Lions back three calls highlight Ireland's place in new world order
"Zammo had 40,000 followers on Instagram, before the weekend, and now has about 100,000."
Louis Rees-Zammit is already attracting British & Irish Lions talk, despite only making his Test debut in October 2020.
The Welsh winger may have scored three tries in his first two Six Nations games, but the kick to touch - with the outside of his boot - late on in a tight win over Scotland shows you he has Test match minerals.
The Gloucester star only turned 20 at the start of February but has been on Wales' radar for the past two years. In December 2019 he became the first 18-year-old to score a Premiership hat-trick of tries and, two months later, skipped the U20s and trained with the senior national squad.
On the latest episode of House of Rugby (UK), Rees-Zammit's Wales teammate Jonathan Davies spoke about the winger's rapid rise.
"He has the potential to develop into a world-class winger. He just have to keep doing what he's doing and working hard on developing his game.
"It was great for him on Saturday, but there will be more people aware of him now... as people are now making sure to mark up Antoine Dupont, they'll now be doing the same for Rees-Zammit. The challenge for him will be to keep going now, and striving to improve."
While it is still unclear WHERE the 2021 British & Irish Lions Test Series against South Africa will take place, it seems certain to go ahead this summer as opposed to being delayed until 2022.
On the assumption that the tour gets the all-clear and that Covid-19 does not wreak havoc with plans, Davies gave his current Lions form back three:
- Anthony Watson (RW)
- Louis Rees-Zammit (LW)
- Stuart Hogg (FB)
Former Leinster and Ireland flanker Seán O'Brien believes it is not premature to put the Welsh winger's name into the Lions conversation. "He's really announced himself with what he did [against Scotland] and another individual piece of brilliance.
"His name would have already been in the pot, but for him to go over there [on tour], he'll just have no fear. They're just deadly, natural rugby players."
For O'Brien, his back three would be Jonny May, Anthony Watson and Stuart Hogg. O'Brien and Davies both won a 2013 Lions Test Series against Australia and drew the 2017 series with New Zealand.
Duhan van der Merwe and Josh Adams also got mentions, but there were no Irish players brought up during that back three discussion. This time last year, the likes of Jordan Larmour and Jacob Stockdale would have been mentioned while Keith Earls, back then, looked a decent shout to make his first Lions squad since the 2009 tour to South Africa.
Indeed, the only Irish players generating much Lions talk - following their defeats to Wales and France - are Andrew Porter, Iain Henderson, Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose, with David Flatman giving Rhys Ruddock an honourable mention. Currently ranked six in the world, Ireland need to turn their championship around quickly or several of their stars will be missing out on Lions duty.
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