Cape Town - Stormers and Scotland centre Huw Jones believes the British and Irish Lions squad that will tour New Zealand for three Tests in June is the strongest he has ever seen.
Coach Warren Gatland announced his 41-man squad on Wednesday and Jones, who made his Scotland debut in 2016 and was not considered because of injury, believes that this group of players can get the job done against the All Blacks.
"It’s the strongest British and Irish Lions squad I have ever seen selected and competition for places was hotly contested," said Jones.
"There is strength in depth and all the players that have been picked are deserving of their places."
Jones does, however, believe that more than two Scots should have been chosen in the squad.
Only Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour from Scotland will make the trip to New Zealand.
"I agree with Jim Telfer who said Scotland have the most creative back division in northern hemisphere rugby," said Jones.
"We attacked really well in the Six Nations and scored some cracking tries. I’m sad for my national team-mates who didn’t make it but I’m absolutely delighted for Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour who have cracked the nod.
"Stuart is nailed on for a starting team berth in most people’s eyes, including mine, and Tommy is definitely deserving of his place even though he has not been spoken of by many people.
"For me, he is the standout wing in Europe at the moment.
"In terms of the centres that have been selected, I believe it’s a strong mix. Rob Howley has said that he is looking for pace, power and X-factor and, in the midfielders they have selected, that is exactly what they will get.
"On a personal front, missing out on this year’s tour gives me more motivation to aim for the next Lions tour which will take place in South Africa in 2021. I see it as a four-year plan and if I continue to produce consistent performances for Scotland, I hope to impress the British and Irish Lions selectors."
British and Irish Lions 41-man squad for the summer three-Test tour of New Zealand announced on Wednesday:
Elliot Daly (ENG), Anthony Watson (ENG), Lee Halfpenny (WAL), Liam
Williams (WAL), George North (WAL), Stuart Hogg (SCO), Jack Nowell
(ENG), Jared Payne (IRL), Tommy Seymour (SCO)
Centres: Ben Te'o (ENG), Jonathan Davies (WAL), Owen Farrell (ENG), Robbie Henshaw (IRL), Jonathan Joseph (ENG)
Flyhalves: Jonathan Sexton (IRL), Dan Biggar (WAL)
Scrumhalves: Conor Murray (IRL), Rhys Webb (WAL), Ben Youngs (ENG)
Taulupe Faletau (WAL), Billy Vunipola (ENG), Sam Warburton (WAL, capt),
Sean O'Brien (IRL), CJ Stander (IRL), Ross Moriarty (WAL), Peter
O'Mahony (IRL), Justin Tipuric (WAL)
Locks: Maro Itoje (ENG), Alun Wyn Jones (WAL), Iain Henderson (IRL), George Kruis (ENG), Courtney Lawes (ENG)
Tighthead props: Tadhg Furlong (IRL), Dan Cole (ENG), Kyle Sinckler (ENG)
Hookers: Jamie George (ENG), Rory Best (IRL), Ken Owens (WAL)
Loosehead props: Mako Vunipola (ENG), Joe Marler (ENG), Jack McGrath (IRL)
Fixtures for the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand:
June 3: v Provincial Union XV, Whangarei
June 7: v Blues, Auckland
June 10: v Crusaders, Christchurch
June 13: v Highlanders, Dunedin
June 17: v Maori All Blacks, Rotorua
June 20: v Chiefs, Waikato
June 24: 1ST TEST v NEW ZEALAND, Auckland
June 27: v Hurricanes, Wellington
July 1: 2ND TEST v NEW ZEALAND, Wellington
July 8: 3RD TEST v NEW ZEALAND, Auckland