Warren Gatland has confirmed the squad for the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand later this year.
As expected England dominate the 41-man party with 16 players. There are also 12 Welsh, 11 Irish and two Scots.
The squad in full is as follows – with Sam Warburton confirmed as captain for the tour.
— British&Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) April 19, 2017
Forwards: Rory Best (Ireland), Dan Cole (England), Taulupe Faletau (Wales), Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), Jamie George (England), Iain Henderson (Ireland), Maro Itoje (England), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), George Kruis (England), Courtney Lawes (England), Joe Marler (England), Jack McGrath (Ireland), Ross Moriarty (Wales), Sean O’Brien (Ireland), Peter O’Mahony (Ireland), Ken Owens (Wales), Kyle Sinckler (England), CJ Stander (Ireland), Justin Tipuric (Wales), Billy Vunipola (England), Mako Vunipola (England), Sam Warburton (Wales)
Backs: Dan Biggar (Wales), Elliot Daly (England), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Owen Farrell (England), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), Stuart Hogg (Scotland), Jonathan Joseph (England), Conor Murray (Ireland), George North (Wales), Jack Nowell (England), Jared Payne (Ireland), Jonathan Sexton (Ireland), Tommy Seymour (Scotland), Ben Te’o (England), Anthony Watson (England), Rhys Webb (Wales), Liam Williams (Wales), Ben Youngs (England)
Some of the shock inclusions were England’s Kyle Sinckler and Ireland’s Iain Henderson in the forwards, whilst in the backs Jonathan Joseph – who was tipped to miss out – made the squad along with Ben Te’o, who is a former rugby league international.
Amongst those not include are England captain Dylan Hartley, and second-rower Joe Launchbury. Scottish brothers Richie and Jonny Gray also miss out.
All gobsmacked here that Joe Launchbury wont be with @lionsofficial. 2 motm's in a 6 Nations winning campaign & player of the comp nominee
— Wasps (@WaspsRugby) April 19, 2017
Welsh centre Jamie Roberts was also not included, despite speculation over night that he would be making the squad.
“There were some pretty lively debates finalising the squad,” Gatland said.
“But we are very happy with the quality of squad we have. It was probably the hardest we have had [to pick]. We think it is the strongest squad.
“We are really excited with the talent and quality of the team we are taking to New Zealand.”
We spoke to Inside Rugby’s Stuart Watkins for some reaction to the squad and he told TheGamblingTimes.com
“It is amazingly talented as you expected,” he said.
“Of those not going Joe Launchbury is the one that sticks out – a few stand out as surprising, wasn’t expecting Ross Moriarty to make although he id s very talented man and it is always shock an England captain doesn’t get picked so although we were expecting it I feel for Dylan Hartley.
“But we are going to see a number of other players to make it, we know a host of other names will take part too, it is will be a long tour.”
Bookmakers are already taking money on who will be starting the first-test with New Zealand odds on to win the series.
WilliamHill make New Zealand the overwhelming favourites to win the series at 1/4 with a 3-0 victory also odds on at 4/5. The Lions are 3/1 to win the series with the most likely score if they do being 2-1 offered at 6/1.
“Gatland has named a strong squad despite a couple of notable absentees but despite this, we think that All Blacks will be far too strong and it would be a success to even win one Test,” said William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly.
Series winner: 1/4 New Zealand; 3/1 British and Irish Lions; 20/1 drawn series
Series correct score:
New Zealand: 500/1 1-0; 20/1 2-0; 2/1 2-1; 4/5 3-0
Lions: 1000/1 1-0; 150/1 2-0; 6/1 2-1; 33/1 3-0
First test: 1/3 New Zealand; 12/5 British and Irish Lions; 20/1 draw
Players to start the First Test:
Shirt number 1: 11/10 Jack McGrath; 5/4 Mako Vunipola; 5/1 Joe Marler
Shirt number 2: 4/7 Rory Best; 3/1 Ken Owens; 4/1 Jamie George
Shirt number 3: 3/10 Tadhg Furlong; 4/1 Dan Cole; 8/1 Kyle Sinckler
Shirt number 4 or 5: 1/5 Alun Wyn Jones; 1/2 Maro Itoje; 13/8 George Kruis; 7/1 Courtney Lawes; 7/1 Iain Henderson
Shirt number 6: 11/10 CJ Stander; 4/1 Peter O’Mahoney; 4/1 Sam Warburton; 6/1 Maro Itoje; 9/1 Justin Tipuric
Shirt number 7: 1/1 Sam Warburton; 5/2 Sean O’Brien; 10/3 Justin Tipuric; 12/1 Ross Moriarty
Shirt number 8: 2/5 Billy Vunipola; 9/2 Taulupe Faletula; 10/1 CJ Stander; 10/1 Peter O’Mahoney; 25/1 Ross Moriarty
Shirt number 9: 4/11 Conor Murray; 3/1 Rhys Webb; 9/1 Ben Youngs
Shirt number 10: 1/3 Jonny Sexton; 3/1 Owen Farrell; 10/1 Dan Biggar
Shirt number 11 or 14: 1/4 George North; 1/1 Anthony Watson; 6/5 Liam Williams; 5/1 Jack Nowell; 7/1 Elliot Daly; 8/1 Tommy Seymour
Shirt number 12: 2/5 Owen Farrell; 3/1 Robbie Henshaw; 7/1 Ben Te’o
Shirt number 13: 4/5 Jonathan Joseph; 11/4 Jonathan Davies; 7/1 Jared Payne; 10/1 Elliot Daly; 12/1 Robbie Henshaw
Shirt number 15: 4/11 Stuart Hogg; 3/1 Leigh Halfpenny; 12/1 Liam Williams; 20/1 Anthony Watson; 25/1 Jared Payne