Jeremy Guscott selects five players as Lions XV certainties
"When he’s in form he’s a hard man to stop."
Having been a key part of a British & Irish Lions team to beat South Africa, back in 1997, Jeremy Guscott knows a thing or two about getting the job done against a world champion side.
The former Bath and England centre has been keeping a close eye on the frontrunners for the 2021 Lions Tour to South Africa, and he is backing Welsh and Irish players to form the back-bone of Warren Gatland's Lions team for the Test Series.
As we have previously noted, Guscott selected 13 Ireland (7) and Wales (6) players in his Lions XV after the Six Nations round five games wrapped. In his latest column for The Rugby Paper, he has gone so far as to lock in five "certainties" to start against the Springboks.
Two of Guscott's five locks for the First Test against South Africa are Irish - Conor Murray and Robbie Henshaw. Here's what he said to say on Henshaw:
'He glides into one of the centre positions after a fine Six Nations, and the Irishman could make the same impact as Rob Henderson did in 2001. Henshaw has the bit between his teeth, and when he’s in form he’s a hard man to stop.'
Guscott also includes Conor Murray as his other Ireland player he would definitely start against the Boks. The Munster scrumhalf is picked to start alongside Dan Biggar, of whom Guscott says:
'The Welsh 10 is starting to play flatter and attract defences onto him. He is also brilliant under the high ball, and a good defender. I’d also say that he is now a better goal-kicker than Owen Farrell.'
The other certainties, according to Guscott, are Maro Itoje, Stuart Hogg and Toby Faletau, while he reserves much praise for Ireland tighthead Tadhg Furlong too.
Guscott has previously included Iain Henderson in his Lions XV, and the Ulster lock's chances of starting in the Test Series were discussed on the latest House of Rugby Ireland episode [LISTEN from 16:30 below]:
Lions head coach Warren Gatland will be following the Challenge and Champions Cup quarter finals very closely, next weekend, and players can still make an impression in league outings before his touring squad is announced on May 6.
When it is, the debates can start all over again.