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Toulouse Will Not Release Scotland Star For Lions Tour

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.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 24: Richie Gray of Scotland in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Scotland and Ireland at Murrayfield Stadium on February 24, 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: Maro Itoje of England is pursued by Alex Cuthbert of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between England and Wales at Twickenham Stadium on March 12, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Gatland has a few tough choices to make over the coming months.

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Read next: Pundit Arena columnist Andy Goode picks his Lions XV to start against New Zealand.

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