Tadhg Furlong declared 'single most important player for Lions touring party'
It is looking good for two Irish props to travel to South Africa, this summer.
We are heading into the final countdown, with regards to the British & Irish Lions squad announcement. Tadhg Furlong is expected to make it, but he could have some Irish company in the front row.
Warren Gatland will name his squad to tour South Africa and then fetch out the rosary beads and pray all his first-choice picks make the plane, heading South, in late June.
At this stage, most of the players have done all the can and will either make the cut or won't. The only players left in the shop window are the ones in Challenge and Champions Cup action, this weekend.
With that May 6 announcement almost upon us, The Daily Telegraph are doing a position-by-position breakdown and asking their six leading rugby scribes to make their selection calls.
Starting off with the props, and it is good reading for two Irish players. Let us first start off with the four players selected as props by each of the six writers:
- Mako Vunipola (England)
- Wyn Jones (Wales)
- Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
- Kyle Sinckler (England)
Furlong is a unanimous pick and Daniel Schofield stresses how vital the Leinster and Ireland tighthead is to the Lions' hopes of a Test Series victory. He writes:
'Furlong will be the rock upon which the Lions scrum rises and falls. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say he is the single most important player for the touring party.'
No pressure, then.
On House of Rugby Ireland [LISTEN from 28:30 below] Springbok legend Tendai Mtawawira and former Ireland prop Mike Ross selected their starting front rows - Lions and South Africa - for the Test Series.
Even 'The Beast' knows the Lions are on to a good thing with Tadhg Furlong.
Elsewhere, it gets interesting as the six Telegraph scribes give their takes on those final two prop spots in the squad. Leinster and Ireland star Andrew Porter is in with a good shout of making his Lions squad, and he makes it into four of the selections.
It is noted, more than once, how Porter can cover both sides of the front row. He has done such for Leinster in recent years and had a starring role as a loosehead in underage rugby before the province got him to concentrate on tighthead.
Edinburgh and Scotland loosehead Rory Sutherland makes four of the six writers' picks while Zander Fagerson gets three mentions.
The wildcard picks come from Charles Richardson, who has English props in his Lions squad, including Joe Marler and Will Stuart.