HomeSportsBritish and Irish Lions contenders for 2021 South Africa tour: Second Row
British and Irish Lions contenders for 2021 South Africa tour: Second Row
April 30, 2021
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland will title his squad to face South Africa on Thursday Could 6. Beneath we take a look at a few of the second row choices from throughout the 4 nations. Watch each match on the tour this summer season completely reside on Sky Sports activities.
By Michael Cantillon
Final Up to date: 29/04/21 6:47pm
We glance by the contenders for the 2021 British and Irish Lions second row positions, and who Warren Gatland is perhaps taking a look at forward of his squad announcement…
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys and Wales; Check caps: 157; British and Irish Lions excursions: 2009, 2013, 2017)
Had been this dialogue to have taken place whilst lately as 4 months in the past, Wales legend Jones would have been unnoticed of most individuals’s potential squads.
The Welsh skipper had overseen a aspect which floundered by the 2020 Six Nations with 4 defeats, after which into an equally demoralising autumn, the place they misplaced closely to Eire and England.
But, quick ahead to 2021, and Jones is recent from main Wales to the unlikeliest and strangest Six Nations win in reminiscence. His personal kind having picked up significantly, the 35-year-old is now odds on to make a fourth tour (solely Brian O’Driscoll, Willie John McBride and Mike Gibson have earlier than), and may properly do it as tour skipper.
Maro Itoje (Saracens and England; Check caps: 50; British and Irish Lions excursions: 2017)
A Check Lion for all three Assessments on his maiden tour in 2017, Itoje’s profession has largely gone from power to power since, changing into a totemic determine for England as they made the 2019 Rugby World Cup last.
His on-field depth and fixed purpose of ‘spoiling’ play has led to some disciplinary points on the pitch every so often, however when it comes to sheer expertise, Itoje is up there with the most effective on the earth and will definitely tour this summer season.
He’s considered one of various Saracens gamers at present taking part in within the Championship, nonetheless, because of the membership’s enforced relegation for wage cap breaches – an excuse put ahead by some for England’s very poor 2021 Six Nations efficiency. Will the Saracens contingent be up to the mark to face the Boks?
James Ryan (Leinster and Eire; Check caps: 34)
A participant who got here to skilled prominence across the time of the final Lions tour was Eire’s Ryan, who made his Check debut vs USA after which performed towards Japan in the summertime of 2017 – each earlier than he had even performed a recreation for Leinster.
Nonetheless simply 24, Ryan has gone on to win nearly the whole lot within the sport already: PRO14 titles in 2018, 2019 and 2020; a European Cup in 2018, a Six Nations Grand Slam and Triple Crown in 2018, in addition to a collection victory vs Australia in the summertime of 2018.
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He was additionally named Eire’s Gamers Participant of the Yr in 2019. Ryan’s kind could have dipped for Eire at occasions during the last couple of years, however his high quality ought to be sufficient to get him on the aircraft.
Tadhg Beirne (Munster and Eire; Check caps: 22)
As can be explored additional in Saturday’s back-row contenders article, Beirne is prone to journey with the Lions this summer season as a lock/blindside flanker choice for Gatland and co.
A second row nearly all of the time for province Munster and with Eire, Beirne’s capabilities on the breakdown and in open play have seen him characteristic at blindside flanker to very good impact too, and it’s maybe on this position he’ll probably characteristic for the Lions vs the bodily dominant Springboks.
A participant within the absolute peak of his profession, Beirne’s performances this season have been magnificent and there are nearly zero doubts he can be chosen to tour.
Jonny Grey (Exeter Chiefs and Scotland; Check caps: 61)
Maybe the second row most up towards it to tour, Grey was ignored by Gatland for the 2017 tour regardless of his tireless shows for Scotland.
The 27-year-old has since moved to Exeter Chiefs from Glasgow Warriors, changing into a European Cup and Premiership champion final season.
An enormous, bodily lock ahead, most identified for his tackling numbers, does Grey have the top of the range of another candidates to make the squad?
Iain Henderson (Ulster and Eire; Check caps: 63; British and Irish Lions excursions: 2017)
A vacationer 4 years in the past, Henderson impressed sufficient within the tour matches to be counted unfortunate to not have made a Check squad.
The bodily Ulsterman has struggled with accidents within the intervening years since, however when on track, Henderson is among the most gifted forwards within the northern hemisphere and ought to be in fine condition to make the squad.
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints and England; Check caps: 89; British and Irish Lions excursions: 2017)
Like Henderson, Lawes toured in New Zealand with the Lions in 2017, and just like the Irishman, Lawes impressed vastly however was unnoticed of the primary Check squad.
The rangy and highly effective Northampton lock compelled his means in to select up Lions caps within the following two Assessments, nonetheless, and within the years since he turned a vital participant as England made the 2019 Rugby World Cup last.
Since that World Cup, Lawes picked up ankle and pectoral accidents and as such, solely performed twice in 2021 at Check degree. His damage absences could hurt his probabilities due to this fact, however in addition to his qualities at lock, Lawes – like Beirne – has performed on the blindside too.