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Open thread: Who do you want as your Lions back row?

Warburton, Robshaw, O’Brien, Tipuric, Faletau, Heaslip, Croft…. this will be a tough choice for Warren Gatland.

Sam Warburton and Chris Robshaw.
Sam Warburton and Chris Robshaw.
Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

SELECTING SEVEN MEN to tour to Australia as the Lions back row unit will be one of the toughest decisions Warren Gatland will make all year.

The New Zealander could justifiably start with an all-Welsh back row and still leave Sam Warburton on the bench.

Justin Tipuric, Ryan Jones and Toby Faletau did a job for Rob Howley in the Six Nations but Warburton, the early frontrunner for Lions captaincy, came back well to batter several Englishmen and inspire his country to the championship.

Ireland’s best hope for selection is Sean O’Brien. The Tullow Tank should travel Down Under but will have to impress in the warm-up matches to merit a start.

Jamie Heaslip was a outside bet for Lions captain when Ireland beat Wales back in February but he will be a nervous man on 30 April when Gatland names his 35-man squad. Heaslip and Andy Powell were the No. 8′s for the 2009 tour to South Africa.

Peter O’Mahony could yet play himself onto the plane with a positive outing against Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup semi-finals.

Scotland’s two best bets come in the form of Johnnie Beattie and captain Kelly Brown, who was man of the match in the home win over Ireland at Murrayfield.

England’s Chris Robshaw is another potential captain and while he may not have that honour bestowed on him it would be a shock were he not to travel. Tom Croft, another player selected in 2009, has a good chance of getting the nod to pack his bags and Tom Wood had a decent championship.

What do you think? Who should Warren Gatland select as his back row?

About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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