Paul O'Connell: Championship form will be key for Lions places

Former Ireland captain expects title decider in Dublin

Paul O'Connell: Championship form will be key for Lions places

Captain Paul O'Connell. Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Former Ireland and Lions captain Paul O'Connell expects performances in the 6 Nations championship to decide the majority of the places on this summer's Lions tour.

Speaking to he said: This Championship is massively important, it is where most of the selecting will be done. As an individual you want to play well but more than playing well individually you need your team to play well, you need your country to play well and you want to bring form to the Tour.

"Particularly when you go to New Zealand, you want to be picking players that have gone into the Six Nations and have produced some great rugby.

"The team that really wins the Championship or wins the Grand Slam, if it's one of the home countries and not France, you'd imagine a majority of players will probably come from that team," he added.

British & Irish Lions Paul O'Connell gets tackled by Tendai Mtawarira of South Africa
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Looking ahead to this season's championship he said: "I think the decider will be in Dublin. They are the two best teams in it at the moment, England are probably out there at the front on their own as favourites, the strength and depth they have is incredible.

"But Wales are going to come back strong this year and they will probably topple one of those two.

"I've seen the Glasgow-Scottish players up close and Gregor Townsend has done a great job on them, Jonny Gray, Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg in particular.

"Those three guys are absolute stand outs and they are as good as any other player in the Championship. I think that's probably something Scotland have been missing, for the first time in a long time, Scotland are genuine contenders," he added.

The Lions are due to play their first match in New Zealand against a provincial selection on 3rd June.