Barry: Second row is an incredibly competitive area, but for me, Jonny Gray must travel. His stats speak for themselves.

Gary Brennan: Since returning from injury, Peter O’Mahony has shown what a special player he is.

Nick Heath: Not many people are talking about Mike Brown, but he’d be on my squad.

Paul Wassell: Joe Launchbury. If the rumours are true about the England lock missing the cut then it will be a travesty – the stand out player of the Six Nations.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11:  Joe Launchbury of England looks on during the RBS Six Nations match between England and Scotland at Twickenham Stadium on March 11, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

How many Scots would you bring?

Brian Barry: I’d go for three. Stuart Hogg, Jonnny Gray, and Tommy Seymour. Gatland is more likely to go for Maitland if he’s bringing a Scottish wing, mind you.

Gary Brennan: 1. Stuart Hogg.

Nick Heath: Just Hogg (sorry Scots!)

Paul Wassell: Jonny Gray and Stuart Hogg should go for sure, the former for his consistency and the latter for his attacking brilliance. If not for injury then Huw Jones would have been on the plane as well.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 25:  Stuart Hogg of Scotland celebrates at full time during the 6 Nations match between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield Stadium on February 25, 2017 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.