2013 British & Irish Lions
Lions Watch: Team of the Week
November 5, 2012
Danny Cipriani shone against London Irish for Sale © PA Photos
With the Aviva Premiership, RaboDirect PRO12 and Top 14 campaigns in full swing, the countdown to the eagerly-awaited British & Irish Lions tour to Australia is well and truly on.
As we all tick off the days until the team depart Down Under, ESPNscrum will cast an eye across the action and pinpoint those players eligible for the elite tourists who are pushing their selection claims with strong performances. Lions coach Warren Gatland has revealed that he is prepared to cast the selection net beyond international rugby so expect competition to be fierce.
There is a lot of rugby to be played until the squad board the plane for Hong Kong and plenty of time for hopes to rise and fall with many international stars yet to return to the domestic fray but the excitement is already building.
15. Luke Arscott (Exeter Chiefs)
It was another impressive performance by the Chiefs fullback against Worcester and while he did not score, he was a constant thorn in the Warriors' side.
14. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors)
The uncapped winger is in the Scotland frame ahead of the November Tests and put down an impressive marker to Andy Robinson with a brace of tries against the Dragons on Friday evening.
13. Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors)
Similar to Seymour, Dunbar is in line for his Scotland debut after being named in their squad for the November Tests. And while he failed to emulate his Warriors team-mate by scoring against the Dragons, he put in a solid showing at outside centre.
12. Ian Keatley (Munster)
While Ronan O'Gara's comeback in the red jersey of Munster against the Cardiff Blues will probably dominate the headlines, Keatley put in a good performance in the inside centre position.
11. Craig Gilroy (Ulster)
Ulster are storming away in the RaboDirect PRO12 and the Irish flyer crossed for their sixth try against Edinburgh on Friday evening. He could yet feature for the national side this year.
10. Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks)
In what was a torrid week for Sale, Cipriani's star is starting to shine brightly. He showcased all the impressive aspects of his game management against London Irish on Friday evening and helped the Sharks to their first win of the season in the Aviva Premiership.
9. Haydn Thomas (Exeter Chiefs)
The scrum-half constantly shifted the point of attack and kept the Warriors on the back-foot. An impressive showing by one of the Premiership's most consistent half-backs.
Ross Harrison makes his presence felt against London Irish © Getty Images
1. Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks)
Despite being aged just 20, you could be forgiven for thinking that Harrison has been playing top flight rugby for years. He held his own against the Exiles' front-row and his performance would have pleased watching boss Steve Diamond.
2. Neil Briggs (London Welsh)
The Exiles got the nod over Bath in the scrum and Briggs played a key role in that aspect of the game alongside his throwing which was also accurate.
3. Tony Buckley (Sale Sharks)
The Ireland international put in a solid shift for the Sharks as part of a dominant pack that laid the foundations for the Premiership strugglers' first win of the campaign.
4. Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
It was a confident showing by the Wasps youngster against Saracens and although he was on the wrong end of the result, he can be pleased with his performance.
5. Aly Muldowney (Exeter Chiefs)
An impressive force in the lineout and around the set piece, Muldowney was the Chiefs' form forward against the Warriors.
6. Tommy O'Donnell (Munster)
Two tries from the 25-year-old will have made Ireland boss Declan Kidney sit up and take notice. He started at No.8 for the Irish province but can also turn out at blindside and with their multitude of injuries in the back-row, he could be a bolter for Ireland.
7. Mike McComish (Ulster)
With Ulster reeling from the loss of Stephen Ferris to injury, McComish went about his business at openside in an impressive manner against Edinburgh.
8. Nick Easter (Harlequins)
He keeps on rolling back the years for Harlequins and is constantly mentioned as England's form No.8. He's a regular feature in our Lions Watch and there is every chance he could fail to turn out for the national side this year but still earn a place on the plane to Australia next summer.
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