Scotland’s Finn Russell and Allan Dell called up by Lions

Scotland's Finn Russell scores a try during the win over Australia.  Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Scotland's Finn Russell scores a try during the win over Australia. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
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Scotland’s Finn Russell and Allan Dell have been called into the British and Irish Lions squad ahead of the Test series with New Zealand.

The Lions confirmed the addition of the Scots pair following their 32-10 victory over the Maori All Blacks.

Scotland's Allan Dell tackles Australia's Richard Hardwick. Picture: Rick Rycroft/AP

Scotland's Allan Dell tackles Australia's Richard Hardwick. Picture: Rick Rycroft/AP

Stand-off Russell and prop Dell, both part of the Scotland side that stunned Australia on Saturday morning, are due to arrive in Hamilton on Sunday.

Russell proved his credentials with a fine performance in Sydney, scoring a try and kicking three conversions in the Scots’ 24-19 victory which moved them up to fifth in the world rankings.

Flanker Ross Moriarty has been ruled out of the Lions tour with a back strain.

Head coach Warren Gatland has also called up four Welsh players.

Gareth Davies, Cory Hill, Kristian Dacey and Tomas Francis were already in New Zealand with their national side and now link up with the Lions.

Gatland has suffered criticism for favouring geographical proximity over meritocratic selection.

England coach Eddie Jones slammed the decision to overlook players from his squad and Ireland, while a host of former Test stars criticised the move on social media.

Gatland has added those six players to boost numbers for Tuesday’s Chiefs match, to keep his Test-match 23 fresh for next Saturday’s series opener against New Zealand.

England’s players in Argentina and Ireland’s men in Japan have been deemed to need too much travel time to get up to speed to boost the Lions.

England boss Jones said Lions call-up should be decided on “merit rather than geography”.

“It’s only a 13-hour trip from here to New Zealand,” Jones told the BBC.

“The (England) boys could be there. The Lions is a prestigious team - when you become a Lion you’re remembered for life.”

Players only receive an official Lions playing number once they take the field for the tourists.

So any call-ups to the tour will not gain total Lions status without joining the fray against the Chiefs, even if they take a seat on the bench.