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Just 3 Irishmen in the Sky Sports starting Lions XV to face Australia

Paul Wallace, Scott Hastings, Dean Ryan and Scott Quinnell all had their say on the players best placed to start the First Test.

LIONS COACH WARREN GATLAND revealed before his team’s warm-up match with the Combined Country XV that his Test team was beginning to take shape.

Gatland’s starting XV for Saturday’s match against the Waratahs should closely reflect the side he plans to field (barring injuries) in the First Test against the Wallabies on 22 June. With that in mind, the Sky Sports punditry brain trust got busy with their selections of the 15 likely Lions.

Paul Wallace, Scott Quinnell and Scott Hastings – former Lions of some note – and Dean Ryan against in a post-match debate but were not arguing on too many players.

Here is what the Sky panel agreed upon as the probable Lions team to face Australia in Brisbane in 11 days:

Nine Welshmen, three Irish, two English and a sole Scotsman. Credit: Sky Sports

Only three Irishmen – Paul O’Connell, Jonny Sexton and Brian O’Driscoll – made the starting line-up, although Wallace argued that he would select Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip ahead of Welsh No.8 Toby Faletau.

Hastings remarked that Philips had the scrumhalf spot “nailed” while all agreed upon the Welsh back three of George North, Alex Cuthbert and Leigh Halfpenny. Quinnell had the deciding vote on back-rows so Tom Croft and Sam Warburton were named.

Wallace argued that Warburton needed to perform well against the Waratahs to get the starting slot at openside.

What do you make of the pundits’ selections? What would your starting XV be?

As it happened: Lions v Combined Country XV, 2013 Tour

No winners, no losers, just amateurs and pros as Lions run in 10 tries

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