Right after the first test I posted my 23 for the game in Wellington this Saturday.
This was before the Hurricanes match, so I had no idea what changes, if any, Warren Gatland and his coaching team might have in mind.
Turns out I picked 13 of the starting XV, including all the backs and the Owen Farrell/ Johnny Sexton combination. This was a 10-12 pairing I have favoured all along – as you have probably been bored by me saying for the last 4 weeks!
L Williams; A Watson, J Davies, O Farrell, E Daly; J Sexton, C Murray; M Vunipola, J George, T Furlong, AW Jones, M Itoje, S Warburton (capt), S O’Brien, T Faletau. Replacements: K Owens, J McGrath, K Sinckler, C Lawes, CJ Stander; R Webb, B Te’o, J Nowell
I also stated that this was harsh on Ben T’eo.
I was wrong on the forwards – AWJ survived my proposed cull, whilst I had also opted to retain Peter O’Mahoney.
On the bench I was right with 6 of the 8 – I had Justin Tipuric and Iain Henderson – and, I might note, before their performances on Tuesday. You can check if you don’t believe me – ‘Wellington Boots’, posted on 24th June.
I had Lawes starting and as an aside Clive Woodward also chose Tipuric – smart bloke!
I didn’t have either CJ Stander or Jack Nowell in my 23.
Being close to the actual selection doesn’t mean anything of course – it may turn out that both Warren and I have made bad decisions.
My main worry is that if WG was really serious about the 10-12 axis he (and I) have gone for, why the fuck didn’t he start them together in at least one of the run up games?
The real test (sic) will be on Saturday