SIR CLIVE WOODWARD: Who makes my Lions team? Alun Wyn Jones might not have made Grand Slam history but he is my pick to captain Warren Gatland’s men against South Africa
- Alun Wyn Jones is my choice to be the British & Irish Lions captain this summer
- I’d also have five of his fellow Welshmen in the starting XV against South Africa
- Owen Farrell is at fly half, with Louis Rees-Zammit and Anthony Watson wingers
Alun Wyn Jones may have missed out on the Grand Slam but the Wales captain is my choice to lead the Lions against South Africa in the summer.
And I would have five of his countrymen in my XV against the Springboks.
I haven’t gone entirely on Six Nations form, but I’ve tried not to ignore those who have shone over the past seven weeks or so.
Alun Wyn Jones should captain the British & Irish Lions against South Africa this summer
We must also realise that South Africa is not just another big Test.
To beat South Africa, I believe you will need either Owen Farrell or Jonny Sexton at 10 and I’ve gone with Farrell, who among other things, seems to steer clear of serious injury.
If Jonathan Davies can steer clear of injury and maintain full fitness, Warren Gatland will turn to the great Wales centre.
On the wings young Louis Rees-Zammit and Anthony Watson, returning from injury, have been on fire.
Owen Farrell (left) starts at fly half over Jonny Sexton (right) because he is less injury prone
Up front, I’m not prepared to leave Tadhg Beirne out, but want Wyn Jones and Maro Itoje to form a second row partnership, so I’m playing the Irishman at blindside flanker.
Tom Curry starts at seven, and I’m going to take a risk and start Justin Tipuric at No 8.
I rate the Scotland backrow of Hamish Watson, Matt Fagerson and Jamie Ritchie and next week’s finale against France is a big game for them.
All could make the squad, while Gatland might remember how good Sam Underhill is.
France in Paris is huge for a number of Scots. The performance of the Scotland pack against England was one of the tournament highlights for me.
In the front row, Ken Owens is the obvious choice at hooker, Kyle Sinckler is picking up speed, and at loose head I’m going with Scot Rory Sutherland. A bit of a punt? Possibly, but selection is an art, not a science.
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