It has to be said though, that in doing so, one must fully accept that the man who will have the final say, the wonderfully eccentric Sir Clive, is guaranteed to pull not one, or two, but several surprises from the hat.
You see Sir Clive is not your conventional coach. He doesn t sit there zombie-like and impassive when his side scores or when a referee goofs (as they do, y know). No, in the former, he leaps up in air, punches the sky and exults when exultation is required. In the latter he buries his head in total exasperation. I like that.
So when Sir C pronounces, expect the unexpected.
Like if he can persuade Martin Johnson to change his mind he ll bring him.
Like Lawrence D allaglio.
And like Trevor Brennan.
Each of them has that hard edge that Woodward knows he ll need in New Zealand. Each of them is a Warrior. Sir C likes warriors. And how embarrassing will it be for Woodard s assistant, Eddie O, that Brennan can make the Lions but not the Irish squad ?
And know what ? It s won t matter a jot to Sir Clive.
He ll bring Jonny Wilkinson even if the Newcastle Falcon only plays against Clonakilty in the weekend prior to departure because he needs Wilkinson to be in the Test side. Wilkinson is a Warrior.
He ll bring Brian O Driscoll simply because Drico is the best centre on the planet at the moment. And for the last moment and for a few moments to come.
And he can t leave home without Paul O Connell and he can t start any test without the Munster lock wearing 5.
Gareth Thomas, spikey-haired Gavin Henson and Martyn Williams, they ll all go, so too might Michael Owen and Dwayne Peel.
And Scotland s Jason White, Chris Paterson and Gordon Bulloch.
If he buys into the hype of the Zurich Premiership - do they still call it that ? - he ll bring Geordan Murphy and he should do, certainly ahead of twinkle toes Jason Robinson whose step-one-two, step-one-two, wont cause the slightest concern to the Blicks defence. But Thomas and Paterson are better 15s.
I think he ll bring Matt Dawson because he ll remember how Dawson s composure and last five metre drive earned Wilko the field position for the World Cup winning drop-goal. And Dawson has no respect for the Kiwis. And they ll hate that.
He may bring Ben Cohen. Cohen is big an strong, an abrasive and that ll be needed in New Zealand. He will bring the teak-tough Josh Lewsey.
Expect to see John Hayes down Invercargill way, vacationing after playing three Tests. Touch and go on Stringer and Foley but Horgan Hickie Byrne and Corrigan will be in Japan.
Clive will bring Ronan O Gara. Ronan isn t a warrior. He s an artisan. He s like a sniper, pinning opponents down with that telescopic right boot of his. He has nerves of steel and Clive will need that in his players when they visit the land of the Long White Cloud.
Peter Loughnane - Tipp Town
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