Predicting a possible British & Irish Lions team just over a year from the tour of South Africa would normally be considered pure folly.
However, as has become abundantly clear, the world we’re currently inhabiting is anything but normal.
With the 2020 Six Nations called to an abrupt halt, the Summer tours looking all but cancelled and even the November tests now in doubt, we might not actually see much international rugby played in anger before the Lions takes place.
Warren Gatland the British and Irish Lions Head Coach is interviewed…
Warren Gatland the British and Irish Lions Head Coach is interviewed following the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour squad and captain announcement at London Syon Park Hotel on April 30, 2013 in… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Instead of 12 or so tests per side to sift through, Warren Gatland and the Lions selectors may end up only having the 2021 Six Nations and Premiership/Pro14 games from which to assess the players.
So it’s probably safe to assume that the 2020 tournament will take on more weight than expected and will help inform who might flourish and who might flounder against the World Champions.
For Scotland, it was a competition of mixed fortunes. It started off with taking Ireland to the wire in the opening round, followed by the almost unplayable game against England. In those opening games Scotland had a significantly improved defence from their porous showing at the Rugby World Cup. Unfortunately their much vaunted attack seemed to be missing – in part due to the absence of playmaker Finn Russell.
Round 3 saw Scotland nill Italy and score 3 tries in the process, but when you consider the fact that Italy shipped 77 points in their first two games, it really should have been more.
Finally we have round 4 against the French side looking for their first Grand Slam in a decade. At last the defence and attack both clicked at the same time and Gregor Townsend’s men won a decisive victory.
Had their final game against Wales not been cancelled, we may have seen whether the French victory was just another one-off or a sign of lasting change. Had Scotland backed it up with a win against Gatland’s former team, the man from Hamilton would have had to take notice.
Unfortunately we’ll never know.
But what we can do is take a look at which players have put their hands up, who has a chance and who might still find an opportunity to turn heads and book a place on the plane come June 2021.
We’ll list who we think are the Probables, Possibles and Bolters. Let us know what you think in the comments below
Click ‘Next’ to see each player
#1 Stuart Hogg: Probable
If he’s fit come May, Hogg is the closest Scotland can get to a shoo-in. Didn't have the best start to the Six Nations and Scotland captaincy with a dropped ball over the line, but he found himself again with a stunning try against Italy.
Gatland has taken him on both of his Lions tours to date, so clearly rates the full back. If he can break his hoodoo and stay injury free this time, you would expect Hogg to start at least one of the three tests.