Friday, 21 June 2013

Wallabies v British & Irish Lions - Starting XVs

I’ve turned my eye to the starting line-ups of the opening Lions Series Test in Australia. Given the fact that the Lions squad is an amalgamation of four national teams, they have the luxury of naming a starting team that has 771 Test caps to its name, and that is immense. However, where does that experience set up on the field? Is it evenly spread, or even through the backs or the forward pack? Or is it simply a reflection of Brian O’Driscoll’s air miles?

I came up with a layout that shows both teams laid out in a standard field formation, and settled on a (rather high) base measure of 100 Caps as the scale.

So, the bigger the dot, the more Test caps, and the biggest dot in each position is the more experienced player wearing that number. Simples.

Meanwhile, what about our friends in Canary Yellow? How does their team measure up? I think that Australia are fielding a pretty good team, and all Quade Cooper fuss aside, this really is the quality side they could not field last year. They may be a little greener in the loosies and the backs division, but there is definitely some X-factor there.

For me that’s always Australia’s problem: raw X-Factor individualism vs a team game plan ruthlessly unfurled (the template of All Black rugby). It has allowed Australia to win some big games in recent seasons, but not trophies or Series. Is this their time?

I think the Lions will win this one, by 10-12 points, even if that is from Halfpenny’s infallible boot. They are battle hardened and ready, and maybe too strong in the first Test. Its a long tour though, and Aussie will come back if they can stay fit and injury-free. I am picking 2-1 to the Lions.

I’ll be glued to the telly for this. Get up, Wallabies.

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