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I won’t be watching the Lions says Toby Flood

 Toby FloodToby Flood aims to deliver his own personal snub to the British and Irish Lions … by not bothering to watch them on TV!

The fly-half has been coming to terms with his latest Lions heartbreak after being left out of Warren Gatland squad for the tour to Australia.

Losing his No.10 duel with England rival Owen Farrell during the Six Nations sealed the Leicester man’s summer fate.

And, having missed out on South Africa four years ago, Flood’s last chance to fulfil his Lions dream may well be in New Zealand in 2017 when he will be 31. Flood, who is also being “rested” from England’s up-coming tour to Argentina, reveals:  “I won’t be watching the Lions. I never watch any rugby that I am not involved in. I’d rather get away from it.

“I’m thrilled for the other guys who have been picked. It’s especially great for the likes of Geoff Parling and Tom Youngs to get such an incredible chance with the Lions after what they did with England.

“It’s a huge opportunity for them to go out there and show what they can do and have a really good tour to Australia.

“I will send the other Leicester guys texts wishing them well and hoping they enjoy the trip…but that’s all.

“I knew what the ramifications were for the end of the season. I knew the Lions would take just two No.10s and I would probably miss out.

“You needed to be right in there challenging for a place on the plane. But I didn’t play enough in the Six Nations to really push myself right into the ring to be selected.

“I put my hand up about that. Maybe in another season, in different circumstances, I would have been in with a shout.

“I spoke to the coaches within the England set-up so I know where I stand.”

Flood would happily jump on the first flight out to Australia if injury strikes down Jonny Sexton or Owen Farrell but isn’t expecting an emergency phone call from Gatland.

He admits: “You never can tell what will develop out there. But I know where I sit and what misfortunate needs to befall others for that to happen.”

Flood, 27, has also been given a break by England head coach Stuart Lancaster.

It offers him the chance to have a long holiday before returning for what will be his “first proper pre-season since I was 19”.

He hopes to sign off his season on a high by helping Tigers lift the Premiership title by beating Northamption Saints at Twickenham next Saturday.

He insists: “For me now it’s about winning that Premiership trophy with Leicester. That’s all I have to focus on, and it will be an outstanding achievement if we can finish the job off.

“Reaching nine successive finals is a good effort but when you get there you have to go on and win the thing. You have to get your hands on the silverware.

“We’ve lost the last two so it’s time we put that record straight but it will certainly not be easy against a Saints team which, as you saw against Saracens, is now hitting top form.

“Fortunately, we are also in very good form so it should make for a very exciting and competitive final. There is a big rivalry between the two teams, and the Leicester fans will be desperate for us to win.”

On the decision to leave him out of the Argentina tour, he said: “I wasn’t bothered either way. I chewed it over with Stuart and it’s no big deal. He is very good at listening.

“I’m pretty happy because I did not have any emotional ties about going or not.”

GARY FITZGERALD

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