Scotland wing Sean Maitland reckons his countrymen can have no complaints over a lack of Lions representation following last March’s 61-21 thrashing by England.
Warren Gatland’s decision to pick just two Scots – Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour – in his initial squad prompted an outcry among Scottish fans, many of whom snubbed the Lions completely when none of their men were involved in the three Tests.
Saracens star Maitland believes they only have themselves to blame, though, telling The Rugby Paper: “Gats said he only wanted players who could stand up in big games away from home and getting 60 points put on us at Twickenham didn’t help at all.
“It probably meant a lot of 50-50 calls went against our players getting in the squad.
“At the end of the day, coaches have got a difficult job to do with the Lions and while our two wins at home to Ireland and Wales in the Six Nations were great, you’ve got to play well away from home as well – and when it came to England we fell apart.
“Our biggest hope on the Lions tour was Stuart Hogg and he got injured so I was pretty gutted for him, but if we want greater Lions representation in future we’ve got to go away and win – starting in the next Six Nations against Wales and Ireland.”
Meanwhile, Maitland is looking forward to his back three battle with Liam Williams once the Lions hero checks in at Saracens later this month.
Maitland said: “Chris Ashton was a massive loss but Liam’s been starting for the Lions and we’re swapping quality for quality. He’s going to bring great competition to the back three, especially with Nathan Earle beginning to make a mark.”
Maitland is nearing a return to full fitness after damaging ankle ligaments the week before May’s Champions Cup final against Clermont.
He added: “To play every European game and then miss the final at Murrayfield was gut-wrenching, but the boys were so supportive. It was still special to share the moment and lift the cup, so I’m looking to come back with a big bang.”