The Runner Sports

British And Irish Lions Watch Scottish Edition-4/4/17

Things are heating up heading towards British and Irish Lions selections

Last Weekend featured both Scottish teams in European action. Edinburgh took on La Rochelle in the Challenge Cup and Glasgow took on the Saracens. Both teams fell to their respective sides, but played admirably. Edinburgh had an uphill battle from the opening, and kept close enough right until the end in an edge of your seat match. Glasgow had to take on the clinical Saracens on the road. The Glasgow defense played strong, but a lack of possession and the strength of the Saracens team spelled their demise.

On The Plane

Stuart Hogg– Arguably the best fullback in the northern hemisphere, Hogg’s star could never be brighter. For the second year in a row, Stuart Hogg was named 6 Nations player of the tournament while having missed almost all of the England V Scotland match. In his next match against Italy, he returned strong with 63 meters made. Hogg had a quiet afternoon against the Saracens offensively with just 18m Sunday. Defensively Hogg managed 4 tackles, but most of them were important try saving tackles. Even with the low statistics he is a truly amazing player and is not only deserving of making the trip, but of the starting 15 shirt as well.

Jonny Gray– A true defensive mastermind, Jonny Gray is a destructive force on the pitch. Glasgow captain Gray is also one of the most consistent players in Scotland. Jonny Gray had to leave the match against Saracens only 11 minutes in, but already had managed three tackles. Both Jonny and his brother Richie are both fitting players for the Lions jersey, but Jonny must be a selection.

Good picks

Richie Gray– The other Gray brother is also a solid selection at lock. In his last match against England, Richie Gray managed 15 tackles before being ruled out of the match against Italy with a hamstring injury. It is very unlikely that we will get to see both Gray brothers on the pitch together, but with Ireland’s weakness at lock, it is very likely that at least one Gray bother will make the selection, if not both.

Hamish Watson– Many consider Watson to be a dark horse pick, but I believe that he is a strong up and coming flanker. In the England match, he recorded a solid 19 tackles, leading the team. In the loss to La Rochelle Watson again led the team, this time Edinburgh, with 11 tackles. Offensively he also performed very well with 66 meters made and a try. There are many good flankers in the British Isles, but Hamish Watson is emerging as one of the best. He would be a great addition to the Lions squad and would definitely prove his worth.

Unlikely, but would love to see

Tommy Seymour– When he is on he is a very exciting player to watch. In the match against Ireland, Tommy Seymour made 30m and a try. A very dynamic player, he is a constant threat on the outside. He finished about even with Hogg against the Saracens with 17m made and 2 tackles. The biggest threat to his selection is the plethora of wings throughout England, Whales, and Ireland.

Greig Laidlaw– The Scottish Captain did not have an active 6 Nations as injury has sidelined him for both Scotland and Gloucester. His kicking is amazing and led the team to the quarterfinals in the 2015 RWC. That was a long time ago, but is still a strong skipper. Conor Murray is the most popular scrum half and is likely to get the start in this summer’s tour, but Laidlaw has done well for a long time for Scotland and would do well in New Zealand.

The most underrated country in the Isles

There are many in the media who wouldn’t give Scotland the time of day. ESPN wrote an article naming their starting 15 for the Lions that mentioned not a single Scottish player. This is truly absurd. A dream starting 15 without Hogg at 15 or Gray at 5 would be a travesty. I would be a complete waste of the talent that Scotland possesses right now. If Warren Gatland truly wants to put together the best team for the trip to New Zealand there are many Scots that need to make the list.

British and Irish Lions selection is on April 19.

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David Bradham

Active duty Navy, have a true passion for Rugby.
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