LionsBadgeAustralia215_rdax_665x353After running a poll over the last week and a half we have the results for the fans vote for the Lions starting test XV. The team as voted for by you is as below…

1 Loosehead Prop

Mako Vunipola – 81%

Mako Vunipola Lions

The young English prop may have been a surprise call up at first but a series of barnstorming displays and injuries to key squad members have seen him voted into the starting line-up at loosehead. Alex Corbisiero was well behind in second with just 15% of the vote.

2 Hooker

Tom Youngs –  50%

tom youngs lionsThe number 2 jersey was hotly contested with Youngs just edging out Richard Hibbard with 50% of the vote compared to the Welshmans 36%. With no hooker having stood out in particular so far, Youngs consistency seems to have edged him into the driving seat according to the fans.

3 Tighthead Prop

Adam Jones – 85%

adam jones lionsThe stalwart of the Welsh scrum Adam Jones seems the stand-out favourite for the starting 3 jersey beating nearest rival Dan Cole 85% compared to 14%. His solid scrummaging and experience clearly won the day.

4 Lock

Paul O’Connell – 95%

paul o'connell lionsThe experience of the Irish enforcer along with some rarely seen slick handling skills see him as the front-runner for a starting berth. His experience and leadership skills could be a massive bonus for Gatland’s men in the first test.

5 Lock

Alun-Wyn Jones – 68%

alun-wyn jonesThe fan vote sees another experienced head in Jones placed alongside O’Connell in the Lions engine room. Despite a somewhat muted start to the tour Jones has grown with the team and put in some sterling performances to earn his place in the team.

6 Blindside Flanker

Tom Croft – 45%

tom croft lionsDespite nearly being paralysed last year after a horrific neck injury Croft has not only come back stronger but has now been voted into the fans Lions test XV. His try in the game last week showing the extra dimension he adds to the team.

7 Openside Flanker

Justin Tipuric – 46%

justin tipuric lionsThe dynamic Welsh openside is voted in ahead of Lions captain Sam Warburton after a series of barnstorming displays in recent weeks.Warburton was a relatively close second however with 37% of the vote.

8 Number 8

Jamie Heaslip – 70%

jamie heaslip lionsThe Irish captain is voted in with more than a two thirds majority over his Welsh counterpart Toby Faletau. Heaslip has had a mixed start to the tour but his ability to carry and make ground whilst still winning turnovers makes him a potent weapon in the Lions armoury.

9 Scrum Half

Mike Phillips – 77%

mike phillips lionsBuilt more like a back row forward than a traditional scrum half, Phillips strong running with the ball in hand is perfectly suited to Gatland’s style of play. A particularly strong run out against the Barbarians helped demonstrated Phillips strengths perfectly.

10 Fly Half

Johnny Sexton – 94%

johhny sexton lionsOne of the biggest controversy’s around Gatland’s Lions selection was the inclusion of just two proper fly halves. This seems to have been reflected by the overwhelming percentage of votes Sexton received compared to Owen Farrell’s 5%.

11 Wing

George North – 88%

george north lionsThe giant Welsh wing has been in scintillating form for the Lions to date despite having covered a number of positions. News of his return to fitness in time for the first test on Saturday will have come as a massive boost to the Lions management.

12 Inside Centre

Jamie Roberts – 38%/Manu Tuilagi – 32%/ Jonathan Davies – 31%

jamie roberts lionsWhilst Roberts came top of the vote recent injury concerns to a number of key midfield players means we have included all three options depending on who is declared unfit before the first test. If Roberts is unfit then Tuilagi edges it by just 1 vote although he still remains an injury concern in the build up to Saturday.

13 Outside Centre

Brian O’Driscoll – 94%

brian o'driscoll lionsThe four time Lions tourist is the stand out player in the centres with 94% of the vote showing how desperate the fans are to see him play on Saturday. O’Driscoll may not have quite the same pace but if anything his game management and positioning have improved and should be well complimented by a big centre like Tuilagi inside of him.

14 Wing

Tommy Bowe – 43%/ Simon Zebo 29%

tommy bowe lionsBowe has missed most of the build up to date having suffered a broken hand in the game against the Reds. He should however be fit again in time for the second test, whilst Zebo came next in line for a wing spot so would be your preferred choice for the first test.

15 Full Back

Leigh Halfpenny – 93%

leigh halfpenny lionsNever really in any doubt, Halfpenny has sewn up the 15 shirt showing that he is more than just a safe pair of hands after a series of impressive tries and amazing efforts with the boot. Also voted last week as the preferred kicker for the team his inclusion makes perfect sense.

With the exclusion of Sam Warburton from the fans starting line-up who would you promote to captain for the first test…