The risky decision by ‘Clueless Warren’ Lions fans are struggling to work out
Warren Gatland has named his British and Irish Lions squad to take on the Emirates Lions this Saturday, with 14 changes to the starting XV from the one that beat Japan at BT Murrayfield.
One decision that has been questioned by Lions fans online, and has piqued their interest at the same time, is the midfield combination of Scotland’s Finn Russell and England’s Owen Farrell. This 10-12 combination is one that was predicted going into the tour as Farrell provides kicking stability and strength, but now that it has been named fans are wondering how it will work.
This is not the first time Gatland has picked Farrell in the No12 shirt for the Lions, as he combined him with Johnny Sexton against the All Blacks in 2017. Those two worked well together, but Russell is so stylistically different to the Englishman that Lions fans are not sure that it will work. Then again, the point of the warm-up matches is to test these combinations.
What’s more, Farrell has combined with George Ford many times for England with great success. Ford is another player who likes to takes the ball to the line in the same way as Russell, albeit not as attacking, and has combined perfectly with Farrell.
Very interested to see Finn Russell and Farrell play together. My gut feeling is Farrell will hate Russell and everything he stands for. Conflicting views of the game #LionsRugby
— Alex Waite (@Waitos) July 1, 2021
Starting Farrell outside Russell strikes me as being utterly pointless
— dom (@Domf98) July 1, 2021
Russell and Farrell combination is going to interesting. Opposites attract?
— Ally Macfarlane (@Allymacfarlane8) July 1, 2021
Chris Harris to hardly receive a pass with Farrell at 2nd receiver.
— Arthur Dent (@ArthurDMarvin) July 1, 2021
Another take on this selection, specifically not picking Farrell as captain, is that the England skipper is not in Gatland’s plans currently to start in the first Test against South Africa. Lions fans are speculating that is the reason why Stuart Hogg is captaining the side instead.
If that is the case, it looks as though Dan Biggar is currently the front runner to start against the Springboks, as Russell would likely need a strong kicker like Farrell alongside him. But with plenty of matches before the first Test on July 24, a lot can change.
So Owen Farrell is seen as one of the biggest leaders in the Lions camp, according to reports from players, yet he starts on the weekend & Stuart Hogg is made captain… and Connor Murray was made tour captain…#CluelessWarren
— ⚪️🔴Big Steve🔴⚪️ (@BigStevee) July 1, 2021
Hogg being named captain over Farrell? Oh boy. https://t.co/8VDAGBvDna
— Alex (@Atholl1844) July 1, 2021
Looks a good side, but this also tells me Farrell won’t start the 1st test, no way is Hogg a better captain than Gaz. In or out of form, very strange
— Leon Ryan (@LexaLMR) July 1, 2021