Which Scots have propelled themselves to British & Irish Lions contention?

By Jessica BennetFor BBC Scotland

The 2021 Six Nations had eager eyes on it, none more so than British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland.

The New Zealander is preparing to take charge of his third Lions tour this summer with South Africa the latest destination after Australia in 2013 and his homeland in 2017.

Positions for this year's squad are highly competitive and Scotland's players made the most of their last attempt to impress in Friday's dramatic win in France.

Gatland has never selected more than three Scots in an initial Lions squad but will it be different this time? BBC Scotland assesses the Scots' hopes.

Who's on the plane?

Stuart Hogg is a safe bet to be picked. He was selected in 2013 and 2017 but was ruled out because of injury. He had a successful Six Nations captaining his country, with his kicking prowess impressing.

The Exeter player received 82% of votes from BBC Sport users who submitted their favourite XV to play in South Africa - the only Scot to make the selection.

BBC Sport readers' Lions XV
BBC Sport readers' British & Irish Lions XV

Finn Russell's flair on the pitch makes him a likely contender. The maverick fly-half had a good championship, despite a tough game against Ireland and missing the Italy game, but still provides creativity on the pitch with dexterity and sleight of hand. Competition at 10 is fierce with Jonny Sexton, Owen Farrell and Dan Biggar strong contenders.

Hamish Watson is also in that category. The flanker completed a huge 67 carriesexternal-link during the tournament and his consistency is unlikely to have gone unnoticed.

In the departure lounge?

Tackling machine Jonny Gray has a relentless work-rate and the Exeter lock offered plenty during the Six Nations, including high ball carrying statistics.

Edinburgh loosehead Rory Sutherland is a dynamic ball carrier, an impressive scrummager and a powerful defender.

The 'bolters'

Who could make a late charge for selection, having only recently burst on to the international stage?

Duhan van der Merwe? His stature and pace gave Scotland a nifty ball-carrying option, something they have previously lacked. With only 10 caps, the South Africa-born wing provided immense carries and powerful tries, including the winner against France on Friday.

At only 22, number eight Matt Fagerson is a huge asset to any team. He was ruled out for the final game in Paris with an ankle injury but impressed earlier in the championship.

Fraser Brown, Stuart McInally and Jamie Ritchie could have been in the running but a lack of minutes on the pitch may count against them.

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