As the Six Nations heads right into a relaxation weekend, there may be extra time to mull over what the motion would possibly imply for British and Irish Lions choice.
We ought to know extra quickly about the place and whether or not the deliberate Test sequence towards South Africa will go forward.
But, within the meantime, some fingers went up for choice for Warren Gatland’s squad.
Louis – King of the wingers?
Last week’s Lions Watch ended with the fateful phrases that “another couple of tries like that from Louis Rees-Zammit and Gatland will probably be pressured to take observe”. The Lions coach duly bought a lot to ponder.
Rees-Zammit, who turned 20 earlier this month, was electrical within the win over Scotland. He scored Wales’ first attempt with a stunning soft-shoe shuffle contained in the protecting Darcy Graham, arrange their second with a pleasant line and offload after which clinched the victory with an absolute peach, chipping over Stuart Hogg to the touch down.
The match winner might have come from the opposition although. With the clock within the purple, Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe broke free, solely to be tap-tackled by Owen Watkin. South African-born Van der Merwe truly made extra metres than Rees-Zammit (103 to 61) in one other industrious, highly effective efficiency.
And there was a welcome return to kind for England’s Anthony Watson, the person who began all three Tests for the Lions in New Zealand 4 years in the past. Coach Eddie Jones admitted Watson’s kind had been patchy over the autumn, however he made extra metres than some other participant this weekend as an interception attempt helped him to 160m. The manner he raced contained in the Italian cowl defence to attain his first although was most likely extra spectacular.
With team-mate Jonny May additionally displaying off his athletic ending skill when he took the aerial path to the road, competitors is getting scorching. It might nicely be that Ireland’s Jacob Stockdale, hailed because the world’s finest wing two years in the past however at the moment out with a knee harm, misses out when Gatland attracts up his choice.
Price is correct?
If match-changing moments are key to choice, Ali Price provided a gem for the primary attempt at Murrayfield. The Scotland scrum-half deftly chipped over the Wales defence for Graham to collect and rating. Such skill could be very helpful towards a Springbok defence that comes up quick and flat. And if Finn Russell goes to start out at 10, their partnership – formed at Glasgow, in addition to Scotland – could also be a giant plus for Gatland.
Conor Murray, 2017’s first-choice 9, has been in need of kind and health these days, maybe leaving the best way open for an additional first-time vacationer.
Dan Robson injected vitality and initiative after being introduced off the bench by England, organising Jack Willis’s attempt with a weaving run from a faucet and go.
The Wasps man has made all 9 Test appearances off the bench for England, however, as Jamie George confirmed in 2017, Gatland has made Lions Test starters out of England’s ‘finishers’ earlier than.
Taulupe Faletau has been a dependable performer for Gatland.
He began all three Tests in New Zealand and was one of many Welshmen drafted in to clinch the series-deciding third Test in Australia 4 years earlier.
The 30-year-old produced some huge numbers within the win over Scotland as nicely. He made extra metres (63), extra carries (11) and extra tackles (19) than any of his team-mates.
But Matt Fagerson didn’t endure by comparability. The 22-year-old, making his eighth worldwide begin, was the person to offer Scotland impetus, posting related stats to Faletau (61m made off 14 carries, with 12 tackles) and bristling with intent. Following on from a formidable efficiency within the win over England, he’s making his case nicely.
England’s Billy Vunipola would possibly nicely have pipped Faletau to the Test beginning spot in 2017 had he not been dominated out of the tour with a shoulder harm.
However, he has not been in that eye-catching, all-action kind for a while.
The Saracens man was withdrawn after 59 minutes towards Italy having made 31 metres from eight carries and 7 tackles. It could also be that he’s doing extra of the breakdown soiled work as Eddie Jones evolves England’s fashion, however ball-carrying ballast could be what’s required towards South Africa.
If Gatland’s eye strayed to a smaller stage, he can also have famous Sam Simmonds’ kind. The Exeter quantity eight and European participant of the yr scored one other two tries in his membership’s win over London Irish. He now has 11, greater than double some other participant within the Premiership this season, and has made extra metres than some other Lions-qualified ahead within the English high flight.
His final England look was practically three years in the past nonetheless, again in March 2018.