Despite the fact that it goes against all common sense, the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa now looks almost certain to go ahead as planned.

With more than 1.5m cases and 52,000 deaths, South Africa is the worst-affected country in the entire continent, but the second wave seems to be coming to an end as just eight deaths were recorded on Monday. Mass vaccination programmes are already under way, but will be nowhere near complete by the time the Lions arrive, and South Africa does, of course, have its own nasty variant of the virus, and possibly more variants to come.

Don’t forget that the tour is due to start with a Test against Japan at Murrayfield at the end of June before the Lions play eight matches, including three Tests, in July and August The Lions Board and South African Rugby had looked at playing matches in the UK and Ireland, or relocating the tour to Australia, but have now announced that they are committed to the tour being held in South Africa as planned.

British and Irish Lions chairman Jason Leonard said late last month: “After reviewing information relating to the various contingency scenarios being considered, I can confirm that the Board’s intended position is for the tour to go ahead as scheduled in South Africa in 2021.

“We acknowledge that there is a significant amount of work still to be undertaken to deliver a robust Covid-19 countermeasure plan to ensure a successful, safe and uninterrupted tour. SA Rugby will have our full support to help implement this plan.”

It may well be that the tour is curtailed with perhaps just one or two ‘warm up’ matches and the three tests, and perhaps significantly the latest announcement says the Lions Board and SA Rugby are "aligned" on delivering the three-Test series in South Africa during the "scheduled playing window”.

Sounds to me they are preparing for a cut-down version of the Tour, but even that is a huge risk to players and backroom staff, even if they have been vaccinated – and should professional sports people get their jags before the rest of the population? I think not.

We have already had the quadrennial game of pundits and press trying to pick the squad, and after the Six Nations it looked like at least half a dozen Scots were in contention, with Stuart Hogg even tipped as a possible captain.

Personally I would have Hogg, Finn Russell, and Johnny Gray in the Test XV, but with Warren Gatland as Head Coach, you can bet the Welsh contingent will outnumber the Scots and three starters is as much as we can expect..

The problem for every other would-be Scottish Lion, such as Hamish Watson, Rory Sutherland, and Duhan Van Der Merwe is that they are playing for two teams that have under-achieved all season. Sunday’s disastrous defeat of Edinburgh by Racing 92 in the European Champions Cup was a case in point – I haven’t seen such a demolition all season, and even without Russell, Racing had far too much strength and flair for an Edinburgh side who have had far too many bad days at the office this season.

The same goes for Glasgow Warriors, whose indiscipline against Montpellier on Saturday cost them the game, frankly. That they had to rely on Edinburgh stopping Dragons to squeeze into fourth place in Pro-14 Conference A and play in the Champions Cup next season was a matter of relief for head coach Danny Wilson and his staff, but with the talent they have, the Warriors should never have been in that position.

Edinburgh will be in the Challenge Cup again, and their performances in Pro-14 Conference B suggest they will probably stay there unless they blood new talent and get the forwards winning enough ball to allow their undoubtedly versatile backs to attack – and they’re losing Van der Merwe into the bargain.

In fairness to both our professional sides, it has been a very poor year for all the Pro-14 sides compared to their English and French rivals. Only Leinster are left in the Champions Cup, and I’m afraid that sums up the problem for Glasgow and Edinburgh – they have both finished outside the top three in the two Conferences of a league that is very much third best behind the French Top 14 and English Premiership.

In a way Gatland could do Scottish rugby a favour and leave everyone except Hogg, Russell, Gray and Watson behind so that they can spend the summer rebuilding both squads for the challenge ahead next season, when hopefully we will be able to attend matches in person and see some Scottish success.

Having co-written a whole book about them, I am only too aware of how a Lions tour is the pinnacle of a player’s career, but I don’t think too many Scottish players are ready for selection yet, and they won’t be until the Warriors and Edinburgh are back on song.