Stuart Hogg named as one of only two Scots in the 41-strong British & Irish Lions party for New Zealand tour
Wednesday, April 19th, 2017
Hawick Full Back Stuart Hogg has, as expected, been named today in the British & Irish Lions tour party for the New Zealand tour in June, along with Tommy Seymour. There are no forwards from Scotland but the hope is that there will still be opportunities for some Scottish players to still make the trip when inevitable injuries on or before the tour will provide opportunities for other players unlucky to gain selection.
Scotland’s big defeat at Twickenham would probably have had an effect on selection, although Scotland’s mauling of Wales at BT Murrayfield hasn’t appeared to have spoilt the chances of the strong Welsh contingent who came off second best that day. Scots do not have any coaches on the team (Gregor Townsend turned down the chance as he, understandably wanted to lead Scotland on their own summer tour to play Italy, Fiji and Australia) but it has meant that the case of Scots players to be part of the Lions squad has not been able to be argued within that area of the Lions coaching infrastructure.
There were strong arguments from fans of Scottish Rugby for the inclusion of Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw, the Gray brothers, Hamish Watson, W P Nel (if fit) and others, and some may still get the chance, but with two Scotland reps in the party this is the lowest Scottish total in a touring party, even lower than the three selected four years ago.
So Scotland, ranked fifth in the world, will go on their summer tour with a very strong squad, and on a positive note, this will give new Head Coach Gregor Townsend a big advantage for his preparations leading into the 2018 6 Nations and the 2019 World Cup, to be able to work with a squad who will mostly be involved over the next two important years.