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British & Irish Lions team of the week

Sun, Feb 19, 2017, Posted by   print

2007 World Cup

9:09 PM GMT

The Six Nations might have taken a week off, but there was plenty of Aviva Premiership and PRO12 action to set pulses racing.

Mako Vunipola played 70 minutes for Saracens, Taulupe Faletau and Ross Moriarty returned to their respective clubs, while Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble, Ian Keatley and Joey Carbery played for the Irish provinces.

Here are the British and Irish players who impressed us this week.

15. Tiernan O’Halloran

The Connacht fullback has long deserved a shot at the No. 15 shirt with Ireland, which Rob Kearney has had little competition for in recent times. O’Halloran put in a good performance, scoring a try in a narrow win over the Dragons.

14. Marland Yarde

Yarde has been exceptional for Harlequins and is perhaps unfortunate that Eddie Jones has an abundance of talent on the wing. He made some good breaks, scored a try and was unfortunate to be on the losing side against Bath.

13. Luke Marshall

Ulster’s Irish centre put in a monstrous performance in defence as he helped the Province to a bonus-point win against Glasgow, putting in 11 tackles in defence, beating three defenders in attack and adding two try assists to his performance. Huge pity his career has been hampered by injury.

12. Henry Slade

He put in an excellent performance at centre and then slotted in at fly-half for the second half against Worcester. Produced a delightful offload for Michele Compagnaro to score and later his brilliant pass saw James Short complete his hat trick. Looked assured when he took over from Gareth Steenson at fly-half.

11. James Short

A hat trick for the former Saracens and London Irish winger helped Exeter to victory against Worcester. Short showed some excellent finishing.

10. Rhys Priestland

The last time Priestland started for Wales against a tier one nation was back in March 2014, in a 29-18 defeat to England. Since then his only starts have come against Fiji and Uruguay. He put in a commanding performance against Quins, kicking 17 points in victory.

9. James Hart

Munster-bound Hart put in a brilliant performance as La Rochelle continued their winning run in Top 14. The former Leinster academy player kicked all three conversions and added four penalties as La Rochelle defeated Stade Francais.

Priestland makes a break during Bath’s win over Harlequins. David Rogers/Getty Images

1. Mako Vunipola

Having been out since December, it was a solid 70-minute stint from Vunipola for Saracens. The prop carried well and made two offloads, which included a brilliant break.

2. Richard Hibbard

Hibbard put in a great performance as Gloucester stretched Saracens’ winless record to three games. Hibbard grabbed a try late on to add to 15 tackles in defence and saw just one lineout stolen.

3. Jon Welsh

The Newcastle prop kick-started the Falcons comeback against Northampton, as he broke through the Saints at deceptive pace to set up Sean Robinson’s try.

4. Geoff Parling

Parling put in a huge shift during Exeter’s win at Worcester, both in attack and defence. A willing carrier, the former England lock also put in 14 tackles and stole a lineout.

5. Scott Cummings

Grabbed a brace in what was otherwise a forgettable performance by Glasgow. The 20-year-old is definitely one for the future, although with the Gray brothers on form, he could be waiting some time for international honours.

6. Ross Moriarty

Most people are still adamant that Moriarty shouldn’t have been taken off against England. He was back at Gloucester on Friday and put in 14 tackles in a great defensive effort. A 70-minute performance, should have him return for Wales next week.

7. Tommy O’Donnell

The Munster man is another Irish international who has become the victim of the conveyor belt of back-row forwards that Ireland have churned out. Injury has had an impact on his career but he made 19 tackles in a big defensive work out.

8. Taulupe Faletau

Put in a good performance as he made a nuisance of himself around the breakdown and carried well when given the chance. Huge decisions for Rob Howley, which could also have an impact on who gets a Lions call.

Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/18718010/british-irish-lions-team-week

British & Irish Lions team of the week

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