PROVIDED he completes his recovery from injury on time - and there is every sign he will - Greig Laidlaw is sure to be invited to go on tour this summer.
The question is which tour. With Scotland heading for Australia and their first Tests under new head coach Gregor Townsend, the inclusion of the scrum-half would provide some welcome continuity from the Vern Cotter regime.
The Scotland captain, who has been out of action since being injured against France in February, has already discussed plans for the national squad with Townsend.
But at the same time, there could be a role for Laidlaw in the Lions squad on the tour to New Zealand. Warren Gatland, the Lions' head coach, has said he is thinking of including players who, while not initially thought of as contenders for a starting place in the Test team, would provide experienced leadership for the midweek side - and that is the sort of role that would appear to suit Laidlaw perfectly.
All will be revealed in three weeks' time when Gatland announces the tour party. In the meantime, Laidlaw will concentrate on making that comeback from injury, and wait to learn what shape his summer will take.
"I've spoken to Gregor," Laidlaw said yesterday at Murrayfield, where he was attending the launch of the new partnership between Scottish Rugby and Mitsubishi Motors.
"He's obviously keen to get a few things in place for the summer tour, and we want to hit the ground running. I've talked to Gregor about multiple things - captaincy and playing. First and foremost, as always, is my performance.
"My form will need to be up there to play in an ever-improving Scotland team. There's competition for places now right throughout the squad, which is brilliant, and that can only drive performance.
"I think Vern has taken the squad from [when] we were obviously struggling, to now where we're winning games. So his legacy will have been a massive improvement, in my opinion, for the whole squad.
"He's developed a real culture within the team now, a culture that everybody respects.
"We're at a good place now and it's very important we make sure we use that and push on over the coming years. Gregor's coming in, he's done a great job at Glasgow, and we want to hit the ground running on the summer tour off the back of a positive Six Nations. We're always looking to how we can improve. Looking towards the summer tour there is change coming. We won three games out of five [in the Six Nations] but we want to win five from five.
"I think I have a good grasp on how the game should be played. But we are always looking for things to improve."
A player as highly competitive as Laidlaw would always want to be in any starting line-up, and even if he is only invited on the Lions tour as a midweek captain, he will back himself to force his way into contention for a place in the Test team.
Lions tours have tended to be even more attritional than ordinary international rugby, and if he wanted an example of what can happen, he need only recall what happened to Andy Nicol back in 2001: not even in the original tour party in Australia, the scrum-half, also a Scotland captain in his day, ended up on the bench for the third Test against the Wallabies.
n Mitsubishi Motors UK are a new official partner of Scottish Rugby. As a part of the partnership Mitsubishi Motors will also become title sponsors of the Schools and Youth Conference. Both partnerships will build towards 2019 and support the game from grassroots to the elite squad.
Credit: Stuart Bathgate
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