The thirteenth article in a series analyses the options Warren Gatland has on the wings for the British and Irish Lions 2017 tour of New Zealand. Due to the extent of the depth in this position in each of the four nations, this article will be split into four separate pieces with each piece focusing on the best wingers from each country. Next up is Scotland.
Scotland – Tommy Seymour, Tim Visser, Sean Maitland, Damien Hoyland
Currently top of the Guinness Pro12 try scoring list with eight and joint top of the clean breaks list with 18, Seymour is arguably Scotland’s most in form winger.
Named as one of four wingers in Scotland’s Six Nations squad, the man born in Nashville, Tennessee is likely to start most games in the tournament in a starting fifteen anticipated to be filled with Glasgow Warriors players.
He has been reliable in defence for the Dark Blue but his attacking play is the strongest aspect of his game, highlighted by his 75 points in 31 Scotland appearances. Seymour faces stiff competition for a place in this Lions squad but he could arguably earn a call-up from Gatland if he can produce some high-quality performances in the Six Nations, as well as continue to perform for Glasgow in the Pro12 and European competitions.
Born in the Netherlands, Visser started his rugby career at the Newcastle Falcons but soon moved to Edinburgh to improve his chances of earning selection for Scotland.
Currently at Harlequins, Visser stands at 1.96 metres and 100 odd kilos highlighting the fact that he would not seem out of place in a second row.
Despite his size and weight, Visser has the speed of a winger and the ball-handling skills of a back – although his defensive qualities have been questioned in the past. Visser has scored seven tries from eleven matches this season for Harlequins and started on the wing for the narrow loss to Australia in the 2016 Autumn series.
Named in the Scottish squad for the upcoming Six Nations, Visser is likely to be an outsider for Lions selection but some top-quality performances for the Dark Blue may change that.
Named as one of the initial four wingers for the 2013 Lions tour of Australia, Maitland gave up his aspirations of donning an All Black’s shirt when he moved to Glasgow in 2012.
He enjoyed a fantastic first season in the northern hemisphere, scoring a try on his international debut against England as well as putting in a series of capable performances for the Warriors.
Maitland has since moved on to London Irish and now Saracens – for whom he has scored 35 points in 12 matches. An astute tryscorer, Maitland is likely to be Seymour’s initial partner on the Scottish wings and so will get the opportunities to showcase why he was so highly regarded by Gatland in 2013.
An exciting and powerful runner with ball in hand, Hoyland is 23, plays for Edinburgh in the Pro12, has been capped twice by Scotland and has been named ahead of the injured Rory Hughes for Scotland’s 2017 Six Nations squad.
Hoyland has also represented the Dark Blue in the 7s format and was the top try scorer in the 2015 Wellington Sevens. An exciting prospect who is expected to challenge for Scottish starting berths on the wings for years to come, Hoyland is currently a strong outsider for Lions selection partly due to a lack of experience. Some strong performances in the upcoming Six Nations should see public opinion of him improve, with it being probable that Hoyland will challenge for a place on the 2021 Lions tour to South Africa.
Graham Manditsch, Pundit Arena