British and Irish Lions tours have been synonymous with the bolt out of the blue selections of uncapped players or those with next to no Test match experience. Rugby lovers can book their South Africa A Vs British And Irish Lions Tickets on discounted prices easily.
And while next summer’s curtailed eight-match tour to South Africa offers slightly less scope for Warren Gatland. To detonate one of his selection grenades associated with his 12 years in Wales. Don’t bet against the grizzled Kiwi lobbing a left-field name into the squad.
Derek Quinnell was uncapped when the head of the great Welsh rugby clan was plucked by Carwyn James. Straight from a strong Llanelli side to be a member of the famous 1971 Lions tour of New Zealand.In 1989 ‘Prince of Centres’ Jeremy Guscott was called up to tour Australia whilst still uncapped for England.
Little was known of the Bath man when selected other than his elegant running style and eye for a gap. And eight years later Will Greenwood was picked out of relative anonymity by Ian McGeechan due to his fantastic support lines and ability to get over the whitewash at Leicester Tigers.
That tour John Bentley also put his name up in the pantheon of Lion’s bolters nine years after winning two caps for England before going on to represent the Great Britain rugby league team.He was labelled ‘one of the best and most inspired Lions selections’.
So who are the leading uncapped contenders and those with just a brief flirtation with Test rugby that could be making headline news in 2021 Gatland names his squad for the three-Test series with the 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks?
We give you the runners and riders…..
Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales, uncapped)
It was a source of frustration among some Welsh rugby fans when the 19-year-old jet-heeled Gloucester wing prodigy was called up to the 2020 Six Nations squad and never got capped by Wayne Pivac. Rugby lovers can book their South Africa Invitational Vs British And Irish Lions Tickets on discounted prices easily.
Rees-Zammit admitted himself he was ‘not a happy camper’ and devastated. Not to play after shooting to prominence at Kingsholm with 12 tries in 15 games for the west country giants.
With pace to scorch the hard grounds of South Africa, Gatland has enjoyed success with Welsh wingers in his Lions squad. If he can maintain the stellar standards when English Premiership rugby resumes next weekend. Not all eyebrows would be raised if the Cardiff-born whiz-kid was called into the squad.
Alex Dombrandt (England, uncapped)
Last weekend former England back-row big-hitter Peter Winterbottom voiced his bemusement. Why the barnstorming Wales Under-20s cap continues to stay on the England sidelines under stubborn coach Eddie Jones.
Rembrandt has had a meteoric rise after leaving Cardiff Met for Quins in 2018, when his career took off in all aspects, except recognition at Test level. Rugby lovers can book their Springboks Vs British And Irish Lions Tickets on discounted prices easily.
At 6ft 4ins and 18th 5lbs, the 23-year-old has all the attributes to cut it at Test level. This leaves Winterbottom incredulous Jones continues to snub the “The Dominator”.
He told The Rugby Paper: “Dombrandt’s potential is massive. He is a skilful player, he has good hands, whether it’s passing, linking or offloading – he’s a quick big man who hits good lines in attack.”
Winterbottom added he was even more mystified. When Jones presses openside flanker Tom Curry into No.8 duties in the Six Nations when Billy Vunipola was injured.
“There is nothing I see that means Dombrandt would not be a very good international No.8 now,” he added.
“Curry did a good job at eight but is far more explosive carrying the ball. Going forward he is one of the best in the country. That’s why I thought the England coaches would have taken him to the 2019 World Cup. If it is about refining his game at the top level and making good decisions, being there would have been invaluable.”
Uncapped by England doesn’t always translate into uncapped by the Lions – ask Greenwood and Guscott?
Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland, uncapped)
The 6ft 4ins and 16st 10lbs South African Under-20s wing only qualified for Scotland in June after serving his three-year residency period north of the border with Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh side.
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has since made it clear. An international call-up is a matter of when not if and don’t rule out a debut against Wales. This autumn in their delayed 2020 Six Nations Championship clash. A delight for stats anoraks in the Guinness PRO14.
Van der Merwe making 73 carries beating 61 defenders the most of any player in the tournament.He has made 27 clean breaks (tournament-leading), 756 run metres (tournament-leading) and has seven tries to his name (third in the competition).
He has time on his side to stake his claim for Lions selection. When the Six Nations resumes later this year. Another wing who could leave Gatland drooling given his pace, power and physical prowess.