Lions Tour Predictions

Jack Murray

As the Six Nations ends, the British and Irish rugby sphere turns to the Lions tour in South Africa. 

The recent Six Nations could be an indication of who will and won’t go. For Ireland, the latest championship was a bit of a mixed bag, two disappointing performances to start were backed up by three wins on the bounce. Against the poor Italians, a resilient and tough to beat Scotland side and the biggest win of all, against England, after five attempts. 

It’s safe to say that the nominees for player of the Six Nations, Robbie Henshaw and Tadgh Beirne are destined to be selected. Tadgh Furlong showed against England that he still plays at a high standard and Johnny Sexton’s experience, leadership and sheer class will be something that’s hard for Gatland to ignore. Iain Henderson and Garry Ringrose have played their way into the squad and are more likely to go than not. 

If fit, James Ryan, and Conor Murray could see themselves on the plane, alongside soon-to-be officially retired CJ Stander who stated that the tour would be his last hoorah. Cian Healy and Hugo Keenan may feel hard done by but should see themselves on stand-by should they be needed. 

As far as South Africa are concerned, these test matches are a way to brush off the cobwebs in a sense. It has been over 500 days since the reigning world champions have played in a test match and the Lions will be banking on their lack of game time as a weakness. On the other hand, the Springboks will be gunning to get going again and to prove to the world why they are champions, and what better way to do it then beating the Lions?

The tour itself was put in doubt over the global pandemic that we see ourselves in at the minute but South African director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus stated: “We desperately want to play the Lions, and we will do anything to play them. This series only comes around every 12 years . . . We don’t want to lose the Lions series; we feel we deserve to play against them. I want to, Jacques Nienaber (head coach) wants to, the players want to, so from our side we’ll do anything.” Clearly an eager and hungry South African side are poised and ready to face the Lions and we are in for a fantastic series, no doubt.

As for the strongest starting XV, there is always debate as to who plays. Who is the strongest player at each position, based off of form, class, and sheer ability? The starting team should be as follows:

  1. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
  2. Anthony Watson (England) 
  3. Garry Ringrose (Ireland)
  4. Owen Farrell (England)
  5. Jonny May (England)
  6. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)
  7. Rhys Webb (Wales) 


  1. Mako Vunipola (England)
  2. Jamie George (England)
  3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
  4. Maro Itoje (England)
  5. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
  6. Tadhg Beirne (Ireland)
  7. Tom Curry (England)
  8. CJ Stander (Ireland) 

 Jack Murray

Image Credit: Inpho