Catt tipped for Lions spot

London Irish boss Toby Booth believes Mike Catt is the best candidate to take Tom Shanklin’s place in the Lions squad.

Shanklin dislocated his shoulder last Wednesday and was ruled out of the tour, while on Saturday Catt produced a solid display in Irish’s 17-0 Premiership semi-final win over Harlequins.

Booth said the 37-year-old South African-born centre cum flyhalf should be a front-runner for the Lions squad ahead of team-mate Delon Armitage, Gordon D’Arcy, Mike Tindall, James Hook or possibly Gavin Henson.

‘Mike Catt was absolutely outstanding. He should be going with the Lions,’ said Booth.

‘From what you saw against Harlequins at the weekend, find me someone who’s better. I can’t speak highly enough of him. The irony is he spent two days in bed with flu. We still started him because we know how important he is to controlling things.

‘Catty has a fantastic appetite – people dream about being able to do what he does at 37. He’s a credit to himself, his family and London Irish.’

There is no news on when Shanklin’s replacement will be named but it took Ian McGeechan and co two weeks to announce Mike Blair would be touring.

If Catt is chosen, he will takeover Neil Back’s record as the oldest Lion.

Meanwhile, Munster flank Alan Quinlan faces a disciplinary hearing for eye-gouging on Wednesday where he will learn his fate.