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.
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.
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.
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.
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