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11th Jan 2024

If Andy Farrell had to do it right now, here’s how the strongest Lions XV would look

Patrick McCarry

Hand to heart, this is a one-time only deal for the 2023/24 season.

Andy Farrell is the new British & Irish Lions head coach for the 2025 tour to Australia and that is all the reason we need to spark another debate. We promise, no more Lions XV speculation until the end of this season.

Farrell will be keeping abreast of all things Lions for the rest of 2024 but does not fully get the legs under that desk until December. From then, it’s all Lions system go and the squad selection chat will really start to ramp up. Where will we all be by then? Warm and collectively cosy, one hopes.

To mark Farrell getting the top job, and to help us tee up the Six Nations to come, we are putting on our selectorial hat. If Andy Farrell had to pick a Lions team, right now, what would that strongest XV look like? Well, wonder no more.

Andy Farrell can chill, for now. The real Lions XV debates are for next year. (Credit: INPHO)

Strong Irish look to our Lions XV

Ireland fell short at the latest World Cup but they have been the most consistent and potent of the four ‘home nations’.

In January 2024, a little under 18 months out from a squad embarking Down Under, we are selecting what, in our opinion, would be the strongest Lions XV to play a Test. Our only long-term injury selection – one hopes he comes back stronger after hip surgery – is Tom Curry.

The likes of Andrew Porter, Jac Morgan, George Ford, Mack Hansen, James Lowe, Freddie Steward, Jack Dempsey, Henry Arundell, Jamie George, Sione Tuipulotu and a few others were considered before our final selection was made.

A lot will change in the coming year and a half. Owen Farrell may be well settled at Racing 92 by then, and Ireland may be looking at their 15th or 16th Byrne brother to play outhalf, but it is a fun way to gauge the current Lions XV frontrunners.


15. Hugo Keenan (Ireland)
14. Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales)
13. Garry Ringrose (Ireland)
12. Bundee Aki (Ireland)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland)
10. Finn Russell (Scotland)
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (Ireland)

1. Ellis Genge (England)
2. Dan Sheehan (Ireland)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
4. Maro Itoje (England)
5. Tadhg Beirne (Ireland)
6. Tom Curry (England)
7. Josh van der Flier (Ireland)
8. Caelan Doris (Ireland)

We are looking forward to swinging back on this article in June 2025 to see how right (or horribly wrong) we got it.

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