With the 6 Nations now over, attention can be turned to the Lions tour of Australia, which starts in June. So far, the party looks to be predominantly Welsh, with the other countries making up the numbers.
WALES: You could almost field the entire Welsh 15, considering how well they played throughout the tournament, even in the 2nd half against Ireland, when their defence was much improved.
Halfpenny should start at full-back in the tests (even Rob Kearney thinks so!), with Cuthbert and North on the wings. Roberts will once again be joining O’Driscoll in the centre, and Phillips is the leader at scrum-half.
Jenkins and Jones reclaimed their reputations and look to be reclaiming their Lions test jerseys, also Wynn-Jones in the second row, and Ryan Jones in the back row. Warburton is once again in the running for captain.
Richard Hibbard did very well at hooker, and may have ousted Best. Justin Tipuric, Toby Faletau, Andrew Coombs and Jonathan Davies also should be on the plane. Like I said the whole Welsh 15!
ENGLAND: Though England did very well in the tournament, last game notwithstanding, there were few stand-out individual performances, though that’s good from a team perspective, it doesn’t help the player’s Lions prospects.
Owen Farrell is the front-runner for the no.10 jersey, though helped by injuries to Jonathan Sexton and Rhys Priestland. Dan Biggar did very well in his first season for Wales, and is Farrell’s biggest rival. Both are helped by having Halfpenny as goal-kicker.
Chris Robshaw still is in the running, though the horrendous defeat England suffered stands against him. Manu Tuilagi is another player who should travel, along with Goode at full-back. Maybe Dan Cole at prop, though he had a tough time against Wales.
IRELAND: Sexton may be out of the running, Fitzgerald almost definitely is. O’Connell still has a long way to go. Frankly, the majority of the Irish players have given reasons not to pick them during the 6 Nations.
Kearney, O’Driscoll, Healy and O’Brien are the only certainties to travel, possibly Ross as well. Murray had an ok tournament overall, though the yellow card will hurt him. It’s probably too soon for Jackson, or Gilroy even.
Best and Donncha Ryan get the blame for the poor line-out, which will hurt both their chances. Heaslip faces a lot of competition for a place, to be honest, unless he plays brilliantly for Leinster, he won’t be going.
SCOTLAND: Again, not many stars but some good performances. Stuart Hogg did well at full-back, though he faces stiff competition, as does Greig Laidlaw at scrum-half. Kelly Brown did well. Scotland should be better represented than in previous tours, where they were lucky to have 2 Lions!
Who do you think should tour?