Friday 23

Rugby Union

Away form a factor in Gatland's Lions selection

20th April 2017, 09:07 by Chris Rivers

British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has hinted poor away form was behind his decision to name two Scotland players in his squad.

The Lions head coach announced his initial 41-man party for this summer's tour to New Zealand on Wednesday with Scotland's only representatives coming in the form of full-back Stuart Hogg and wing Tommy Seymour.

The decision to select only two Scots raised a few eyebrows in some quarters, with Ireland and Wales having 23 representatives combined, despite falling to defeat to Vern Cotter's men during this year's Six Nations.

Gatland has brushed off the suggestion that a larger Scottish contingent on his coaching staff would have made a difference, Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend and Scotland assistant coach Jason O'Halloran turning down the chance to be part of the Lions backroom team.

Instead, the New Zealander has suggested that Scotland's form away from home lead to him going with more tried and tested talent.

"We just felt we'd looked at the footage, we'd done our due diligence, looked at the game in Twickenham," he said.

"There's no doubt that Scotland have done very well. They will be aggrieved and disappointed about that. They performed exceptionally well at home.

"And probably the greatest strength that Scotland have had is probably their collective performance. They've been well coached by Vern (Cotter) who's done an exceptional job.

"And we are not playing at home. We are playing away from home. Scotland haven't been to New Zealand since 2000. And we are playing the best team, back-to-back world champions in their own backyard. We have to perform away from home, that's going to be paramount."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Chris Rivers is an experienced reporter who closely follows both Arsenal and Wales Rugby Union team. As well as in-depth football and rugby knowledge, Chris is an avid American Football, Formula One and boxing fan.

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