Sam Warburton Lions captaincy against All Blacks leaked on Twitter

20 April, 2017, 10:05 | Author: Eloise Marshall
  • General view of the stage ahead of the British and Irish Lions Squad Announcement at Hilton London Syon Park

Perhaps Gatland's most controversial selection decision was to overlook England captain Dylan Hartley, picking instead Hartley's under-study at global level Jamie George, as well as Rory Best and Ken Owens for the hooker slots.

Meanwhile Ireland and Wales, both beaten by Scotland this season, are represented by 11 and 12 players respectively.

"There has been a lot of discussion about Launchbury, Donnacha Ryan and the Gray brothers".

Sam Warburton will skipper the squad once more, becoming only the second man after Martin Johnson to lead the Lions on two tours, while there is room for just two Scots in the form of Tommy Seymour and Stuart Hogg.

When Ireland defeated England in Dublin at the end of the recent Six Nations championship to deny them a Grand Slam and also break New Zealand's record winning consecutive Test match sequence of 18 matches, Best was again on the lips of the rugby world, certainly in the Northern Hemisphere anyway. "In previous tours the midweek games tended to be a little easier, but when you look at the quality of the opposition we're facing in midweek it's going to be hugely challenging", he said.

Of the Saracens players named, George is perhaps the most intriguing, having yet to start to a Test match for England, but beating off the challenge from Red Roses skipper Dylan Hartley.

One month after England were crowned RBS 6 Nations champions for a second successive year, they were rewarded by supplying the largest portion of the Lions squad numbering 16 players. Stevens toured NZ in 2005 and Australia in 2013.

Kyle Sinckler, Joe Marler, Mako Vunipola and Dan Cole are named among four England props along with the Ireland duo of Tadhg Furlong and Jack McGrath.

Jamie George - his understudy with England - was preferred, along with fellow hookers Ken Owens and Rory Best.

Back-rowers: Taulupe Faletau, Ross Moriarty, Sean O'Brien, Peter O'Mahony, CJ Stander, Justin Tipuric, Billy Vunipola, Sam Warburton (c).

England fly-half George Ford also missed out with Ireland's Johnny Sexton, England's Owen Farrell and Wales' Dan Biggar selected at number 10.

Fullback/wings: Elliot Daly (ENG), Anthony Watson (ENG), Lee Halfpenny (WAL), Liam Williams (WAL), George North (WAL), Stuart Hogg (SCO), Jack Nowell (ENG), Jared Payne (IRL), Tommy Seymour (SCO).

"I think his greatest quality is that it's not about Sam Warburton, it's about the team and putting the team first".

"We were spoilt for choice, I think".

"I found out last Thursday when Warren phoned me". "I was in a supermarket auto park back home".

Lions coach Warren Gatland - clue: a former head coach of Ireland, and now on sabbatical from the same role with Wales - reckons that a heavy defeat to England ended the hopes of any other Scots.

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