The home nations are building up to September's World Cup, which is now just three weeks away, and we are here to wrap up the week's goings on with a particular focus on the British & Irish Lions involved. [more]


The home nations are building up to September’s World Cup, which is now just three weeks away, and we are here to wrap up the week’s goings on with a particular focus on the British & Irish Lions involved.

British & Irish Lion Justin Tipuric was awarded man of the match after Wales’ 16-10 World Cup warm-up victory over Ireland, and 2013 Lions coach Warren Gatland gushed that it was his finest hour in the red jersey.
The 26-year-old 2013 tourist filled in for Wales and Lions skipper Sam Warburton, who was sidelined with a slight shoulder injury, and put his hands up for a World Cup call-up by scoring Wales’ only try in a dynamic display.
And rather than giving him a selection headache, Wales coach Gatland believes having Tipuric in such fine form is only good news for his side.
"We're blessed to have two world-class sevens,” he said.
“We know what a good footballer Justin is when he appears in the wide channels but sometimes he’s lacked that physicality and competing on the ball.
“But today he was just brilliant; he was a nuisance and just a proper seven, so we're very lucky to have the quality we've got.
“It was probably the best performance I've seen from him in a big match in the Welsh jersey.”
Lions legend Paul O’Connell did not enjoy the victory lap he deserved at the Aviva Stadium, in his final home game as Ireland skipper.
The sub-par Green Machine were beaten out by Wales in front of a crowd expecting a victory to send the three-time Lions tourist off in style.
But the 35-year-old, who proudly led son Paddy onto the pitch at the end of the game, remained humble and chose to focus on what lies ahead for his side rather than what he is leaving behind.
"I'm obviously disappointed with the result at the moment," said O'Connell on Sky Sports.
“But we're preparing for the World Cup. It's probably not the time to be looking at it right now. We've to prepare for that.
“The fans have been incredible for us today and throughout my career. I've had an amazing time.
“Hopefully they can add to it at the World Cup. There will be a lot of Irish people at the Irish games. Hopefully we can give them a better performance than that,"
Stuart Hogg did not manage to get on the scoresheet as Scotland romped to a record victory over Italy at BT Murrayfield, but is adamant his side are not going to the World Cup to make up the numbers.
Vern Cotter’s side ran in six tries in their 48-7 win, which will have gone a long way to avenging the Scots last-gasp defeat at the hands of the Azzurri back in February.
And Hogg, one of four Scots to tour with the Lions in 2013, believes his side cannot enter their World Cup campaign with any target other than victory.
“Mark Dodson set the goals very early on. He said he wants to win the World Cup and that’s very much in our focus and our mind-set,” the 23-year-old told The Scotsman.
“We know we have a tough pool to try and qualify from. Every game will be a massive challenge for us but the boys are excited by it, we’re relishing what’s ahead of us.
 “Listen, you’re not going to a World Cup thinking it’ll be fine just to get out of the pool stages, like everyone else we’re going there to win.”
2013 Lion Ben Youngs was named in England’s World Cup squad on Thursday, and World Cup winning scrum-half Matt Dawson is backing the Leicester player to be first choice at No.9.
Stuart Lancaster named Richard Wigglesworth and Danny Care in the side alongside Youngs as he continues to search for his strongest combination across the backline, but for three-time tourist Dawson there is only one choice.
“Ben Youngs is your all-rounder and a good mix of Wigglesworth and Care’s qualities so he can do it all,” said Dawson.
“If you want someone to come on and take quick tap penalties and spark it up and go for it, then of course you’re going to go with Danny Care on the bench.
“However, if Ben Youngs goes down in the first five minutes, you’re probably going to want Richard Wigglesworth to run the game and manage the game tactically.
“But one of the reasons that all three of them will go is that Stuart has that ability to pick his bench accordingly.”

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