Former England and British & Irish Lions head coach Sir Clive Woodward has penned what is in his opinion the best Lions side to tackle the mighty Springboks later this year.
After winning the World Cup with England in 2003, Woodward took charge of the Lions in 2005 on their tour to New Zealand – an excursion which saw the All Blacks triumph.
The man he sees as the right leader for the 2021 challenge is Welsh stalwart Alun Wyn Jones. There has been much talk of the captaincy going to one of the English duo of Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell but, based on what has transpired in the Six Nations this year, Woodward has opted for Jones.
In total, Woodward has picked six Welshmen, six Englishmen, two Scots and one Irishman.
An intriguing move was picking Welsh workhorse Justin Tipuric at number 8 to make space for the industrious Tom Curry.
"Alun Wyn Jones may have missed out on the Grand Slam but the Wales captain is my choice to lead the Lions - and I would have five of his countrymen in my XV against the Springboks," Woodward wrote in a column for the Mail.
"I haven’t gone entirely on Six Nations form, but I’ve tried not to ignore those who have shone over the past seven weeks or so.
"Tom Curry starts at seven, and I’m going to take a risk and start Justin Tipuric at No 8.
"I’m not prepared to leave Tadhg Beirne out, but want Jones and Itoje to form a second row partnership, so I’m playing the Irishman at blindside flanker."
Woodward’s Lions XV:
Stuart Hogg (Scotland); Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales), Henry Slade (England), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Anthony Watson (England); Owen Farrell (England), Gareth Davies (Wales); Rory Sutherland (Scotland), Ken Owens (Wales), Kyle Sinckler (England), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales, capt), Maro Itoje (England), Tadhg Beirne (Ireland), Tom Curry (England), Justin Tipuric (Wales).