Borderers Stuart Hogg and Rory Sutherland help British and Irish Lions to victory over South Africa
Borderer Stuart Hogg’s eight-year wait for his first test match with the British and Irish Lions is now over as he helped the tourists to a 22-17 victory against South Africa yesterday, July 24
The 29-year-old played the full 80 minutes of yesterday’s first test in Cape Town, and he was joined by fellow ex-Hawick star Rory Sutherland in the starting line-up.
Sutherland, 28, was an 11th-hour addition to the Lions’ starting XV as Wyn Jones was ruled out by a shoulder injury.
Jones suffered that injury during training on Thursday but wasn’t dropped from the matchday squad until hours before yesterday’s game.
Sutherland, on the pitch for 57 minutes, had initially been named among the replacements and his place on the substitutes’ bench was taken by Mako Vunipola.
“It's really bad luck for Wyn and we all feel for him missing out,” said head coach Warren Gatland.
“However, we’re confident he’ll be back in training next week and have no plans to bring in anyone else at this stage.”
Sutherland’s promotion to the Lions’ test team was far faster than his schoolmate Hogg’s as he only played his first game for the multinational side just under a month ago.
His late inclusion took the number of Scots in the starting XV to four, the most in a Lions test team since 1993, Gavin Hastings, Kenny Milne, Paul Burnell and Andy Reed having been fielded against New Zealand that time round.
It was also the first time two Borderers have played in a test match for the Lions since Gala’s Gregor Townsend, one of Gatland’s assistant coaches on the current tour, and Kelso’s Alan Tait lined up alongside each other against South Africa in June 1997.
They were among three Scots playing in that 18-15 victory, the other being Tom Smith, a Londoner by birth.
Gala’s Derek White and Hawick’s Tony Stanger were also in that touring squad.
This is ex-Gala star Sutherland’s first Lions tour and he started in 28-10 warm-up win against Japan in Edinburgh on Saturday, June 26; came off the bench 51 minutes into their 54-7 win against Cell C Sharks in Johannesburg on Wednesday, July 7; featured in the starting XV against the same opponents in Pretoria on Saturday, July 12, playing for 55 minutes of that 71-31 victory; and, on the pitch alongside Hogg in the Lions’ red for the first time, started last weekend and got 48 minutes’ game-time against DHL Stormers.
Hogg, on the other hand, is on his third tour after playing two provincial games in New Zealand in 2017 and five in Australia in 2013 besides the three games he’s featured in this time round.
Exeter Chief Hogg and Worcester Warrior Sutherland are among 13 ex-Hawick players called up by the Lions, their predecessors being Bob Burnet, Willie Burnet, Doug Davies, Colin Deans, Derrick Grant, Alex Laing, Hugh McLeod, Jim Renwick, Tony Stanger, Alan Tomes and Willie Welsh.
The Lions are now one-nil up in the three-test series against the Springboks and can clinch overall victory with another win next Saturday in Cape Town.