Scotland captain Stuart Hogg

Will Greenwood picks more Scots in Lions 2021 XV than Welsh or Ireland

Will Greenwood has included Scotland trio Rory Sutherland, Ali Price and Stuart Hogg in his chosen Lions XV to pit themselves against the Springboks.

Picking a team based on current form, three-time tourist Greenwood has included more Scots in his side than Wales or Ireland players.

Accusations of an anti-Scottish agenda has surfaced in recent tours, with the last Scottish player to start in a Lions Test match being prop Tom Smith in 2001 against the Wallabies.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland drew criticism for not giving the few Scots he included in the tours of 2013 and 2017 a fair shot in the Tests.

Indeed, of the 225 jerseys up for grabs as a starter in tours dating back to the first Test of the South Africa tour in 1997, only three have been given to Scots.

While only Gordon Bulloch, Ross Ford and Richie Gray have seen any match time in addition to Smith.

Despite winning games against Wales and Ireland in the 2017 Six Nations, only two Scotland players were picked by Gatland for the tour of New Zealand later that summer in Hogg and winger Tommy Seymour.

In 2019 Gatland admitted he and the rest of the coaching staff knew their selection would stir controversy, but that they were determined to only select 41 players in the squad.

“One thing that concerned us, and that we knew would cause a stir, was that we had only two Scots, Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour, in that original 41-man squad, which was hard on Scotland,” said Gatland.

“After all, they’d won three games in the Six Nations. Even though we’d consciously tried to pick the best 41 players regardless of nationality, we were still acutely aware that one of the four nations was not particularly well represented.”

And, after reviewing the Six Nations and tasked by Sky Sports with drafting a team to face the reigning world champions, Greenwood believes the answers at loosehead prop, scrum-half and full-back lie with Scotland’s Sutherland, Price and skipper Hogg.

Greenwood, who toured with the Lions in 1997, 2001 and 2005, has named a team comprised of eight Englishman, three Scots, two Welsh and two Ireland players.

Will Greenwood’s starting XV for the British & Irish Lions tour 2021

15 Stuart Hogg – Scotland

14 Jonny May – England

13 Manu Tuilagi – England

12 Hadleigh Parkes – Wales

11 Elliot Daly – England

10 Owen Farrell – England

9 Ali Price – Scotland

1 Rory Sutherland – Scotland

2 Jamie George – England

3 Kyle Sinckler – England

4 Maro Itoje – England

5 James Ryan – Ireland

6 Tom Curry – England

7 Justin Tipuric – Wales

8 CJ Stander – Ireland

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