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Who might Lions head coach Warren Gatland select for All Blacks first Test?

Published 07/09/2016

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Debates will soon start about the formation of Warren Gatland's first Test team to face New Zealand in Auckland next June following the Wales boss' appointment as British and Irish Lions head coach.

Here, Press Association Sport, selects a line-up that might fit the bill if the Lions were playing New Zealand this weekend.

15: STUART HOGG (Scotland) - a brilliant counter-attacker who would light up any back division, but will Welshman Leigh Halfpenny's prolific goalkicking edge it in selection?

14: ANTHONY WATSON (England) - a proven high-quality finisher, who has scored 12 tries in 24 Tests for England.

13: JONATHAN JOSEPH (England) - an outside centre in the classic mode, he offers pace, creativity and try-scoring prowess.

12: ROBBIE HENSHAW (Ireland) - has all the skills, with defensive power to match. Star quality, but could be a toss of the coin between him and Wales' Jamie Roberts.

11: GEORGE NORTH (Wales) - had his injury troubles, but a proven top-level performer who is capable of terrorising any defence.

10: OWEN FARRELL (England) - George Ford, Dan Biggar and Johnny Sexton are all set to be in the fly-half mix, but Farrell is currently a short distance ahead of them.

9: RHYS WEBB (Wales) - Ireland's Conor Murray is likely to push hard for a Test spot, yet Webb's all-round game nudges him clear.

1: MAKO VUNIPOLA (England) - arguably England's most improved forward of the Eddie Jones coaching reign. Powerful and consistent.

2: DYLAN HARTLEY (England) - has led England superbly since being appointed captain by Eddie Jones. Also the best hooker in Britain and Ireland by a proverbial mile.

3: WP NEL (Scotland) - the South Africa-born tighthead prop is an immense scrummager, and just the set-piece cornerstone Gatland will require, as is England's Dan Cole. Tight call.

4: ALUN WYN JONES (Wales, capt) - skippered the Lions to victory in the third Test decider against Australia three years ago, and should keep the job. World-class in every area.

5: GEORGE KRUIS (England) - has produced magnificent form in England colours. An exemplary lineout operator with a mighty work-rate.

6: MARO ITOJE (England) - might be a lock for England, but blindside flanker for the Lions? Too good to be left out of Gatland's Test team.

7: SAM WARBURTON (Wales) - a fit and in-form Warburton is head and shoulders above anyone else as the best openside flanker available to Gatland. Class act.

8: TAULUPE FALETAU (Wales) - the battle for Test selection with England's Billy Vunipola will be fascinating, but Faletau is a more complete footballer.

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