There are three Scots in the starting team to face the Springboks
First Scots in Lions Test XV since 2001
Not since 2001 with loosehead Tom Smith, has a Scotland international started a Test for the Lions. But that has all changed with the British & Irish Lions team to play South Africa. With three Scots named in the backline, as Stuart Hogg, Duhan van der Merwe and Ali Price all make the starting lineup, head coach Warren Gatland has given Scotland fans an unexpected surprise.
And with Rory Sutherland and Hamish Watson also named on the bench, that brings the Scottish contingent for the first Test up to five players.
The last Scot to get any Test time at all was in 2013, when Richie Gray came off the bench for a 12-minute cameo against the Wallabies.
Scotland skipper Hogg, who has captained the Lions twice on this tour, is the first Scot to play at full-back for the Lions’ Test side since Gavin Hastings and he will hope to emulate him and fellow legendary Scottish Lion Andy Irvine.
If the Scots want any advice from a compatriot who knows what it’s like to start a Test in South Africa, they don’t have far to look with Lions attack coach Gregor Townsend. The former fly-half started the two victorious Tests against the Springboks in 1997.
Townsend has said in the past of that tour, “We were going up against the best defensive team in the world so we needed to have the best attackers.
“We played positive rugby right throughout that tour. We were four countries as one and that was what we needed to win – it’s probably the best moment of my rugby career.”
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