Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Golden Quartet Get Competitive over Lions

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Golden Quartet Get Competitive over Lions

Article excerpt


HEARD about the Englishman, the Irishman and the Scotsman gently ribbing the Welshman? "Look, Scott, it's very important you stand up for your country," Keith Wood intoned with mock gravity. "Now, you wouldn't want it to be perceived that you didn't pick anyone from Wales, would you?"

"Hang on," Scott Gibbs protested as it dawned that the Lions starting XV to face New Zealand next summer which he and his three fellow former British Isles legends - Jerry Guscott, Wood and Ian McGeechan - had just selected between them featured not a single one of Gibbs's compatriots.

"Look, you will tell everyone that I chose at least three Welsh boys in my team but I was just outvoted," he implored while his distinguished jurors were still chuckling away. Who'd argue with the bloke who knocked Os du Randt for six in the Lions' scarlet?

Our fab four were in town to be presented tonight with the Parliamentary Rugby Medal, an award created by the All Party Rugby Group and backed by English rugby's leading sponsors, Zurich, at a dinner in the House of Commons to recognise their Lions' careers.

So, to mark the occasion, Standard Sport asked a quartet, who should know what it takes to win with the Lions, to come up with their best XV to follow suit next summer.

An academic exercise naturally, with loads of ifs and buts regarding fitness, but one which prompted plenty of lively sparring and merciless judgments on a few contenders which Woody gently advised me not to print. So, sadly, I can't tell you who Gibbs thinks is "effin' useless".

It was good to see Guscott still swerving majestically out of trouble; you've got to be good to call Wood "one-eyed" and get away with it. Mind, the panel seemed to have both eyes set on certain players, with Jason Robinson, Brian O'Driscoll, Gordon D'Arcy, Jonny Wilkinson, Paul O'Connell and Julian White being universally lauded. Most, however, were selected on close majority verdicts.

Wood argued that if you were picking a form team to play tomorrow following the autumn internationals, it would look vastly different from the one they were choosing. …

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