While the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour might still seem a long way away – it pays to keep an eye out for who is turning in the big performances in the here and now.
As part of a new weekly feature on the site – we wrap up the action across Europe this weekend and pick out some stand-out performances across the four countries for you to consider.
TOP POINTS SCORERS
No one scored more points over the weekend than Exeter Chiefs fly-half Gareth Steenson, the Irish-born stand-off racking up 21 in total as his side saw off Harlequins in the Premiership.
Steenson crossed for his side’s first try while also adding a two conversions and four penalties in his side’s last-gasp 26-25 victory.
Other notable points scorers across the four nations were Englishmen Danny Cipriani and Stephen Myler – both of whom accrued 15 points each from the kicking tee.
A notable mention to 2005 Lions tourist Charlie Hodgson – who this week announced his retirement from rugby at the end of the season – who added 18 points in Saracens win over Worcester.
Up in Scotland, Edinburgh scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne kicked ten points in his side’s win over Newport Gwent Dragons while over in Wales Sam Davies climbed off the bench to slot eight crucial points from the tee as the Ospreys claimed local bragging rights with victory over the Cardiff Blues.
TOP TRY SCORERS
On a quiet weekend for Lions-qualified try scorers, England winger Chris Ashton served a reminder of his poaching abilities with two scores at Twickenham for Saracens.
Staying at Rugby HQ, and in the second game of the London Double Header young centre Johnny Williams ran in a brace – albeit in a losing cause for London Irish against Wasps.
In the PRO12 tries were less forthcoming this weekend but none were more important than Alun Wyn Jones – a Lion in 2009 and 2013 – going over for the Ospreys.
While in Ireland hooker Sean Cronin bagged a pivotal score for Leinster in their low-scoring win over Ulster. And in Scotland No.8 Adam Ashe went over late on to secure victory for Glasgow Warriors over Treviso.
London Irish are still awaiting their first victory of the league season but in lock Matt Symons they are clearly onto a winner.
The Truro-born second row made a whopping 25 tackles for Irish in their defeat to Wasps at Twickenham on Saturday – more than any other player across the four nations.
The former Super Rugby star just edged out Exeter’s Dave Ewers who made 22 while Sale’s hooker Tommy Taylor racked up 20.
In Wales – Gavin Evans also made 20 tackles for the Cardiff Blues in a losing effort.
The future of Ireland’s back-row also looks in good hands as Josh van der Flier and Jack O’Donoghue both amassed 18 tackles for Leinster and Munster respectively.
TOP METRE MAKERS
Bath may have slipped to defeat to Leicester Tigers on Sunday but not only did Anthony Watson cross for a try – he also amassed a round-high 139 metres with ball in hand.
Fellow full-backs Mike Haley (105) and Blair Kinghorn (100) also broke the century mark for metres running with the ball for Sale and Edinburgh respectively.
Other stand-out performers were Jonny May (100), Wasps No.8 Nathan Hughes (89) and Ospreys full-back Dan Evans (84).
Fans are now able to guarantee their place on the 2017 Tour to New Zealand with a fully refundable £250 Priority Access Pass for the official supporter packages. Guarantee your place at the front of the queue when ticket-inclusive travel packages go on sale during the 2015/16 season, and also receive an exclusive invite to meet the Lions Head Coach before they depart for New Zealand. With exclusive access to special events, flights and hotels, it's the genuine Lions experience – click here for more details.