The British & Irish Lions head over to the world champions next year. The time is right for a new team of Lions. What a sight it would be to see the best of North & South America head over to Australia, New Zealand or even the Pacific Islands.
Below is a proposed XV. No surprises it is full of Argentines, but there are a few names from other countries that could make this Lions team a true Lions team, competitive with the world's best.
There may be logistical and financial challenges, but there is no reason this spectacle can't happen.
1 Lucas Abud. Brazil.
Perhaps the first name on the team sheet comes as a bit of a surprise. But if there’s one thing Brazilians can do as well as anyone else in the game, its scrum. Watch here if you don’t believe it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOhPmWAtvpM).
2 Joe Taufeteʻe. USA.
27 caps, 20 tries. After 4 years with the Worcester Warriors, he has now moved to Lyon and is up against some of the best scrummagers in the world. Perfect training for an Americas Lions tour.
Honourable mentions of course go to Creevy and Montoya, but no one scores tries like this guy.
3 Juan Figallo. Argentina.
1988. 1.87m. 33 Tests. Playing at Saracens. Juan will be needed in the pack.
4 Tomos Lavennini. Argentina.
130kg. Likes to fight. Hopefully with the weight of the Americas on his shoulders he will avoid any misdemeanours on the field. Great in the line out and has a good enforcer presence.
5 Guido Petti Pagadizaval. Argentina.
Lavennini and Petti would link up well and control the lineout. Petti is also extremely fast.
6 Pablo Matera. Captain of Argentina.
World Class. Would be considered for World XV.
Marcus Kremer as back up and as a better line out option.
7 Juan Manuel Gaminara. Captain of Uruguay.
Imagine if Michael Hooper had less hair, spoke Spanish, wasn’t as fast or good at tackling, but had the heart of 10 Michael Hoopers, then you have this guy.
Honourable mentions to Danny Barrett and Ben Pinklemen, C’mon lads, come back to 15s for a season.
8 Tyler Ardron. Canadian captain and captain of the Americas Lions.
Like most things in life, it is important to have a Canadian involved. The Americas Lions XV is no different. Tyler is a veteran Super Rugby player, having spent several seasons at the Chiefs in New Zealand. He’s the heart and soul of the team and a great leader.
9 Santiago Arata. Uruguay.
After playing for the Houston Sabercats last year, he joined the big leagues with Castres in France. Arata is the nippiest of 9s. He is also capped at every position in the backline, so would be a major asset should injury arise, especially if the number of substitutes goes down from 8 to 6. Lets hope he just stays away from the referee's pocket which he knows fairly well.
Honourable mentions must go to US eagle Ruben de `Haas (21), who plays his rugby in South Africa with the Cheetahs. Also Martín Landajo of Argentina & Harlequins deserves a shout. The 32 year old would be a cool head and would help with any translation issues, but it's the youthful Arata that we want to start.
10. AJ Macginty. USA.
Macginty is the team's quarterback. And where better to learn to be a quarterback than the USA. Macginty tells the tale of an Irish immigrant making a better life in the land of opportunity. Macginty is an exceptional talent. Clubwise, he plays at the Sale Sharks, his half back partner no other than Faf de Klerk. It was always his destiny to be the US Eagles golden boy.
Honourable mentions, Nicholas Sanches, but it seems he won’t be a good fit for the Americas Lions style of play.
11 Emiliano Boffelli. Argentina.
Very calm with the ball. Good vision and can play at 15.
12 Jerónimo de la Fuente. Argentina.
Great hands. Solid player. Good communicator.
13 Santiago Carreras. Argentina.
He shone brightly for Argentina in 2019. Perhaps even brighter earlier in the year for the Jaguares, who got to their debut Super Rugby final. He’s still only 22, so perhaps a few Americas Lions tours ahead of him.
Honourable mentions of course to Marcel Brache.. is this a rugby shop or is it a Marcel Brache cult?
14 DTH van der Merve. Canada.
While the try scoring machine may be the wrong side of 30, he’s still got a lot to give to give to the game. He has finished his contract with the Glasgow Warriors and is rumoured to be moving back to the MLR.
Honourable mentions to a long list of Argentine back threes.
15 Nathan Hirayama. Canada.
Admittedly a slightly experimental pick, but Hirayama does have such an Americas Lions feel about him. Nathan is no doubt world class on 7s pitch, but had a pretty unsuccessful transition to 15s at the 2015 World Cup, suffering from the lack of space. In 2015 he was primarily playing at 10, so perhaps from fullback he can play a more natural game. This selection will be the last chance for the 7s star to prove his worth in the 15s game, and who better to do so for than the Americas Lions.