Jeremy Guscott Q&A: Leicester, Northampton and Owen Farrell
Among the topics Jerry discusses this week are:
- Who will win the Premiership final
- His Premiership back line for the season
- What he makes of Owen Farrell's current form
- Tom Croft's chances of starting for the Lions
- Making an early impression with the Lions
Jerry answers questions posted on the website at the start of every week - entries are now closed for this Q&A. This week's answers appear below.
Jeremy, which team out of Leicester and Northampton do you think will win the Premiership final? Not2serious
Despite Saints' fantastic performance in their win against Saracens, Leicester look so strong. I believe Tigers have the mental edge over their east Midlands neighbours and will win on 25 May.
Jeremy, what is your Aviva Premiership team of the season? Is there more to it than a mixture of the top four? England will win it next time
Hi, as a former centre, I will select a backline: Danny Care, Freddie Burns, Christian Wade, Billy Twelvetrees, Manu Tuilagi, Tom Varndell and Mike Brown. Wasps flyers Wade and Varndell make it because of the tries they've scored.
Harlequins' Care has been the most potent attacking nine in the league and fly-half Burns, of Gloucester, can set the backline alight. His team-mate at Kingsholm, inside centre Twelvetrees, is fast becoming a commanding figure in midfield and has great distribution, while Leicester's Tuilagi is the X Factor and can't be left out.
In recent games Owen Farrell has been outclassed by Jonny Wilkinson, Freddie Burns and Stephen Myler. Increasingly, I see Burns and Billy Twelvetrees as the best 10/12 partnership England have to offer, although a developing George Ford looks a real prospect, and is one to watch next season. Do these seem fair comments? Alex
We have to remember how young and inexperienced Owen Farrell is - he's still only 21 - despite currently being first choice for England. You get the feeling Farrell is a fierce competitor but he has a bad habit of letting his emotions boil over into frustration.
Hopefully, in time, Farrell will better control his frustration, although it would be better if it happens sooner rather than later, as habits have a tendency to bed in.
Do you think Lions boss Warren Gatland and his coaches have made the wrong decision in taking Owen Farrell ahead of someone like James Hook, or even Dan Biggar or Ian Madigan? ForeverAScarlet
Players like Wales back Hook and Ireland hooker Rory Best and others made my squad but mine doesn't matter - Gatland's the man of the moment and he's backing Farrell. He will be judged on his squad's results. If he loses, people will scrutinise his selections but it will be too late to make any difference. In the meantime let's get behind this squad and not linger on who did and didn't get selected.
Hi Jeremy, what do you think of the England squad for the summer tour? I was expecting to see Gloucester's Henry Trinder in there. He has been fantastic and is a young, up-and-coming player. Davies
We all know how hard selection can be sometimes, players don't make the cut and it can be difficult to understand why if he's part of a team we support.
I like the centres picked, Twelvetrees, Joel Tomkins and Jonathan Joseph. Bath's former rugby league man Kyle Eastmond is an interesting selection but he has amazing skills and I guess England boss Stuart Lancaster wants a close-up look at him. Trinder has all of next season to prove he should have been selected - he just has to play so well he can't be ignored, but he won't be alone trying to prove his point.
Hi Jerry, Lancaster has picked a lot new exciting talent for the South American tour. Which of them do you see as England regulars and potential World Cup-winners by 2015? The Holy Hooker
I'm not going to do individuals, but I really like the look of the whole squad, which has 11 uncapped players. My wish is that the coaches let them go. Let the players set their own game plan and let's see what these guys can produce, rather than trying to steer them down the territorial/defensive route.
Having watched a flawless performance from Leicester blind-side Tom Croft, surely he has to start in the back row for the Lions? He offers so much more than many other flankers with his incredible pace and line-out ability? What is your view? Harry Chat
Croft played like a man possessed on Saturday. He was everywhere and involved in everything. Let's not forget he is, at his best, a class player. He's come back from injury but is now in full flow and producing the performances we know he's capable of. To say he's a dead cert to start in the first Test is premature, the competition in the back row is massive and he knows that better than us.
Soane Tonga'uhia and Brian Mujati showed Saracens' Lions tourists how to scrummage on Sunday. Do you think Gatland will be worried about Matt Stevens and Mako Vunipola's scrummaging ability against Australia? Daniel Grimsey
With Ryan Grant again putting in a man of the match-worthy performance for Glasgow against Leinster, shouldn't it be a topic of national debate how Stevens and Vunipola can get picked for the Lions ahead of the Scotland prop? Aiowin
Thankfully the Aussies aren't renowned scrummagers but Saints did expose Stevens and Vunipola and it won't have gone unnoticed.
With the Lions' first meeting taking place this week, how important will first impressions be to Gatland and how much does this play on the players' minds in the early training sessions? jonnysmyhero
Not a lot will be noticed this week because it will be taken up with kitting out and other admin stuff. That changes once the training starts because everyone is sizing each other up. In Lions' training nothing is held back. It's your chance to put your case forward - and everyone does!
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