Borders rugby star Stuart Hogg to miss out on Lions’ game in Scotland
Hawick’s Stuart Hogg is one of only two Scots in this summer’s British and Irish Lions squad unavailable for their game on home turf later this month.
The 28-year-old is ruled out of that warm-up game against Japan at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday, June 26, as he’s still on club duty, and the same applies to his national side team-mate Finn Russell.
Scotland captain Hogg will be turning out for Exeter Chiefs against Sale in the Gallagher Premiership play-offs this Saturday, June 19, and Russell will be lining up for France’s Racing 92 against La Rochelle in the semi-finals of the Top 14 tomorrow night, June 18.
All the other six Scots in the Lions squad, currently at a training camp in Jersey ahead of their trip to South Africa in July and August, are available for selection by head coach Warren Gatland, though, and all are keen to play in their homeland, according to scrum-half Ali Price one of their number.
“It is massive for all the Scottish players to try and get ourselves involved in the 23 for that Japan game,” said Norfolk-born Price, 28.
“Our friends and family will be able to come and watch, albeit from the stands, and there will be no meet-and-greet after the game, but they will be there for most of the Scottish lads, bar Hoggy and Finn.
“It's an opportunity to get the first game under your belt for the Lions, so it's a big carrot for these first two weeks.”
It’s yet to be decided if the Japan game will be given full test status, but players are eager to be involved as not only is it only the third-ever domestic fixture to be played by the touring side but it might also end up being their only match this summer with spectators present.
Approval has been granted for a crowd of 16,500 to be allowed through the turnstiles at Murrayfield, but, as things stand, all the Lions’ games in South Africa will be played behind closed doors due to a rise in the number of coronavirus cases and less then one per cent of its population being fully vaccinated against the disease.