Lions Watch: Russell inspires Scotland, Joe launching into contention

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Finn Russell, Joe Launchbury and Jonathan Sexton were among the standout performers in round three of the Six Nations as competition for British and Irish Lions places hots up.

Sexton hit the ground running on his return from injury, inspiring Ireland to victory against France in Dublin to keep them in the hunt for the title.

Launchbury produced another man-of-the-match performance for England, who made hard work of beating Italy, while Russell was a thorn in Wales' side as Scotland won at Murrayfield.

We take a look at who did their chances of featuring for the Lions in New Zealand a world of good and which players will need to raise their game next weekend.

 

Good week

Finn Russell - With captain Greig Laidlaw out for the rest of the tournament due to an ankle injury, Scotland needed their key men to step up against Wales and Russell was outstanding. The fly-half was perfect from the tee, scoring 19 points, and his decision-making was superb as Vern Cotter's men turned the game around in the second half, with Lions coach Warren Gatland watching on from the stands.

Joe Launchbury - Although England were far from their best, struggling to get to grips with Italy's ploy of not committing to the ruck, Launchbury led the charge for the defending champions and was rewarded with a second successive man-of-the-match award. The lock managed 14 carries and gained 58 metres, standing out for an England side who are two wins away from another Grand Slam.

Jonathan Sexton - Sexton missed the first two games of the tournament due to a calf injury, but made up for lost time in Ireland's defeat of France. The influential number 10's fitness stood up to the test and he stamped his authority on the game with an excellent all-round performance.

 

Bad week

Alun Wyn Jones - Provided he stays fit, Jones will be expected to earn a place in the Lions' starting line-up, but the Wales skipper had a bad day at the office at Murrayfield. He was unable to prevent Scotland from roaring back for a win which leaves his side's Six Nations title hopes in tatters, with questions asked over his Lions captaincy credentials following some curious in-game choices.

Jonny May - May would surely have seen a clash with Italy as a chance to run in some tries and catch Gatland's eye, but he had a day to forget on Sunday. The England wing was unable to grab a Ben Te'o offload in the first half with a try there for the taking and was short of service. Jack Nowell scored two tries after replacing May, who might find himself back on the bench against Scotland.

Ross Moriarty - Moriarty goes from good week to bad week after struggling to meet the standards he set against England. The powerful back-rower put a shift in, but could not make his mark on Scotland as he did with some brutal hits in the loss to Eddie Jones' men. Taulupe Faletau is breathing down his neck for a starting berth.