Warren Gatland’s Lions Back-Row Selection Will Be Surely Influenced By This Latest News

Toby Faletau is hitting form at just the right time.

Warren Gatland has a couple of huge decisions to make when it comes to picking his Lions Test back-row this summer. The head coach has several options at six and seven, but it’s his number eight slot that has people talking.

It looks like it’s going to be a straight shootout between Ireland’s CJ Stander and Peter O’Mahony for six, while captain Sam Warburton will surely start at seven. As for the coveted number eight spot, Billy Vunipola and Toby Faletau look set to slug it out.

Both missed large chunks of the season with injury, but it seems Faletau is peaking at just the right moment. The Bath forward was today named Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month for April 2017.

Bath Rugby’s, Taulupe Faletau poses with his Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month award for April during the Aviva presentation at Bath Rugby Training Ground, Farleigh House, Farleigh Hungerford, Bath on May 9th 2017. – Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK/AVIVA

Faletau is now fully fit and firing on all cylinders for his club, attracting the attention of the judges for his performances in April, which included a hat-trick in the win over Gloucester Rugby. Rugby World Cup winner and former Lions centre Will Greenwood led the praise for Faletau who has recently been named in the 2017 British & Irish Lions squad.

“Form is temporary, class is permanent,” said Aviva Ambassador Greenwood.
“An injury hit season has denied Bath Rugby this world class operator for much of the campaign. But the second he was fully fit Taulupe started doing what he does best – having error free high-impact games.”
“Carrying, handling, calming, scoring… A joy to watch – the Lions are lucky to have him!”

Gatland will no doubt have a close eye on this weekend’s Challenge and Champions Cup finals, with both Ross Moriarty and Billy Vunipola in action. Big games are needed from both if they’re to upstage the in-form Faletau.

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