After crossing the halfway stage of the 2017 Six Nations, England remain unbeaten and on course for a second consecutive Grand Slam success, but they have proven far from convincing.
Having snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against France and Wales, England were left flummoxed by Italy’s extraordinary tactics at the breakdown, and struggled to counter their no-ruck defence until the second half.
Ireland meanwhile looked back to their best after negotiating a tricky first 20 minutes, and the 19-9 victory over France was perhaps a bit harsh on what was a very strong performance by Joe Schmidt’s side.
However, it was a bad week for Wales as they suffered a comprehensive 29-13 defeat by Scotland, and as a result there is a growing clamour for Vern Cotter’s men – soon to be Gregor Townsend’s – to force their way into Warren Gatland’s side.
But who makes the cut in The Independent’s starting Lions XV? This week’s instalment sees seven changes – six personnel and one positional – in a radical shake up of the side that will start the first Test against New Zealand on 24 June.
Click on the gallery above to see the team.Reuse content