Allan Dell and Finn Russell will look back on their British & Irish Lions experience with “no regrets”.
The Scots duo were part of Head Coach Warren Gatland’s six-strong mid-tour call-ups, designed to ease the burden on the Test match squad.
Gatland’s decision has been criticised for devaluing the shirt, amid claims the players were selected on proximity ahead of pure merit.
In the end, Dell and Russell are the only call-ups to take to the field, with the four Welsh players not featuring at all.
Loosehead prop Dell now heads back to Edinburgh Rugby with stand-off Russell on the way back to Scotsoun and Glasgow Warriors ahead of 2017/18.
Dell said: “It’s something you jump at and could be a once in a lifetime opportunity. And we’ve been privileged enough to receive that opportunity, and fortunate enough to get games.
“Obviously it wasn’t as much time as we would have liked, and we haven’t been able to show what we’re fully capable of, but it’s still fantastic.
“And you’re just not going to say no to the Lions. Obviously it’s frustrating not to have had more game time. Any player would say that, but we’re privileged enough to have had those chances, and that’s something we can take back and learn from.
“You don’t come over wanting to just fill numbers, we’re professionals, and you come over wanting to prove and to show you deserve to be in this scenario.
“That’s the bit of frustration, but we understand we came in with a role and a job to play, and we’re more than happy to fill that job and be a part of it. But at the same time you want to play, that’s why you play rugby.”
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and no one would turn it down.
“A career’s too short to turn down opportunities like this. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions, but we knew the truth of that all along. Reading things like that online doesn’t really bother you. It’s a free world.”
Russell added: “I’m definitely glad I came out here; you’d really regret not coming out here.
“It’s a big chance. It might never happen again. So you take it and make the most of it. We’ve only been here 10 days, it’s been so quick.
“We were on such a high after the Australia game, then we were flown out and one thing rolls into the other.
“I guess in time it will sink in what it really means to play for the Lions, once we’re back home and have a bit more time to think it through.
“For the boys who were picked after the 6 Nations, they had all the build-up, but for us it was a very quick turnaround. So you just jump straight in and give it a go in a completely different environment. That’s tough, but it’s good fun, and it’s been a good experience.
“It’s a no-brainer that you come. I don’t think anyone would turn down the Lions.”
Allan Dell and Finn Russell are pictured with fellow Scot Greig Laidlaw by David Gibson/FOTOSPORT
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