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Stander, O’Mahony and Murray will travel with the 2017 Lions

Sam Warburton Lions

By Frank Quinn
(Pictured, Lions captain 2017, Sam Warburton, Wales)
THE 2017 Lions have named their squad. 41 chosen, 11 of them Irish internationals but there could be 45 in the party with a few replacements likely to be invited in. The selection shows up individual differences between national coaches.
In the backs the key players, 9 – 10 – 12 and 15 with Jared Payne’s selection a little bit surprising. The Irish selection includes Leinster 5, Munster 3 and Ulster 3 but how many make one or all of the three tests is the question. Sexton, Murray and Furlong could feature as well as Stander, O’Mahony and O’Brien if they impress in the warm-up games.
In the other side of the coin, from an Irish point of view, Schmidt loses 11 players for his tour of Japan/USA. He will need a new centre pairing, McGrath will step in at 9 as back-up to Marmion and Jackson at 10. Carbury at 10/15. Tommy O’Donnell, Conan, and O’Donoghue will be available for back-row places
Leinster and Munster will miss the players in the pre-season.
The official statement reads:
WARREN GATLAND today unveiled the 41 man squad for the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand
Warburton of Cardiff Blues and Wales will lead the Lions for a second consecutive Tour, an honour only ever achieved once before by Martin Johnson in 1997 and 2001.
Warburton will be supported by a number of former Lions with two players on their third and 14 on their second Tour.
The squad consists of 22 forwards and 19 backs, with Maro Itoje the youngest player at the age of 22.
Gatland, who spoke to Warburton on Thursday afternoon last week, explained: “Sam is a great player, an outstanding leader and a winning Lions captain. We believe that Sam’s experience and leadership qualities make him an obvious choice as captain. He has earned the respect of his peers and coaches through his resilience, tenacity and hard work.”
On the eve of the announcement Warburton attended a private dinner with all the living Lions captains in the Hilton Syon Park.
He said: “Being in the same room as so many Lions legends was an amazing experience. I feel humbled and extremely proud to be given the opportunity to captain the Lions for a second Tour and look forward to playing the world champions on their own turf with the best players of the UK and Ireland at my side.”
Backs
Dan Biggar – Ospreys, Wales
Elliot Daly – Wasps, England
Jonathan Davies – Scarlets, Wales, Lions #778
Owen Farrell – Saracens, England, Lions #780
Leigh Halfpenny – Toulon, Wales, Lions #775
Robbie Henshaw – Leinster Rugby, Ireland
Stuart Hogg – Glasgow Warriors, Scotland, Lions #783
Jonathan Joseph – Bath Rugby, England
Conor Murray – Munster Rugby, Ireland, Lions #790
George North – Northampton Saints, Wales, Lions #792
Jack Nowell – Exeter Chiefs, England
Jared Payne – Ulster Rugby, Ireland
Jonathan Sexton – Leinster Rugby, Ireland, Lions #791
Tommy Seymour – Glasgow Warriors, Scotland
Ben Te’o – Worcester Warriors, England
Anthony Watson – Bath Rugby, England
Rhys Webb – Ospreys, Wales
Liam Williams – Scarlets, Wales
Ben Youngs – Leicester Tigers, England, Lions #799
Forwards
Rory Best – Ulster Rugby, Ireland, Lions #793
Dan Cole – Leicester Tigers, England, Lions #794
Taulupe Faletau – Bath Rugby, Wales, Lions #779
Tadhg Furlong – Leinster Rugby, Ireland
Jamie George – Saracens, England
Iain Henderson – Ulster Rugby, Ireland
Maro Itoje – Saracens, England
Alun Wyn Jones – Ospreys, Wales, Lions #761
George Kruis – Saracens, England
Courtney Lawes – Northampton Saints, England
Joe Marler – Harlequins, England
Jack McGrath – Leinster Rugby, Ireland
Ross Moriarty – Gloucester Rugby, Wales
Sean O’Brien – Leinster Rugby, Ireland, Lions #796
Peter O’Mahony – Munster Rugby, Ireland
Ken Owens – Scarlets, Wales
Kyle Sinckler – Harlequins, England
CJ Stander – Munster Rugby, Ireland
Justin Tipuric – Ospreys, Wales, Lions #786
Mako Vunipola – Saracens, England, Lions #787
Billy Vunipola – Saracens, England
Sam Warburton (Captain) – Cardiff Blues, Wales, Lions #800

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