On the eve of the Lions squad announcement for the upcoming tour of New Zealand, all the talk and discussion centers around who will or wont make the final squad.
We've had hints and rumours, the latest of which is that Gatland is set to go full-Gatland and give Jamie Roberts a seat on the plane, but there are also a few certainties that the former Wales and Australia boss can't afford to snub.
One of those is Johnny Sexton. Not least because the Leinster man orchestrated Ireland's famous win over the All Blacks back in November, but because he is unquestionably one of the elite 10s in world rugby right now.
That is something that New Zealand will be all too aware of when preparing for the three test matches, and former Lions coach Dick Best has warned that the Irishman will be targeted while speaking to The Rugby Paper [via Stuff.co.nz].
A member of Ian McGeechan's staff for the '93 tour of New Zealand, Best believes that due to Sexton's reluctance to pull out of a tackle, if he even makes it to New Zealand he won't last the whole tour.
The New Zealanders know Sexton is important to the Lions, and so I wouldn't be surprised if they targeted him. They've got a history where that's concerned, but it has always happened in rugby, and I don't have a problem if it is within the laws.
He won't last the tour, and that's if he doesn't get hurt before the tour starts. Sexton is a brave boy who will not pull out of tackles.
It sounds bleak, but Sexton gets special treatment in damn near every game he plays these days so it would be naive to think that New Zealand won't be doing their best to lower the boom whenever he is there to be hit.
It all comes down to whether or not Sexton can stay one step ahead, and hopefully any targeting of the Ireland 10 is done within the laws of the game as nobody wants to see another Umaga/Mealamu on O'Driscoll moment tarnish an otherwise great occasion.