Burrell’s ascent to the senior England squad for the Six Nations has been on the cards for a while, and another strong performance for the Saints at the weekend will have heartened Stuart Lancaster and his coaches that Burrell is ready to make the step up to international rugby. He offloaded more than any other player on pitch against the Ospreys, and with plenty of young, exciting talent available to England on the wings this is a trait that could bring them into the game more often – especially if Burrell is employed as a 13, as many are expecting.
The EPS and Six Nations announcements came just too soon for Benjamin, who was unlucky to miss out even on the Saxons. Since returning to action in October last year there has been some rustiness to shake-off, but there’s no doubt his try-scoring form has been prolific. He bagged another two against Treviso at the weekend, in an assignment that turned out to be much more difficult than expected (for 60 minutes at least) for the Tigers after coming up against some spirited Treviso defence. Nevertheless, Benjamin had the wherewithal to bag a brace, and while there are plenty of new faces on the wing already in the England set-up, if he continues this sort of form he won’t be far off next in line.
The young Welsh prop has developed something of a cult status already, despite still being very much in the infancy of his propping career. He may only be the tender age of 21 (a baby in propping terms), but that did not stop him from giving veteran Frenchman Julien Brugnaut a torrid time at the scrums on Friday night, enough trouble to see his withdrawal at half time. With Adam Jones coming to the end of the career, Lee’s call-up to the Six Nations squad is perfectly timed, and his impressive performances in the Heineken Cup this season have proved that the future of the Welsh tighthead jersey should be in safe hands.
The Ospreys scrum-half has been around the Wales squad for a couple of years or so, but has never really made his mark. As one of three scrum-halves called up for the Six Nations, along with the similarly inexperienced Rhodri Williams, he will be fighting it out for the role of understudy to obvious first choice Mike Phillips. Still, despite the fact his Ospreys team spent much of Sunday’s game against the Saints on the back foot, Webb still managed to put in a commendable performance which included several sniping runs and a smartly taken try. More of the same and he will add to his current tally of three caps this spring.
Jackson has been in the Scotland squad for four years now, but has never really nailed down the number 10 shirt. On Saturday, however, he gave a performance that showed he might be ready to make it his own. Sandy Park is a tough place to win, especially when you find yourself 10-0 down early on, but Jackson inspired an impressive Glasgow comeback, looking particularly dangerous with ball in hand to make four clean breaks and beat six defenders in the process. He and Weir battle it out for both the Glasgow and Scotland starting shirts, but on this evidence Jackson is the right man to take both of them.
By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images