O'Connell names 5 shoo-ins for Lions

O'Connell names 5 shoo-ins for Lions

Current Ireland forwards coach and former Ireland and British & Irish Lions captain Paul O’Connell has singled out five players whom he believes are guaranteed selection into the Lions squad for the upcoming tour to South Africa scheduled to commence in July.

O’Connell, who has toured three times with the Lions (2005, 2009 & 2013) wrote a column recently for the Ruck website in which he named the five players, writing the following:

Maro Itoje (Saracens, England lock/flank)

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‘Maro is obviously a world-class athlete, he is a phenomenal second-row forward. I like watching him play. I’m surprised he doesn’t give away more penalties than he does but he is always pushing the limits around the ruck, around the offside line. Brilliant at collapsing mauls, brilliant at stopping teams mauling.’

James Ryan (Leinster, Ireland lock)

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‘There are certain players who can do certain things but there are very few that can do it all and James can do it all. He is nailed on for me.’

Owen Farrell (Saracens, England flyhalf/centre)

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‘Farrell has that kind of abrasive attitude as well and is very experienced as well in terms of taking on southern-hemisphere teams, beating southern-hemisphere teams. He obviously had that tough experience as well with South Africa in the World Cup so, as we are talking here, he springs to mind.’

Tadhg Furlong (Leinster, Ireland prop)

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‘Furlong is still, for me, the best tighthead in the world.’

Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland fullback)

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‘Hogg has taken his game to another level again with Exeter. I hope this tour can be a redemption for him after what happened in 2017.’

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