April 19, 2017 8:16pm|
Source: FOX SPORTS
SAM Warburton will captain the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand but there is no place for England skipper Dylan Hartley in the 41-man squad.
Hartley misses out along with Wasps duo Joe Launchbury and James Haskell but Warren Gatland has selected 16 Englishmen, including hooker Jamie George and centres Jonathan Joseph and Ben Te’o.
Warburton retains the captaincy after leading the Lions to a series win in Australia in 2013 and he is one of 12 Wales players in the squad.
Gloucester’s Ross Moriarty is rewarded for his fine form during the Six Nations, with fellow back-rowers Taulupe Faletau and Justin Tipuric also included, while Ken Owens is at hooker and Alun Wyn Jones at lock.
Jared Payne is the surprise name among the 11 Ireland players, the New Zealand-born back returning from a kidney injury in the Six Nations win over England.
CJ Stander and Peter O’Mahony are selected although there is no place for Munster team-mates Keith Earls, Donnacha Ryan and Simon Zebo.
Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour are the two Scotland tourists as brothers Richie and Jonny Gray miss out.
“There’s been healthy debate about the squad and now that it’s been announced we need to get it behind it 100 per cent and get excited about travelling to New Zealand,” said Gatland.
Sam Warburton and Warren Gatland pose for the cameras.Sam Warburton and Warren Gatland pose for the cameras.Source: Getty Images
“There’s competition for places and there will be players fighting for Test spots with no clear number one, number two or number three in certain positions.
“That’s what makes us pretty excited about the quality of the squad going to New Zealand. But we know how tough it will be — this is the toughest tour.
“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.
“That’s why we’ve taken a few extra players than we did in 2013. We just needed to make sure we have the depth and quality in the squad to make sure we can handle the quality of the sides we’re coming up against.”
Tour manager John Spencer announces the Lions players during the squad announcement.Tour manager John Spencer announces the Lions players during the squad announcement.Source: Getty Images
2017 British and Irish Lions squad
Props: Dan Cole, Tadhg Furlong, Joe Marler, Jack McGrath, Kyle Sinckler, Mako Vunipola.
Hookers: Rory Best, Jamie George, Ken Owens.
Locks: Iain Henderson, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones, George Kruis, Courtney Lawes.
Back rows: Taulupe Faletau, Ross Moriarty, Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander, Justin Tipuric, Billy Vunipola, Sam Warburton (c).
Scrum-halves: Conor Murray, Rhys Webb, Ben Youngs.
Fly-halves: Dan Biggar, Owen Farrell, Jonathan Sexton.
Centres: Jonathan Davies, Robbie Henshaw, Jonathan Joseph, Ben Te’o.
Back three: Elliot Daly, Leigh Halfpenny, Stuart Hogg, George North, Jack Nowell, Jared Payne, Tommy Seymour, Anthony Watson, Liam Williams.