Latest Lions XV pecking order sees Scotland make a move
Three more Scots enter the fray, with another stepping up to the Starting XV.
With the 2021 Six Nations now in the history books, the Lions pecking order is looking a whole lot different from last December.
Warren Gatland will be under pressure to select a pretty even spread after Wales won their second championship in three attempts and Ireland, Scotland and England all finished in mid-table.
Scotland stunned France 27-23, in Paris on Friday, as the likes of Stuart Hogg, Hamish Watson, Duhan van der Merwe and Zander Fagerson showed their Lions class. Loosehead Rory Sutherland and hooker George Turner were both superb, too, but left the field of play with respective shoulder and thumb injuries.
On the latest House of Rugby Ireland episode [LISTEN from 3:30 below], the Lions prospects of several Ireland players were discussed. Several Scots have bolted their arms up for selection too.
Back in December, the Lions XV pecking order was dominated by an England side that had followed up their 2020 Six Nations victory by clinching the Autumn Nations Cup. Only three months ago, the XV had 12 England stars and none from Wales and Scotland.
So much has changed in such a short period of time. Lions head coach Warren Gatland is already on the record in how much stock he puts in the Six Nations, so you can see how much the recent results have benefitted Ireland, Scotland and champions Wales.
Since last weekend's round five games, there is only one change to the Starting XV - the tireless Hamish Watson bumping out Justin Tipuric - but three more Scottish stars are now in the conversation. Duhan van der Merwe (pictured above) scored two tries against France and has made 31 line breaks in the championship, eclipsing the old record of 30 set by Brian O'Driscoll. That is a shade over six line breaks per game. Frankly ridiculous carry on.
The other new arrivals are Zander Fagerson, bumping out England tighthead Kyle Sinckler, and Chris Harris overtaking the injured Garry Ringrose. Expect England's top players to make strong cases in the Champions Cup but, right now, they are up against it.
Current Lions XV pecking order (back-up option in brackets)
15. Stuart Hogg (Liam Williams)
14. Louis Rees-Zammit (Keith Earls)
13. George North (Chris Harris)
12. Robbie Henshaw (Jonathan Davies)
11. Josh Adams (Duhan van der Merwe)
10. Johnny Sexton (Dan Biggar)
9. Conor Murray (Gareth Davies)
1. Wynn Jones (Mako Vunipola)
2. Ken Owens (Jamie George)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Zander Fagerson)
4. Iain Henderson (Maro Itoje)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (James Ryan)
6. Tadhg Beirne (Tom Curry)
7. Hamish Watson (Justin Tipuric)
8. Toby Faletau (CJ Stander)
From having no players in the Lions XV pecking order to now sharing nine of the starting slots, it has been some turnaround for Wales and Scotland.