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British and Irish Lions vying for 2021 South Africa tour: Half-backs |  Rugby news


Conor Murray, Owen Farrell and Dan Biggar are in the frame. Below we take a look at the half-back options for the Lions …

We’re looking at the contenders for the 2021 British and Irish Lions half-back positions, and what Warren Gatland might be looking at in terms of a scrum-half and half-back ahead of his squad’s announcement …

British and Irish Lions vying for 2021 South Africa tour: Half-backs |  Rugby news

Scrum half

Conor Murray (Munster and Ireland; test selections: 94; British and Irish Lions tours: 2013, 2017)

The Lions test scrum-half for all three tests in New Zealand four years ago, Murray’s consistency of performance has weakened slightly over the years.

British and Irish Lions vying for 2021 South Africa tour: Half-backs |  Rugby news

An exceptional 2018 was followed by mixed campaigns in 2019 and 2020, while in 2021 an injury threatened to derail his Lions chances. That was until Murray came back to start against England in the fifth round of the Six Nations, and looked a lot more like his old self. That is, a truly world-class scrum-half.

The scrum-half is one area where Gatland isn’t spoiled for choice this time around, and with Murray twice scoring the win for Munster at Leinster last time around, the Limerick man should certainly be in the game. ‘plane.

Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues & Wales; tryout caps: 21)

Due to injuries, no player has been able to lock down the Wales scrum-half place, with Williams, Gareth Davies and Kieran Hardy all having claimed the new shirt in recent years, before retiring.

British and Irish Lions vying for 2021 South Africa tour: Half-backs |  Rugby news

Nonetheless, Williams turned out to be a sharp, nippy and intelligent scrum-half, and at one point he appeared the favorite to claim the Lions test spot.

His talent should get him on the plane, and from there he will still have to impress with performances in Lions Red.

Kieran Hardy (Scarlet and Wales; Test Limits: 4)

A bit of a bolter in that he has only four test selections so far, Hardy’s exposures in the Six Nations 2021, coupled with the lack of scrum-half options, have given the 25-year-old a potential chance to turn.

British and Irish Lions vying for 2021 South Africa tour: Half-backs |  Rugby news

After missing a spot for Wales in the Six Nations first round against Ireland (Williams and Davies were chosen), a hamstring injury for Williams saw Hardy bench for the Wales over Scotland, before starting against England and taking the Test by Storm with a fine display.

Half fly

Owen Farrell (Saracens and England; test selections: 97; British and Irish Lions tours: 2013, 2017)

Four years ago, Farrell started the Lions’ first test against the All Blacks at halftime before moving inside the center for the next two tests, as the Tourists recovered from loss to draw a compelling series.

British and Irish Lions vying for 2021 South Africa tour: Half-backs |  Rugby news

Where Gatland chooses to deploy the 29-year-old to South Africa is in the air, but Farrell is more than capable of excelling in the 10 or 12 jersey for the Lions, such is his playing ability, his defensive strength and superb kicks. Thu.

Either way, Farrell will be an integral part of the Lions’ plans one imagines.

Johnny Sexton (Leinster and Ireland; test limits: 105; British and Irish Lions tours: 2013, 2017)

In the Lions’ last two tours, Sexton has won six test caps as a pivotal figure – starting five of them as the invitational team claimed a series victory in Australia, then a draw in Nova. -Zeeland.

British and Irish Lions vying for 2021 South Africa tour: Half-backs |  Rugby news

At 36 in July, Sexton is showing few signs of slowing down on the pitch and his performances in the 2021 Six Nations, especially against Scotland and England, have shown the quality he still has.

At the time of writing, Sexton has suffered a concussion which will be a concern, but in terms of ability the Irish skipper has shown enough.

Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints and Wales; test picks: 91; British and Irish Lions tours: 2017)

A man who appears to continually play his way into Wales and Lions images once written off, Biggar’s displays in recent weeks appear to have earned him a spot on the squad.

British and Irish Lions vying for 2021 South Africa tour: Half-backs |  Rugby news

Unable to land a test cap on the 2017 tour, the 31-year-old is hoping to upset Farrell and Sexton more this time around.

Under heavy pressure from Bristol’s Callum Sheedy at the national level, Biggar’s punching play, aerial work and bravery on the pitch deserve praise. Indeed, Sam Warburton, Stuart Barnes, Northampton head coach Chris Boyd and others have referred to Biggar as the Lions 10 test last week.

Finn Russell (Racing 92 and Scotland; test selections: 51)

For much of the past two seasons, the mercurial Russell of Racing 92 has been considered by many to be the Lions from 10. That narrative seemed to change during and after the 2021 Six Nations, however.

British and Irish Lions vying for 2021 South Africa tour: Half-backs |  Rugby news

Having missed out on the 2017 Lions tour, Russell was called in late to the infamous and controversial Geography Six, but had very little involvement. And there is talk now that he will be missed once again, such is his unpredictable nature on the pitch.

Scotland’s declining performance in 2021 after securing a first victory at Twickenham since 1983, doomed them to losses at home to Ireland and Wales, which would not have helped Russell’s cause. . Incredibly brilliant that day, but capable of costing a game too, will Russell be worth the risk in Gatland’s eyes?

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