Lions Watch - Time is running out
April 1, 2013
Manu Tuilagi was in terrific form against Northampton © Getty Images
At the end of the month Warren Gatland will name his squad for the British & Irish Lions tour to Australia - judgement day is rapidly approaching.
As we all tick off the days until the team depart Down Under, ESPNscrum will cast an eye across the action and pinpoint those players eligible for the elite tourists who are pushing their selection claims with strong performances.
So who has made our latest Team of the Week?
15. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow)
On a weekend when few of his fullback rivals made a telling impact for their clubs, Hogg scored a try and helped Glasgow thrash Munster 51-24.
14. Chris Ashton (Saracens)
The England winger has endured a huge amount of criticism over the past month but, as he proved against Wasps, remains a prolific tryscorer. Can the Lions really do without him?
13. Manu Tuilagi (Leicester)
Tuilagi was back to his barnstorming best against Northampton, scoring two tries and showing great pace and power every time he touched the ball.
12. Matt Scott (Edinburgh)
The inside centre came out of the Six Nations as one of Scotland's best performers and in an area of little depth, he could be in the reckoning for a place on the plane.
11. George North (Scarlets)
Where North will be playing next season remains unclear, but there is little doubt, injury permitting, where he will be playing this summer: in Australia for the Lions.
10. Toby Flood (Leicester)
The England fly-half kicked 14 points against Northampton and created some good line breaks for his runners by playing on the gainline. A big performance in the Heineken Cup quarter final could yet force his way on to the plane.
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester)
The England scrum-half makes our Team of the Week again on the back of a good display against Northampton. He looks like a certainty to tour but whether he starts in the Tests could come down to the Lions tactics.
1. Cian Healy (Leinster)
Leinster's supremacy in the scrum against Ulster went unrewarded but it, and Healy's performance, will not have gone unnoticed by the Lions' coaching team.
Chris Ashton returned to form against Wasps © PA Photos
2. Ross Ford (Edinburgh)
The Scotland hooker has dropped down the pecking order in recent months but on a weekend when his rivals struggled to impress, Ford showed he is still in with a shout as a big, ball-carrying No.2.
3. Adam Jones (Ospreys)
Jones has had a storming month and after another powerful performance from the Ospreys No.3, this time against Cardiff, he appears to be in pole position for the Lions.
4. Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
For the second week running the young Wasps lock makes our selection, this time on the back of a big game against Sarries. But will youth ultimately win the day in Warren Gatland's final selection?
5. Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys)
Like Adam Jones, the Wales lock is timing his run to the check-in desk perfectly. After a strong game against Cardiff, he looks like being one of the first locks in the boarding queue for Australia.
6. Tom Croft (Leicester)
Wales international Dan Lydiate impressed again for the Dragons but Croft, against Northampton, showed what his unique attributes can bring. His pace and skill was evident at Franklins' Gardens and could be telling on the hard tracks of Australia.
7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys)
The Wales openside came up his big rival, Cardiff's Sam Warburton, at the weekend and just about edged the duel - thanks largely to the efforts of his tight-five. Though this is a skirmish that will continue.
8. Nick Easter (Harlequins)
After being overlooked by England, Easter has a lot of work to force his way into the Lions reckoning. His display against Gloucester showed what he can do and a massive Heineken Cup quarter-final could yet put him into contention.
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