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Hamish Watson backs Lions squad to inspire the next generation

Hamish Watson backs Lions squad to inspire the next generation
© Reuters
There are eight Scots in Warren Gatland's team to tour South Africa this summer.

Hamish Watson hopes he and his fellow Scots in the British and Irish Lions squad can inspire a new generation.

Watson was one of eight members of Gregor Townsend's side to be named in the party to tour South Africa this summer.

Warren Gatland only selected two Scots, Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour, in his original squad in 2017, although Finn Russell and Allan Dell joined the party during the tour.

The Scottish contingent is the biggest since 1989.

"I think growing up now it will be slightly different for young kids maybe watching this announcement," Watson said.

"Hopefully if us eight Scottish lads can all train and perform well, then who knows how many will actually be in the Test team?

"That's great for fans watching, if they can fully get behind us, but also for kids watching.

"When I was growing up, I can't remember '97 when we last had a lot of Scots, or '93 before that.

"For young kids coming up now, they can actually see a lot of Scottish players are getting in the squad and I think that's great for them as well.

"It's great for them to see people in their country are achieving that. It's really good for the whole nation."

Watson was heavily tipped to make the cut this time after winning the Guinness Six Nations player of the tournament award but his selection still came as a shock.

"It was a weird feeling, I wasn't jumping up and down or anything," the Edinburgh flanker said.

"It was just shock in a way, because although you think you may have a chance of something, you know how good the competition was, especially in the back row.

Hamish Watson
Hamish Watson on the ball for Scotland (Jane Barlow/PA)

"To get on to a Lions tour is not something you ever think you're ever going to achieve, so it was a very surreal moment.

"It truly is because it's the pinnacle of rugby for anyone in the northern hemisphere, in the UK and Ireland.

"Going on Lions tours is the top of the game for all of us, so it's an amazing thing to achieve. I'm just really happy for me and my family."

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Wales boss Warren Gatland pictured on November 1, 2019
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