Warren Gatland: Consistency key for Lions place
The Lions head coach has been keeping a close eye on the Six Nations17:41 Thursday 16 February 2017, 17:41 16 Feb 2017
Warren Galtand insists he will be keeping a close eye on eye consistent top performers in both the Six Nations, as well as the Guinness PRO12, when finalising his Lions squad.
The former Wales and Ireland head coach admits he has been impressed by England's form over the past year and that playing at the top level for such a period of time influence his final decision.
"We've got to hit the ground running as quickly as we possibly can," he said. "Some players who have been on previous tours, if their form is good enough, they come into consideration and that has come into previous Lions' Tours.
"There's still a long way to go in terms of the rest of the season before we name the squad. A number of players will be aware that - even though some of their performances have been good since the start of the season and the Six Nations - they'll have to continue before we finalise the squad."
Gatland watched Wales narrowly lose out to England at home last weekend in the Six Nations and hailed the game as a wonderful example of the what should be expected from international games.
"It was tough on Saturday because I thought it was a great Test match, it was a proper Test match on Saturday. I felt bad for the Welsh boys because there was a period of 15 minutes to go where they had England rattled and under a bit of pressure and they had a pretty critical line-out which was turned over.
"From there they conceded a scrum penalty and that changed the momentum of the last few minutes."
Eddie Jones' side have been in scintillating form and have won their last 16 Test matches on the bounce.
"England look a side at the moment who have developed a winning habit. We've talked about how losing is a habit, but so is winning. England have been able to stay in games when they haven't been playing that well.
"They've been good enough to stay calm control and win. I'm not so sure an England team of the past were able to do that."
England's George Ford celebrates with his team-mates after the RBS 6 Nations match at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff last Saturday. They defeated Wales 16-22 to stretch their winning run to 16 games. Image: Joe Giddens PA Wire/PA Images
The very best bits delivered every weekSubscribe now