Repeat: OTB Breakfast

12:00 AM-02:00 AM

Repeat: OTB Breakfast


‘I would 100% start Iain Henderson' | Devin Toner on Lions test locks

British and Irish Lions midweek captain Iain Henderson should be a nailed-on starter in the test ...

British and Irish Lions midweek captain Iain Henderson should be a nailed-on starter in the test team, according to Ireland lock Devin Toner.

After a severely disrupted build up to their second match in South Africa, the Lions thrashed the Sharks in Henderson’s first match as captain of the touring side.

Of particular note was the manner in which the Lions’ lineout functioned against the South African side, which impressed OTB commentator Toner.

As part of any successful Lions tour, but especially against South Africa, the lineout is key to winning the test series, and it is for that reason that Toner believes that Henderson should be nailed into that starting jersey.

Speaking on Off The Ball after the match, Toner discussed Henderson’s performance as captain and as the main leader in the pack.

“There was a lot of pressure on his shoulders going in,” Toner said. “Not only because he was captain, but he was the pack leader and calling the lineout as well.

“People underestimate what goes into lineout calling. Because there is so much pressure set pieces to keep a hold of the ball, there is a lot of pressure on what lineouts to call.

“Henderson did a phenomenal job. They had a lot of variety in their delivery from the lineout, whether they mauled, or broke out and did a dummy maul, or they went off the top.”

“He did really well in his defensive shift as well,” Toner added. “He really fronted up physically and brought the game to them.

“He just wanted to lead from the front, and I think he did that.”

Lineout Lions

Calling a lineout is an art

While many would assume that calling a lineout is as simple as just telling the hooker where to throw and then making sure you lift the right jumper, Toner knows that there is a lot more subtly to the art of calling the lineout.

“It used to be, ‘Ok, we will through it to four here’, and then we’d just go for it,” Toner said. “But over the years it has evolved.

“You get a penalty, you kick to touch, and then you go to your 10 and as what they need; over the top, or a maul, or what set piece are they going to do?

“So, you have in your head where you need to win it. But nowadays most teams will have bail outs.

“You would make the call, have one or two calls, with a bail out as well, so some particular teams might go into a lineout with five or six calls ready to go. Everyone needs to be on edge.”

Henderson Lions vs Sharls

Henderson needs to be in the test XV

For Toner, it is Henderson’s leadership in the lineout that makes him an important member of the Lions team, and, in the absence of Alun Wyn Jones, why he should be the guaranteed starter against the Springboks if the tests go ahead.

“Every caller is different, but it is a fact of having one banker in your head, then seeing if the opposition move, going to where they are not,” Toner said.

“You need your best lineout caller, basically. Against the Boks in particular because they are a very tall team.

“If I was picking the team, I would 100% have Iain Henderson down, because I think h is the best caller there.

“You do have Tadhg Beirne, he calls for Munster, I think Maro [Itoje] has called for England a bit, but he wouldn’t be the most experienced lineout caller there is.

“Obviously Jonny Hill calls a bit for Exeter, but for me I would have Hendy down as that main lineout caller, probably with Maro.”

The 2021 British & Irish Lions Tour on OTB Sports with Vodafone. Lead Partner of the British and Irish Lions

Download the British & Irish Lions App, Powered by Vodafone, to stay connected to the Lions this summer

Download the brand new OffTheBall App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to OffTheBall's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.

Read more about

Alun Wyn Jones British And Irish Lions Devin Toner Henderson Iain Henderson Lions Maro Itoje South Africa Springboks