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Headaches for Gatland's Lions selection

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    15 Feb 2017     Getty Images

Jenkins, an assistant coach with Wales, believes the fact there is a Lions tour at season's end has been a factor in the 'brutal intensity' of the Six Nations so far.

"There are a couple of things – the [bonus] points-scoring system and teams intent on wanting to score tries and maybe play a different brand of rugby, and the biggest one of all is the Lions," he told Skysports.com.

"For these players at the top-end of the game, whether it be in Wales, England, Scotland or Ireland, it is a unique thing to be involved in, the Lions.

"It happens once every four years, so, more often than not, these players empty the tank. The autumn is important – but it's nothing compared to what the Six Nations is.


"There is a trophy at stake, and there is a Lions tour at stake at the end of it, and every single player who is involved in any of these squads will want to give their best and try to stake a claim for a Lions spot in the summer, and none bigger than a tour of New Zealand."

First five-eighths would assuredly be one area exercising Gatland's thoughts, he said. With players like Johnny Sexton, George Ford, Owen Farrell, Finn Russell and Dan Biggar, there was plenty of competition.

"Johnny Sexton is not playing at this minute, but he is a world-class 10 who was outstanding with the Lions four years ago.

"Paddy Jackson has been playing very well; you've got George Ford, Owen Farrell, who is exceptional at 10 or 12; Dan [Biggar] with ourselves; and obviously Finn Russell, who is a very good player as well," Jenkins said.

"That's just talking about the 10s, let alone all the other positions. I am sure 'Gats' and the staff will have a good few headaches when the time comes for selection.

"There are a lot of big games to come yet, and it will be quite interesting to see how it unfolds," he said.

Jenkins thought Biggar's effort against England for Wales had put down a marker. His all-round contribution had been massive and boosted his hopes for selection.