Another pulsating weekend of international rugby has passed and there were some stand-out ties. As all the talk is surrounding those all important World Cup seedings which will be determined at the end of the season, there is also the back-drop of the scrap to be included in Warren Gatland’s Lions plans.
Here, we look at five players who will have gone up in the Kiwi’s estimations after their showing last weekend.
The Irish tighthead prop has been in immense form for the Irish. After claiming the number 3 jersey, he has really made it his own.
Of course, the likes of WP Nel make a strong case for inclusion, but Furlong’s work in the loose has simply been remarkable. His ball-carrying and tackling go above and beyond expectations of an international tighthead.
In the space of a year, he has gone from the third choice tighthead prop at Leinster to being the frontrunner to start for the Lions.
Daly took on a curious role on Saturday for England, constantly alternating with Jonathan Joseph between second centre and wing, but he carried out this role to perfection. He took his try exquisitely, and sent Eddie Jones a strong message that he should start against Argentina.
While he is not yet an automatic starter for England, the Wasps centre/fullback possesses a versatility that would appeal to Gatland. Should he continue his rich vein of form throughout the season, he would be difficult to ignore.
The younger of the Gray brothers was the standout performer for Scotland as they recorded a hard-fought victory over Argentina at Murrayfield.
Lock is an incredibly competitive area when it comes to Lions selection, with Joe Launchbury, George Kruis, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn-Jones and Devin Toner, to name but a few, in contention.
However, if Gray can replicate that towering performance throughout the coming months, he will be on the plane.
Josh Van Der Flier
Every Lions tour has a bolter, and the Leinster flanker could well be the dark horse to get the shout from Warren Gatland.
His carrying against the All Blacks suggests that he is not intimidated by his rapid rise through the ranks. A ball-fetching seven, Van Der Flier gets through a remarkable amount of work around the park, and should he secure a starting berth in the ultra-competitive Irish back-row, a trip to New Zealand next June would not be out of the question.
Worries are abounding that Jonathan Sexton simply does not have 80 minutes of test rugby in him anymore. The Dubliner is becoming increasingly injury-prone, and will sit out Ireland’s test with Australia this weekend.
Ford put in a barn-storming display against Fiji last weekend, and he is silencing the critics.
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