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Gatland names 4+1 Scots in first Lions squad

Lions crest

Venue: BT Murrayfield
Kick-off: 3pm
TV: Live coverage on Channel 4 in the UK

Is it a sop to the covid-restricted home crowd? Is it a way to get some of the Scots out of the way if they fail to perform or get injured before they even get on the plane? Or is it time to take off the tinfoil hat and realise that any front row with Zandbags and Suzz is just too tasty to ignore?

Warren Gatland has named the first Lions side for the match against Japan at BT Murrayfield and it feels oddly packed with Scots, while there are no England players in the starting XV – they are all keeping Ali Price company on the bench. There’s no word on whether it would be an official Lions test cap yet but pomp and ceremony aside, it makes a good opportunity for several of the Scottish contingent to lay down a marker.

It’s not wholly experimental. With Furlong on the bench it could be an early chance to see the potential test combo of Sutherland/Owens/Furlong in the front row, There is also the default/”money in the bank” half-back pairing of Murray and Biggar that will need strong tour performances from the likes of Ali Price or Finn Russell to work their way into the Test plans.

Otherwise a lot of it does feel like testing combinations, certainly elsewhere in the backs and the back row.

British and Irish Lions: Liam Williams, Josh Adams, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Duhan Van der Merwe, Dan Biggar, Conor Murray; Rory Sutherland, Ken Owens, Zander Fagerson, Iain Henderson, Alun-Wyn Jones (capt), Tadgh Beirne, Hamish Watson, Jack Conan
Replacements: Jamie George, Wyn Jones, Tadgh Furlong, Courtney Lawes, Toby Faletau, Ali Price, Owen Farrell, Anthony Watson.

14 Responses

  1. We will see how Duhan goes against Japan now that the team has been announced.
    Good contingent of Scots (as you would expect for a game at Murrayfield), nice to see both props starting.
    The team has largely been forced based on players still at their clubs (would be interesting to see who has been at the training camp and not picked, but I don’t have the energy to do the research….), but every game is a chance to put your hand up for test selection and Japan should provide decent opposition.

  2. Duhan: horse for a course vs Japan
    Suzz: testing the injury
    Fagerson: keeping Furlong’s jersey warm…likely bench option for tests.
    Watson: chance to stamp his claim or lose it.

    Price: test finisher role?
    Russell (lack of): just made it to camp, fair enough
    Harris (lack of): dirt track, unless Henshaw gets injured.
    Hogg (unavailable)

    1. What is it Fagerson is lacking over Furlong that makes you think he has no chance of starting a lions test?

      1. I think Furlong is probably a better scrummager, certainly conceded far fewer penalties this 6N, and has the edge in carrying as well as great distribution for a front rower. Fagerson isn’t miles behind and offers immense work rate but I’d still go with the Irishman.

      2. FF: I think the words you are looking for are ‘experience and provinance’. Why would Gatland take a gamble when you have a proven entity, an existing Lion, in the camp.

  3. I see our English chums from south of the border are getting their knickers in a twist about having no starting Lions for the first time in 71 years. Different circumstances from recent Scotland lack of participation but it hurts a bit chaps doesn’t it.

  4. Gutted for Mish, no one more deserving and sure he will get his chance. Hogg being dropped could be the best thing for him, watching Nowell, no need for Hogg at Exeter as full back. Let’s hope he learns from Nowells bravery, he is immense.

  5. Seriously who is surprised at Watson getting injured! Seems every time we have something important or potentially successful happening, Scottish teams always lose their best players (Hogg in last Lions tour; Redpath after great performance v England; Billy Gilmour after great performance against England in the round ball game; Now Watson, one of our few real test starter potentials). Are we jinxed? Why do none of our average players get injured? Am I one-eyed? Or just so starved of Scottish representation and success that any setback is amplified!? What’s the bets on Mish not recovering, Hogg being frozen out of the test team after being dropped at Exeter, Finn is already nursing a knock which will turn out to be a broken ankle – Chris Harris will probably get kneecapped by one of the Irish centres in training this week. I know, I’m only slightly paranoid – doesn’t mean they’re not out to get us….looking forward to the Japan test, hope our boys acquit themselves well and get a good result. No more ill-timed injuries please!

    1. Is it an indication how hard the other nations train that the Scots suddenly go into it and get injured because we don’t train with the same physicality?

      1. There were always going to be injuries before tour, and then during it. I’m sure Pinball and Handbags are gutted at missing out, but at least their injuries are only short term. Hamish is resting for 10 days to follow concussion protocol and Zander had a twinge in his back. Gatland didn’t seem overly worried and wanted them both to be 100% to stake a claim for the Test Series.

      2. I think it might be an example of our boys trying really hard in training to make an impression rather than not normally training with the same physicality.

        It is clear though that the nations use different training regimes as Chris Harris was saying it was his first time in the cryogenic chamber.

        Hopefully Mish, Zander and Finn get a game soon to stake their claim and Hoggy arrives from Exeter intact.

  6. I see that Hogg has been left on the bench for the Final with Jack Nowell starting again at FB

  7. 9 Scots in quarantine due to a player testing positive prior to England A game. New players brought in to squad prior to England A game

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