English press highlight seven Irish players that have staked Lions claim
"He should be fearing for his place in the England team let alone thinking about Lions inclusion."
Watch out Billy Vunipola, CJ Stander and Jack Conan are about.
There was never going to be a placid reaction from the English press after Eddie Jones' side lost to Wales, Scotland and England to meekly give up their Six Nations crown. Following England's 32-18 loss to Ireland, last Saturday, the sharks are circling.
Jones has that abrasive, dismissive nature that only truly works when his side are winning. Even when England are winning, though, he is fielding questions on their playing style or stultifying tactics.
Heading into the Ireland game, the Australian broadly accused the media of putting 'rat poison' notions out there to his players about how England should be playing. Then, following the Dublin defeat, there was an extremely fraught press briefing.
While the English championship post-mortem continues, there was an interesting iNews piece from an Irish perspective. Writing for the English publication, Evan Bartlett states, 'In a game that went the home side’s way from first minute to last, several Irish players look to have cemented their spots on the plane.'
Pray tell, continue.
In his piece on the Six Nations encounter, Bartlett highlights seven Irish players he feels have staked a claim for inclusion in Warren Gatland's Lions 2021 squad. They are:
FORWARDS: Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, CJ Stander
BACKS: Conor Murray, Johnny Sexton, Robbie Henshaw, Keith Earls
There were only brief mentions for Jack Conan, Josh van der Flier and Iain Henderson, but plenty elsewhere to sate our jingoistic fervour.
Indeed, the praise reserved for Furlong - 'a man 100% on his game' - and Beirne was fulsome. On the Munster lock, he writes:
'In one of the most competitive spots in the team, Beirne has begun to look like an almost certainty for the Test squad leaving the likes of Maro Itoje and Alun Wyn Jones to fight over the other spot.'
From an English perspective, the piece notes how Tom Curry was the stand-out man in a white jersey while Jamie George offered more in his 40 minute stint at hooker than the man who started in the No.2 jersey, Luke Cowan-Dickie.