Stuart Hogg has backed Scotland flanker Hamish Watson to be selected for the British and Irish Lions’ tour to South Africa.
Watson was arguably Scotland’s best player in the Six Nations, and has been recognised by the tournament’s organisers for his performances by being nominated for the player of the championship.
Scotland captain Hogg was speaking on the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast and revealed that he rates Watson as one of the best openside flankers in the world.
Here are this year’s nominees for the eagerly awaited #GuinnessSixNations Player Of The Championship! 🏆
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 28, 2021
“He’s been one of our best players for a number of years, but I think in this Six Nations he has really come into his own,” Hogg said.
“He hardly missed a tackle. His work-rate is not only in games, during the week he really drives standards, he gets the best out of his body. He’s a real professional and doesn’t take himself too seriously.
“He has been phenomenal for a number of years now and this Six Nations has put him up there with the best sevens definitely in Britain if not the world.”
‘It’s all in the hands of Gatland.’
Lions head coach Warren Gatland has a history of not selecting many Scottish players in his touring squads, with only two Scotsmen – Hogg and Tommy Seymour – named in the original squad for the 2017 tour to New Zealand.
While Scotland performed quite well in the 2017 Six Nations, winning three of their five matches, Gatland ultimately selected far more players from each of the other three Lions nations in his squad.
History isn’t exactly on Scotland’s side when it comes to Lions representation, but Hogg is hopeful that the away wins against England and France will persuade Gatland to select more Scots.
“A result at Twickenham and in Paris are massive for us because I’m led to believe they’re looking at away records and the fact that we haven’t backed up what we said we were going to do in previous years,” Hogg commented.
“I’d like to think there will be more than two Scots. I’d love to see as many Scottish boys on that tour as possible.
“We’ve played some good rugby individually and collectively. It’s all in the hands of Gatland and the rest of the coaches, so fingers crossed.”