British and Irish Lions 2013: Talking points... Five issues raised by Warren Gatland's squad selection

 

1. Do only two 10s add up to enough?

Lions tours are tough; tours of attrition with high casualty rates. Warren Gatland has picked two No 10s, Owen Farrell and Jonathan Sexton, with Stuart Hogg in mind as back-up. Given Farrell's shaky showings in Cardiff and against Toulon last weekend he will be under pressure. Sexton is likely to start the first game against Barbarians and will have the shirt to lose, although the reason for picking only two 10s is to ensure both have enough game time come the Tests.

2. When the injuries come who is on the reserve list?

There isn't one. Gatland would be surprised if his first choice picks all even make the flight to Hong Kong on 27 May but has decided that there is no purpose in settling a back-up cast. With the home unions also touring he believes he will have plenty of options to call upon, and be able to tailor them exactly to what he requires without being tied to a pre-determined range of options. It makes for an interesting summer for Chris Robshaw, whom Stuart Lancaster wants to rest rather than take to Argentina with England. Does he keep training alone at home just in case?

3. Will the captain make the team?

The breakdown has been flagged as a pivotal area – which is why Robshaw failed to make the cut. The dynamic form of Justin Tipuric saw him preferred at No 7 by Wales by the end of the season. Tom Croft's lineout presence makes him a potential blindside starter, while Dan Lydiate also has a case to make. Warren Gatland said that if he picked the Test team now Sam Warburton would be in it, but admitted, as did Warburton, there are no guarantees he will be the chosen one come the first Test on 22 June.

4. What swung it for the two surprise call-ups, Maitland and Stevens?

It is Sean Maitland's Kiwi upbringing as much as his debut season for Scotland that has caught the eye of his fellow countryman. Gatland actually chose Maitland for Waikato during his early days in the game and has long been an admirer. His experiences of Super 15 rugby are a key factor in his selection. Matt Stevens has been closely watched by Graham Rowntree for some months and it is his "all-round package" that earned him the nod.

5. Why is there such a strong Welsh presence when they lost to Australia four times last year?

The core of the Welsh side that reached the semi-final of the 2011 World Cup will be together in Australia. They are a hugely experienced group, with the last two Six Nations titles in their lockers. They could, many say should, have won three of those – add the likes of Sexton, O'Driscoll and Cole and that should be enough to tilt the balance. Or so the plan goes.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn