Lions Watch: Stander outstanding, Daly delivers again

Updated: 

Round two of the Six Nations provided absorbing contests in Cardiff and Paris, together with a blow-out in Rome as Ireland trounced Italy.

Ireland, England and France were the weekend's winners, but the matches also provided further opportunities for various players to boost their hopes of British and Irish Lions selection.

We take a look at who may have impressed Warren Gatland as he mulls over his options for the upcoming tour of New Zealand.

 

Good week

CJ Stander - Gatland's toughest selection calls could well involve the back row, where he appears to have a host of high-class performers at his disposal. Ireland flanker Stander certainly strengthened his case for a Lions place on Saturday, becoming the first forward to score a hat-trick for Ireland in 18 years as Joe Schmidt's men trounced Italy. Schmidt also heaped praise on fly-half Paddy Jackson in the aftermath of his side's 63-10 triumph.

Elliot Daly - For the second week running, Wasps back Daly was one of England's star men - scoring a fabulous match-winning try on this occasion as Wales were edged out at the Principality Stadium. Daly is a tough man to ignore at present given his form and versatility, and he may well be utilised at full-back when England face Italy next weekend. 

Ross Moriarty - Wales' defeat was harsh on number eight Moriarty, who delivered an all-action display before being surprisingly withdrawn 13 minutes into the second half. Taulupe Faletau, on his return from injury, struggled to have the same effect as the man he replaced, leading many to question Moriarty's withdrawal.

 

Bad week

Dylan Hartley - Another repeat appearance in this column sees Hartley picked as one of three men who endured a tricky weekend. England's leader was substituted after just 46 minutes against Wales, and once again saw the team's fortunes improve with Jamie George on in his place. George now appears likely to start against Italy and Hartley's position as skipper looks to be coming under increasing threat, despite England's sensational unbeaten run since he was named captain.

Alex Cuthbert - Cuthbert may have been an outside bet for the Lions in any case, but the wing failed to take his chance to shine after being drafted in as a late replacement for the injured George North on Saturday. It was Cuthbert who was out-paced by Daly for England's decisive score and the former now appears highly unlikely to make Gatland's touring party.

Greig Laidlaw - Scotland face an anxious wait over the fitness of their skipper, after he limped out of the loss to France during the first half with an ankle injury. A fit Laidlaw would have every chance of travelling to New Zealand, but it remains to be seen whether he now faces a lengthy lay-off.