Lions Watch: Final Six Nations showdown
March 18, 2013
Wales' Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric boosted their chances of touring with superb performances against England © Getty Images
The countdown to the eagerly-awaited British & Irish Lions tour to Australia is well and truly on following the final round of this year's Six Nations.
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. Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)
Wales' Mr Consistency failed to gather a kick in the opening moments of his side's clash with England but it was the only foot he put wrong all afternoon.
14. Alex Cuthbert (Wales)
The Welsh winger grabbed a brace of tries against England to propel his side to the Six Nations crown with both scores showcasing his impressive power and pace.
13. Jamie Roberts (Wales)
Switched from inside to outside centre for the purposes of our selection, Roberts delivered his best performance of the championship to deny England any time and space while also giving them food for thought with ball in hand.
12. Matt Scott (Scotland)
Scott can lay claim to an assist for team-mate Tim Visser's try against France and kept the hosts busy with an industrious display that included 10 tackles.
11. Tim Visser (Scotland)
Visser emerged from the shadow of his fleet-footed team-mates with his second try of the championship against France with his performance set to re-ignite his Lions hopes.
10. Dan Bigger (Wales)
Bigger was able to dominate his England rival Owen Farrell thanks largely to the efforts of his pack but that is not to take away from his contribution at the Millennium Stadium with his distribution turning the screw at every opportunity.
9. Mike Phillips (Wales)
Phillips was back to his best with his dominant pack giving him time and space to exploit England's stretched defence to the tune of 60m with ball in hand. He also weighed in with 10 tackles to help deny England a foothold in the game.
Wales' Mike Phillips puts in the box kick during his side's victory over England © PA Photos
1. Gethin Jenkins (Wales)
Jenkins returned from injury to play a pivotal role in his side's destruction of England. A tower of strength at scrum time, he was also inspirational as skipper having taken on the captaincy in the absence of the injured Ryan Jones.
2. Richard Hibbard (Wales)
Another key element of a dominant Welsh pack that proved far too good for England in Cardiff. A real contender for the trip Down Under with his impressive work-rate arguably his trump card.
3. Adam Jones (Wales)
Handed out a scrummaging lesson to England's Joe Marler and Mako Vunipola to help set the tone for a superb Welsh performance and underline his Lions credentials.
4. Alun-Wyn Jones (Wales)
An unsung hero, Jones retains his place in our line-up having delivered another quietly effective display against England and appears to be peaking nicely for the season run-in.
5. Geoff Parling (England)
One of the few England players to emerge from their Slam failure with any credit, Parling racked up plenty of yards with ball in hand and did more than most to work an opening in a resolute Welsh defence.
6. Sam Warburton (Wales)
Warburton moved to blindside from openside as part of a back-row shuffle for the England game but was equally influential whether running hard at their rivals or chopping them down in their tracks - his return to top form will not have gone unnoticed.
7. Justin Tipuric (Wales)
Tipuric quite rightly picked up the Man of the Match honour in Cardiff with his work-rate in defence and attack causing England no-end of problems. His vision, pace and power makes him a formidable threat all over the park.
8. Jamie Heaslip (Ireland)
Heaslip did more than anyone to prevent his side from slipping to a first ever Six Nations defeat to Italy and while his efforts were in vain, his commitment and work-rate was impressive.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Gentlemen, if you want to see the World Cup going south yet again, you are going the right way about it," John Taylor looks at the state of European rugby
The Heineken Cup proved once again just why it is the best domestic rugby competition in the world at the weekend and Monday Maul picks out some of the key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler