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Stuart Barnes expects Clermont to beat Munster, but can't split Saracens and Toulon in the last four.Back to story
Hi Stuart, Can you explain to me why the argument for leaving Wilkinson at home seems to revolve around his presumed unavailability for the initial squad departure (Toulon still have a semi-final to win), yet his team-mate at Toulon Gethin Jenkins is a near-certainty to go? Is this Gatland demonstrating an inherent bias towards the Welsh players he inevitably knows better than the rest of the squad? It seems even harder to justify given that Sheridan, another Lions-qualified prop, has been keeping Jenkins out of the Toulon team for the whole season and therefore would be a far more justifiable inclusion, especially when his history of terrorising Aussie front rows is also considered. I for one will be extremely angry to see Wilkinson excluded if Jenkins is picked, it smacks of hypocrisy. I understand the "no French" principle, but Phillips will go, Hook may well also go and Jenkins is a clear tourist - no Wilkinson, Sheridan, Hines, Armitage, the French-based tourists seem to skew very Welsh.
Posted 11:36 27th April 2013
Stuart you are dead right with your response to Malcolm. We have great creative players in the middle. BOD, Sexton and Jonathan Davies are all highly imaginative and put them together with North, Tuilagi and Roberts, that is a great recipe for success. I must also pick up on Alan's point about Croft being overated. Take a look back at the last lions series!!! # class
Posted 14:28 26th April 2013
Hi Stuart, thanks for the reply. I agree that London Welsh have been treated badly and I do feel the system is too heavily biased towards The Rugby Establishment, especially the funding. However, if I won the (EURO!) lottery at the weekend and started funding a big dream, I would be under no illusions that my pockets would need to be deeper than anyone elses for a longer time. The rules need changing, but I'm not holding my breath. Regards Steve
Posted 16:57 23rd April 2013
Dear Stuart, I noticed the fact you didn't even mention the probability of Ian Madigan starting ahead of Jonny Sexton. Madigan is seen as a possible Lions bolter as a utility back and has been watched by Gatland in previous weeks. He wasn't even mentioned in Will Greenwood's hilarious wildcard list. You have to check out footage of this guy playing, easily the best running flyhalf in Europe. He has scored more tries than any other flyhalf in europe this season and his goal kicking success is higher than Sexton with 86%. Trust me you have to consider this guy!
Posted 19:09 22nd April 2013
Stuart, not sure how much Pro12 you watch, but i think Iain Henderson at Ulster is the best young player i have seen in many years. Power, pace and a great brain for a 20 year old. While he still has a way to go, he could be a great outside bet for the Lions - albeit in a strong department. He is already a more complete player than the overrated Croft.
Posted 12:59 22nd April 2013