THREE SCOTS ON LIONS TOUR
Scotland captain Gordon Bulloch, No 8 Simon Taylor and scrum-half Chris Cusiter have been selected to join the British & Irish Lions for their 11-match tour of New Zealand this summer.
SRU President Gordon Dixon said: "On behalf of the entire Scottish Rugby community I congratulate Gordon, Simon and Chris on this richly-deserved honour.
"Gordon and Simon know what it is to represent the Lions having done so on their last tour to Australia in 2001, while for Chris this will be a new experience but one for which he is supremely equipped.
"I'm sure other Scots will be disappointed not to have been included in the 44-man party but recent experience indicates that those in the selection mix should maintain their focus as they could yet find themselves in New Zealand."
Taylor attended the squad announcement in London this afternoon while fellow Lions Bulloch and Cusiter met the real thing at Edinburgh Zoo, where they were introduced to Asiatic lions Kamlesh, Gita and Royal.
The Lions tour fixtures are:
4 Jun 2005 British and Irish Lions v. Bay of Plenty Rotorua International Stadium
8 Jun 2005 British and Irish Lions v. Taranaki Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
11 Jun 2005 British and Irish Lions v. NZ Maori Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
15 Jun 2005 British and Irish Lions v. Wellington Westpac Stadium, Wellington
18 Jun 2005 British and Irish Lions v. Otago Carisbrook, Dunedin
21 Jun 2005 British and Irish Lions v. Southland Rugby Park, Invercargill
25 Jun 2005 * British and Irish Lions v. All Blacks Jade Stadium, Christchurch
28 Jun 2005 British and Irish Lions v. Manawatu Arena Manawatu, Palmerston North
2 Jul 2005 * British and Irish Lions v. All Blacks Westpac Stadium, Wellington
5 Jul 2005 British and Irish Lions v. Auckland Eden Park, Auckland
9 Jul 2005 * British and Irish Lions v. All Blacks Eden Park, Auckland
Squad: Brian O'Driscoll (Captain), Neil Back, Iain Balshaw, Gordon Bulloch, Shane Byrne, Gareth Cooper, Martin Corry, Chris Cusiter, Lawrence Dallaglio, Matt Dawson, Will Greenwood, Danny Grewcock, John Hayes, Gavin Henson, Denis Hickie, Richard Hill, Charlie Hodgson, Shane Horgan, Gethin Jenkins, Stephen Jones, Ben Kay, Josh Lewsey, Lewis Moody, Geordan Murphy, Donnacha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell, Ronan O'Gara, Malcolm O'Kelly, Michael Owen, Dwayne Peel, Jason Robinson, Graham Rowntree, Tom Shanklin, Andy Sheridan, Ollie Smith, Matt Stevens, Simon Taylor, Gareth Thomas, Steve Thompson, Andy Titterrell, Julian White, Martyn Williams, Shane Williams
GORDON BULLOCH (West of Scotland and Glasgow Rugby). Hooker. Born 26.3.75 in Glasgow. 5ft 11in, 15st 12lbs. Gordon Campbell Bulloch surpassed Colin Deans and became Scotland's most-capped hooker when he won his 53rd cap against Wales in August 2003. A week later he became Scotland's 104th Test match captain when he led the side against Ireland. He has now captained Scotland on 11 occasions, having led his country throughout the international programme this season. In 2002 he was named Scottish Mutual man of the match for his magnificent display in Scotland's victory against South Africa at Murrayfield. In the previous season he scored a brace of tries in Scotland's 27-22 victory against Wales. He made a late entry to the 2001 British & Irish Lions touring party, being called in to cover injury in the squad. Quickly an integral part of the team, Gordon played in five of the tour games including as a substitute in the first Test win against Australia. In 1999 he was chosen for a World XV as part of the Argentinian Rugby Union's centenary celebrations following his part in Scotland's Five Nations Championship success. He scored his second try for Scotland in the opening Six Nations Championship match against Italy (2000), his first having been against Fiji on the 1998 southern hemisphere tour. A former captain of both Glasgow and West of Scotland, he led the district team to the quarter-final play-off in the 1997-98 European Cup, and in 1996-97 he skippered West to promotion to Premiership Division One. A former pupil of Hutchesons' GS and a graduate of the Scotland under-19 and under-21 sides, he has had four tours in southern Africa. He helped the Scottish team to fourth place in the 1996 Students' World Cup, played in the three victories on the 1997 Scotland XV tour, appeared in three of the four matches on the1999 venture and played in both Tests in 2003. He won his first A cap in the win against Emerging Wales in January, 1997, and went on to play against all of Scotland's Five Nations opponents at that level. In December 1997 he won his first full cap in the match against South Africa. His younger brother, Alan, is an under-21, A and full-cap internationalist at centre and wing and, like Gordon, was in Scotland's 1998 tour party to Fiji and Australia, 1999 squad in South Africa and 2000 tour to New Zealand. Their father, Jim, refereed at club level. Gordon has played 137 games for Glasgow Rugby in the pro-team era, leading them on 39 occasions. He has scored 51 points for Glasgow Rugby through nine tries and three conversions.
International record: 75 caps. 1997 - SA. 1998 - It I F W E Fj A1 SA. 1999 - W E It I F Arg WC(SA U Sam NZ). 2000 - It I W(r) NZ1 NZ2 A (rep) Sam(rep). 2001 - F W E It I T Arg NZ. 2002 - E It I F W C USA R SA Fj. 2003 - I F W E It SA1 SA2 It (rep) W I WC(USA F Fj A). 2004 - W E It F I Sam A1 A2 A J A SA. 2005 - F I It W E Points: 20 - 4 tries.
CHRIS CUSITER (Watsonians and The Borders). Scrum-half. Born 13.6.82 in Aberdeen. Height: 5ft 9ins. Weight: 12st 6lbs. Christopher Peter Cusiter was named RBS Man of the Match for his battling display in Scotland's loss to France in the opening game of the 2005 RBS 6 Nations Championship. Scotland's first choice scrum half throughout the 2004 summer tour and Abbey Autumn Tests, Cusiter is only in his second season of international rugby. He made his first start for Scotland in the 2004 RBS 6 Nations championship match against Wales. His Scotland A debut was as a second-half substitute in the victory against Romania in November 2002 and he followed that in the same month with an appearance, again as a replacement, against Fiji. In 2003 he played in all five of Scotland's under-21 internationals, scoring a stunning individual try in the 41-11 victory against Italy under-21 in Aberdeen. He played for North Schools at under-15, under-16 and under-18 levels, captaining the side in the two senior teams. He also represented Scottish Schools at under-15, under-16 and under-18 and graduated to both the Scotland under-18 and under-19 teams, competing in the FIRA Junior World Championship in Chile in April 2001 with the latter. Educated at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, his brother, Calum, also a scrum-half has played age-grade rugby for Scotland and at Boroughmuir, while his dad, Stan, was stand-off for Gordonians and also represented North and Midlands. Chris has played his club rugby with Watsonians and Boroughmuir and was enlisted to train with Glasgow rugby before joining The Borders. He is a member of the Scottish Institute of Sport.
International record: 16 caps. 2004 - W E It F I Sam A1 A2 A J A SA. 2005 - F I It W. 5 points - 1 try.
SIMON TAYLOR (Heriot's and Edinburgh Rugby) Back-row forward. Born 17.8.79 in Stirling. 6ft 4in, 17st 1lb. Simon Marcus Taylor returned to Scotland action against Italy in the 2005 RBS 6 Nations after a year out due to a knee injury sustained in the 2004 tournament. A week later he featured in the North v South IRB Tsunami Aid match at Twickenham and continued his comeback by rejoining Scotland for the matches against Wales and England, scoring his fifth Test match try in the Calcutta Cup contest. He was named The Famous Grouse Scotland Player of the Season for 2002-2003, fitting reward for performances encapsulated by his heroic defensive contribution to the game against England when he weighed in with 23 tackles. He scored his first Test try in the match against Canada on the 2002 tour in which he started at openside flanker and then made some pile-driving contributions when he was fielded at No 8 against the USA. He scored his first try in a Murrayfield Test match in Scotland's 30-22 March 2003 win against Wales and followed that up a year later at the Millennium Stadium. He was named Lloyds TSB Man of the Match for his display against Italy in the 29-12 Scotland victory in February 2002. In the 2003 Rugby World Cup he started in every match. In summer 2001 Taylor made a try-scoring debut for the British & Irish Lions in their 116-10 victory over Western Australia before a knee injury unfortunately ended his tour and he returned to Scotland to pass the final exams of his law degree at Edinburgh University. His selection was reward for his first season in international rugby after having made his debut for Scotland in the November 2000 Autumn Test against the USA. The following week he played 75 minutes with a double fracture of his left hand against the world champion Wallabies. On his return from that injury Taylor made a top-drawer contribution to Scotland A's 42-20 win against Wales A, scoring the Scots' final try. That performance saw him catapulted into the starting line-up for the Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham. Taylor represented Scottish Schools in 1995-96 while he was at Morrison's Academy, and he went on to play for Scotland's under-18, under-19, and under-21 teams. He had two seasons in the under-19 team, leading the Scots in the Junior World Championship in France in 1998. After five matches for the national under-21 side in 1998-1999 he went on to play in ten more under-21 internationals in 1999-2000, including the victory over the New Zealand Youth at Jedburgh in December and the draw with Australia during the 2000 Southern Hemisphere Alliance tournament in New Zealand. In that latter match Taylor scored a try. In 1999-2000 he played a key role in Heriot's FP's second successive club championship and was rewarded with a professional contract with Edinburgh Reivers at the beginning of season 2000-2001.
International record: 38 caps. 2000 - USA A. 2001 - E It I NZ (rep). 2002 - E It I F W C USA R SA Fj. 2003 - I F W E It SA1 SA2 It I WC(J USA F Fj A). 2004 - W E It F I. 2005 - It W E. Points: 25 - 5 tries.