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British & Irish Lions: Stuart Hogg and Louis Rees-Zammit in rivalry for again three spots in opposition to Springboks | Rugby Union Information

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British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland will title his squad for the 2021 tour on Thursday; each match from South Africa will likely be solely dwell on Sky Sports activities; followers who do not have Sky will be capable to catch all of the motion by way of streaming service NOW, which presents day and month passes

Final Up to date: 03/05/21 5:28pm

Stuart Hogg, Louis Rees-Zammit and Anthony Watson are all in rivalry for Lions squad locations

We check out a number of the contenders for the again three in Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions squad for the tour of South Africa this summer time…

Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester and Wales; Check caps: 9)

A 12 months in the past Louis Rees-Zammit was uncapped at worldwide stage, and simply 12 months later he is likely one of the gamers who’s as shut because it involves being nailed on for a spot on the upcoming tour.

Nonetheless solely 20 years outdated, Rees-Zammit being let free on the exhausting, dry pitches of South Africa will trigger all types of points for defenders, and potential battles in opposition to Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi might find yourself being the speak of the summer time.

Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs and Scotland; Check caps: 85; British and Irish Lions excursions: 2013, 2017)

Stuart Hogg is one other title that’s seemingly nailed on for the tour itself, and on prime of that, many have known as for the Exeter full-back to captain the Lions Check staff – former Lion Gareth Thomas the most recent to throw his title behind Hogg’s management credentials.

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Former Lions captain Gareth Thomas thinks this 12 months’s staff ought to break custom and make a full-back captain, suggesting Scotland’s Stuart Hogg as his decide

Former Lions captain Gareth Thomas thinks this 12 months’s staff ought to break custom and make a full-back captain, suggesting Scotland’s Stuart Hogg as his decide

Hogg led the resurgent Scotland facet that beat England at Twickenham for the primary time in 38 years, and claimed a primary victory over France on French soil since 1999. There isn’t any doubting his credentials as a participant, and he could be the person to face reverse Siya Kolisi on the Check-match coin toss.

Anthony Watson (Tub and England; Check caps: 54; British and Irish Lions excursions: 2017)

There are usually not many voices on Lions choice that carry extra weight than Sir Ian McGeechan, and he mentioned of Anthony Watson through the Six Nations: “He is acquired real tempo, a sidestep, and popping out the backfield he is a really harmful participant. I am stunned England have not used him extra.”

Watson scored 4 tries on this 12 months’s Championship – his rating in opposition to Italy completely showcasing his capacity to vary path with out dropping any pace – and is at present enjoying a number of the greatest rugby of his life.

Anthony Watson scored four tries in this year's Six Nations

Anthony Watson scored 4 tries on this 12 months’s Six Nations

Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh and Scotland; Check caps: 10)

Like Rees-Zammit, Duhan van der Merwe has had a speedy rise on the worldwide stage in latest months. Having solely simply certified for Scotland, the massive winger has already amassed eight tries in his ten Checks.

5 of these tries got here on this 12 months’s Six Nations, placing him prime of the person standings for the event, and his decisive rating in opposition to England proved he’s a participant who places his hand up within the massive moments.

Liam Williams (Scarlets and Wales; Check caps: 74; British and Irish Lions excursions: 2017)

One in all Wales’ mainstays throughout their trophy-rich run underneath Gatland, Liam Williams has the additional advantage of versatility that permits him to play all three positions within the again three.

The 30-year-old additionally has the expertise of the 2017 tour underneath his belt, having began all three Checks at full-back in opposition to the All Blacks, and in addition sparked one of many nice Lions Check tries from deep inside his personal half with a magic facet step and gliding run to place the wheels in movement for Sean O’Brien to ultimately cross the whitewash.

Keith Earls (Munster and Eire; Check caps: 93; British and Irish Lions excursions: 2009)

Keith Earls was the youngest member of the Lions touring squad in 2009 and featured within the midweek video games as a 21-year-old with solely two Eire caps to his title.

The now-33-year-old has performed over 90 Checks since then, and his attempt in opposition to England on this 12 months’s Six Nations confirmed that he has not misplaced any tempo or want in that point. Earls can also be a worthwhile squad choice for Gatland given his capacity to play wherever within the again three in addition to in midfield.

Jonny Could (Gloucester and England; Check caps: 66)

England's Jonny May scores a try during the Six Nations rugby union international match between England and Italy

England’s Jonny Could scores a attempt through the Six Nations rugby union worldwide match between England and Italy

Jonny Could was not at his deadly greatest for England throughout their lacklustre Six Nations marketing campaign, however the Gloucester winger is now second in his nation’s all-time try-scorer record, having returned 33 tries in his 66 Check appearances.

If chosen for the tour, his scientific ending out broad will likely be exhausting to disregard when speak turns to the Checks, given the Lions are taking up a Springboks facet who conceded just one attempt in three knockout video games on their strategy to successful the World Cup in Japan.

Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues and Wales; Check caps: 32)

Adams was the person to attain that solitary attempt in opposition to the Boks within the semi-final in Yokohama, and has now crossed 17 instances general in 32 Checks for Wales.

Adams missed the primary two rounds of the Six Nations, however scored tries in every of the next fixtures in opposition to England, Italy and France. Had he performed in the entire Championship he seemingly would have threatened Van der Merwe’s haul for prime spot.

Hugo Keenan (Leinster and Eire; Check caps: 11)

With simply 11 caps to his title, Hugo Keenan is on the very starting of his worldwide profession, however his present type has been too good for him to be omitted from the Lions dialog.

It might not have been Leinster’s day once they have been knocked out of the Heineken Champions Cup by La Rochelle on Sunday, however they have been full worth of their quarter-final victory over defending champions Exeter – and Keenan’s operating traces and offloads for the Irish province’s first two tries present he’s the form of participant who can fracture defensive traces in South Africa.

Elliot Daly (Saracens and England; Check caps: 55; British and Irish Lions excursions: 2017)

Elliot Daly performed on the wing in all three Checks in opposition to the All Blacks in 2017, and has featured 55 instances for England underneath Eddie Jones since making his Check debut in 2016.

The 28-year-old was rusty through the Six Nations, however Gatland has already mentioned he’s assured the Saracens gamers who’re plying their commerce within the Championship will rise up to hurry if chosen, and like Earls, Daly is able to enjoying at 13 on prime of his outside-back capabilities. On prime of that, his long-range boot at altitude might show invaluable.

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