Scottish Rugby Blog

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Yup, that many Scots

Warren Gatland - pic courtesy InPhoto/Lions Rugby

Warren Gatland made the gloom real today with the announcement of the 2017 British and Irish Lions team to tour New Zealand.

Without further ado:

Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour. That’s your lot. Less than in 2013 and the same amount as in 2009. Injuries, bans etc may yet play their part but that remains to be seen. That he increased the numbers to 41 and still only includes 2 Scots rankles, as does the inclusion of 12 Welsh, including 6 backs in the worst back division with the worst attack coach of the Home nations.

Here’s the full squad:

Backs: Dan Biggar, Eliot Daly, Jonathan Davies, Owen Farrell, Leigh Halfpenny, Robbie Henshaw, Stuart Hogg, Jonathan Joseph, Connor Murray, George North, Jack Nowell, Jared Payne, Jonathan Sexton, Tommy Seymour, Ben Te’o, Anthony Watson, Rhys Webb, Liam Williams, Ben Youngs.

Forwards: Rory Best, Dan Cole, Talupe Faletau, Taidgh Furlong, Jamie George, Iain Henderson, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones, George Kruis, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Jack McGrath, Ross Moriarty, Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony, Ken Owens, Kyle Sinckler, CJ Stander, Justin Tipuric, Mako Vunipola, Billy Vunipola, Sam Warburton (captain).

Congratulations to all selected.

The only way to get more representation is to get better, they said. If you want something hilarious to chew on, read this Gatland quote from the Scotsman:

“I’m a great believer in the idea that we should want Scotland doing well, because we should want them to be represented in the Lions,” said Gatland in early March. “Sometimes, the team who win the Six Nations can have 17 or 18 in the squad of 38 or 40. The team finishing lowest, you still want six or eight coming in, because then we all feel part of it.”

The team finishing lowest? That’s Wales, his team. What he hasn’t said, is that warm fuzzy inclusiveness comes at the expense of the team who finished above the team who finished lowest, who get just 2 representatives. But you can’t, I suppose, say he didn’t warn us there.

Then, of course, there’s the “voice on the panel” debate. Is this a slap in the face to the SRU for not having urged a coach on board? If it is, it’s a pretty crappy way to dash the hopes of a number of young players who may not get another chance to tour New Zealand – and not with the Lions – in their careers. So far it seems the coaches made their own choices, but it’s not totally clear.

Most likely, despite all the conspiracy theories, Warren Gatland believes that each 50/50 call came down on the side of the player who he thinks offers him the best chance of winning the series with the plan he has in mind.

That would be the only acceptable reason, but doesn’t make it easier to take, or indeed that his judgement on the character of our lads is correct – but that’s what he has to go on.

We’ll have a podcast with full reaction coming soon.

157 Responses

  1. If it came down to 50/50 calls, how on earth did he manage to pick FOUR Welsh back-rows and not the man who almost singlehandedly beasted the lot of them in the second half at BTM in February? But at least he didn’t pick Roberts, eh!?

    1. V dissappointed with the squad. You cant blame the players, they have just been picked by the coaches. Although i echo the point about 4 Welsh back rowers seeming bizzare.

      He’s picked a very Gatlandesque squad with lots of big guys in the backs.

  2. 16 English, 12 Welsh, 11 Irish and 2 Scots.
    Good luck to the All Blacks I say.

  3. Not surprised by the squad, but too disappointed to comment fully at the moment, but Henderson over Richie Gray? Moriarty over Watson? A joke!

    I’ll still support the Lions but fully expect them to a) lose more than they win, and b) to start Halfpenny at FB.

    1. Stats: Richie Gray has started 56 of his 65 appearances for Scotland, Jonny Gray 29 of his 33. Of Henderson’s 32 caps for Ireland, almost half have come off the bench.

      1. Lineout and tackle stats would also be interesting… Reckon young Gray would win out there too…

  4. Well it’s as bad as expected. As soon as Biggar’s name was announced you knew it was over for Russell and Tipuric put paid to Watson. I think Huw Jones would have been close if not injured and Taylor’s return is just a bit too late to oust the Te’o.

  5. Pathetic really but not surprising.

    Going by Gatlands logic and cronyism, Hogg and Seymour will be mid-weekers and I hope they do well……but the Lions as a concept is dead. I’m quite looking forward to the test team getting royally pumped.

    1. Amen to that. I thinks it’s disappointing but it’s always the same with him and Wales…all power with no punch. Even the Welsh are sick of it!

  6. After the reports/predictions of the last couple of days, I’m annoyed that I feel slight relief that it wasn’t just Hogg, but it’s still astonishing that only two players made it in a squad of 41. And, of course, if there’s a 2nd row injury, it’ll surely be Launchbury who’s called up, not one of the Grays.

    The news outlets/journalists that printed what turned out to be ‘fake news’ should be ashamed of themselves. Much as I didn’t want Roberts to go, his phone must have been buzzing endlessly with people telling him he’d been selected. Then he’ll see all sorts of people angry at his selection (hopefully he stayed away from the internet), before finally finding out he was never selected. That’s just crappy whichever way you look at it. Same for Joseph who was selected.

  7. To me it’s clearly picked on who the coaches know rather than on current form. Scotland are a far better team than in 2013 so on that alone should have had more representation not less. Wales should have had far less representation not nearly as many as England.

  8. Load of rubbish. The inclusion of 12 Welshman from that shower of rubbish in the Six Nations rankles, especially the histrionic rodent Biggar. Hogg and Seymour will end up in the midweek team, Gatland will make noises about fair selection and then pick Halfpenny at 15 anyway. I won’t be supporting New Zealand as some are but can understand why so many Scots feel no connection with the Lions. I’m 23 and have never felt invested in it due to the lack of Scots players. The sanctimonious “you aren’t a true fan if you complain about how many players from your country got picked” twaddle almost invariably comes from the Welsh who seem to get a free pass in the team.

    Roll on the Scotland tour this summer, we should have a strong team despite some of the injuries. Let’s go for three wins

  9. So, we beat Ireland and Wales in the 6N (basically a trial for the Lions)….but we get 2 players in and they get 11 and 12 respectively!

  10. 3 from 37 last time out when we were also rans, and 2 from 41 this time out. No excuses for that. Pathetic from the selectors.

  11. Well we can’t say that we’re surprised can we.

    I just hope he actually selects Hogg and Seymour for some of the tests.

    Warburton, now I like Sam Warburton but Stander is a better 6, Tipuric (and Watson for that matter) is a better 7, where is he going to play? I have always said the captain needs to be an absolute nailed on starter, Warburton much like Laidlaw for us, isn’t.

    Biggar getting picked is a farce, i’m just glad Roberts wasn’t.

    1. Biggar’s selection makes a lie of the notion of picking players on form – he’s been rubbish since the RWC.

      I know it’s been done to death but on form Hogg should be first on the team sheet – he won’t start a test.

      I love watching rugby, I am a passionate supporter, but I have started to hate the concept of the Lions. It’s supposed to be a bringing together of 4 unions, instead it’s an exercise in mutual appreciation between 3 with 1 left out in the cold. No self-respecting rugby person can say it’s fair to have 6 times as many Welsh players than Scots in the squad based on form.

  12. Back to important issues, can someone hurry up and announce 6 Nations fixtures for 2018 and 2019 so I can start making plans? If the English fans down here are focused on the Lions they won’t be booking all the cheap flights to Edinburgh!

  13. Simply appalling bias in favour of Wales players at the expense of better players from the other three countries. How on earth can any selection panel justify taking 12 from the 6N’s fifth placed team – six times the number of Scots players, whose team smashed them at Murrayfield? That’s about all I can say for now, I’m so angry – and not just about the insulting under-representation of our players.

  14. DAN BIGGAR!?!..He would never have got within a million miles of making the lions squad had it been picked by any other coach. And I’m sure no one will be more aware of this than Biggar himself.

    2 from 41. What a truly deflating outcome.

  15. Basically all the paranoid headbangers who said Gatland would just stuff the team with his mates and was indelibly biased against Scotland were…correct all along.

    For me the Lions is a dead concept. I will not watch any of the games and in truth, hope they receive three humiliating test losses.

  16. The tour that didn’t tour, tour….

    Players excluded – I actually genuinely think could beat the team travelling (notice Roberts doesn’t even get in this !)

    R. Gray
    J. Gray
    S. Davies

  17. As soon as Gatland was appointed I did fear we would lose out on places. I wouldn’t have too big a problem if those selected ahead of our guys (and others) were on form and deserving, but Halfpenny, Biggar, Payne, Henderson, Kruis, too name but five, ahead of the likes of Launchbury, Greys, Maitland, Alex Goode (or even Brown) and Finn is just staggering.

  18. Totally support what FF has said and been saying. We should all now support NZ, no excuses needed to look at it any other way.

  19. Not really bothered who was picked myself. I know the Lions has a big tradition but you only need to look at the schedule of games to see what the Kiwis think of it, they care even less than me. With all the internationals we have these days the Lions is on the way down. I’m interested in Scotland’s tour a lot more than the Lions.

  20. Had hoped for 4-5 Scots but thought it would be 3-4; 2 out of an expanded squad is a real kick in the teeth.
    Funny how bad English, welsh and Irish performances are ‘forgiven’ and scot’s poor performances (England game) are evidence that we’ve not got it when the going gets tough.
    6 welsh backs is really pathetic, the biggest complaint in Wales is their inability to score tries or even make chances. Even the welsh want shot of Biggar!
    I’ll be ordering my AB shirt and hope the Lions get pumped.

    1. Not quite ordering the ABs shirt just yet, but look at who the Lions attack coach is – to me that says it all. Can you imagine the Barrett Boys in June?! They’ll be dizzy from running rings around the Lions backs.
      Feeling deflated now, rather than angry or disappointed. We knew it was coming, just until it was in black and white I wasn’t quite prepared to believe it.
      If nothing else, the Scotland summer tour will produce exciting rugby (and hopefully 3/3 wins), and Toony will get a chance to tinker with combinations ahead of the Autumn.

    2. If the argument is that the system failed the backline players and that the players are great – then why is the attack coach Rob Howley??? remember even though Toony/ SRU said no, they were doing so for a job underneath Howley !!!!!

  21. I wonder what the SRU will make of this?

    The B&I Lions creates real interest in rugby union. From what I understand, Scottish interest in the Lions is now minimal as a result of this bias squad selection. This has huge implications on the promotion of rugby union in Scotland. The SRU work so hard to promote the game and we’re clearly put at a disadvantage by this lack of professionalism in selection.

    Will the SRU just roll over and accept this, or will they confront this issue? If the latter what influence can they have?

    1. They can make noises, but besides that their only options are nuclear so they won’t be doing anything.

      A sad day.

      1. Now this is getting into sensationally bitter territory now, but WHAT IF the SRU were to retract their involvement in the Lions to some degree.


        Seymour and Hogg were to reject their call up on the basis that so many of their compatriots have been biasly overlooked, and they’d rather concentrate on being part of an exciting Scottish summer tour.

        I know I know – these things won’t happen but it might turn some heads in the Lions establishment.

      2. The SRU may well have to suck this up, but what would be nice to see would be professional rugby union journalists holding Gatland and co to account for the reasons behind this grossly unbalanced selection. For instance, publicly reminding Gatland of some of things he said during the 6N about the need for balance of representation between nations in the tour party and then asking him to reconcile that with how this tour party has been made up.
        Obviously, no one would expect him to discuss specific individuals too much if at all on record. But he should be challenged on the record. I missed the q and a after the live selection announcement as I was in shock at the time, but I’m hoping he and his team fielded some searching questions.
        If this was an All Black party being selected for a NH tour containing so many dubious choices, the New Zealand public and media would not stand for it and would hound those responsible.

    2. I’d suggest the SRU advise Hoggy and Seymour to politely decline the invitation to tour with the Lions and go with Toony on the Scotland tour instead. Also, make sure none of the potential reserves is available for selection for the Lions. Easy for me to say, but a stand could be made as this really is a kick in the teeth for Scottish Rugby.

      1. I think I agree. Hogg and Seymour shouldn’t go and no reserves available and let’s see where that leaves Gatland and the Lions selection. Should have done the same with the GB7s selection. If we do nothing now it will just happen again. Suggest we just worry about Scotland not the GB or the Lions where we are third class citizens always

    3. Hogg and Seymour would never stand down from the tour and nor should we ever expect them to. They’re professional sportsmen with a short time at the top in which they need to maximise their earnings and profiles.

      Apart form the honour, this tour grosses each participant minimum £70K in match fees, and if they’re part of a winning tour team it will help their post playing careers.

      The SRU won’t do anything nuclear such as decline to support future tours either. It would be the end of the Lions and the bitterness and ill will emanating from other Unions (not only home unions,t also those of SA, AU and NZ) as a result wouldn’t do us any favours. It would not surprise me if there is some legal commitment to the Lions also. I don’t know, but I’d be amazed if there isn’t a contract somewhere saying they get first call on available players.

  22. Couldn’t support the Lions here (SA) in 97 and wont be supporting them this year. England in disguise for me, with some red tinted Welsh.

  23. To be honest I would love it if Hogg and Seymour boycotted the tour and went with Townsend to Auz, and i’m not even a nationalist!!

    This representation stinks!

    1. Not gonna happen and nor should anyone expect it to.
      First there’s the honour of beg a Lion, 2nd there’s te reality of loss match fees and profile.
      These are professional sportsmen with a short time to make hay while the sun shines.

  24. Is this what we expected? Yes
    Is the selection disappointing? Yes, even though it was expected.

    I think the following are very luck to be included:

    Biggar, Davies, Halfpenny, Henderson, Payne, Wyn Jones, Moriarty, Teo, Tipuric

    O’Brien to an extent based on current form.

    Centres are not as strong as we think across the 6 nations in my opinion, but Teo and Davies are in no way stronger than Dunbar, Ringrose etc. and should not be included. 90% of Davies play is running three steps and kicking a grubber. We’ll never score against NZ if he’s involved. How many international minutes has Teo played? 80 if he’s lucky.

    Four Welsh back rows is a travesty, but probably less so than 6 backs!!! SIX!

    Moriarty is in based on 50 mins against England. He was anonymous against the Scottish back row. Watson must be fuming and if Moriarty gets in Ryan Wilson should have been in the mix with how he outplayed the whole Welsh back row at Murrayfield. He’s been consistently excellent this season.

    Locks are a shambles as well. Richie Gray should be on that tour with Launchberry.

    I can’t stand Dan Biggar as a rugby player. He cheats and whines and is a poor stand off who can’t get his back line moving. He looks like he’s running through treacle as well. No zip no threat; nothing player. Finn brings so much more to the table. I don’t see a plan B for this Lions team without some flair players in there. Finn is that man.

    All the best to Hogg and Seymour who have played consistently well over the past few seasons and very much deserve to be there as individuals and as a combination which is very much in tune with each other. Unfortunately it will be a 3 nil reverse.

    1. I absolutely do not see the point in taking Biggar from a strategy point of view other than to play when Sexton and Farrell both need a rest. Offers nothing either of them do and will just tell his captain to kick for the corner when the posts is the right decision etc.

      As you say Andy, at least Finn offers a different type of option and a plan B off the bench. By all means call up Biggar if Sexton or Farrell get injured but there is zero point in him being there otherwise.

  25. There are so many contradictions with this squads make-up and clearly players picked who DO NOT deserve it who with the exception of the vastly underwhelming Jared Payne (Waikato born no less !) – are Welsh !!!!!

    Moriarty was not better than Strauss (despite one good 60 mins against England) – who in turn was better than Faletau (injury no excuse been back long enough). Biggar is not even the best fly-half for his region let alone Lions worthy – Ford and Russell must be scratching their heads.
    Warburton, was good against Scotland in the 1st half then got ripped by Watson and Barclay in the 2nd half… Haskell and Watson are more worthy travelers (let alone the fact he is captain and will start the tests !!!) based on intl and club form for at least a year – id even argue for both of them ahead of SOB as well !

    Halfpenny being picked tells me that he will be the starting fullback come test time – Hogg is too much of a loose canon (talent) and will not prescribe to the paint by numbers approach Gatland oversees/micro manages. Not a single Scot to play a minute of the tests.

    My other guess is that Sexton wont start at 10 either

  26. I think the Scottish representation will increase by the start of the tour to 3-4 players due to injuries. I’m Irish but I agree the Scottish players have to feel hard done by. I think Gatland has gone for players he knows best and he has ignored form. That’s rubbish.

    For the Lions concept to work there has be more evenly distributed representation – that doesn’t mean having quotas but it does mean that 50/50 calls have to take into account the bigger picture of promoting the game in all 4 countries.

  27. Mr Magoo could have picked a better squad! All I have seen since the squad was announced is nearly every fan from the 4 nations and some ex players wonder why there are only 2 Scots. Forget Launchbury, Hartley, Haskell, Grays, Watson etc. This will be Gatland’s last tour as coach and I suspect he has made a strong case for including so many ‘has been’s’ from the last tour, because they won in Australia. But as everyone knows, this is not a form squad and the only winners here will be the NZ team and fans. A very sad day for Northern Hemisphere rugby and a black day for Scottish rugby in general.

  28. Their is so much i want to say and im not sure how to put it across … ill just use two words which i think we can all agree on , Screw Gatland.

  29. O’Driscoll on BT Sport making a sly dig about Nel not being Scottish (see CJ Stander) and saying that full back is the most open position in the back three. Essentially he thinks Hogg is less sure of his place in the test team than North.

    Hoggy & Tommy please get yourself to Australia!

    1. Er Jared Payne is also a kiwi. I think FB is open – the only outstanding candidate who is probably in the top 3 FBs in the world with Smith and Folau, is Scottish. He’ll probably not get a test cap.

    2. Let’s not forget Teo and Mako both born in NZ, Billy in Aus. Faletau in Tonga. Seymour in US. That doesn’t matter in rugby any more.

      I don’t really care about any of that, except for maybe Te’o, who clearly has no allegiance as he has PLAYED INTERNATIONAL RUGBY FOR ANOTHER COUNTRY, albeit in league, as well as basically trying to qualify for anyone who will take him.

  30. Watson unlucky to miss out as he’s been a standout performer for an abysmal Edinburgh as well as for Scotland. Not sure what else he could have done! Like others, I’m amazed by 6 (!) backs from Wales when they scored so few tries in the Six Nations. Still, it should make our tour that much better and provide Townsend with a proper squad to smash Australia in Sydney!

  31. Since Woodward used the lions to further his own self interest and reward his ‘has been’ friends the lions has been a joke at the expense primarily of Scottish rugby. Improve and you’ll get more players selected they said. We improved and now the result….less selected. Beat Ireland and beat Wales and you’ll show your good enough they said. We beat them both and the result…less selected! We won’t hear a word of complaint or query from any journos based in London about this as they hold the same opinion of Scots rugby as fattie clearly does. They bleat on patronisingly saying they want a strong Scotland but deep down they really don’t. What they want is a whipping boy who knows his place and accepts losing to England and Wales as the natural order. If we win, it’s a fluke or we cheated or they were unlucky. Take your pick on what excuse they will use to continually beat down scots rugby. We could win a grand slam and get nothing but derision from outside Scotland.
    Gregor being asked to be Howleys assistant coach was calculated to ensure he declined. Ditto with O’Halloran. I genuinely hope Hogg and Seymour enjoy their tour and come back better players but I really do want the ABs to smash seven bells out of this insult of a squad.
    The icing on the cake would be Scotland beating Aussie.

  32. Disappointed as we all are, save some of your anger for the lack of Scots in the Test team. I’ve a feeling neither Hogg nor Seymour will even make the squad. Instead they’ll be stood twiddling their thumbs outside of Dan Biggar in the dirt-trackers. What a waste.

    And as for those suggesting that players or the SRU boycott the tour – ain’t going to happen. First – it is an incredible honour for the players, second it makes a large sum of money for the SRU. And when you think the monies are divided equally between the 4 home nations, but we are only risking 2 players to injury then it’s actually a reasonable investment.

    Biggar though…….

    Anyway, looking forward to the Scotland tour. Should be good with an almost full strength squad to choose from.

  33. I’m not surprised or angry. I simply don’t care a bout the Lions. Haven’t for some time.

    While the numbers do look stacked against Scotland, I’m not sure where I’d be able to make a clear case for the inclusion of a Scot vs the one chosen from any of the other 3 nations. Yes, the Gray’s were excellent but the locks that made it are all excellent bar AWJ who goes because he’s a crafty old war horse. Yes, Watson was excellent but all the back rows are at the same level apart from, you’d maybe argue, the Welsh pair who get there simply because they’ve been excellent for about a decade, rather than 12 months. Harsh on Hamish as it is, they can’t expect to pick entirely on form.

    Simple fact is, Scotland are coming back from a long way behind and as such our players don’t have any pedigree, merely their current form and I get the feeling that the old adage about form being temporary and class being permanent carries a lot of weight with a coach like Gatland who hasn’t looked interested in changing personnel or tactics for his Welsh team in the entirety of his tenure.

    The positive is that the Scottish squad gets a tour together with their new coach and can get a jump on the other nations (bar France of course) for next years 6 Nations.

    Given that I’ve never really been that bothered by the Lions, I’m ok with that.

    1. How can current form become a ‘merely’ factor in tour selection?
      On current form, and ignoring reference to Scots or any other alternatives, Biggar, Halfpenny, Davies, Wynn Jones and Moriarty should not have been picked. And Kruis doesn’t have any current form at all because of injury. So there are six questionable picks for starters. There are others on form who should be ahead of them.
      Great chunks of this selection reek of cronyism, of blindly faithful attachment to the familiar, and of hopes vested in one or two chaps ‘coming good’ on tour.
      I’ve followed the Lions ever since I was a young boy back in 1971 but, for the first time in my life as a consequence of this scandalous selection, I’m seriously considering taking your position of not caring about them.

  34. How about the following team to play Australia et al during the summer?
    Du Preez
    Others to tour
    Horne P

    To tour if close to fitness
    Nel and Hardie bring knowledge and experience to the squad, keen also on maybe two or three Under 20s including Graham and Fagerson
    junior to learn from the experience.

    This type of selection would warm my heart and get me in front of the tv however the Lions will probably gain an unhealthy amount of coverage and dominate everything. What do others think?

    1. We’ll have a summer tour post up later in the week for a look at that sort of thing if you guys could wait until then for squad type chat (your posts will be moved there)

  35. What an absolute nonsense!

    16 players from the team that spanked us at Twickenham fair enough can’t really argue with that!

    Well except Dan Cole.

    and Ben Youngs

    11 players from the team that last beat the all blacks, again no arguments.

    Except Payne.

    And Henderson.

    12 from the team that got dicked 3-0 by ABs last summer (That’s the “experience” they’re talking about) Dicked again by Australia in the Autumn and Dicked again by us in 6N. Scored the least amount of tries of the home nations in 6N and have been generally poor in last 2 years.

    Then us. 2 outstanding players that thoroughly deserve their place in the test starting 15. But only 2 in an extended 41 man squad. It’s a disgrace an out an out disgrace.

  36. Just discussing with a mate of mine from another home nation who basically said that Scotland are unproven. I hope Townsend and the rest of the coaches use this to motivate the players in the summer, autumn and in next year’s 6N. The only answer is to regularly beat Wales and Ireland (and hopefully England!). What more motivation can there be to go to Cardiff (more likely) or Dublin (tough) and turnover a team of lions “superstars”.

  37. In the other story I put down my Lions team and it contained 9 English, 9 Irish, 9 Scots and 10 Welsh but caveated that realistically I expected 3 or 4, turns out I was being hopelessly optimistic

  38. Hugely disappointed with only 2 Scots, but I WILL be watching the Lions matches – because I’m a rugby fan. And I’m also pretty sure most of those who say they won’t be watching the Lions matches will be as well!

  39. I had little belief that Gatland would make fair team selections based on ‘form’ players before the announcement….2 Scotland players…12 Welsh … what a joke!

    Too many poor selection preferences to go over one by one….

    For me, the look on Gatlands face at the end of the Scotland v Wales match said it all. He looked furious, bitter and embarrassed rolled into one. Had Scotland won the 6 nations he would have probably selected 5 max.

    NZ will take that team apart. I won’t be supporting Lions especially since Hogg and Seymour’s on field time will be carrying drinks to the 1st team….and midweek cannon fodder.

    Looking forward to summer tour with GT… actually this might help Scotland team development hugely. I hope any players from the Scotland team tell Gatland where to go if he calls them up due to injuries.

  40. Intresting question, who would you pick win between

    Marler,Owens, Sinckler, Henderson, Lawes, O’Mahoney, O’Brien, Moriaty, Youngs, Biggar, Halfpenny, Teo, Davies, Nowell, Payne

    Dickinson, Brown, Nel, Gray, Gray, Denton, Watson, Strauss, Price, Russell, Visser, Dunbar, Jones, Taylor, Maitland

    I know who I’d put my money on.

    1. It would be a very tight game and home advantage would probably determine winner. I wouldn’t put money on it, it would be that close!

  41. Gatland wouldn’t have liked 1.the way Scotland play, 2. Vern Cotter, 3.the “No” from GT & JoH.
    Biggar, Davies, Halpenny, Moriarty, Howley – unadulterated nepotism. Wales have been poor (on the whole) for 2 years. Biggar – Everyone in Wales wanted Sam Davies @ 10, Davies is/was i fine player but his highlight of the 6N was “that” kick, Halfpenny is a great kicker but has lost his attacking edge, Moriarty – how many “bashers” does Gatland want??, Howley is embarrassing – no points in 2nd halfs v England & Scotland, thrashed in NZ in the summer, thumped by Australia in the Autumn, Plan A – bash…………..that’s it. Perfectly reflected @ Murrayfield this year, when the “bash” failed they were utterly clueless & Scotland put them to the sword.
    I will watch the games but as (pretty much) a neutral……….(2nd test in Cardiff)

  42. People have to bear in mind that it would’ve been 4/6 if Nel, Jones, Taylor and DIckenson had not been injured, so I don’t think it’s a big issue.

    The only real issue is the oversupply of out of form Welsh players instead of English or Irish ones.

  43. It’s not the Scottish representation which gets me. There are no other players who feel like they were definitely robbed, just marginal calls not going our way. And, as many have said, Joe Launchbury is the biggest “wtf” exclusion.

    But there’s no doubt the inclusion of 12 Welsh players rankles. That team has been coasting on past glories and the wheels have come off last six nations. Choosing so many is illogical and smacks of cronyism.

    Mind you, the last Lions Coach who went to NZ and picked on reputation rather than form because he knew the players didn’t do too badly, did he?




    Sadly, the spectre of Woodward’s disasterous 2005 tour (& their eventual fate) looms large. And *that* will do far more damage to the Lions’ ideal than picking 2 Scotsmen will.

    1. After calming down, I can see the sense in picking bigger over Ford and Russell. The former can’t tackle and would be too much of a risk defensively and the latter can sometimes collapse mentally. Whilst more limited, Biggar rarely makes mistakes and is a big game player. He was outstanding in the World Cup and the England game (I didn’t see Ireland game but assume he played well given the score?)

      Still, with Payne selected 1/2penny should not be going, he’s probably the only one I have an issue with in retrospect.

      Moriarty was outstanding against the AB’s and England, so we know he won’t buckle under the pressure. I don’t think our boys are mentally there yet. They need another year or two.

      1. Biggar was intercepted three times in one half against Ireland. He was crap all season, he plays miles behind the gainline and can’t lead an attack. I think the Suoer teams will be able to handle is garryowen and hope, his selection is one of the biggest scandals as he was probably the poorest FH outside of Italy in the 6N. I’d have picked Paddy Jackson ahead of him (or Joey Carberry for that matter).

      2. Ah, Jamie, I see what has happened. You been taken in by the arm waving antics of Biggar such that you think nothing can be his fault.

        Biggar is possibly only the 3rd best 10 in Wales these days and he offers nothing if you need a player to come on and chase a game.

        Also, if Moriarty gets in for being outstanding in two games, why not Watson who has been outstanding all season, for Scotland and in a poor Edinburgh team. Why is he not “mentally there yet” and in need of a few more seasons? Especially as neither Tipuric nor Warburton have had the best of seasons.

      3. Actually Carlo Canna of Italy is a great player, better than Biggar imo. He is very similar to Russell in the way he plays.

    2. Spot on. Woodward picked all of his ‘past their sell by’ world cup winners and they were truly ‘mullahed’. Same thing here.

  44. If the Italians were eligible Fatland would have selected more than two. #DanBiggeristurbowan*

  45. I can understand a lot of the Scots who have missed out.

    Both Grays had a strong case for example and Henderson and AWJ are both poor choices but I don’t think we can be any more annoyed the English are about Launchbury missing out.

    Fraser Brown? He’s had a great season, no doubt. But there are still some major question marks against the lad. Firstly his scrummaging and secondly the far too common rushes of blood to the head that lead to cards and penalties at key times.

    Finn Russell? As outstanding as he can be, he can also crumble when under pressure as well. Were the tour next year then I think he’d have been a certainty as hopefully maturity will phase out the shocking mistakes and occasional crumbling that have blighted his game this season. Were you to start him against NZ thrice, he might well win you one game and blow you another by himself. In a series as tight as this could be would you risk which Russell turns up for the third game?

    Greg Laidlaw? He does a certain job but in all honesty half of us prefer Price now.

    However there a couple of truelly baffling inclusions that do make me annoyed.

    Jared Payne? FFS, come on now son. Yeah he’s an alright player but does he provide the rock solid defence (England aside), ferocious jackeling and solid carrying of Alex Dunbar? Or the all round brilliance of Duncan Taylor?

    Ross Moriarty? I can understand picking the other three Welsh backrows even if it’s on reputation but for gods sake man what more does Hamish Watson have to do?

  46. It just speaks to Gatland as a man. Last time out, for the sake of rugby, he should have picked BOD to start. Doesn’t matter that they won that was wrong. This time out picking 2 Scots from 40 odd, is even more wrong. I’d love Hogg to turn it down – Seymour can go as probably his last chance – but that decision alone would send ripples, as he’s the first name on almost every fan’s team sheet.

  47. I have a passing interest in the Lions now, mainly to support Hogg and Seymour. Huw Jones and WP Nel im sure if fit would have toured. Which would make it 4. Dunbar and Brown were strong contenders but maybe the Saracens and England game went against them. For me Taylor instead of Davies. Russell instead of Biggar and Watson instead of Warburton who I think has been living off reputation for a while. May go against the grain but J Gray not going is the right call, Launchbury should be more aggrieved. Fact remains despite recent improvements respect for Scottish rugby is still low – the excuses trotted out for being beat by us being a case in point. Good luck to them (more so Hogg and Seymour) but my attention will be focused in the Scotland tour, the Lion’s will need it, beaten in all 3 tests, Maoris, Chiefs and Hurricanes I reckon. Could get messy.

    1. Aside from the ridiculous lack of Scotland players…. Launchbury not going is bizarre….best lock in the 6N by a fair margin.

  48. I cannot understand why so many Welshmen have been selected especially six backs. It does smack of cronyism from Gatland.

    Hopefully any anger some of the Scottish players feel about being ignored can be channelled positively by Gregor in Australia and in next season’s 6N. Perhaps this is one cloud that just might produce a silver lining.

  49. I’ve just listened to gavin hasting on 5 live. He is my rugby hero, but his toothless reaction to the lack of scots was unforgivable. Tom English was not much better. Anyone know where to get a cheep ab shirt.

    1. Hastings as a pundit only trots out the party line so he gets his next fat pay cheque!

      1. I heard it too on 5Live. It was disappointing to have to listen to Gavin’s dreary, pro-Lions establishment platitudes. Whatever happened to the player who wept for Scotland in the live post-Calcutta Cup match BBC interview in 1994?

  50. Well, that came as a shock to no one. Excellent article Rory, I particularly liked the turning Gatland’s quote back on him. If only some of the mainstream media had the bottle to do the same but none of them are going to risk not getting their junket to NZ.

    My thoughts on the squad are:
    I expect we’ll see Henderson/Itoje/Lawes playing 6 at some point to make for the biggest pack possible. That is Gatland’s style and is the reason the Launchbury hasn’t gone which I think is a travesty. AWJ is not the player he was. I don’t think J Gray should have gone as he looks in need of a rest not sent out to be broken for the Lions. Ritchie looked in good form so may yet feature but I expect he is behind Launchbury as reserve (if not some of Irish 2nd rows as well).

    I think Watson could have gone instead of one of Tipuric or Warburton but as soon as Gatland was named coach they were both going.

    I think Russell offers something different at 10 to those going and is a better player than Biggar but his occasional rashness has done for his chances. I personally still think he should have gone instead of Biggar who I don’t rate, particularly for his pleading to the ref antics.

    They are the only other two I would have liked to have seen go from Scotland although Maitland and the resurgent Visser may not have been far off. I hope North has worked on his defence after being embarrassed by Visser!

    I don’t think the games are going to be as one sided as everyone makes out. There is going to be a lot of talent on the pitch so I expect the games will be close. Although I’m not expecting them to be exciting from the Lions!

    Does anyone know if the Scotland tour matches are going to be televised?

  51. This is what I expected as soon as Gatland was confirmed as coach. He was always going to stick with the players he knows from Wales and the last tour. Scotland would have had to win the 6 Nations convincingly to get as many as 12 in. Gatland only has one game, which the AB’s will deal with easily, they will match power with even greater power. They, on the other hand are playing rugby the way it should be played and will be played, i.e. fast, open rugby, which will win them the series. In my opinion, Dunbar, Russell, J Gray and Watson should have been selected and Nel, Jones and Hardie could also have gone if fit.

  52. Even some welsh fans think Bigger isn’t even the best 10 at Ospreys. This outcome was entirely predictable (although annoying) as this squad is chosen to play Warrenball and Glasgow/Scotland do not play that way. I hope Toonie makes the most of the Singapore/Sydney/Suva trip.

  53. This selection effectively destroys the goodwill and spirit I have always had, as a Scot, for the concept of the Lions. I won’t be following it and I have no further interest in the conception. Never mind 2 of us – not taking Hartley as Captain is a ludicrous decision – he’s the most successful captain to take a team to the southern hemisphere in recent times.

  54. If Gatland was selecting the Davis Cup team I doubt Andy and Jamie Murray would have got in. Mon the All Blacks

  55. Interesting comments and I share the collective feeling of disappointment. I agree that Nel and Jones would probably have taken us to 4 at the expense of Sinckler and Payne but not much comfort. The one that really grates with me is Watson. I was at BTM and he single handedly turned the game for Scotland yet the 4 opposition back row get in! He’d do well in NZ with his speed to the breakdown, in the Donnie Macfadyen/Michael Hooper mould. Question is, do we even have any first reserves? Sadly can see Haskell, Launchbury, Care/G Davies, Ford, Zebo/Earls all first in line. Maybe Dunbar or Taylor covering centre?

    1. Wholeheartedly agree Callum, Watson is probably the one Scot who can really feel aggrieved, playing great rugby & offers somethings a bit different which the ABs might find hard to deal with. I guess we look at things a little bit through thistle-tinted glasses but Dicko, Nel & possibly Jones would have been likely choices if not injured. Maitland sound but not really a stand-out & Taylor hasn’t played international for a while so can understand he isn’t going. Both Grays again are solid performers without standing way above the other contenders and Joe Launchbury must be wondering if he has some lost Scottish relative that Gatland thinks discounts him, a shocking omission. I thought Laidlaw might make a good midweek captain but his lay-off has put paid to his chances. As you point out, don’t think many Scots are even in first reserve slots now which is incredible when you think of some of those picked (1/2p, Biggar, Moriarty, Tipuric – really??!!)
      Bit concerned that if Hoggy isn’t picked as starting 15 he won’t even make the test bench as unusual for a specialist FB to be a sub. More worryingly, given only 2 outright FHs, he could be used as a make-shift 10 for midweek as he was the last tour, that could be a real disaster.
      However, I’ll probably get swept up in the Lions jamboree when it happens as an excuse to avoid nasty household chores and hope that both Hoggy & Seymour have a chance to show what they can do & gain some valuable experience. Here’s hoping for a talented, considered & unbiased coach in 4 years time & the biggest Scottish Lion contingent ever!

  56. I’m a ‘Canes and All Blacks fan anyway, so not cheering for the Lions isn’t a difficulty for me. That said, I’d have found it hard to be wholeheartedly behind these Lions; some of them don’t deserve the gig, and, while some relentlessly establishment pundits wouldn’t agree, this kind of selection undermines the whole Lions ethos.
    The Blacks are – allegedly – in transition. So, as an example, Carter bows out, Barrett comes in. Guys such as Lienert-Brown and Ardie Savea look as though they’ve been ABs for years. Some transition!
    Again, I look at the list of Lions forwards, and have the strong suspicion that a couple of them, who got away with stuff in the 6N, will not manage to stay on the pitch for a whole game in NZ. We’ll see!

  57. Conor Murray looks to still be struggling with a neck injury and if he doesn’t play before the tour then he won’t go according to Gats. I’d like to see Price/Laidlaw called up in that eventuality but more than likely another misfiring Welshman will go. So biased

  58. I booked to go to NZ in the mistaken belief that I would be following the British and Irish Lions – not a Welsh/English/Irish select. Too much cash already spent to back out now so I guess that I will be there but with zero enthusiasm unless my mood lifts in the interim.
    I am also taking in Scotland’s test against Australia in Sydney on my travels. The upside is that we should more or less have a full squad available for that one now. Every cloud and all that….!

  59. Coming from an angle of niavety on this – can the constituent unions challenge the selection? There is no rational defence of this representation. I do think that an emphatic statement from the sru is required: something along the lines of: “given the relative performance and ranking of the constituent national teams and clubs, there is an incongruence in the representation of players, which wholly undermines the Lions concept.”

    1. A much better, simpler statement – “Warren Gatland is the coach and selection is primarily up to him. He will be judged on the level or otherwise of the Lions success.”

      I find it hard to see them winning a test and some of the other games are stinkers. At least Geech under SCW got the dirt-trackers home last time. I have no such confidence this time around.

  60. Gloom descended once Biggar’s name first out of the hat and Russell done for. Mr Whine surely not. Think Finn would flourish being there from the start. The Lions need all the X-Factor and vision they can muster at FH to crack the AB’s defence. Sexton is so key offensively,more than Farrell,and worry about his propensity for getting injured in the bearpit which is NZ.

    Awful stat heard on Sky that it’s the first time since 1908 that Scotland have not had a forward selected for the Lions. Am recalibrating my optimism as feel opportunities will open up for a few extra Scots with injuries likely.Russell and Watson front of queue call ups, one of the Grays and perhaps Laidlaw joining from our tour. Am looking avidly into the tea leaves.

    1. do we really want players coming in the way ryan grant did 4 years ago ? , he wasnt any good after that , was brilliant before.

    2. I’d be surprised if many Scots are first reserve. I don’t want to go through all this frustration every time there’s an injury, waiting to see if our guy will be called up. That was difficult in 2013, and would be much worse this time.

      But, realistically, let’s look at each position:

      PROP: Fagerson might get call, but Francis and Lee have also been talked up and Gatland knows them + John Ryan.
      2: Hartley will almost certainly go before Brown. Cronin and Hibbard have also been talked up recently.
      LOCK: Launchbury surely the next choice, and many saying Donnacha Ryan is really unlucky + Toner. Could be the Grays, but not sure that’s likely…
      6: No really obvious Scot unless he takes Barclay as a utility backrower. Tom Wood + Robshaw = experience and leadership
      7: Possibly our best chance with Watson, especially if either Warburton or Tipuric are injured, but given Gatland’s power game, would it be a surprise to see Haskell or even Robshaw or some of the Irish back-up players (e.g. van der Flier)?
      8: Heaslip, Nathan Hughes probably before Barclay/Wilson, due to Gatland’s power game + Lions experience for Heaslip
      9: Laidlaw (or possibly Price) have a chance if fit, but would it be a surprise to see Danny Care or Gareth Davies or Marmion to get called up?
      10: I think Ford would get in before Russell (not saying he should, but…) and that’s not mentioning Jackson.
      CENTRE: Taylor has a decent chance, especially with Premiership/Champions Cup games coming up, and possibly Dunbar, but Ringrose or Scott Williams could easily be selected.
      BACK 3: For the same reasons as Taylor, Maitland probably has a decent chance, and Visser an outside bet, but would it be a surprise to have Zebo, Earls, Jonny May, Wade, Yarde, Solomona, Brown instead?

      To temper our expectations for call-ups, the coaching team have made it 100% clear that they do not care about the number of each nation’s representatives. They will pick the players who fit their game plan. It is the same coach as 2013. We know how he thinks, for better or worse.

      Frankly, I can’t be bothered going through the emotional roller-coaster of hoping for Scottish call-ups. If they happen, well done to our lads who get selected. If not, good luck to the other players chosen. And if our boys don’t get called up, all the better for our summer tour.

  61. It is not just the lack of scots that bugs me about this, its the crappy styled warrenball, it’s boring and not what comes to mind when i think of lions , its just lost its culture, spirit … whatever you want to call it… genuinely might not take a big interest in the tour now . . .

  62. If Conor Murray is ruled out. I really rate Price, better player than Laidlaw already…strong little bastard in the tackle too, but I’d have no complaints if Wrigglesworth or the Irish or Welsh back-up is next taxi off the rank.

    Lock – Launchbury first call. I personally don’t think the Grays can grumble much and Richie the better of the 2 right now. AWJ is crap but the 4 English guys and Ryan would be my 5. The Grays need a bit more nastiness, aggression and to make a bigger impact. Stats don’t tell the whole story.

    Hamish Watson’s omission is a disgrace. Hardie, injuries have ruined his chances…he seems to be the forgotten man, made team of the 6 nations tournament in 2016 and was a cyborg for Edinburgh too. Outstanding player and I think without the injuries he would have made the squad even factoring in the anti-Scots bias.

    Hartley over Brown and Ford over Russell will be called-up next. It’s obvious Gatland wants steady players rather than Finn’s maverick and I think Dan Parks would’ve made this Lions squad had he not retired as he provides what Dan feckin Biggar does but with that touch of fleet of foot too.

    There could easily be 10 injury call-ups on this tour and wouldn’t surprise me if none are Scots. So I wouldn’t be getting your hopes up there. Anyway, this tour is an afterthought now and better to stop getting wound up by it, focus on our own tour to Oz and Fiji.

    I plan to travel for the match against Italy in Singapore and look forward to seeing a near full squad there. A chance to meet some of the players and thank them for their efforts in restoring pride back in the jersey. Getting up close to Allan Dell would be especially good.

  63. The key for Scottish rugby in response to this is that the players don’t let their heads go down over lack of recognition, but use the disappointment to put a fire in their bellies, work even harder, get even fitter, prove a point not just for a few months, but for the next 10 years.

    1. Totally agree Andrew and is why I think it’s especially important for the supporters to play a part in that, keep encouraging the players. Build a siege mentality. Am really hoping a new dawn at Edinburgh brings decent crowds back, filling Myreside every match should be the norm.

  64. Would be keen to know selection criteria. Was it tackles made; yards made; off loads; players beaten; pass completion during the Six Nations, and possibly the World Cup? Or was it. “He’s a good lad and knows the system.”

    1. Rowntree said it was primarily mental and physical toughness and that some players are tougher than others, either through experience or character or both. I.e. players who will not only not wilt under pressure, but actually step up when the pressure comes.

      1. What? Ireland’s excuse for their slow start at Murrayfield, which dashed their pretence to be grand slam contenders, was that their bus was late. Wales
        Mental toughness was so great that they got billed in the second half against Scotland with Leigh Halfpenny turning down a gimme kick he didn’t fancy because he’d missed one ten minutes before. This kind of nonsense shows the bias that is brought to selection, there isn’t even an attempt to apply fair criteria evenly.

  65. Let’s hope Scotland has a full squad for the 6 Nations fixture in Cardiff next year. If Nel, Dickinson, Strauss, Jones, Taylor and Denton are all back and this year’s squad stay fit, that’s the place to make amends for this snub.

  66. Exhilarating tries, 3 wins in 6N, 5th in world, far better record against SH teams, but………

    Watson – poor decision not to select him, gives you something different. Likely failed the size criteria .

    Maitland – very unlucky must have been close V Nowell & or Halfpenny
    Dunbar – with his skill @ the breakdown & his excellent form, very strange decision – much more worthy of a place than Te’o / Payne (“that” game & injury record against him)
    Russell – Given Biggar has been slated in Wales & sits way back, funny call not to take a player who won 2 MOM in 6N & plays like Sexton (Sexton will be NZ target No.1), victim of not being big enough
    Fagarson – Have to admit know little of Sinklair but must have been very close.
    Brown – Been in V good form & I rate him highly but likely question @ selection time “is he better than the 3 chosen”?
    Laidlaw – seems to me to have been perfect choice for midweek captain, style suits Lions more than suits Scotland.
    Nel, Dickinson, Strauss, Hardie,Taylor & Jones may very well have been in with a chance if fit / involved in 6N

    Lions are 1 or 2 injuries away from real problems IMO

  67. Anyone seen the condescending piece from Shanklin on the BBC about how Scotland play well as a team but are individually inferior to to the other three nations? Begs the question why the hell they’ve gone for a coach who can’t get more out of supposedly ‘better’ (his words) players…

  68. Tom Shanklin said selections were right as Welsh individually more talented than Scots rivals, who are better as a team. Which obviously installs a lot of confidence in Gatland and Howley! I want to read Scottish spokespeople sticking up for our players, not these a***holes justifying their mates being shoehorned into the Lions because they were good years ago. I know the SRU needs to keep its mouth shut but where is our Shanklin to tell Gtland he should be ashamed of himself?

    1. Totally agree FF. Reminds me of a good article I read in 2013 when Ryan Grant was kept on the bench in the second test despite Vunipola getting schooled. Think it was called “Ripping The Thistle Off The Badge”. Seems relevant again.

  69. So one day later and I am still fuming. It is a disgrace. Will boycott tour, have always followed lions but not this time. I knew Gatland would reward his players. And he has fulfilled that. Going for what you know is no use if what you know is losing 3-0. Russell offers options, Biggar offers nothing other than predictability and can’t see it. Watson was immense and would be talked about more except not English or Welsh.

    Ignore Shanklin that is the bbc strategy of going around looking for an opinion from anybody stupid enough to give one. And they found him.

  70. In the cold light of dawn, I’m still raging.

    In particular, the selections of Moriarty, Biggar, AWJ, Payne and Teo rankle considerably. Even allowing for subjectivity, Watson, Russell, the Grays, Taylor, Maitland and Dunbar all had stronger cases. But it is Watson, I am most raging about. The reasons have already been done to death in this thread, but as I said at the very beginning: he beasted all four of the Welsh back rows that have been selected.

    This is before we think about those who are injured: Dicko, Nel, Hardie, Jones. Though the latter two wouldn’t also have been going it Watson and Dunbar/Taylor won the 50/50, which wasn’t really a 50/50, because of the bonus points being awarded for being Welsh.

    Raging, just raging.

    In the last few years, I have gradually fallen more in love with the game of rugby. For many years, I was a solidly football man with a passing interest in the oval ball, but I’m just captivated by rugby now, incessantly following and watching everything that happens. That is not to say this will put me off, but it cuts off one of the major areas of interest in the game. I know I will not be the only Scot thinking that today.

    However, no matter how much the selections rankle, the thing that I keep coming back to is this: they chose the wrong coach. Gatland’s game was enough to beat a weak Australia, but something different is required against the ABs. Quite how the Lions didn’t go for Schmidt or Cotter is beyond me. Both are quite clearly more intelligent coaches, more tactically astute. The comments that the Welsh are better individuals, but Scotland a better team says everything to me. It tells us far more about the quality and intelligence of the coaching than any poor performance on the field will. Since the World Cup, I can only think of one genuinely terrible performance by Scotland (you know, THAT game), which was a perfect storm of opponents at the top of their game, horrendous luck with injuries and a referee that was, erm, idiosyncratic to say the least. How many very poor performances have the Welsh had in that time?

    Rant over.

    1. The Kiwis were I think actually dreading the possibility of a Cotter/Schmidt coaching team as they would then have the tactical edge. Don’t think the ABs will be wary of Warrenball. From this article:

      “If Vern Cotter and Joe Schmidt were leading the tourists this winter then the All Blacks could have a problem. Hansen would no longer be the smartest rugby man in the room.”

  71. Should Scotland win in oz, then his decisions can be questioned but the reality is they crumbled in two pressure cooker games. England was bad but the Saracens match probably put paid to Russell and Dunbar going.

    1. No one has beaten Saracens in two years at the Allianz Park in Europe and they are closing in on winning their third euro title in a row. Why is that suddenly the benchmark Scottish players need to reach? The Welsh lions failed to reach the euro QFs and crumbled in the pressure cooker environment of, er…Murrayfield. Not to mention that these clowns failed to score a try against 13 Australians in the World Cup and then failed to score a try despite having 70% possession against SA in the RWC. The idea they perform in big games is a total joke.

      1. I think we have to realise this reflects how highly (lowly) Scottish rugby is rated by others.

        We’ve enjoyed one reasonably successful 6N’s in 20 odd years. The team have to back that up again next year. And again etc. It’s going to take a lot more than one decent 6 N’s and European quarter final to completely alter the rest of world rugby’s view on Scotland.

      2. Paul, mostly I agree, but there are two indisputable pieces of empirical evidence. (1) Wales were second bottom in the recent six nations and (2) Scotland are World ranked higher than Wales. Both FACT not opinion. IIRC Scotland beat Wales at Murrayfield, unless you are in some form of parallel universe.

        Now, I would like to hear from Fatland what his definition of success is, otherwise we will all be arguing whether or not the tour has been successful.

        Time for him, not pundits, not us, to tell us what his measure of success is.

      3. Mike, I live in the universe where Scotland hadn’t beaten wales in 10 odd years (including some absolute horsings). It’s not like we have improved that much that we can EXPECT to win in Cardiff next year. The world rankings are hardly an exact science either.

        I’m not saying I agree with Gatland’s selections and have found some of his comments about Scottish rugby derisory. However, this is coming from a background of calamitous results for Scotland in the past 20 odd years. We have dug a deep, deep hole for ourselves. Unfortunately, this group of players are going to have to work exceptionally hard to regain scotlands reputation. On the flip side they are the first group in 20 odd years that look like they are capable of doing so.

      4. No Welsh team has beaten Sarries either. And they got trashed by Australia. And they scored a whopping 8 tries in this year’s 6Ns. And it’s not like they should expect to beat Scotland, given that in the last two years Wales have only won thanks to refereeing errors.

        Furthermore, we did well last year, and came 3rd in 2013 (when we were rewarded with 3 whole players on the Lions tour!).

        And the world rankings are an exact science – they’re determined by a formula.

        The idea that Scottish players must work harder than players of other nationalities is pretty much the definition of discrimination.

    2. Teamcam. 2013 lions won the series. Any bleating and wailing after the fact is pathetic.

      Following finishing a good 3rd in the 2013 6n’s scotland have finished 5th, 6th and 4th (last of all home nations). Hence….2013 was a flash in the pan performance. Exactly why this team have to show consistency over a few consecutive years to restore the reputation of the national team.

      There are too many Welsh players. But there’s absolutely no guarantee a Scottish player would take there place. There’s plenty of English and Irish players disappointed to miss out.

      If they’ve found a formula to determine how good a rugby team is lets down the rugby ball and start some international maths. ???

      1. Who’s been bleating and wailing on here about the 2013 Lions? No one, it’s history.
        The reputation of the national side is already well on its way to being restored judged on results from RWC 15 onwards and on World Ranking, which is more than just a mathematical exercise.
        Finally, much of the angst on these threads has been not so much about how few Scots got in but about how many who didn’t deserve a place got in.
        Keep posting if you like – it’s your right – but don’t expect everyone to agree with your views, Paul.

      2. TeamCam is bleating and wailing. We were in the middle of a discussion. I tried to post a direct reply but didn’t manage it. Is it just me or is there not an option to reply after each comment?

      3. Paul you have to hit reply under the original comment that sparked the discussion. Usually scrolling up till you see the reply button is best way to do it as threads can get quite long.
        I’m going to have to refer you to our chat rules. Please keep things civil. We’re all upset about the lack of Scots in the Lions squad but there’s no need to resort to insults.
        Play nice

  72. Pretty disappointed at the selection, in fact, i’m pretty raging. But let’s be honest, it’s not the downright scandal some people seem to want it to be. The 50/50s didn’t go our way, we’ll be back.

    Most of all though, I’m disappointed in the army of Scottish supporters saying:
    a) That they’re now supporting NZ, and
    b) Suggesting that Hogg and Seymour should refuse to tour.

    Frankly, don’t be so ridiculous and childish! Fair enough not feeling that invested, I don’t, but don’t just support the opposition out of spite. It wont do us any favours and just reinforces our ‘bitter small country’ stereotype.

    Also suggesting that anyone picked should turn it down is pretty poor imo, it’s a huge honour and a huge opportunity. Besides, we will be sitting at 4-6 tourists by the end in all likelihood, and it would be 3-4 more already if not for injuries to Dickinson, Nel, Taylor and Jones.

    1. Given the quality of the selectors, and whom they’ve selected, I don’t think it really counts as an honour this year.

    2. It’s £70k a game so you will not be turning that down in a short career. I expected the Scotland fans to be disappointed however generally the pundits seem negative as well. I am not sure it will be such an honour if they lose, but it is an opportunity to earn cash. Honour and cash are opposites to me, so not sure i see the Honour anymore.

      1. 70k for the tour, surely, not per match? If it is per match I’ll get back into training and change my name by deed poll to one guaranteed to get me an injury replacement call-up for this tour.

    3. The problem is we won’t I bet you however many injuries there are and there will be 10 or 12 we won’t go beyond 4 players which means the 5th best team in the world will have supplied 4 players in 54 ish when we beat Ireland and destroyed france. The only way to stop this is to make a stand. If it has to be quotas so be it. Hogg a Seymour but more importantly the SRFU need to make a stand it’s the GB7 s all over again. If it ends the Lions so be it.

  73. My first reaction is ,who cares ! Why go on the Gatland’s love boat when you could tour with your friends in the Scotland Squad. But , I may be wrong (enjoy that admission , while you can folks).

    Ask Stuart Hogg to pull out , he could show loyalty to his friends and call off . But he wont.

    According to the Internet they get £70K a game. Now that changed my mind on cronyism.

    So if you want to get angry, consider how you make your feelings really count:

    1) who is he accountable to for that cash being spent (70k for Dan Bigger) taking an injury victim like Falateau (who I do rate when fit actually).

    2) The lions exist today as the southern hemisphere get big bucks for it. They are desperate for it , they do not have a 6N payday.

    3) The crowd (many with scottish heritage) want to see the best players on show. So do the sponsors.

    4) So who is Gatland really cheating ?

    If you want to make your feelings known, get WISE , get MOUTHY in the right places. Make your feelings known in the Southern Hemisphere.

  74. I am a bit of a loss as to whether or not to be in a full state of rage, disbelief or acceptance of this whole situation, perhaps slowly moving through the five stages of loss is what is going on!

    It is clear to all and sundry that Gatland’s public explanations for the selections are complete (wart)hog-wash and that he has rightly or wrongly erred with those he knows and trusts in the 50/50 calls, almost all of which have gone in favour of the Welshman over not only Scots but Irish and English.

    What really frustrates me is why he is not open about this but continues to spout this BS about “the best player in each position” or indeed going back to his illogical points on “away performances” and “mental toughness”, if your going on those two there should not be a single Welsh player in the team after their away failures for the past two years, not least getting gubbed 3-0 by NZ last summer, and their continuing habit of collapsing within the last 10mins of major tests vs SH nations and of course England this year.

    Furthermore some of the comments from M.Williams (5 Live last night) and T.Shanklin (BBC this morning) have been completely below the belt and feel as if they had been waiting for the chance to spout that crap since the 6N match this year, nobody seems to be picking up on this or questioning that as against the spirit of the Lions.

    As much as I agree with Tom English that it might not be a complete travesty when looking at isolated cases why are the Scottish press not holding Gatland, Rowntree and these Welsh cheerleaders to account for their clear contradictions?!

    Going forward I see this as a positive for Scotland as GT can now get his ideas across to almost a full squad in Oz as well as the team profiting from a less hectic schedule than the core of the other 3 home nations, Cardiff next year will be tasty!

    For the record I would of went with the following changes to the squad and will still be supporting the Lions come what may, even with Paul Hollywood in charge…

    Ford/P.Jackson/Russell/hell D.Parks over Biggar
    Ringrose over Davies
    Abendanon/Maitland over Halfpenny
    Taylor/Dunbar over Payne
    Launchbury over Lawes
    R.Gray over AWJ (felt he shaded J.Gray during the 6N and we need athleticism)
    Watson over Moriarty (CJ, BV, TF, SOB can all play the bosh role, we need more fetchers)

    So that’s five marginal calls going to the Welsh over similar number of Scottish (if we take the Gatland approach to selecting our own) losing out with one for one in Englishman and Irish. This would give you a squad split of: England 16, Ireland 11, Scotland 7, Wales 7 .. surely more representative of the true state of affairs in NH rugby.

      1. Perhaps controversially, but, yes I see the logic in all three. Henderson & Sinckler more than Te’o but would still go with them.

        Henderson: Always shows up in matches, has a bit of X factor for a second row and works himself into the ground. I honestly think Jonny could learn a thing or two from him in the way he carries and pops up when his team need him the most, case in point the second half “almost” comeback from the Irish against ourselves this year, sparked by his try and his colossal effort vs England. Won’t be surprised if he makes it into the Test 23.

        Sinckler: Justifiably ahead of Lee, Francis and Fagerson for me due to his incredible ability in the loose. I do not profess to have any knowledge whatsoever as the the intricacies of the scrum and I bow to any of the front row union who will have a more seasoned opinion but from what I have seen he is at least as good as Fagerson in the tight and significantly more dangerous than all three in the loose. This tour’s Mako in my opinion.

        Te’o: I can totally understand those frustrated with his inclusion, but, I think as a bolter he is a great shout and will fit in with Gatlands overall plans. He has an understanding with Sexton from his Leinster days and knows the England plays so whomever plays at 10 will already have a connection there whilst he will provide the physicality Gatland wets himself over in 12s, especially with the good Dr not making it. He makes yards, runs good lines, is by all accounts monstrously fit and is in good form…. Davies/Payne don’t tick the same boxes for me.

      2. Henderson hasn’t done anything since his injury after the RWC. Yeah, he scored a couple of tries, but was otherwise largely anonymous and was dropped from the starting squad. At his best he’s excellent, but he’s not been at his best for a while. I certainly wouldn’t take him over either Gray.

        Sinckler, again, hasn’t done anything at international level, got monstered by Edinburgh (amongst others) and left for dead by Dell. I hear a lot of people saying that he’s amazing in the loose, but I can’t see what he offers that Fagerson doesn’t. Well, other than an opportunity for nepotism for Rowntree.

        Te’o is a walking definition of alright. He did little at Leinster, does a bit more at Worcester and doesn’t even start at international level.

        There might be logic there, but it’s flawed and these selections are more influenced by nepotism than logic.

    1. Kyle Sinkler everyone else is a big name. I’d barely heard of him 24 years old not a 1st team starter at his club till this season, with the barest minimum of international experience please tell me if i have this wrong!
      When did impress enough to make the lions?
      you’d be pretty disappointed (Fagerson) to be ousted from the squad by someone who has yet to prove himself at international level.

      1. TeamCam, respect your point of view but I disagree on Henderson being anonymous since the RWC, second half versus ourselves and the game against England alone testify to that on an international platform. I also believe he was slow to recover from a thigh strain and with Ryan & Dillane available and the opponent being Italy was rested rather than dropped on a performance level.

        Te’o is, IMO, a calculated gamble based on his perceived ability to break the line and his existing knowledge of how to play with both Sexton + Farrell. I don’t think there would be as much complaining about his selection had Dunbar/Taylor/made it ahead of Davies/Payne indeed you would of hoped that H.Jones might of also got himself ahead of D/P had he been fit.

        Sinckler, the arguments against him from yourself and DMCD could also be levied against Fagerson…. not a club starter until this year (admittedly should of been ahead of Puafisi in 15-16 already) with the bare minimum of international experience, indeed he would be on the bench for Scotland were Nel fit. Fagerson has also been on the receiving end of a couple of scrum destructions in the 6N that, rightly or wrongly, have been placed at his door for not getting his footing sorted out as well as the obvious lack of heft at LH.

        It is clear that Gatland has chosen his boyos in every single 50/50 and indeed a few 40/60s as another commenter mentioned, but, for my money these three players don’t qualify for those bias selections and there is a logic to each of them.

        Focussing on these selections as well as the justifiably insane ones by Gatland dilutes the legitimacy of the overall complaint that this was a biased selection by the Welsh coaching staff. I really don’t think its an “anti-scottish” selection…. we just, as always seems to be the case, got the short end of the stick and are now getting the bottom feeders like Shanklin and Williams jumping on the bandwagon… no conspiracy against Scotland just a pro-Welsh selection that I think everyone knew was coming regardless of the 6N results.

        Why Gatland does not simply admit this is the case rather than making weak excuses for non-selection (mental fragility/away form) is to me the problem here and one that could end up producing a repeat of 2005.

  75. The lack of a Scottish voice in the Lion’s camp is the problem and it does upset me that some of our so called Legends have thrown away their Scottish allegiances to so they can stay in with Gats and the Lions gravy train to NZ. So Ian McGeechan and Gav Hastings hang your heads in shame. You are prioritising your ‘lions legend’ status over your Scotland legend (not any more) status There are arguments for more Scottish representation and they should be making them…. e.g. if you need an extra utility back with NZ experience – take Maitland ahead of Payne

    1. If you see Jim Telfer’s comments he got it spot on. They asked Townsend and obviously not good timing for him. They should have found someone others holy suit sherlock there will be accusations of nepotism. So they are now in that zone. And for me having watched all the All Black’s v Wales games last year they were completely outclassed. Either the team or coach were not God enough or both. My reckoning is is both. Don’t think Gatland has a plan B. He thinks grunt will do it. Might get you close but in the closing 20 minss you will get turned over.

  76. In terms of being on the wrong side of 50/50 calls, this article in the Torygraph is quite interesting. Of the 37 players that they say could/should have been selected no less than 12 are Scots. They also have Samson Lee, Danny Care and Keith Earls, so it should all be taken with a pinch of salt, but the point is that a considerable number of Scots will be on the reserve list. It doesn’t take away from the initial calls made, but I think we will have more guys on the tour by the end of it. It also highlights the ridiculous strength in certain areas such as second and back row, and the potential weaknesses in others, i.e. the centre midfield, especially given the limited options provided by the original party.

  77. Those talking of the money, I expect the players will feel the snub more on the rugby/reputation front than they will in their wallets. Rightly or wrongly it is an honour to be selected for the Lions which is why we all feel slighted on behalf of our team.

    One of the biggest issues I have with the the squad is Warburton captaining for a second time. He is no Martin Johnson and I didn’t agree with him getting it twice either.

    The best response for the players will be to head on tour with Scotland and play well and enjoy themselves. We are playing the ABs in the autumn and, while it doesn’t have the profile of a Lions tour, the players will get the chance for their bit of history and perhaps get some commentators thinking “what if…” after another Lions tour goes awry. Although I don’t think it will be as one sided as some on here are making out. Then to follow we rampage through Cardiff and destroy the Lions select with fast, open and exciting rugby in the 2018 6N!

  78. Quite a thoughtful article by Austin Healey in the DT. Tries to explain why Gatland has made selections he has but also cautions that the Lions brand risks being tarnished in Scotland and undermining the entire Lions concept. Only thing he gets wrong is that it is too late, the Lions brand has been irreparably damaged in my opinion.

    1. I read that piece. It was remarkably balanced for Austin. He made some very good points, but I’d agree that the last couple of tours have done a large chunk of damage to the Lions brand north of the border. But not anywhere else, and not in terms of money as it is only in the last few tours that the Lions have turned a profit. Whether the SRU or it’s players take the huff and spit the dummy or not will barely register with the other touring partners or the SA/NZ/Aus Unions, which benefit hugely from the Lions.

      1. Well the SRU gets money from the tours so I can’t see them rocking the boat. But if they pulled out I think the Lions tours would end as frankly the only justification for them is tradition plus money and both would be harmed if the logo had the thistle removed. Australia and SA aren’t happy to lose NH tours when the Lions visit NZ, the English club owners would be happy to see the Lions yours end, and World Rugby would probably be happy to see a major obstacle to a more rationale world calendar removed. It is these pressures that Healey alluded to but didn’t spell out – the Lions doesn’t have an assumed right to exist and does not enjoy universal support among rugby’s administrators. It needs overwhelming public support.

      2. Which it has in the biggest market that counts – England. Tradition is important, but money talks, and the Lions is a huge cash cow for all the SANZAR teams. Yes, they lose a tour when the Lions come round, but does an England or Wales tour to SA generate the kind of tourist activity that the Lions would? Remember the first Test in Brisbane 4 years ago, when half the crowd were decked in red? You are not going to replicate that anywhere else except possibly a RWC.

You might also like these:

Gregor Townsend has made three adjustments to the team for the upcoming Six Nations clash against England at Murrayfield.
Blair Kinghorn and Magnus Bradbury return to the Scotland squad which also has 100% more Mish.
Stuart got in touch to tell us about the alternative reality that Saturday's game forced him into. So here it is, the Six Nations Table where Scotland won. To be continued...
Rory takes a look back at the round two win against France that was, in fact, a loss. Or is it the other way around?

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion