The dates for the 2021 Tour were confirmed on Wednesday morning, with the Lions set for an eight-match Tour that includes three Tests against the reigning world champion Springboks.
Greenwood knows exactly what it takes to succeed in South Africa after he was part of the 1997 squad that famously won the series 2-1.
And the former centre has picked his current starting XV for Sky Sports, with Itoje one of eight Englishman selected.
If the first @lionsofficial 🦁 Test was tomorrow, who would make your starting XV? 🤔
The 2021 tour to face the @Springboks 🇿🇦 will be exclusively live on Sky Sports 📺@WillGreenwood has picked his team 👇
— Sky Sports Rugby Union (@SkySportsRugby) July 15, 2020
“A key man in England’s run to the Rugby World Cup final, Itoje has also been central to Saracens’ European Cup and Premiership successes. Developed into a pivotal figure during the 2017 tour in New Zealand too,” Greenwood said.
Greenwood has gone for an England-heavy pack, with hooker Jamie George and tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler both back in red after touring in 2017.
They are joined by Scotland’s in-form loosehead prop Rory Sutherland, while Itoje lines up with Ireland’s James Ryan, also a 2017 tourist, in the second row.
Greenwood’s back row consists of England blindside flanker Tom Curry and No.8 Billy Vunipola, with Justin Tipuric finally earning his place in a Lion starting XV on what could be his third Tour.
Greenwood said: “Behind both Sam Warburton and then Sean O’Brien on the 2013 and 2017 Lions tours, Tipuric will hope 2021 is finally the series he can claim a starting Test spot. A back-rower with phenomenal pace and a superb skill-set.”
At half-back, Greenwood has gone for Wales scrum-half Tomos Williams and England captain Owen Farrell, whose 77th-minute penalty secured a third Test draw against New Zealand in 2017.
In midfield, Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw and England’s Manu Tuilagi would make for a powerful combination, while Wales’ Liam Williams and England’s Jonny May get the nod on the wing.
Stuart Hogg is the final entry at full-back and the Scotland captain will be eager to tour next summer after injury cut his 2017 Tour short.
What do you think?