"We discussed 57 players. Not all of them were current internationals" - Robin McBryde on four hour Lions selection meeting

"We discussed 57 players. Not all of them were current internationals" - Robin McBryde on four hour Lions selection meeting

The British and Irish Lions coaching staff sat down together for the first time on Monday to discuss their initial thoughts on selection for the tour.

The coaching staff was confirmed on Tuesday with Gregor Townsend, Steve Tandy, Robin McBryde and Neil Jenkins all named as Gatland's assistants, however, the five coaches all met the day prior to discuss potential selections. 


A four-hour selection meeting convened, during which all coaches weighed in with their opinions on the options available to them. Ahead of the meeting, Gatland requested that all the coaches draw up their squad of 36 players with forward's coach McBryde providing some insight into the meeting.

"The back row provoked the most discussion," said McBryde.

"To be fair, there was quite a bit to talk about everywhere but it would be the back row, getting that mix right, getting the balance right.


"It's about the all around game. Lineout ability is huge, contact ability is huge, skill set.

"But the positive thing is when you look at the quality of the players who were on those sheets, it just makes you so excited really.


"The door isn't closed on anybody.

"We discussed 57 players. Not all of them were current internationals. It's going to be interesting."

Attack coach Gregor Townsend shed more light on the meeting saying: "A lot of the meeting was focused on selection, going through each position and being open-minded about players who could make a difference to the Lions.

“We know that the squad will be named in three weeks but it was good to have that discussion and there will be a few more between now and May 6.

“We all basically chose our own squad and then compared notes. And then we ended up discussing a fair bit outside of our own choices and players who hadn’t made the 36 we had all sent in were discussed too."

"All the lists were pretty divergent! There was a core group that most of us agreed on, maybe 50-60% that we could all see as Lions this year.

"But the other 40-50%... there’s still a lot of discussions to be had and opportunities for players to get in that squad.”

 
 

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