Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


British and Irish Lions Squad 2009 – Fewest Scots Ever*

I’ve been kind of excited all morning, so I shudder to think the pain the players have been going through waiting for this announcement.


Lee Byrne, Rob Kearney, Shane Williams, Leigh Halfpenny, Ugo Monye, Luke Fitzgerald, Tommy Bowe, Tom Shanklin, Jamie Roberts, Brian O’ Driscoll, Keith Earls, Rikki Flutey, Ronan O’ Gara, Stephen Jones, Mike Philips, Harry Ellis, Tomas O Leary


Jamie Heaslip, Andy Powell, David Wallace, Stephen Ferris, Alan Quinlan, Joe Worsley, Martyn Williams, Alun Wyn Jones, Paul O’Connell (c), Donnacha O’Callaghan, Simon Shaw, Nathan Hines, Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, Andrew Sheridan, Phil Vickery, Euan Murray, Jerry Flannery, Lee Mears, Matthew Rees

Yup, that’s two. Okay I’m slightly less excited now. Well done to the (mostly) non-scots in the squad, and of course we’ll be keeping up to date as the preparations and tour progress. Looks like we all get to join the Munster red army…

14 Irish
13 Welsh
8 English (there are also 8 Munstermen in the squad)
2 Scots (there are also 2 antipodeans in the squad)

37 total

UPDATE: Few big names missing: Ryan Jones, Tom Croft, James Hook, Mark Cueto, , Dennis Leamy, Mike Blair (nobody really thought Borthwick would go did they?). Do any Scots deserve to be in there ahead of the guys they have though, really? Ross Ford is unlucky I think to lose out to Rees. Powell had a storming autumn but went badly off the boil in the 6 Nations yet he’s on the tour (and probably wouldn’t be replaced by a Scot anyway). If he finds his autumn form it would be hard to argue against him doing some damage in SA though. There are surely better scrum halves than Harry Ellis too (*cough* Cusiter, Blair, Peel *cough*), he’s not even first choice for his club.

Overall it’s an interesting selection and one or two surprises, but if I’m honest there are not that many grounds for complaint really and it looks a pretty strong squad apart from the half backs, with a nice balance.

Maybe if Hadden had been picking on merit early in the season we’d have had a bigger representation. Without wishing injury on anyone, 8 Munster men and 6 Cardiff men still involved in Heineken Cup action before the tour departs, not to mention the 1 Leicester and 4 Leinster boys. It’s basically a whole rugby team plus subs getting through 2 test-level instensity matches un-injured? There may yet be a chance for the odd Scot to have a say in the tour later on.

* DOUBLE UPDATE: it turns out it’s not the lowest “ever”, we had just one representative in 1930. Ireland were the last with 2 in 1993. That makes it 3, 3, and 2 for Scotland over the last few tours (not counting call ups). Not terribly inspiring is it?

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13 Responses

  1. I have destroyed the evidence of my mistake ;)

    Pity Sergio Parisse doesn’t have a Scottish granny he’d have gone for sure.

  2. Mebbe they should check if his Italian ancestors are from Barga, there’s a chance if they come from there they might have some connection to Scotland…

  3. My starting XV:

    Lee Byrne (WAL) Fullback
    Leigh Halfpenny (WAL) Wing
    Luke Fitzgerald (IRE) Wing
    Riki Flutey (ENG) Centre
    Brian O’Driscoll (IRE) Centre
    Ronan O’Gara (IRE) Fly half
    Mike Phillips (WAL) Scrum half
    David Wallace (IRE) Back row
    Martyn Williams (WAL) Back row
    Stephen Ferris (IRE) Back row
    Alun Wyn Jones (WAL) Second row
    Paul O’Connell (IRE) Second row
    Andrew Sheridan (ENG) Front row
    Lee Mears (ENG) Front row
    Jerry Flannery (IRE) Front row

    You can pick your own starting XV at

  4. Deep-fried Mars Barga?

    Interesting team Rob, you have picked two hookers though, which I guess doesn’t matter for a fantasy team but would cause problems in the first test…

    I’d pick Byrne, Halfpenny, O’Driscoll, Shanklin, Bowe, ROG, Philips, Heaslip, Williams, Wallace, O Connell, Hines, Murray, Mears, Jenkins with little Shane on the bench for a bit of dancing feet magic.

  5. So after the first dozen or so years of the professional era we hit our lowest ebb in terms of Lions representation. I’m sure there’s a message for the SRU in there…

  6. You don’t serioulsy think the SRU will actually get the message do you? Do things on the cheap seems to be the mantra!

    I do think some players have been unlucky (Ross Ford for one) but it was never likely that we were going to have more than a handful.

    How Harry Ellis get’s to go on a Lions tour I’ll never understand – I can only presume he makes a good cup of tea and is going to carry the half time oranges…

  7. Maybe not, but these things still need to be said!

    Ross Ford can certainly feel hard done to, but Mike Blair blew his chances in the 6N and Chris Paterson, if picked, would arguably only have been there on the strength of his penalty kicking. (I know some people who would want me burned at the stake as a heretic for saying that, but there it is!) Chris Cusiter is part of a winning team at Perp as noted on here and can also consider himself unlucky especially with Hines being selected.

    Longer term, there’s only one way we’re going to get more players in the Lions squad. The comeback starts here!

  8. Huzzah! Here’s hoping. Although it has been reported that Ford and Cusiter were only cut from the final list on Monday, so it really was that close between a summer trip to South Africa and a trip to Magalluf / Tenerife / umm Romania.

    Also be careful with the Mossy comments (true though they may be), Giorgia may be listening… ;)

  9. The scots donthave a good enough side to have any more players in the team but i think Blair and paterson not being in is a mistake.

    my strting xv

    15 Byrne
    14 Halfpenny
    13 B O’Driscoll
    12 Roberts
    11 Bowe
    10 O’Gara
    9 Phillips
    8 Heaslip
    7 Williams
    6 Wallace
    5 A W Jones
    4 O’Connel
    3 Murray
    2 Flannery
    1 Jenkins
    Bench: Mears, A Jones, Hines, Powell, Ellis, S Jones, Williams

    Im welsh and all but i think the coaches are right to have left ryan jones out.

  10. My Starting XV:
    15.Lee Byrne(WELSH)
    5.O’connel (CAPTAIN,IRISH)
    4.A W Jones(WELSH)
    2.Flannery(IRISH) (INJURED THO)

    Leave comments on what you think of my team ;)

  11. Much like rob above, you seem to have picked two hookers (or a chocolate bar), one of whom is injured. Interesting choice of a second 10 at 12 – didn’t really work for SCW though did it? Still, at least you are not advertising anything.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion