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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 March, 2005, 11:32 GMT
Lions Watch - Week three
Zinzan Brooke
By Zinzan Brooke
Former All Black

It is an interesting scenario that Sir Clive Woodward is faced with as he contemplates his Lions selections in the next few weeks.

Turn the clock back 12 months and you would think it would be most of the England team and a few other players from the Celtic countries.

But it is now looking like there will be a lot of Welsh and Irish players and a lot less from England than people thought.

Martin Corry tries to protect the ball under pressure from two Irish tacklers
Corry was tireless against Ireland
One of the few who will definitely make it as things stand is Martin Corry.

It is difficult to stand out when the rest of the team don't quite get it together but Corry is a very solid player and one of those guys you can build the team around.

He is a hard, robust player, very difficult to stop and he doesn't hang around on the fringes - he muscles his way through the tight areas.

I would say he just has the upper hand over Michael Owen of Wales, who also played really well against France in Paris.

As a former number eight myself, I look at how players react at the base of the scrum and like Corry, Owen seems very comfortable under pressure and good around the field.

But despite their form, Lawrence Dallaglio is still the guy I would pick at number eight.

The question Woodward may have to consider is how some of the other players would feel now that Lawrence is not playing international rugby any more.

But he has got the experience and the track record to come into a Lions squad and command a Test spot.

I would put him straight into the Test team. Lawrence would be under pressure but I am sure he would respond to that.

Wales wing Shane Williams breaks clear of the france defence in Paris
You want to nail Williams but you have to get hold of him first
France v Wales last Saturday was a pretty special game and a lot of the Wales players are sticking their hands up.

The props Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones, and John Yapp when he came on, did well against the French scrummage, especially late on in those scrums close to their line.

They were on the rack and a year ago they would probably have capitulated, but they managed to keep their composure and get themselves out of it.

Size doesn't seem to be a problem for Shane Williams, who played really well again.

He was up against a big man in Aurelien Rougerie, and got bumped off a couple of times in the first half.

But it didn't affect his confidence and he certainly asked a few questions of the French defence.

He has the ability to step off guys and get himself out of the tackle, and is soft on his feet - a bit like Jason Robinson.

As an opponent you want to nail him but you have to get hold of him first.

If he is on the short-list for the Lions, New Zealand need to watch out for him because he has really got the wind in his sails at the moment.

Fly-half Stephen Jones also played really well and controlled the game in the second half.

If there are still doubts over Jonny Wilkinson, then Jones must be in with a good chance for the number 10 spot.

Ronan O'Gara kicked well from hand for Ireland but I thought he missed an opportunity to kill off the game when they had a lot of pressure on the England line.

I don't think it was premeditated, but when the ball came back to him, he went for a left-footed drop-goal.

In that situation the fly-half needs to keep the ball in hand and go for the kill.

Ireland didn't actually play that well and they need to be a lot more clinical. England should have won that game.

Lions Watch - Week Two
15 Feb 05 |  Six Nations
Lions Watch - Week One
08 Feb 05 |  Six Nations


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