LEIGH HALFPENNY AND Chris Robshaw have four man of the match medals between them so far and, barring injuries, will be pulling on British and Irish Lions jerseys in the summer.
Robshaw’s form, and the storming English start, make him the current favourite to captain the touring side while Halfpenny now looks the best best to start at fullback.
The second assertion may be news to 2012 ERC Player of the Year, Rob Kearney but the Welsh 15 has been in imperious form this season.
Halfpenny edged the battle of fullbacks in Ireland’s 30-22 win over Wales in the Six Nations opener and was the sponsor’s favourite in away wins over France and Italy.
Kearney is still odds-on to travel Down Under with Warren Gatland’s squad but he will need to rediscover the form of last season if he wants to start against the Aussies.
The fullback battle has been made all the more interesting by the assured performances of England’s Alex Goode and the scintillating showings of Stuart Hogg.
Hogg was the best Scottish player on show in his side’s loss against England at Twickenham and scored a fantastic breakaway try against Italy next time out.
One man who is more than qualified to cast his vote on who will win the battle of the fullbacks at Murrayfield today is Gavin Hastings.
The former Scotland and Lions captain told TheScore.ie that the rival 15s are similar in style, attacking nous and bravery. He said:
I’ve been very impressed by Hogg over the past year and he has started superbly. Kearney is a fine player though and has proved it at the highest level.”
Hastings added, “You’d be wary of making predictions about the Lions as everything is changing week on week.
“You could make a call on a player one week and be made to look foolish the next.”
Kearney is rarely quiet for long in a green jersey and came out on top, against Hogg, in the aerial duals at the Aviva Stadium last year.
The competitor in him will ensure that Hogg will not have it as easy as he did last time out at Murrayfield. It is not beyond the realms of reality to suggest that the pair can reminisce over their duels in Australia this summer.