This year’s RBS Six Nations Championship has been one of the Scotland rugby team’s best since the competition was launched in 2000. A record of three wins and two defeats is admittedly modest, but there have been some grim times for Scottish rugby during that period.
After an exciting and genuinely encouragement campaign, it is a bitter blow to the players, and a great disappointment to supporters, to see only two Scots selected in the 41-strong the British and Irish Lions squad for this summer’s tour of New Zealand.
Meanwhile Ireland and Wales, both beaten by Scotland this season, are represented by 11 and 12 players respectively.
Lions coach Warren Gatland – clue: a former head coach of Ireland, and currently on sabbatical from the same role with Wales – reckons that a heavy defeat to England ended the hopes of any other Scots. But it is more likely that the Twickenham result provided Gatland with the excuse he was looking for when Scotland challenged his pre-conceived ideas.
A comment on social media yesterday summed up the mood north of the Border: “If Gatland was picking the Davis Cup team, he’d probably leave Andy Murray out.”
The snub is a great shame for players who struggled against England because they had a team-mate sin-binned after just over one minute of play, and were further handicapped by injuries to a string of key players.
Gatland forgets that, given the opportunity of playing for a stronger team, talented individuals have a greater chance to shine.
Former SRU president Ian McLauchlan, a legendary Lion, is justified in his condemnation of Gatland, who has let down talented players and diminished the Lions concept.