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McGeechan's take on which Lion should start at No.7 jersey against Japan

By Ian Cameron

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British & Irish Lions guru Sir Ian McGeechan has been running the rule over who should start against Japan next weekend.

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The Lions will take on new opponents Japan at Murrayfield on Saturday at 3pm and McGeechan believes its the perfect opportunity to start fellow Scot Hamish Watson and give the forward his first outing in the famous red jersey.

Openside has been one of the most competitive positions in the touring party, both before and after the initial squad selection, and McGeechan would like the Edinburgh rookie to get the nod ahead of series veteran Justin Tipuric.

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“It would be good to see Hamish Watson play in front of his home fans,” wrote McGeechan in his Sunday Telegraph column.

“One of the big lessons I learned as a Lions coach was to blood new Lions as early as possible. This would be another good reason to pick Watson at openside rather than, say, Justin Tipuric, who already has plenty of Lions experience. But primarily you are thinking about the game needed to beat South Africa.”

McGeechan is also strongly of the opinion that Gatland will deploy a ‘5.5’ style player on the blindside against the Springboks and that a similar selection choice will be made for the warm-up game. Given that a lot has been made of the relatively modestly sized opensides at Gatland’s disposal, it makes a certain sense that he will look add height and size on the blindside to compensate.

“Gats might go with a fourth line-out jumper on the blindside, for instance – Tadhg Beirne or Courtney Lawes – as I am sure he will be thinking along those lines for South Africa.”

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Both Harlequins prop Kyle Sinckler and Sale Sharks’ flanker Tom Curry joined the training squad on Jersey yesterday following their respective Gallagher Premiership semi-final losses. Today, Owen Farrell and his England team-mates Elliot DalyMaro ItojeJamie George and Mako Vunipola, as well as Scotland flyhalf Finn Russell joined the camp. 

The team for Japan is set to be named at 11 am on Tuesday, the 21st of June, UK time.

 

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McGeechan's take on which Lion should start at No.7 jersey against Japan

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