Sam Marsh: My Lions 15

With the lion’s tour coming up in only a few weeks we turn to fantasy selection. With Andrew Baxter giving us his 15 it is now my turn to give my fantasy 15, plus replacements.

15 Stuart Hogg: Hoggy had an outstanding 6 nations and is probably the first name on the team sheet, and if he isn’t then there is something wrong with the management.

14 George North: Even if he plays poor he will be selected, a proven try scorer and can score even when he plays badly. A physical player which is needed against the likes of Julian Savea

13 Jonathan Joseph: Hard hitting centre, a proven try scorer and a player I rate highly, the Calcutta Cup showed that if he has the right centre partner and a good scrum half then he will be effective.

12 Owen Farrell: My choice for kicker, I find myself liking him more as a centre than a flyhalf. Decent in defence but lethal in attack. A good 6 nations which saw him lead the England side at several points when Dylan Hartley was taken off.

11 Jack Nowell: I’m not his biggest fan but have to concede he is a good player, tricky for defences to deal with. Which is something the Lions will need when taking on the All Blacks.

10 Jonny Sexton: One of the best 10’s in the world right now and rightly deserves a place in the starting 15. If he can keep injury free he will be a major part of the Lions plan for success.

9 Connor Murray: Again, one of the first names on the team sheet, probably the best scrumhalf in the northern hemisphere. Had a great 6 nations and fully deserves his place on the trip.

1 Jack Mcgrath: The Irish prop had a good tournament and his selection chances are bolstered by the fact that there are not many other loose heads god enough for a lion’s starting place.

2 Rory Best ©: My choice for captain, has the stamina to play most of the match and is on good form heading into the tour.

3 Tadgh Furlong: Completing the all Irish front row Tadgh had a good championship and was a standout in the scrum, stocky and powerful is what the lions need when the game breakdown.

4 Jonny Grey: The tackling machine must start for me in what will be a young second row pairing. Dependable is what the Lions need and the younger Grey brother is that and more.

5 Maro Itoje: England’s breakthrough player of the tournament can play as a lock or in the back row, but he is a breakdown machine and I feel a pairing with Grey would help give the Lions the edge over their foes.

6 CJ Stander: If Hoggy was the first name of the team sheet, Stander is a close second. He showed he was an absolute beast in most of the matches in the 6 nations especially with his performance against Italy. Brilliant in the breakdown and a good ball carrier he shows all the traits of the quality back rower.

7 James Haskell: Had a bit of a resurgence recently and as such, I feel he has earned his way into the starting 15. Solid and dependable, he’s the type of players that the lions will need against the Kiwis.

8 Billy Vunipola: He’s a beast who is an exceptional ball carrier. Will create gaps in defences as it takes several men to take him down. A shoe in for a start.

My replacements; 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Tauluape Faletau, 21, Dan Biggar, 22 Johnathan Davis, 23 Tommy Seymour

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