English newspaper selects just TWO Irishmen in its XV for 2017 British and Irish Lions Tour
Steve James believes just two Irish players will make the Test team when the tourists play New Zealand in two years time.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, James picked his starting XV on the basis of performances at the Rugby World Cup and Ireland have the lowest representation among the home nations.
With no Irish player deemed good enough to make the back-line, the Irish contingent is made up of hooker Rory Best and loosehead prop Cian Healy.
On Best's selection, he wrote: "Scotland’s Ross Ford and Wales’ Scott Baldwin impressed, and so did England’s Tom Youngs in his indefatigable loose work, but Best’s all-round work shone.."
On Cian Healy, he said: "Another difficult choice, mainly because his compatriot Jack McGrath has a strong case. So too does Scotland’s Alasdair Dickinson."
Wales dominate the side with seven selections spread among the team, Scotland have four including skipper Greig Laidlaw at scrum-half and England, who bowed out at the Pool Stage, have the same number as Ireland with two.
Here's the team James selected: (15-9) Mike Brown (England), Anthony Watson (England), Mark Bennett (Scotland), Jamie Roberts (Wales), George North (Wales), Dan Biggar (Wales), Greig Laidlaw (Scotland); (1-8) Cian Healy (Ireland), Rory Best (Ireland), WP Nel (Scotland), Richie Gray (Scotland), Alun Wyn-Jones (Wales), Dan Lydiate (Wales), Sam Warburton (Wales), Toby Faletau (Wales).
(An earlier version of the Telegraph story had attributed the selection to four-time British and Irish Lions coach Ian McGeechan)