How many Scots could make the British and Irish Lions squad?

first_imgIn reserve – Cian Healy (Ire), Rob Evans (Wal), Kyle Sinckler (Eng), WP Nel (Sco)An embarrassment of riches to choose from in the second row and, perhaps, a slice of Scottish bias to bring both of the Grays. Their partnership counts in their favour. Itoje is listed at lock despite playing flanker for the England, as extra mobility against the Kiwis is always welcome.In reserve – George Kruis (Eng), Courtney Lawes (Eng), Luke Charteris (Wal)Warburton was back approaching his best this spring and formed a great 6-7 partnership with Tipuric. Until last weekend I had Hamish Watson as my bolter for his outstanding performances, but Ireland’s pack dominance to end England’s winning run ensures O’Mahoney and O’Brien must go ahead of him.In reserve – Chris Robshaw (Eng), James Haskell (Eng), Hamish Watson (Sco)Perhaps the easiest selections of the whole squad, this pair are simply exceptional at their position. Vunipola will be one player that the All Blacks genuinely fear as his ball carrying can provide significant momentum.In reserve – Jamie Heaslip (Ire)Murray and Webb speak for themselves – the outstanding 9s of the northern hemisphere this year. Laidlaw is probably controversial as he’ll be light on gametime after his ankle injury and both England scrum halves – Danny Care and Ben Youngs – have strong form. If I were Gatland I would give the Scotland skipper every chance to get fit as his leadership and character are priceless on a gruelling tour, while his game management and goal kicking can win tight games on the field.In reserve – Danny Care (Eng), Ben Youngs (Eng)Sexton’s on the plane and wears 10 on Test days, as simple as that. His understudy will be a matter of intense debate. I make the case for Russell because he is in the form of his career to date, has the self-confidence to deal with the intensity of the tour, and provides a known midweek partnership with Laidlaw. If Greig doesn’t make the plane, neither does Finn. In that situation the place goes to George Ford who can slot in to a comfortable 10-12 tandem with Owen Farrell.In reserve – George Ford (Eng), Dan Biggar (Wal)Farrell is a leader of the backs and if he hits it off with Sexton the Lions will stand a chance of causing an upset. Daly has versatility and could easily start on the wing, because Joseph has the strongest claim to play 13 in the Test side. Davies and Henshaw both had good championships and will push all the way for full Test honours.In reserve – Garry Ringrose (Ire), Jared Payne (Ire), Ben Te’o (Eng), Alex Dunbar (Sco)North had a superb Six Nations in attack and is back in the Lions Test reckoning. His defence was sporadic – at times he was impossible to pass; but he was also burned badly by Tim Visser on numerous occasions at Murrayfield. Williams is a good wing and also cover for full-back. Watson is England’s number one wing and must travel with a good chance of being a Test starter. My case for Seymour rides on his defence and aerial ability being better than the others with a claim to inclusion, while his finishing has been proven regularly in the Pro 12 and internationals.In reserve – Jack Nowell (Eng), Simon Zebo (Ire), Keith Earls (Ire)Hogg is box office; he has everyone talking and he will occupy more than a few pre-match talks by this summer’s opposition teams. The Six Nations sealed his reputation as the best full back on the northern hemisphere not just because of his attack, but because his defence has noticeably improved. Halfpenny just edges out Rob Kearney on the basis of his goalkicking and his experience from the 2013 tour of Australia.In reserve – Rob Kearney (Ire)Jamie’s British and Irish Lions Test side:McGrath, Best (c), Furlong, Launchbury, Itoje, Stander, Warburton, B Vunipola; Murray, Sexton, North, Farrell, Joseph, Watson, HoggReplacements: Hartley, M Vunipola, Cole, Jones, O’Brien, Webb, Daly, Williams With another Six Nations in the books the thoughts of rugby fans now turn fully to next month’s announcement of the British and Irish Lions squad.Warren Gatland announces his men to head to New Zealand on April 19.Always a moment to spark debate and argument, the matter of who will be given the honour of wearing the famous red jersey in the toughest of international test series is almost as anticipated as the tour itself.Nobody can make an objective judgement. Each of the Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish observers will think their countrymen could earn a spot on the flight in the more borderline positions. This author is no different so, having watched each team in the flesh this spring, here are 37 players (21 forwards and 16 backs) that I believe could do the job.The quality, experience and temperament of Best marks him out not only as the Test starter, but also a strong candidate the captain the Lions. Hartley has been a stalwart for an England side that would give the All Blacks a run for their money right now, and Owens had a terrific Six Nations and thoroughly deserves his place.In reserve – Jamie George (Eng), Scott Baldwin (Wal)With combinations counting for so much at the highest level, the temptation would be to field Ireland’s full front row unit to start the Tests, with England’s in reserve on the bench. Deciding on a third tighthead was tough as a fit WP Nel would have been a shoo-in. I chose the experience of Francis over England’s younger ‘finisher’ Kyle Sinckler.last_img read more

Chamber Provides List of Top Scams

first_imgFor more consumer tips, visit or call 800-388-2222. Washington County Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director Tara Kritzer shared these top scams with WSLM today. “You might want to share this with yourfamily and friends,” she noted. If you see a Facebook post about a $50 Mother’s Day Lowe’s coupon, don’t click on it! This will send you to a survey site that asks for personal information and asks you to share the post with your friends. Lowe’s is not running this promotion – it is a scam.BBB is still receiving reports of the “can you hear me?” scam. Callers are claiming to be with a warranty department, vacation companies, or government agencies. Don’t say “yes” to these calls – just hang up!Beware of fake Amazon emails. The email provides an order number along with an invoice. If you click on this link, you will be sent to a phishing website. If you receive an email like this, log into your Amazon account directly to check your order status.Consumers are reporting receiving text messages from their banks saying that their card is locked and to call a number to fix the issue. The number they provide goes to the scammer, not to your bank. If you suspect a problem with your account, contact your bank directly.Did you receive a letter from the International Claims Department along with a check? Don’t fall for it! A local consumer received a letter that said she won over $140,000 with instructions to deposit a $3,920 check to cover government taxes and clearance.The jury duty scam is making the rounds again. Scammers are calling and claiming to be with the sheriff’s office. They threaten you with jail time because you failed to show and demand that you wire money to avoid prosecution.Now that tax filing season has passed, local tax payers are receiving phony IRS calls claiming they owe money. Scammers are threatening consumers with lawsuits or jail time. If there is an issue with your taxes, the IRS will send you a letter in the mail.A local consumer received a phone call about a payday loan. The scammer demanded $600 in order to clear up the old debt. When the consumer refused, the scammer threatened legal action. This is a scam!Business owners: beware of “vanity directory” scams. You get an email saying you’ve been selected as “Best of” in your business industry. The email includes options for you to purchase additional advertising in the directory. Do your research on the company before you send any money – many of these are scams!If you receive an email from your IT Department to update your account settings, don’t click on any links! This may be an attempt to phish for your information. Contact your IT department directly to clear up any issues.last_img read more