It’s a jersey which has been worn by some true greats down the decades - Cliff Morgan, Barry John, Phil Bennett, Jonny Wilkinson, Johnny Sexton.

But who will don the Lions No 10 shirt in South Africa next summer?

The race is wide open and there are going to be some high-profile fly-halves missing out when Warren Gatland names his squad.

It’s a contest which is all the more fascinating after the events of the weekend at Ashton Gate.

So, as we head into the autumn internationals, who are the contenders and who is the man most likely to be the Test 10?

Finn Russell

It was the Scotsman’s performance during Racing 92’s Champions Cup final defeat to Exeter on Saturday that really ignited the debate about the Lions outside-half.

Here we had the epitome of high risk, high reward rugby.

There is no questioning Russell’s attacking brilliance. We have seen it down the years for club and country and we saw it again on the weekend with the exquisite long pass to Simon Zebo that created the Parisian’s opening try.

It brought back memories of his “pass of the century” for Scotland against England during the 2018 Calcutta Cup victory, such was its flight and precision.

There were other moments of magic from him during the final too, with sublime pieces of handling skill and audacious cross kicks.

But on the debit side, there were costly errors, notably the long pass just outside his own 22 that was intercepted by Jack Nowell, leading to a Henry Slade try.

It was a real 14-pointer. If it had reached its intended target, the Exeter defence would have been fatally exposed. But it didn’t.

That’s Russell for you, death or glory. He did wonderful things on Saturday, but he also conceded four turnovers, more than anyone else on the pitch.

There are few players you would more readily hand over cash to watch play rugby, but he must also give you kittens as a coach.

And is that Warren Gatland’s type of 10?

You suspect not. He has generally tended to go for the more pragmatic playmaker and didn’t include Russell in his original squad selection four years ago, only bringing him on board as one of the infamous Geography Six.

So will he make the cut this time around? You would hope so because he is undoubtedly the most gifted 10 in the northern hemisphere and he’s now back on the international beat with Scotland.

But whether he makes the Test team is another matter.

Finn Russell in action during the Champions Cup final

As one headline asked after the European final: “Did Russell play himself out of the Lions starting line-up?”

Only time will tell.

Owen Farrell

If you look back to the last Lions tour - to New Zealand in 2017 - it was Farrell who started the opening Test against the All Blacks at No 10.

But then, for the remaining two games in the series, he was switched to inside centre, with Johnny Sexton coming in at outside-half.

So which role will he fill this time around?

Of all the candidates for the pivotal position, he looks the most certain to tour.

He has the experience of two previous Lions trips and he’s a proven match-winner.

It’s just a question of whether Gatland wants him running the ship in controlled, physical fashion from 10 or serving as a safety valve option outside a more creative fly-half.

People will, of course, point to his suspect tackle technique and the risk that poses in terms of losing a man, especially after his sending off against Wasps last month.

That might potentially count against him when it comes to the captaincy, but he is nailed on to make the trip and be a key figure, just where is the issue.

Johnny Sexton

It was Sexton who took up the reins for the Lions in New Zealand as the drawn 2017 series progressed, having already done so during the whole of the 2013 Test campaign in Australia.

So there’s no doubting his experience in the role, nor his class, with his trademark looping, cross-kicking and pinpoint distribution having unpicked so many defences over the years.

There have been few players better at navigating the ship and keeping it moving through steady waters, while he remains a hugely driven competitor, looking to run the game in more ways than one, getting under the skin of opponents in the process.

But he’s now 35 and his body has taken a fair old battering over the years.

So does he have the fuel in the tank for one last Lions hurrah?

Well, while he’s still playing at the top level, you wouldn’t rule him out.

He looks set to be Ireland’s first choice 10 again this autumn, ahead of Test rookies Ross Byrne and Jack Carty, so he remains very much in the frame.

Johnny Sexton and Dan Biggar pictured during the 2017 Lions tour of New Zealand

Dan Biggar

A Lions Test appearance is one of the few boxes Biggar has failed to tick during his 83 cap-career.

He went to New Zealand in 2017 and had a fine tour, but was restricted to a midweek mission due to the presence of Sexton and Farrell.

So will it be a different story four years on?

He’s certainly a strong contender to make the plane once again.

His move to Northampton has brought an added dimension to his game and he’s clearly relished life in the English Premiership.

With Gareth Anscombe sidelined long-term and Rhys Patchell just returning from an extended lay-off, Biggar goes into the autumn internationals firmly established as Wales’ first choice fly-half and with the opportunity to lay down a marker.

At 31, he’s now got vast experience behind him, while he’s a born fighter and another proven match-winner.

Crucially, Gatland knows him inside out and knows exactly what he would get from him. So could Dan yet be the man?

George Ford

When you are looking at playmakers, the lad from Oldham has a lot going for him.

He’s been a real creative force for England over the years, often when dovetailing with Farrell in a highly effective 10-12 axis.

With 69 caps to his name, he is a seasoned performer in the Test arena and was the 10 for the Six Nations title-winning campaigns of 2016 and 2017.

He’s a stylish player, easy on the eye and he challenges defences.

The issue would be whether he fits the bill for Gatland physically.

At 5ft 10ins and 13st 10lbs, he’s a diminutive figure compared to some of the midfield behemoths prowling the international arena.

How would he fare with Damian de Allende running down his channel next summer, one wonders?

But, in fairness, it’s a question that’s been asked before in terms of him being a potential defensive weakness and he’s held his own on the world stage for some six years now and remains very much part of Eddie Jones’ plans, so has to be another genuine candidate.

England's George Ford up against Wales at Twickenham earlier this year

The wildcards

Well, Wales can offer up a few of those.

It’s great to see Rhys Patchell back fit again and when he’s firing he’s a player who offers a great deal with his all-round game.

Then, of course, we wait to see whether Callum Sheedy can transfer his outstanding club form to the Test arena.

It would be fantastic if Gareth Anscombe could get back to playing rugby in time to put his hand up, because he is a real quality 10.

But, sadly, that seems unlikely given the ongoing seriousness of his knee injury.

Elsewhere, Glasgow’s Adam Hastings has shown his talent and he certainly has the family credentials, with his father Gavin having captained the 1993 Lions.

On the club scene, Joe Simmonds has been excellent for Exeter, while the maverick Danny Cipriani continues to have his supporters.

If you are looking for a real wildcard option, how about Rhys Priestland?

Now, admittedly, he hasn’t played international rugby for three years as he’s ineligble for Wales under the 60-cap rule, while he will be 34 in January.

But he remains one of the most consistent performers in the Gallagher Premiership with Bath and Gatland has always been a big admirer of his, in particular the way he takes the ball up to the line.

Stranger things have happened...

Verdict

On balance, as it stands now, you would probably say the likeliest trio of fly-halves to make the trip would be Farrell, Biggar and Russell, with Sexton’s age and recent injury issues perhaps just counting against him.

Then it comes down to the Test 10 and you would edge towards Gatland going with the physicality and tactical control of Farrell, with Russell perhaps providing the game-changing option off the bench.

But, as I said at the outset, it’s wide open and there’s all to play for.