Jim Hamilton out to impress Warren Gatland when Barbarians face British and Irish Lions
Last Updated: 01/06/13 12:50pm
Jim Hamilton is determined to prove his worth to Warren Gatland when he lines out for the Barbarians against the Lions on Saturday.
The Scotland lock is on Lions standby after being overlooked for the initial squad, but hopes he can make a lasting impression during the Hong Kong contest.
"I was extremely disappointed to not be going on the Lions tour," said the Montpellier-bound forward.
"It's a boyhood dream. Every guy who plays professional rugby, who is British or Irish, it's a dream for them.
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"My form in the Six Nations was the best it has been. I couldn't have asked for any more, personally, of myself and as a team, for Scotland, we did reasonably well.
"I thought I put myself in a good position and then a guy called Paul O'Connell came back and played well.
"That (disappointment) subsided and you just have to move on. To get the opportunity to play for the Baa-Baas, I wouldn't even say it's a secondary thing for me. I'd say it's on a par with playing for the Lions."
Hamilton admits his combative approach may not be ideal if the Lions are planning an expansive outlook in Australia, yet he still believes he has plenty to offer should a late call-up occur.
He said: "I've got to be realistic about things - the type of game they want to play, the team they're playing, the grounds they're going to be playing on there.
"Are they going to suit me 100 per cent? They are probably not."
Three Scots were named in the original playing party - second row Richie Gray, full-back Stuart Hogg and wing Sean Maitland - and they all start tomorrow.
The Lions head to Happy Valleys racecourse for a little down time ahead of the first match against the Baabaas.
Hamilton has tipped Gray to show his best form after a challenging year at Sale Sharks.
"Richie has been disappointed with the way he's gone this year, but form is temporary, class is permanent," Hamilton said.
"He's a class player, he's a hell of an athlete, he's a young man and I think the environment being with the Lions will suit him really well.
"I think the way the Lions will want to play and the type of teams they're playing, he'll be an integral part of the Lions team."
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