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Video: Scotland legend Gavin Hastings selects his British & Irish Lions starting XV

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  • by DAVID FERGUSON
 

RICHIE Gray and Tim Visser have been named by former Scotland captain Gavin Hastings in his prediction for the British and Irish Lions XV for next year’s tour to Australia.

Hastings, who was part of the last successful tour to Australia in 1989, will be there next summer as an ambassador for sponsors HSBC. This week he was asked to pick the players he felt were pushing their cases for inclusion and who, if he was selecting a Lions XV for the first Test now, would be included.

Hastings insisted that he would only pick players with Test experience, and the six-times capped Lion insisted that Visser was a realistic candidate for the left wing berth after just two Tests for Scotland while big lock Gray, who left Glasgow for Sale in the summer and is languishing at the foot of the Aviva Premiership table, “has got to be there”.

Hastings is also convinced that Brian O’Driscoll will be fit and in good enough form next summer to tour for a fourth consecutive time, and return to the country where his career really took off in the Lions’ 2-1 series defeat of 2001. But there is no place for Wales captain Sam Warburton in his starting XV, despite the flanker being widely tipped to skipper the Lions squad next year.

The Scot opts for five Welshmen, five Englishmen, three Irishmen and the two Scots in his XV, with England’s recently suspended talent Danny Care the tip at scrum-half and Ireland’s Jonny Sexton handed the famous red No 10 jersey.

How many remain the favoured choices after the next month of Test rugby will be intriguing as the pressure now begins to intensify around those who harbour serious Lions aspirations.

BRITISH & IRISH LIONS STARTING XV

15. Lee Byrne

14. George North

13. Brian O’Driscoll

12. Jonathan Davies

11. Tim Visser

10. Jonny Sexton

9. Danny Care

8. Nick Easter

7. Chris Robshaw

6. Stephen Ferris

5. Courtney Lawes

4. Richie Gray

3. Adam Jones

2. Matthew Rees

1. Joe Marler

 

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