With the focus shifting from domestic to international rugby this month, our Scout has switched attention to the Lions, picking standout performers that may be in contention for the Lions tour next year.
Tim Visser – Scotland
As a scrappy Scotland team were swept away by a sumptuous display of running rugby, there was still a diamond in the rough. The Flying Dutchman (or recently dubbed, “Flying Scotsman”), Tim Visser, remained prolific as ever, notching two trys against the All Blacks. Despite moments where you could do nothing but sit in total admiration of the pace of the New Zealand game, Scotland acquitted themselves well. An intelligent interception from Matt Scott released Tim Visser for his first try, serving as a reminder of the value of having a winger of this calibre. The 25 year-old’s record in itself should be enough to put him in contention for Lions selection – with 43 tries in 74 games so far, it will be hard to overlook him if his form continues.
Dan Cole – England
Charlie Sharples gave Stuart Lancaster an untimely selection headache and Alex Goode was instrumental in three tries, but it was a slightly more battle worn head that put himself firmly in contention for the Lions Tour. For my money there aren’t many better props at the moment, fantastic in the scrum and a huge presence at the breakdown. With sterner tests than Fiji to come it will be interesting to see how the injury beleaguered pack will hold up, but consistency has never been a problem for the 25 year old as his recent form in the league and on the international stage suggests.
Jonathan Sexton – Ireland
With all of Ireland’ points coming from the boot of the fly half it would be hard not to argue his case – a strong kicking display stood out in a match dominated by the forwards. The scrappy nature of the game eventually played into the Springboks’ hands but Ireland can feel slightly aggrieved as their display in the early stages, spearheaded by the fly half, seemed to bode well. Sexton is undoubtedly an excellent fly half and strong contender for the Lions Test jersey.
Toby Faletau – Wales
A complete capitulation saw Wales come unstuck at home against Argentina. However, in an error strewn performance there was one standout performer in Toby Faletau. The back-rower’s effort didn’t go unnoticed, making an influential 122 metres from 18 carries. The future bodes well for this promising 22 year old, and if the Six Nations Champions can get back on track and Faletau remains tireless in effort, there is no reason why he can’t be Warren Gatland’s thoughts come next year.
By Jono Frank