Potential Lions bolter Louis Rees-Zammit started the 2021 tour year with an excellently-taken try to help Gloucester take a 16-9 lead with them into the interval in their Saturday evening Gallagher Premiership game at home to Sale, a match the hosts went on to agonisingly lose 19-22 following a late Josh Beaumont score.

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The recent new Wales cap was name-checked this week as one of the exciting young players Ian McGeechan would like to see involved in next July’s Lions tour to South Africa. His glowing appraisal of the 19-year-old read: “There is no substitute for pace, but this potential bolter also glides past would-be tacklers without pausing for breath. Used properly he could wreak havoc, although he is prone to worrying defensive lapses.”

Ireland’s Caelan Doris and England’s Ollie Lawrence were other names suggested by McGeechan, the 2009 and 1997 Lions coach in South Africa, to look out for as momentum builds towards the much-anticipated selection by Warren Gatland of his 2021 squad.

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Goodbye 2020!

There was fresh doubt on Saturday about the viability of the Lions’ trip going ahead, CEO Ben Calveley admitting that a definitive decision will have to be taken by the end of February on whether the three-Test, eight-game tour can proceed despite the worsening toll the pandemic is taking in South Africa.

However, that developing concern didn’t deter Rees-Zammit from putting his hand up for selection as he pounced on 33 minutes at Kingsholm after Gloucester worked maul possession from one side of the pitch to the other around the halfway line and then allowed the winger to race in from the 22 to score.

“What a wonderful try,” chirped former England skipper Lawrence Dallaglio, who was commentating on the game for BT Sport. “You have got to give credit to Lloyd Evans, he just delays that pass, beautifully weighted and once they find the connection with Rees-Zammit it’s goodnight. He has got so much pace on the outside, a really lovely try.”

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“This was beautiful to watch,” added match presenter Martin Bayfield at half-time, a description followed by Ugo Monye’s take on the try. “It was lovely… it’s the timing of this pass from Lloyd Evans and Chris Harris just doing his best to link up with Rees-Zammit. The moment he got that ball, everyone knew it was a try. I knew it was a try, Sale Sharks knew it was a try. That guy is absolutely electric. The quickest guy across the squad… the boy knows how to score.”

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