Warren Gatland tipped to make shock Lions call involving CJ Stander
At this stage, and following his four and a half years in Ireland, CJ Stander is assumed to be a banker for British & Irish Lions selection.
While most reasonable rugby folk will agree with that, some are suggesting the Munster back-row will miss out on the Test team to face New Zealand, this summer.
Reliable word from Wales is that Warren Gatland has another player in mind for the blindside role and he is a [not so old] old reliable.
Paul Williams from Rugby World joined The Hard Yards rugby podcast [from 37:00 minutes below] for its Lions squad selection special and he shared some home truths about Gatland and the upcoming tour.
"I have Toby Faletau at blindside [in my Lions XV] because Gatland loves Faletau.
"Even though Faletau had an injury-ridden season and did not play fantastically well when he came back, and came off the bench for Wales. He didn't look fit but he is fit now and his last two performances for Bath have been fantastic.
"I think Gatland will do everything possible to put Faletau in his team and even over CJ Stander.
"I know that might sound insane because he is probably the best... "
Former Leinster and Ireland flanker Kevin McLaughlin declared, ""There may be riots on the streets of Limerick", and Williams agreed. He added:
"I think CJ Stander has had a fantastic season. I would pick CJ Stander at six but I think he'll try to get Faletau in there as he wants Billy Vunipola at eight."
Ronan O'Gara believes Stander is a banker for the blindside position and he offered up a succinct argument on his behalf.
"If you don't have CJ Stander in your team," he proclaimed, "then your logic for picking players on form goes out the window."
Never were truer words spoken.
We will find out next Wednesday if both Faletau and Stander will make the Lions squad. After that, the Test XV debates can really begin...