The scheduling of the Lions tour is becoming a trickier task in modern rugby, with the end of the club league season clashing with the beginning of the trip to the southern hemisphere.
The planning for next June’s campaign in New Zealand is underway, after Warren Gatland has been confirmed as the head coach.
However, he already has several headaches to deal with, not least the small matter of facing up against the imperious All Blacks.
According to RugbyRama, the Kiwi will be without Richie Gray for the beginning of the tour, should Toulouse reach the business end of the Top 14, and if Gatland elects to select the Scottish lock. The French club will not allow the Scotland international to leave the side early.
This is in contrast to Leigh Halfpenny, who said he would forego Toulon’s end-of-season games should he be selected for the Lions.
This could damage Gray’s chances of selection, and the second row is already an extremely competitive area. Maro Itoje, Jonny Gray, Iain Henderson, Alun Wyn Jones, Ultan Dillane and George Kruis are just some of the names in contention at lock.
Gatland has a few tough choices to make over the coming months.