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Nick McCashin

Nick McCashin is a former Bay of Plenty representative who has played professionally in England, France and Spain. Nick is currently playing and coaching in Scotland where he is writing and developing content for www.prorugbyclub.com to help players excel on and off the field.

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Six Scotland players to make the Lions

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Nick McCashin     29 Mar 2017     Getty Images

Watching one of my favourite films Braveheart helps to strengthen that connection as I can now recite many of the quotes from William Wallace. I must admit my Scottish accent and ear still needs some work but I have learnt a lot from my friends in the Borrrdeeers, Glasgow and the North.

Keep reading if ya dinnae mind talking about Rugby like, in the pub wi a wee dram o Whisky an pint o beer.

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Scotland have achieved their highest World Ranking of five after a solid showing in the just completed 6 Nations. Recording fantastic wins over Ireland, Wales and Italy, Scotland were narrowly beaten away from home by France before a putting on a poor showing against England at Twickenham.

Under Vern Cotter’s management there was some great rugby played and a few Scottish players have put their hand up for the DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017.

Check out my list of Scotland players to make the British & Irish Lions squad to tour New Zealand in June and July.

Zander Fagerson (Prop)

Some readers might be saying Zander who? The 21-year-old stood up big time in in the absence of WP Nel during the 6 Nations. With very little International experience behind him, Fagerson played a pivotal role in arguably one of the toughest positions in International rugby. Should Warren Gatland want to blood a few young players for future campaigns, Zander could be in the mix to play one or two of the midweek games against the New Zealand Super Rugby teams. Every young player from the Northern Hemisphere that is exposed to New Zealand rugby learns a lot and it is good for the game.

Hamish Watson (Loose Forward)

While not big in stature, Hamish Watson has an incredible work rate and possesses great speed and power for his size. If given the opportunity to step up, Watson could be a great adversary to Sam Cane or Ardie Savea. His 6 Nations campaign has not gone unnoticed as Sir Ian McGeechan also picked him in his form team. There is however some fierce competition in the back row positions. Watson is an unlikely choice ahead of CJ Stander, Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony, Jamie Heaslip, Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric, Toby Faletau, Maro Itoje and James Haskell.

Finn Russell (First five-eighth)

If Finn Russell had of put in a better performance against England he could have secured his place on the plane automatically. However it was not his or Scotland’s best performance. Despite the one mixed showing, I would still take him alongside Jonny Sexton, George Ford and Owen Farrell. All players offer different strengths and he could be a good back up for what seems like an injury prone Sexton. If Gatland only takes three fly halves it would be Sexton, Farrell and Russell for me.

Tommy Seymour (Wing)

Seymour has put his hand up with a number of pulsating performances during the 6 Nations campaign. When I was training with Scotland a few months ago he really impressed me and I believe his best is still to come. At 28-years-old, Seymour is a maturing player and has the power, speed and skill to match any other international player. He would be a solid option as a finisher on the wing and should get a look in for at least the mid-week games. Not many of the other wings in the competition really stood out to take on the likes of Julian Savea and Nehe Milner-Skudder.

Stuart Hogg (Fullback)

Almost everyone in Scotland loves Stuart Hogg. Hoggy who is born and bred in the borders of Scotland has been in impressive form on attack. He offers a bit of x-factor and an eye for a gap. I like him as a fullback and he has the potential to cover fly half with his kicking game. Should Hoggy improve his defensive game and continue to eradicate errors he would be a starter for me in the first Test ahead of Leigh Halfpenny and Mike Brown.

Fraser Brown (Hooker)

Looking back over all the games and the form of the Scotland players, my bolter for the series would be Fraser Brown. At hooker he put in a shift and matched the likes of Dylan Hartley, Rory Best and Ken Owens. Every team travelling to New Zealand will need depth in key positions. You always need more than two hookers to get through a tough campaign and Fraser would tick the box for my team.

Some Scotland fans will be attacking me down at the pub if I do not mention the Gray brothers. However I am not sure they have done enough to get a seat on the plane. While both are great players they are just a little behind the others in the race. Alun Wyn Jones has the leadership and captaincy potential (injury pending) and Iain Henderson has the all round game. Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury and a possible return of George Kruis would be stronger competition for Sam Whitelock and Brodie Rettalick. 

If I had to pick one of the Gray brothers it would be Richie Gray. Martin Johnson backs me up on this by saying that Richie has more impact and is a more mature player than he was four years ago.