Will this be one of Gatland's 'amazing' selections?
TOUR SPOTLIGHT: Scotland flyhalf Finn Russell said on Thursday being named in the British and Irish Lions’ squad next week would be “amazing”.
Russell, 28, made his only Lions appearance against the Hurricanes in 2017 as a mid-tour call-up.
The invitational side’s coach Warren Gatland names his tour party next Thursday, May 6 – for a trip that includes three Tests against the World Cup winners, South Africa.
“It’s the highest standard of rugby you can play as a British and Irish player,” Russell said.
“You can play for your country in World Cups but the Lions is the best,” he added.
“I went out for the last tour for 10 days. It would be amazing to go on a tour from a start.”
Since the Lions’ last visit to South Africa in 2009, only nine Scotland players have featured for the touring outfit.
Based on their form in the Six Nations, where Russell’s men claimed long-awaited away victories over England and France the Racing 92 playmaker wants more representation from the Dark Blues.
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“I hope so. We had a good Six Nations. We just lost to Wales after a red card in the second half and we just lost to Ireland after not playing too well,” he said.
“There are a lot of players who have put their hand up to be picked for this tour,” he added.
This weekend Russell is set to return for Racing 92, following a three-week ban for elbowing France fullback Brice Dulin during Scotland’s victory over Les Bleus.
Russell missed the European Champions Cup last-16 victory and quarterfinal loss and was expected to be absent for the Parisian derby before it was postponed to this Saturday for COVID-19 fears.
Russell’s third-placed Racing host Stade Francais, who are 10 points behind their local rivals in ninth with five rounds to play of the regular Top 14 season.
“For me it was frustrating as it was three big games that we really wanted to win,” Russell said.
“Although in the table it looks like they’re further down it’s a must-win game for both teams,” he added.