May 11, 2021

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When is the Lions team announced? Key team decisions for the South African Tour

Warren Gatland, the British and Irish lions coach, will announce his squad for the upcoming tour of South Africa on Thursday.

There have been many discussions among fans and critics about who has done enough to secure a spot on the prestigious squad for the Summer Tour.

While each position has been discussed, there are major points that are split in opinion due to the sheer amount of talent to choose from.

The semi-jersey was at the top of the list of deliberations, especially after Leicester Tigers and England superstar Ben Youngs withdrew from the competition last week.

Ben Youngs removed himself from competing with lions
Ben Youngs removed himself from competing with lions

What fights of choice are taking place?

Half scrum

Young’s removed his name from selection for family reasons but Gatland still has a lot of players to choose from.

A player shunned from his country has become the likely favorite for the squad – Danny Kerr of Harlequins.

The England superstar has not played in a white shirt since 2018 but after his return to the top of the Premier League, he is already in the fantasy teams of many people.

The No. 9 player was named Premier League Player of the Year in March and drew fans’ attention with a colossal goal in the league match against Bristol in the same month.

Although his shirt competition is high, Gatland can only take three Scrum halves to South Africa. Connor Murray, Scotsman Ali Price and Wells Gareth Davis all stand a chance at the shirt.

Dan Robson of England and Ben Spencer are also names that have been recorded by Gatland. The former Welsh coach has a lot of options to consider and will have to choose carefully because fans will definitely be criticizing it too late.

You could choose Gatland Murray this week
You could choose Gatland Murray this week

Back row

Gatland will be able to pick eight players to cover the Issue’s back row and Number 8 positions.

What will be interesting to see is if Billy Vunipola is selected. The England and Arab national team star had never played with the Lions before, due to injury in the 2017 tour.

While many would argue that Funibola deserved to be a lion because of the player he was, his level in the Six Nations saw only one good performance from him.

A sure choice for Gatland would be Irish CJ Stander who announced his retirement from rugby earlier this year. If he is selected to go to South Africa, it will be the last time fans will see him on the field.

Looking at how cool he looks this season, the star of Ireland has to be the plane.

Hogg will definitely be appearing on the Lions Tour
Hogg will definitely be appearing on the Lions Tour

Back three

While the center-back may be decided by Scottish captain Stuart Hough after the impressive Six Nations campaign, there are seven other players to be chosen in the selection of the three back.

Lay Halfpenny William Williams of Wales or Elliot Daly of England might be chosen as Huggie’s substitute to fill in the No. 15 jersey, but the main battle in the three defenses is on the wing.

England have two superstar players, Anthony Watson and Johnny May, while Wells players Josh Adams and Louis Reese Zamette looked their best in the Last Six Nations campaign.

Reese Zammit had an impressive campaign from the Six Nations
Reese Zammit had an impressive campaign from the Six Nations

Who will be the captain?

There are four main candidates for the role of Captain: England Owen Farrell, Maru Itogi, Wells Alon Wayne Jones, Scotland Stuart Haug.

Jones had previously led the team in one Test in 2013 and is the favorite after he led Wells to winning the Six Nations Championship for the fourth time in 10 years.

Whereas Farrell looks a bit like Marmite when people look at him in search of Captain Lions.

Former Irish captain Paul O’Connell Farrell supported the team leadership, saying he was a prominent captain, while World Cup winner Will Greenwood left Captain Sarasins out of the squad.

Jones is the favorite to be the captain of lions
Jones is the favorite to be the captain of lions

Since Maru Itogi made his debut in England in 2016, there has been talk of one day becoming the captain of the Lions team.

However, his lack of discipline in the Roses Six Nations match against Wales caused many to change their minds about granting him the honor.

While he did take five of his 14 penalties in that match, it was also a mantra in their 23-20 win over France a week later so there’s a chance the 26-year-old could still be in the mix.

Hough led his Scottish team to a major victory in the Six Nations Championship over France, the first time the team had won in Paris in 22 years.

Gatland has a lot of decisions on his hands and everything will be revealed on Thursday.