Lions Watch: O'Mahony makes most of late call-up, Test hooker spot up for grabs

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Peter O'Mahony, Elliot Daly and Finn Russell were among the players to shine as British and Irish Lions hopefuls grasped their last opportunity to impress Warren Gatland on the international stage on Saturday.

Ireland denied England a Six Nations Grand Slam and the world record for consecutive victories as they claimed a 13-9 triumph in Dublin, with O'Mahony particularly impressive given his late call-up.

Daly staked his claim for selection despite England's defeat, but team-mates Dylan Hartley and Jonathan Joseph struggled to do likewise.

For Scotland, Finn Russell was the pick of the bunch as they thumped Italy 29-0 in Vern Cotter's last match at the helm, while the battle for Test hooker is wide open.

Gatland announces his squad on April 19.

 

Good Week

Peter O'Mahony - The Munster flanker was not even supposed to be part of Ireland's starting XV on Saturday, called up as a late replacement for Jamie Heaslip, who picked up an ankle injury in the warm-up. But O'Mahony fully justified his inclusion with a superb all-round display, showing tremendous heart and enthusiasm in making a team-high 12 tackles. He faces fierce competition for a place in the Lions back row, but he put himself firmly in contention with his performance against England.

Elliot Daly - Daly has put his hand up for Lions selection more than most during this year's championship and he managed to stand out in an England team that failed to fire in Dublin. His versatility will be a huge asset when Gatland comes to select his squad and his defensive work against Ireland further demonstrated an ability to cope under pressure. A welcome return to action following his early head injury against Scotland.

Finn Russell - Scotland's man of the match in their convincing victory over Italy, fly-half Russell is another whose position could cause Gatland a headache as he considers his options. Up against the likes of Jonathan Sexton, George Ford and Dan Biggar for a place, his 11 points this weekend - including a first-half try - will have done his chances of selection no harm.

 

Bad Week

Dylan Hartley - Eddie Jones has persisted with his skipper, but the hooker has looked some way short of his best form for the duration of the tournament. Arguably outshone by Jamie George from the bench in the early matches of the championship, Hartley measured up unfavourably to opposite number Rory Best, who put in a captain's display to lead his side to a memorable victory.

Ken Owens - With rivals for the number two jersey Hartley and Best going head to head in Dublin, the onus was arguably on Owens to catch the eye with a standout performance in France. On his 50th cap, the Scarlets hooker fell short of the form he has displayed over the course of the tournament, but Lions coach Gatland will be well aware of Owens' talents.

Jonathan Joseph - Dropped for England's clash with Italy on matchday three, Joseph was one of the players of the weekend last time out as England ran riot against Scotland. However, the centre was unable to maintain that level of performance against Ireland, whose robust defensive display denied Joseph the time, space and possession to make something happen.