Scotland and Lions out-half Finn Russell has questioned the tactical approach of Warren Gatland's side in their 2-1 series loss to South Africa this summer.

The mercurial Scottish out-half was introduced for the injured Dan Biggar early in the third test, inspiring the tourists to play some of their most expansive rugby of what had, up until then, been a stodgy series of games.

However, despite an improved performance, the Lions succumbed to late Morne Steyn penalty, losing 19-16 and handing the Springboks a 2-1 win in the series.

"I thought that all three Tests we should have played more rugby and gone at them a little bit more," Russell told the Scottish Rugby Podcast.

"The first two tests we played off nine for two phases and I kind of felt that played into their defence.

"We weren't doing much out of the back of it. We were keeping the attack narrow instead of having a wide attack.

"The first ten minutes of the third test, there was still quite a bit of kicking and a lot of play off nine. There wasn’t much rugby that actually got played.

"I was sitting on the bench thinking we are doing the same as in the last two games even though we’ve spoken about being a little bit more expansive.

"With coming on early enough, I was able to try and play that style of rugby."

Having ground out a 22-17 win in a pedestrian and contentious first test, the Lions went down to a dismal 27-9 defeat in the second test.

Russell's introduction triggered a more gung-ho approach from the previously conservative Lions and, regardless of the eventual result, the Racing 92 fly-half feels it was a much improved performance.

"I kept saying to the boys make sure we get as flat as we can and get the ball out of the hands quickly. If you are confident in your skills and flat enough on them, they can't recover when you throw that pass across the front and kick to the edge.

"That’s how I’ve always played, so it’s fine for me.

"Everyone was upset and down that we lost the game, but the overall performance was a really good one.

"We went out there and did everything we could to beat them and we actually went at them instead of just waiting for them to crack or for a miss kick.

"We actually went out and played some good rugby and had a go at them."

The 2021 series was Gatland's third in charge of the Lions, having led the tourists to victory in Australia in 2013 and a creditable draw in New Zealand in 2017.

It's not the first time players have expressed frustration with the Lions' approach under Gatland, with both Sean O'Brien and Joe Marler criticising the coaching set-up after the 2017 tour, the former asserting that the Lions would have won 3-0 in New Zealand with a better attacking game-plan.