British & Irish Lions Adam Jones has revealed he’d prefer playing both Alun Wyn Jones and Maro Itoje to start with George Kruis dropping out for the second Test against New Zealand starting on Saturday in Wellington.
“There is a clamour for Maro Itoje to come in and personally I would play him and Alun Wyn together. They are both big, athletic men, who are a nuisance at the breakdown and can each call in the lineout which is obviously George Kruis’ main strength,” wrote Jones in his column on ESPN.
“All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick, for me, is on course to become the best second row to ever play the game. He is a different level to anyone I have ever seen in that position.
“To combat his threat the Lions will need their two most athletic locks, and in my opinion that is Itoje and Alun Wyn. Kruis has been Borthwick’s go-to lineout guy with England and was a bit of a protégé of his in his earlier days at Saracens so the forwards coach has a tough decision to make.
“The All Blacks were very good in the set piece in Auckland. They nullified the Lions’ lineout drive, our biggest threat, with textbook maul-ruck rugby and there will be pressure on forwards coach Steve Borthwick to solve that mystery this week.
“The Lions will have a lot of homework to do over the next 24 to 48 hours as coaches and analysts pore over footage in search of chinks in their opponents’ armour.
“Obviously New Zealand looked outstanding on Saturday as they put pressure on the Lions with their kicking game while dominating both possession and territory. The tourists must up their share of those particular stats — less than 40 percent in each — while cutting their penalty count from 11 to eight max.”