Tom Smith expects strong Scotland contingent in Lions squad
18 April 2017 16:10pm
By Charlie Bennett
Stuart Hogg is among a number of Scotland players hoping to earn selection
Former Scotland prop Tom Smith is hoping his countrymen make up a bigger contingent in The British & Irish Lions squad for this summer's Tour to New Zealand than in recent times.
"Tommy Seymour's a really good player who week in, week out delivers high-quality performances."
Smith was the last Scot to start a Test match for the Lions, against Australia in 2001, and on each of the last three tours just three have been selected in the initial travelling squad.
But Scotland's improved form in this year's RBS 6 Nations, which saw them record three victories in a single year for the first time since 2006, has raised hopes north of the border that there will be a higher number picked this time.
Lions head coach Warren Gatland will name his squad tomorrow at 12pm, with speculation as to who will be picked and who will miss out dominating the rugby headlines in Britain and Ireland.
Impressive performers for the Scots in recent months include full back Stuart Hogg, who was named as RBS Player of the Championship for the second year in a row, fly-half Finn Russell and flanker Hamish Watson.
Smith, who won six Lions caps on top of the 61 he earned with Scotland, said: "If we got five, I'd be pretty happy.
"I think Stuart Hogg's a certainty, he's pencilled in by a lot of people to start the Tests and I think, if he keeps playing the way he has been, there's a good chance that will happen.
"I think Jonny Gray is the sort of player that will develop and really come on in a tour and environment like that.
"Unfortunately, second-row is such a competitive area this year, but I'd certainly have my fingers crossed for him, brother Richie, or both.
"Tommy Seymour's a really good player who week in, week out delivers high-quality performances.
"Finn Russell, again, it's a really, really tough position, but you just hope he might squeeze on and be given the chance to show what he's got.
"Our back-three is as good as any in the championship with Hogg, Seymour and Sean Maitland, who has worked with Gatland before - there's a mutual respect there and he's playing for one of the top sides in Europe, which I think will help him.."
Sean Maitland started Scotland's first two games in the RBS 6 Nations
31 March 2017, 1:21pm
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Peter O'Mahony was named man of the match against England last month
21 April 2017, 7:22pm
Peter O'Mahony's performance in the RBS 6 Nations finale for Ireland against England was crucial to his selection for the British & Irish Lions on Wednesday, Ireland and Lions defence coach Andy Farrell has revealed.