Even within the Six Nations bubble, Lions tour will loom large | Ugo Monye

Players will not admit it, but the prospect of selection for tour of South Africa will be on their minds in this year’s tournament

Don’t let anyone tell you any differently – as much as the players won’t want to say so publicly the chance to push for the British & Irish Lions squad is already on their minds as the Six Nations begins. They would not be human beings if it wasn’t and, while it really goes up a notch around the time of the second fallow week, making that touring party is occupying thoughts now.

At the start of their respective Six Nations camps, the players will have been subjected to one of the weirdest experiences of their careers – getting kitted out for their British & Irish Lions jerseys long before they will know if they actually make the squad or not. It happens every four years for the home nations – it allows the Lions to have the relevant photographs when it comes to squad announcement day – but it doesn’t make the process any more comfortable. Think about a final of a World Cup or a major competition – it’s a bit like that in the sense that no player wants to even look at the trophy. Well this is having to look at, touch and even wear that prized red jersey.

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