Predicted Lions XV based on Six Nations performances
Mon, February 13, 2017
Click through the gallery to reveal a possible Lions XV based on Six Nations peformances
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Could this be a possible Lions XV based on Six Nations peformances?
This summer, Warren Gatland will take a squad to New Zealand for a fearsome tour of Test rugby.
But which players played their way into contention this week by impressing in the Six Nations? Express Sport picks a team based on their performances in the championship so far.
Full-back – Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
On his 50th cap for Scotland, Hogg scored another fine finish to go with his two against Ireland last week.
Which Six Nations players will Warren Gatland pick to play for his British & Irish Lions side?
He continues to show a cutting edge that few others in Scotland shirts have managed in recent years and his all-round game – jackling around the breakdown like a flanker and settling scuffles like a prop – makes him one of the first names on the Lions team-sheet.
Right wing – Keith Earls (Ireland)
Despite his two tries against Italy, Earls barely got a mention in dispatches thanks to the hat-trick heroics of CJ Stander and Craig Gilroy.
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However, the 29-year-old now has three tries in the championship and looks as slick a winger as any in Britain.
Garry Ringrose has been touted as the next Brian O'Driscoll and scored his second international try
Having toured with the Lions in 2009, he represents an experienced head and a utility option at centre, wing or full-back.
Outside centre – Garry Ringrose (Ireland)
Daring to mention any Irishman in the same breathe as Brian O'Driscoll is dangerous to say the least.
But plenty of those who might know better are happy to suggest that Ringrose might be the man to fill his enormous boots.
Having opened his account against Australia, he scored the second try of his career in Rome with a fine finish and at 22 he could one of the youngest men on the plane to New Zealand.
Inside centre – Owen Farrell (England)
Whether Owen Farrell plays for the Lions and where will depend on the exact make-up of those around him.
Dan Biggar and Elliot Daly could be playing alongside each other for the Lions this summer
That said, his place seems assured thanks to his goal-kicking ability, physicality in the tackle and superb handling.
Rarely was that more on show than against Wales when he threw the perfect flat pass to Elliot Daly.
Seconds later, he sunk a pinpoint conversion from the touchline to ensure Wales needed a try to get back into the game.
Left wing – Elliot Daly (England)
Like Farrell, Daly could end up playing almost anywhere across the backline, with Eddie Jones ready to shift him to full-back for England.
He was supreme against Wales and France, even beyond his dramatic late try.
A magnificent try-saving run back to his own 22 halted Dan Biggar's charge while his monster left boot slotted a huge penalty at Twickenham to help England to their opening victory.
Fly-half – Dan Biggar (Wales)
Bruised ribs meant Biggar was touch-and-go right up until an hour before kick-off against England.
His fellow injury doubt George North was ruled out but Biggar bravely donned the No 10 shirt and appeared unencumbered by his injury.
A wall in defence and a talisman in attack, he is slowly stamping his name on one of Warren Gatland's fly-half seats.
Scrum-half – Rhys Webb (Wales)
Greig Laidlaw's ankle injury and the relative easy of Conor Murray's role in the win over Italy means it has been slim pickings in the opening two weeks of the Six Nations for Lions scrum-halves.
But Rhys Webb was millimetres from a crucial try against England and largely out-sniped Ben Youngs despite the defeat.
Loosehead prop – Rob Evans (Wales)
He may not have won his battle in the scrum but in Dan Cole he was up against one of the world's best and he pushed him all the way.
In his 53-minute spell, Evans made 12 tackles, five carries and covered more ground than maybe any other prop.
He would not be an orthodox choice with just 14 Wales caps to his name, but the 24-year-old is rising up the front row ranks.
Hooker – Jamie George (England)
Dylan Hartley's captaincy is the only thing keeping him in the starting line-up at the moment.
The Northampton man is well short of fitness and form and Jones will be delighted that George, one of his famous "finishers", is in such good nick off the bench.
They'll need an extra large seat but he is playing his way onto the plane to New Zealand.
Tighthead prop – Dan Cole (England)
Sometimes criticised for repeated infringements at the breakdown and marked out by Australia coach Michael Cheika for his "illegal" scrummaging, Cole has reminded us why he is one of the world's top props in the last two weeks.
Joe Launchbury rarely looks as though he hasn't broken a sweat
Lock – Joe Launchbury (England)
Launchbury, to his credit, always looks like he's put in a shift, often even before kickoff.
And afterwards, he usually has.
Against Wales, he carried the ball 18 times and brought down the opposition 23 times without a single missed tackle. It was a gargantuan effort from a gargantuan man.
Lock – Jonny Gray (Scotland)
Despite being the less-celebrated rugby player even in his own family, Jonny Gray is closing in on his brother.
The 22-year-old led Scotland's tackle count against Ireland with 27 and was finished behind only Fraser Brown against France.
Jonny Gray could follow in his brother Richie's (enormous) footsteps
He will be disappointed not to have offered more with ball in hand but he is a hugely talented defender.
Blindside flanker – CJ Stander (Ireland)
It's difficult not to pick a six who scores three tries.
Sam Warburton can count himself very unlucky to miss out but that is testament to the extraordinary nature of Stander's feat.
Openside flanker – Hamish Watson (Scotland)
Injuries around him meant Watson had to play through 80 minutes when the amount of work he got through in the first half might have merited a rest at some point.
His ability to switch the point of contact and make yards from back foot positions makes him an invaluable member of any team, and like several of Scotland's pack, he tackled his heart out in Paris.
No 8 – Ross Moriarty (Wales)
Moriarty put in maybe the performance of the weekend against England.
He was replaced by Taulupe Faletau when he was still pumping his legs with plenty of juice – a move Rob Howley might take back in hindsight – but no Welshman was less deserving of defeat than he.