'One man who has booked his Lions place is Conor Murray' 4 weeks ago

'One man who has booked his Lions place is Conor Murray'

"He had the game on a string against England."

What have Conor Murray and Diogo Jota got in common?

Both of their stocks went up after going through an injury-enforced spells on the sideline.

Jamison Gibson-Park was given the Ireland playbook for three of their Six Nations games but dropped to the bench for the England game and watched on as Murray reminded everyone that he is still a force in Test rugby.

Murray had no stunning tries, assists or line breaks against England, but he was efficient and kept his team ticking over. There was a real zip in his pass and he ensured quick ball to his runners. His performance has been lauded in England - by one of the game's true greats - Wales and here at home.

On the latest House of Rugby Ireland [LISTEN from 3:30 below], Fergus McFadden and Ian Madigan spoke with host Eimear Considine about Murray's Lions chances after his latest Irish outing.

Conor Murray could add to his 5 Lions Test caps this summer. (Credit: Sportsfile)
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"It was very much the Conor Murray we've come to expect," said Madigan.

"It was one of those games where he was on it - everything he did, he executed very well... He's another guy who will have played himself back into Lions contention, after that... He showed his true class and experience."

Indeed, on BT Sport's Rugby Tonight show, former England and Lions star Lawrence Dallaglio claimed Murray had 'catapulted him into the conversation' for a Lions Test spot.

Over in Wales, meanwhile, Wales Online writer Mark Orders has included Murray and 10 Ireland teammates in his 41-man Lions squad. On Murray and Johnny Sexton - those 2013 and 2017 Lions Tour veterans - he writes:

"One man who has booked his place is Conor Murray, who had the game on a string against England. He and Sexton emphatically outplayed Ben Youngs and George Ford."

Here are the 11 Irish players (in bold) that made the cut:

FRONT ROW: Wyn Jones, Cian Healy, Mako Vunipola, Tadhg Furlong, Kyle Sinckler, Andrew Porter

HOOKERS: Ken Owens, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jamie George

SECOND ROW: Alun Wyn Jones, Maro Itoje, James Ryan, Iain Henderson, Tadhg Beirne, Courtney Lawes

BACK ROW: Josh Navidi, Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Hamish Watson, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau, CJ Stander

SCRUM-HALVES: Conor Murray, Tomos Williams, Ben Youngs

OUT-HALVES: Dan Biggar, Owen Farrell, Jonathan Sexton

CENTRES: Robbie Henshaw, George North, Garry Ringrose, Manu Tuilagi

BACK THREE: Stuart Hogg, Liam Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit, Johnny May, Anthony Watson, Josh Adams

That tallies closely with the 10 Irish players we feel are either locked in (6) or pushing hard (4) for selection. There is no place in that 41 man squad (above) for Keith Earls.

It was confirmed, earlier today, that the British & Irish Lions have committed to touring in South Africa this summer, even if it means there are no fans present in stadiums across the Rainbow Nation.

WATCH THAT HOUSE OF RUGBY EPISODE: