The Lions have opened their 2021 schedule with a win over Japan at Murrayfield this afternoon. While the second half was a little bit scrappy at times, they were ultimately good value for their 28-10 victory.
Seven Irishmen started the game, most of who did their chances of a place in the test team no harm at all.
The likes of Tadhg Beirne, Robbie Henshaw, and Bundee Aki (to name but a few) all put in excellent performance. However, Jack Conan was forced off with an injury in the second half having played very well up to that point in the game.
Despite this, he may have played way into contention for the test team after positional rival Taulupe Faletau had a relatively poor afternoon.
Speaking on Virgin Media after the game, Luke Fitzgerald said that he believes Conan may now have moved ahead of the Welshman in the pecking order.
Jack was obviously a bolter, but the general consensus is that he has struggled with injury. It has never been a quality issue with him. He is an outstanding footballer.
If he can get a good run of games, and it did look like he picked up some sort of injury as they finished the game with seven (in the pack).
I thought Faletau looked very poor, very sluggish. I don't know if that was a fitness thing.
He will have a bit of ground to make up, even though he would have been at the forefront for the coaching staff having been in the Wales camp.
That will be an interesting dynamic to watch.
There are a few others as well. There are some players who had poor enough games that thought they would have been nailed on...
Liam Williams wasn't great, he had a few messy parts. Van der Merwe was very poor, that level in South Africa will be beyond him.
Conan is a quality player, one that has been very unfortunate with injuries.
You would certainly back him to get the job done in South Africa should he be given the opportunity.