British and Irish Lions
Who are the Lions winners and losers?
November 30, 2008
Wales' Andy Powell will have caught the eye of the Lions management with some strong performances © Getty Images
The 2009 Lions head coach Ian McGeechan spent the autumn following South Africa's European tour, attempting to glean some insights into Springbok rugby that he can exploit next summer.
But matters closer to home will concern him more after a disastrous autumn series for England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland against the three southern hemisphere powers.
Wales provided the only success with yesterday's thrilling 21-18 triumph over Australia. New Zealand completed a Grand Slam tour while South Africa were unbeaten against Wales, Scotland and England.
So where does that leave the Lions? Who enhanced their Test credentials and who dropped off the pace?
Shane Williams (Wales) - The electric winger is the world player of the year and proved why as he sparked Wales' victory over Australia.
Lee Byrne (Wales) - The outstanding full-back in the Six Nations and continued that form into the autumn and was also outstanding against the Wallabies.
Ryan Jones (Wales) - Struggled for form early in Wales' autumn series but was immense against the Wallabies and proved to be a quality leader.
Andy Powell (Wales) - The surprise package. Powell only made his Test debut this autumn but was Wales' standout player against South Africa.
Euan Murray (Scotland) - The bearded tight-head prop impressed in Scotland's narrow defeat to the Springboks and is a powerful scrummager.
David Wallace (Ireland) - The dynamic loose-forward looks ideally built to tackle the Springboks' physical back-row.
Danny Cipriani (England) - Still time for Cipriani but he struggled badly against Australia and South Africa before losing his place to Toby Flood.
Paul Sackey (England) - The Wasps winger was off his game all autumn and looked strangely ponderous against the best in the business.
Steve Borthwick (England) - The England captain not only struggled for form but his leadership was called into question through the autumn.
Ronan O'Gara (Ireland) - The experienced Irish fly-half has a prime opportunity to make the Lions 10 jersey his own but is yet to make the most of it.
Gavin Henson (Wales) - On talent alone Henson is a guaranteed starter at inside centre but can the Lions risk taking a player who is not renowned to be the ideal team man?
Andrew Sheridan (England) - On his day Sheridan remains a destructive force but does he have enough big days? Inconsistent against the Pacific Islanders and struggled against Australia.
Potential Lions Test XV: L Byrne (Wales); L Fitzgerald (Ireland), B O'Driscoll (Ireland), G Henson (Wales), S Williams (Wales); D Cipriani (England), M Blair (Scotland); A Sheridan (England), R Ford (Scotland), E Murray (Scotland), P O'Connell (Ireland), N Hines (Scotland), R Jones (capt, Wales), D Wallace (Ireland), A Powell (Wales).
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