Three Lions: Edinburgh trio selected for Lions tour

Three Lions: Edinburgh trio selected for Lions tour

Edinburgh Rugby trio Hamish Watson, Duhan van der Merwe and Rory Sutherland have been named in the 2021 British & Irish Lions squad to tour South Africa this summer.

The Scotland stars are all named in Head Coach Warren Gatland's 37-man touring squad for the 2021 Lions Series.

On his selction, Gatland said: “We believe we’ve picked a squad capable of winning a Test series in South Africa.

“Selecting a Lions squad is never easy and, in many ways, this has been the most challenging selection I have been involved in. Over the course of the last three weeks the coaches and I have rigorously debated each position. We saw some outstanding performances in the recent Six Nations, so competition for places has been tough with some incredibly tight calls to make.

“However, we are very happy with the squad we have assembled and look forward to meeting up in Jersey in just over a month’s time to start our preparation to take on the World Champions. We've left out some very talented players which gives an indication to the strength of this squad and we know how important that stand-by list will be.

“Being selected for a Lions Tour is the greatest honour for a British and Irish player and I congratulate everyone named today.”


2021 British & Irish Lions squad for the Lions Series in South Africa


Backs (16):

Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) – Wing

Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) – Centre

Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) – Fly-half #821

Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) – Centre #822

Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales) – Scrum-half

Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) – Fly-half #780

Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) – Centre

Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) – Centre #824

Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) – Full-back #783

Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) – Scrum-half #790

Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) – Scrum-half

Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales) – Wing

Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland) – Fly-half #835

Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) – Wing

Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) – Wing #816

Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) – Full-back #833


Forwards (21):

Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland) – Second row

Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) – Back row

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) – Hooker

Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) – Back row

Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) – Prop

Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) – Back row #779

Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) – Prop #818

Jamie George (Saracens, England) – Hooker #819

Iain Henderson (Ulster Rugby, Ireland) – Second row #808

Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, England) – Second row

Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) – Second row #825

Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales) (Captain) – Second row #761

Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) – Prop

Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) – Second row #826

Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) – Hooker #829

Andrew Porter (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) – Prop

Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) – Back row

Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) – Prop

Justin Tipuric (Ospreys, Wales) – Back row #786

Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) – Prop #787

Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) – Back row

HAMISH WATSON

APPEARANCES: 119
TRIES: 16

One of the most destructive ball carriers in the northern hemisphere, Hamish Watson’s consistent excellence was rewarded in being named the 2021 Guinness Six Nations Player of the Championship ahead of some stellar names.

Watson - who penned a new long-tern deal with the club in January - has been a star since making his Edinburgh Rugby debut in 2011 and has since developed his game to a point where he is regarded as one of world rugby's premier flankers.

An elite ball carrier, nicknamed pinball for his ability to bounce off tackles in the loose, Watson made his 100th Edinburgh Rugby appearance in the 1872 Cup derby against Glasgow Warriors in April 2019.

Competition for back-row inclusion at British & Irish Lions level is arguably as fierce as any other area of the squad, and so Watson’s call-up – he is the first Scot in that area to be picked since Simon Taylor (both 2001 and 2005) and Jason White (2005) – is testament to his standing in the game.


DUHAN VAN DER MERWE

APPEARANCES: 65
TRIES: 31

6ft 4in wing Duhan van der Merwe joined the club in the summer of 2017 and immediately affirmed his popularity with 10 tries in his debut season.

The Springbok age-grade internationalist joined the club from Top 14 club Montpellier, where he made three league appearances for the senior side and has crossed the whitewash on each occasion.

Van der Merwe's scoring abilities continued during the 2018/19 season, while his brace of intercepted tries against Glasgow Warriors in December 2018's 1872 Cup win at BT Murrayfield will live long in the memory of the capital support.

Having qualified to play for Scotland in 2020, three years on from the beginning of some blistering displays for Edinburgh, winger Duhan van der Merwe has made the sort of impact on the international scene that many hoped he would.

A devastating strike runner, he scored a try on debut against Georgia at BT Murrayfield last year, before going on to star, and score, in notable away wins in England and France, his sheer presence enough to make opposing defences scramble for cover.


RORY SUTHERLAND

APPEARANCES: 90
TRIES: 2

Hawick-born Rory Sutherland joined the club on a FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy deal in 2014 as a reward for his form with club side Gala.

Sutherland - who is fast approaching 100 appearances for the capital side - has bounced back from injury magnificently in recent years, making his mark at both club level and on the international stage.

A 2016 Scotland debut saw Sutherland earn three caps in quick succession, but a series of injury complications meant his international involvement was curtailed for four years, before a triumphant return for the 2020 Guinness Six Nations campaign.

The Hawick scrummager has since become a mainstay of a terrific Scotland pack who compete and dominate opposing forwards in a way not seen for many a year. Indeed, Sutherland has only been on the losing side three times in his past 11 Test matches, as if to highlight the importance of this international return.

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