Ali Price offered encouragement in his bid to make the Lions Test squad

Warren Gatland has offered Ali Price encouragement in his quest for a place in the Lions Test squad to face the Springboks.

Ali Price will start for the British and Irish Lions against the Stormers. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images
Ali Price will start for the British and Irish Lions against the Stormers. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

The Scotland scrum-half will start on Saturday as the tourists take on the Stormers in their final game before the three-match series against South Africa.

Conor Murray was considered favourite to wear the No 9 jersey in the Tests but the Irishman has not been entirely convincing, and neither has Gareth Davies, the other scrum-half on the tour.

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Murray was given the tour captaincy when Alun Wyn Jones dislocated his shoulder in the Lions’ send-off game against Japan in Edinburgh but the surprise return of the Welsh lock to the squad will likely see Jones resume the captaincy.

It leaves Murray in a precarious position.

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Asked on Thursday if Price remains in contention for a place in the Test team, Lions coach Gatland said: “Absolutely. We’ve been pleased with the way that he’s gone. He’s looked sharp, he’s kicked well - he’s worked really hard on his kicking game, so his kicking has been excellent. He’s got that left-foot variation.

“He’s made a couple of nice breaks, he’s defended well, he’s had a really good tour. It’s a really good game for him to play in on Saturday and get an opportunity to put his hand up.”

Price is one of five Scotland players in the Lions starting line-up for the Stormers match, with Stuart Hogg, Duhan van der Merwe, Rory Sutherland and Hamish Watson also included. Fellow Scots Chris Harris and Zander Fagerson are among the replacements, as is Jones less than three weeks after his dislocation.

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