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The Lions omissions that New Zealand rugby pundits just don't get

By Josh Raisey

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Former All Blacks hooker James Parsons has said England’s Kyle Sinckler “offers something different,” after the prop missed out on Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions squad to take on South Africa this year. 


Parsons faced Sinckler four years ago when the Lions played the Blues, and listed the Bristol Bears tighthead as one of the surprise omissions from the squad on the Aotearoa Rugby Pod this week alongside Ross Karl and Bryn Hall. 

Parsons also named the Welsh duo of Jonathan Davies and Josh Navidi as surprising absences, as well as England’s Jonny May. 

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“Sinckler I think he’s a point of difference,” the 34-year-old said.

“I like his skillset. I always reference him to the Charlie Faumuina type. He just got something different, he offers something different. I haven’t watched enough of him play at the moment to know what form he’s in and the reasons why but I was surprised to see him missing. 

“I think Jonathan Davies as well, with the form of Wales and just the relationship [with Gatland] as well. In the midfield there’s a lot of new blood in there, Bundee Aki, Chris Harris, but I just thought maybe with the form of Wales he’d be in. 

“Another one, Josh Navidi for me as well. He was awesome during the Six Nations. But I also think that Sam Underhill and Billy Vunipola, they are two big names as well. 


“Maybe Jonny May as well. I know form-wise, maybe not, but he’s been around and done the business for a long time. I think the young guys are in, [Duhan] van der Merwe, [Josh] Adams and [Louis] Rees-Zammit.”

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“I do like how much I think they’ve gone for a lot of form and that’s, I feel, the best case scenario for what they’re going into. They’re just backing their coaching skill to get a group together but a lot of current form as well.”

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton’s failure to make the squad was also discussed, with Hall praising the form of Dan Biggar, who was one of three fly-halves selected over the Irishman. 


“Any time a guy of Johnny Sexton’s calibre misses out on a squad, I think obviously injuries have played a massive part around that. But I think with the form of Dan Biggar in the Six Nations, he’s probably warranted his selection and Warren Gatland knows him pretty well in the past. Finn Russell, his form for Scotland was great.” 

The selection of both Bundee Aki and Gareth Davies was also popular on the podcast, as Hall and Parsons suggested the Connacht centre can play a similar role to Ben Te’o in the 2017 tour.


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The Lions omissions that New Zealand rugby pundits just don't get