Alan Quinlan’s selection over Tom Croft to travel to South Africa is a ridiculous decision, and one which will bite the Lions team in the ass in South Africa. Tom Croft showed his mettle during the Six Nations in a way that should have made the blind-side flanker (who can play lock, and who has a consistent kicking boot in a pinch) a shoo-in. Yet the selectors seem to have decided that Quinlan, who was arguably acceptable for Munster, should be preferred. For my money (none of which will now be wagered) this is an embarrassing decision, and one which reflects unfairly on one of the most interesting players in the Six Nations.
Other than that, I can almost see the argument for the exclusion of Delon Armitage, though I think he should be on the squad, and I can understand the selection of Paul O’Connell as skipper, though it seems a little bit boring. Brian O’Driscoll should have the opportunity to lead his squad after the stunning victory in the Six Nations.
It was an easy decision to leave Borthwick out of the squad, but surely it was a mistake at hooker to take Jerry Flannery, who simply isn’t big enough for the coming onslaught. He is a great player, but he’s not right for that squad; Dylan Hartley (Northampton and England) is sparkling at his best, and would have brought a nice option for the tour. I’d go further and say Hartley would be my number one choice for the team.
At fly half, omitting Danny Cipriani is almost criminal, though his form hasn’t quite what it could be. The obsession with Ronan O’Gara is misplaced, in my view, and he bores the pants off me. As for taking Donncha o’Callaghan, I could nearly cry.
I also don’t know why Josh Lewsey has been left behind, but I do know whay D’Arcy has been dumped; he hasn’t played a decent crunch match in eighteen months.
In short, I hope this squad acquits itself well, for McGeechin’s sake. I don’t hold out a hell of a lot of hope for it, and I can see where the Boks have the potential to run this over-defensive, over-Irish squad ragged.