It was not only a pressure-relieving win gained by the Wales players against Ireland – it was also a step firmly in the right direction towards sealing a spot on the British & Irish Lions team.

That’s according to former Lions captain Martin Johnson who was impressed to see a number of players – Rhys Webb and George North in particular – step up to the mark.

While having to dig deep in the closing minutes to repel an Irish fightback, Wales came away with a valuable win in their penultimate game of the Six Nations, triumphing 22-9.

Winger George North was on the scoresheet with two tries while Jamie Roberts also crossed with Leigh Halfpenny solid from the kicking tee.

Man of the match Rhys Webb was also in the thick of the action, creating North’s first try and handing him his second on a plate.

And Johnson believes those two in particular will have given Lions head coach Warren Gatland plenty of food for thought.

"Rhys Webb has been [very industrious] all season – he’s played very well. He’s not just going to pass the ball all the time. As a forward, you have to consider him coming,” he said.

"He’s found gaps against everyone on blindsides, he’s always looking. He put George North in for the try, and suddenly guys are going over unopposed, but you’ve got to deal with it.

"I think he’ll go on the Lions tour. He’s what you want your nine to be. He’s busy, energetic and aggressive.

"It was good to see George North back and firing from a Lions point of view. He is different and he’s got skills that no other winger in Britain and Ireland has really got.

"If you’ve got a big, strong guy on the wing, you want him to really impose himself, give him the chance and get him into the game.”

During the last British & Irish Lions tour, it was Welshman Sam Warburton who successfully led the team to success Down Under.

He has since relinquished captaincy duties for his country with Alun Wyn Jones taking over as skipper before this year’s Six Nations.

But while no longer leading the Welsh team, Johnson believes his performances so far this year put Warburton firmly in the frame for the Lions tour to New Zealand this summer.

"I think Sam Warburton will be in the conversation, he’s been there, he’s done it and he’s a very experienced player,” he added.

"He’s played very well, I picked him in seven in some of my teams, even though he’s played at six, because he’s done that job.

"For the Lions captaincy, you obviously want a guy who’s going to make your Test team, you get yourself on the plane, and it’s almost a clean slate.

"Sam Warburton has been Lions captain, he’s got a back catalogue of performance, and some of these guys have, some of these haven’t but they’re playing well.

"That’s the balancing act, the scales of selection, that’s what you have to choose."

Martin Johnson is an Ambassador for British & Irish Lions Principal Partner Standard Life Investments.