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14th Apr 2017

Shock England and Wales names tipped to miss out on Lions

"I don't think he gets on the plane"

Patrick McCarry

The reigning Six Nations champions and a host of Warren Gatland favourites find themselves in difficult positions.

England are likely to have the most representatives in the British & Irish Lions squad when it is named, next Wednesday. Wales will be hoping for double figures in terms of call-ups.

Nothing seems guaranteed, though, and as he showed in 2013, Gatland is capable of a surprise call… or seven.

During The Hard Yards Lions squad selection special [listen below], four big English and Welsh names were tipped to be potential casualties. Their supporters will not be impressed.

A slew of players from all countries will miss out on Gatland’s Lions squad next week while a handful more will come in as late injury or suspension cover. Still, there will be well over 140 international players left behind to represent their countries this summer.

According to our panel, big names like Leigh Halfpenny, Dylan Hartley, Elliot Daly and Mike Brown could all miss out. Former Ireland flanker Kevin McLaughlin believes Wales’ Sam Warburton will be captain but he argued against him making the entire squad.

“Everyone is assuming he’s on the team. Gats probably will pick him but I think it’s the wrong decision. I don’t think he’s dynamic enough. He’ll get you a couple of turnovers but two or three turnovers against New Zealand isn’t going to be enough.

“We need a seven who’s going to be dynamic. Who is going to carry and make smart decisions… someone who is going to turn the game.”

When it comes to back three players, just about everyone agrees that Stuart Hogg, George North and Liam Williams will be Lions tourists. After that, it gets interesting.

Ronan O’Gara had some frank comments about the chances of Daly [England] and 2013’s goal-kicking hero Halfpenny [Wales]. He said:

“I think Elliot Daly is unproven in terms of he’s someone in between the 10 and 20-caps stage [Note: Daly has 13 caps]. That’s not what you need going into the First Test. For me, you need proven, proven performers.

“Ellot Daly will have a dip. Is it New Zealand where he’ll have the dip? I don’t know but I don;t think he’ll get on the plane.”

O’Gara added: “If Halfpenny is on the plane, I think he’s on the Test side to kick. I don’t see him being picked [though]. He’s under-performing with Toulon and with the quality of goal-kickers there are now… “

Former Connacht and Leinster winger Fionn Carr came to Daly’s defence, though, and says he is a must to start on either wing.

Mere days to go until the official announcement and all the debates will fire up again.