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Still a long time till to go. Would probably be better to pick this after the Autumn internationals. From an English perspective I feel that any from Farrell, Tuilagi, Morgan, Croft, Ashton, Cole and Foden all have a realistic chance of forcing themselves into the team. The squad that we pick is probably as important as the team, think we took 37 players to South Africa.
Would be hard to leave them out if they are fit, I'm of the opinion it could be their swan song before retiring from international rugby. If their not fit there are plenty of good young players there to fill their places. I'd probably go with your selection and pick Lawes and Tuilagi.
15 - Kearney - Halfpenny may get in as an extra goalkicker, but Kearney offers a left boot and I think his height favours him over 1/2p at FB.
14 - Bowe - Try scoring machine.
13 - O'Driscoll - Depends on fitness and form, but think i'd pick him over Tuilagi.
12 - Roberts - Starting to improve other parts of his game, more than just a crash ball player.
11 - North - Hard to believe he's still only 19, can't see anyone better in Britain.
10 - Farrell - Priestland may get in due to partnership with Phillips and also if Gatland is coach, Farrell could be a lot better choice if he continues to improve.
9 - Phillips - Not many options at SH right now, distribution not the quickest from Mike but having him in the team is almost like having a 9th forward.
8 - Faletau - Watching Dragons v Scarlets earlier in the season, it was billed as Faletau vs Morgan, at the time it was unsure whether Morgan would choose Eng or Wales. Faletau got MOTM. I think it's a fight between them again for Lions jersey.
7 - Warburton - Best 7 in Britain, one of the best in the world. Lot of injuries during the 6N though.
6 - Lydiate - Player of the 6N for me. Irish are going to say Ferris, English will say Croft, i'm saying Lydiate. Menace.
5 - Gray - Monster of a player.
4 - Charteris - Injured for most of the 6N. No longer just a lanky streak of piss, bulked up a lot in recent years, puts in massive tackles. I think he was one of the top tacklers at RWC. Depends how he gets on over the next year, otherwise i'd go Lawes or O'Connell.
3 - Jones - Regarded by some in Wales as one of our most important players, anyone will destroy Oz scrum, Jones will probably destroy more.
2 - Best - Don't think there's anyone better in Britain and Ireland.
1 - Jenkins - Good scrummager, does a lot of work at the rucks, mobile. May be put on bench as he can play both tighthead and loosehead.
Yeah he's the only one of the home nations coaches that could have been strongly considered really - Ireland's inconsistency hasn't helped Kidney's cause, Lancaster is too inexperienced and Andy Robinson is in a mid life crisis.
Thinking about it now, the tour will probably come too soon for Farrell to be first choice fly half. Sexton has given himself a good shot. Looks like a straight fight between him and Priestland. Also the way O'Driscoll has recovered from surgery I would have to put him in my original selection. He's played really well since returning.
If Youngs has a good season he has a good shout at scrum half. He started his career so well, last season was a blip. Think Connor Murray has put himself forward at scrum half too. His similarities with Phillips are frightening. He is still improving too.
It's possible but I think it's quite unlikely, I would say Christian Wade has a better shot but even then it's still unlikely. He would have to be picked and play well during the Autumn internationals first. Even then there will probably be 4 or 5 wingers selected, he's got a lot of work to get in when barring injury I'd say North, Halfpenny, Bowe and Ashton are all pretty certain to go.
Think the likes of Wade or Eastmond would be strongly considered if we were touring South Africa on the hard ground. Think with Gatland as head coach and Australia as the opponents we'll be looking to over power them, especially in the backs where we certainly have the physical edge. Guys like North, Bowe and possibly Tim Visser will be the way we go. If Visser can emulate his club form for Scotland he'll be one hell of an option to have.
Visser has a decent chance of making the squad but is another one who I think needs to impress during the Autumn internationals, same with Alex Cuthbert. Would put both of them ahead of Wade and Eastmond at the moment. I think there's one maybe two spots, if Halfpenny goes as a fullback, available and Visser is a leading contender for one of those spots.
Seen Visser a number of times in recent years. Deadly finisher. Will be very interesting to see how he does at international level in the coming months. I'm not completely convinced by Cuthbert yet but his try scoring record is excellent.
Will indeed, scoring that amount of tries as part of Edinburgh's backline is extremely impressive - can only imagine the impact he'd have playing with better players. On Eastmond I wonder will it be in the back of their minds the impact Jason Robinson had in 2001.
It might well be although Robinson was a lot more experienced, think Robinson had played over 300 games for Wigan and was a regular for both Great Britain and England, and I'm yet to be convinced Eastmond is near his level. Eastmond hasn't played any international rugby for 3 years so as I said before needs to play in the Autumn internationals.