Stuart Barnes, who currently writes for The Times, has launched a scathing attack on Scotland captain Stuart Hogg and his British & Irish Lions credentials.
Commenting on the full-back’s performance at the weekend, Barnes wrote: “More is needed if he is to make the Test team.”
He argued: “The negatives of his game can outweigh his dazzling array of positives. In the European Champions Cup quarter-final loss to Leinster, twice he was caught on his heels in defence and twice the Irish side exploited this positional frailty with tries.
“Wasps’ Paolo Odogwu also beat Hogg with ease in a one-on-one by the touchline on Saturday. Against an opposition that boasts the brilliant Cheslin Kolbe, he will need to do better.
“While one of his tries belonged to Hogg and Hogg alone, that only scratched out the Josh Bassett Wasps try for which nobody else can share the blame. Hogg took an age over a clearing kick and was charged down. That, and a wild offload 30 metres from his own tryline, are the flip side of Hogg.
“He is not one of the world’s most dominant presences beneath a high ball either. Hugo Keenan and Liam Williams are markedly superior in an aspect of the game where the Springboks will hunt for weaknesses.
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“Hogg’s devastating counterattack and his long-range boot (especially to counter the home team’s kicking game at altitude) are his prime assets. He is — on his day — one of the Lions match-winners.
“But that isn’t enough to ink him into the Test team. There are superior defensive full backs available to Gatland. He has been extremely shaky in the past fortnight. There is also the capacity for the Hogg howler.”
Tom Curry misses out on Lions XV, according to the bookies
- 15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland) – 1/7
- 14. Jonny May (England) – 1/10
- 11. Josh Adams (Wales) – 1/10
- 13. George North (Wales) – 1/5
- 12. Robbie Henshaw (Ireland) – 1/10