The 37-man Lions squad to tour Australia was revealed earlier today, with bookies favourite Sam Warburton named as captain. There were a few surprise inclusions, as well as some that were left out. Full squad below and video of announcement below.
British & Irish Lions 2013 squad:
Backs: Leigh Halfpenny, Stuart Hogg, Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe, Alex Cuthbert, Sean Maitland, George North, Jonathan Davies, Brian O’Driscoll, Jamie Roberts, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray, Mike Phillips, Ben Youngs.
Forwards: Dan Cole, Cian Healy, Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, Matt Stevens, Mako Vunipola, Dylan Hartley, Richard Hibbard, Tom Youngs, Ian Evans, Richie Gray, Alun-Wyn Jones, Paul O’Connell, Geoff Parling, Tom Croft, Toby Faletau, Jamie Heaslip, Dan Lydiate, Sean O’Brien, Justin Tipuric, Sam Warburton
No Rory Best, no Jonny Wilkinson, no Chris Robshaw. Wallaby Quade Cooper’s cousin, Kiwi Sean Maitland, is included, as well as Matt Stevens, who retired from international rugby last year.
Coach Warren Gatland offered hope to those that missed out though, saying that there are a group of players who will no doubt be called up should their services be required.
“There was a robust debate about the squad and there were healthy discussions for every position. Some real quality players have missed out. We had a thorough process and it’s been tough.
“If you look at previous tours there’s six to eight players that always unfortunately get injured and you need to have replacements, so there’s going to be a key group of back-up players that will potentially be called upon to come out and join the tour,” Gatland explained.
Andy Irvine has since revealed that 33-year-old Jonny Wilkinson actually ruled himself out.
“The truth is Jonny wasn’t up for it. He ruled himself out,” Irvine told BBC Radio 5 live. “He told Warren that he feels his body isn’t in the right shape to complete a tour like this. I admire his honesty and integrity.”
The squad comprises of 15 Welshmen, 10 Englishmen, 9 Irishmen and 3 Scotsmen.
What is your initial reaction to the squad?