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British & Irish Lions Team of the week

Mon, Oct 17, 2016, Posted by   print

2007 World Cup

7:20 PM GMT

We take a look at the players who have put their hands up for British and Irish Lions selection after the first round of European action.

BACKS

Saracens’ Owen Farrell in action against Toulon in the Champions Cup. David Rogers/Getty Images

15 Stuart Hogg

In a week to forget for Toulon’s Leigh Halfpenny, Hogg was part of a scintillating Glasgow performance. He provided glimpses of his kicking and attacking capabilities with a monster penalty from inside his own half and his pace in attack.

14. Andrew Trimble

Was on the end of a superb move to score Ulster’s first try against Bordeaux in France and his pass to Paddy Jackson should have ended in a second try. His crunching tackle on centre Romain Lonca shows the physicality he brings on the other side of the ball.

13. Jonathan Davies

The Scarlets man’s partnership with Scott Williams is blossoming and while he wasn’t in a moon boot for the first half of the week, as was the case with Williams, but he made some good breaks and was relentless in defending as the Welsh side beat Sale.

12. Robbie Henshaw

There were some great touches from Henshaw in his first start for Leinster in the Champions Cup. His ability to beat tacklers and make line breaks might be key for the Lions. He’ll have to do it against tougher opposition to stake his claim.

11. Tim Visser

The Scottish winger grabbed a brace of tries as Harlequins dominated Stade Francais in the Challenge Cup. His speed off the line should have been rewarded in the first half after a great interception, but midway through the second half he made no mistake after another intercept.

10. Owen Farrell

Couldn’t have done much more in his first game back, against three-time Champions Cup winners Toulon no less. He controlled the game well and was instrumental in the Saracens victory, kicking an early penalty to get them off the mark inside three minutes and securing the win with a penalty at the end.

9. Gareth Davies

His early charge down was a catalyst for the Scarlets ending a run of eight games without a win in the Champions Cup and in stretching Sale Sharks’ own winless streak to 12. His lightning breaks and sniping around the breakdown make him a real threat.

FORWARDS

Leinster’s Josh van der Flier tackled by Castres’ Geoffrey Palis in the Champions Cup. Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

1. Mako Vunipola

He was immense throughout for Saracens in ending Toulon’s unbeaten run at the Stade Mayol. It was his break and back-handed offload that created the try before half-time that gave them what proved to be an unassailable lead. Only injury would prevent him from making the tour team.

2. Sean Cronin

Two tries from the front rower in the first half saw Leinster in control against Castres. His foot work for his second try will also show Joe Schmidt, nevermind Warren Gatland, that he could merit a starting place for Ireland this Autumn.

3. Zander Fagerson

The 20 year-old could very well be the youngest player on the tour this year. His tireless work-rate and scrummaging was key as Glasgow tore Leicester Tigers apart. if Glasgow continue where they left off against Leicester, it would be difficult to leave him at home next summer.

4. Jonny Gray

Another of Glasgow’s key men this weekend, making 13 tackles and along with Rob Harley was Glasgow’s go-to man at the lineout. He put his body on the line to prevent Leicester from getting back into the game.

5. Joe Launchbury

It might not have been much of a test for Wasps as they racked up 82 points against Zebre but was solid in the lineout and grabbed a try. Tougher tests will show his Lions calibre. Ultan Dillane worth a mention with an incredible performance for Connacht against Toulouse.

6. Tom Wood

The Northampton captain was ever present in the Saints’ defensive effort to keep Montpellier at bay for large periods of the first half. His leadership, dominance in the lineout and physicality helped drive them on as they needed a late Stephen Myler penalty to win.

7. Josh van der Flier

The fact Leinster are managing his workload this early in the season is a sign it could be a big year for the 23 year-old. A man of the match performance against Castres was a big step for him. A threat on both sides of the ball but bigger tests await for Leinster and Ireland before the Lions come knocking.

8. Billy Vunipola

He was Saracens lead ball carrier and tackler and joint second in metres made in their victory in France. A superb steal from a Toulon breakdown as the game went into the final 10 minutes was crucial.

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British & Irish Lions Team of the week

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