Italy veteran Alessandro Troncon has backed Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel to claim a place on this summer’s British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.
The lack of stand-out performers at number nine will be giving Lions boss Sir Clive Woodward a headache as he uses Six Nations form to help finalise the make-up of his squad.
Troncon comes face to face with Peel at the Stadio Flaminio on Saturday and draws from his previous meetings with the Llanelli number nine in championing his chances of making the summer tour.
"I’ve played Dwayne two or three times. His game has improved greatly and I think he is now a very good player," said the 31-year-old.
"He is an excellent playmaker who knows when to go for things himself and when to pass. Dwayne is good enough to make the Lions tour.
"He is a young player and if he continues to develop during the Six Nations I think he will be playing for the Lions this summer."
Troncon’s attention may be focused on his opposite number but he admits Gavin Henson – the hero of Wales’ 11-9 victory over England – will be the main threat to his side on Saturday.
Henson will also be hoping to show Woodward he is worthy of a place in his tour party this summer, and Troncon rates him as one of the most ‘dangerous’
performers in the game.
He said: "Gavin was superb against England but I hope he doesn’t play so well on Saturday – we’ll try to ensure he doesn’t.
"He’s a very exciting player and in his current form he is one of the most dangerous backs in the world."