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British and Irish Lions pen pics

·7-min read

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has named his 37-man squad for this summer’s South Africa tour.

Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at Gatland’s selections for a trip that is highlighted by three Test matches against the world champion Springboks.

Backs

Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

Stuart Hogg has been impressive for Scotland
Stuart Hogg has been impressive for Scotland (Jane Barlow/PA)

Position: Full-back

Age: 28

Club: Exeter

Caps: 85

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Scotland captain will challenge strongly to make the Lions Test team.

Liam Williams (Wales)

Position: Full-back/wing

Age: 30

Region: Scarlets

Caps: 71

Lions Tests: 3

Form guide: Huge success on the Lions’ 2017 New Zealand tour, and his form has not waned.

Anthony Watson (England)

Position: Full-back/wing

Age: 27

Club: Bath

Caps: 51

Lions Tests: 3

Form guide: Outstanding and consistent form makes a Test team place highly likely.

Josh Adams (Wales)

Position: Wing

Age: 26

Region: Cardiff Blues

Caps: 32

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Top try-scorer at the 2019 World Cup, his finishing ability is unquestioned.

Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales)

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Position: Wing

Age: 20

Club: Gloucester

Caps: 9

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Burst on to the Test scene this season and made a blistering try-scoring impact.

Duhan Van Der Merwe (Scotland)

Position: Wing

Age: 25

Club: Edinburgh

Caps: 10

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Eight tries in 10 Tests underlines the finishing ability of the South Africa-born wing, who qualifies for Scotland on residency.

Bundee Aki (Ireland)

Position: Centre

Age: 31

Province: Connacht

Caps: 31

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: A real left-field selection by Lions boss Gatland, but the Ireland centre is an experienced campaigner.

Elliot Daly (England)

Position: Centre

Age: 28

Club: Saracens

Caps: 52

Lions Tests: 3

Form guide: Another surprising selection, given his poor form in the recent Six Nations, but he has Lions experience.

Chris Harris (Scotland)

Position: Centre

Age: 30

Club: Gloucester

Caps: 28

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Outstanding for Scotland in the Six Nations this season, and deserves his Lions chance.

Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)

Position: Centre

Age: 27

Province: Leinster

Caps: 52

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: The form centre in this season’s Six Nations is on course for a Lions Test spot.

Owen Farrell (England)

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Position: Fly-half/centre

Age: 29

Club: Saracens

Caps: 93

Lions Tests: 4

Form guide: Proven Lions pedigree in 2017, but struggled for form during this season’s Six Nations.

Dan Biggar (Wales)

Position: Fly-half

Age: 31

Club: Northampton

Caps: 92

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Favourite for the Lions Test fly-half role after starring for Wales in their Six Nations title-winning campaign.

Finn Russell (Scotland)

Position: Fly-half

Age: 28

Club: Racing 92

Caps: 55

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Playmaker who shone for Scotland in the Six Nations. Magical on his day.

Conor Murray (Ireland)

Position: Scrum-half

Age: 32

Province: Munster

Caps: 89

Lions Tests: 5

Form guide: Hugely-experienced player who was key for the Lions in New Zealand four years ago. Test place likely.

Ali Price (Scotland)

Position: Scrum-half

Age: 27

Club: Glasgow

Caps: 42

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Has landed one of the Lions scrum-half roles following a solid season with Scotland.

Gareth Davies (Wales)

Position: Scrum-half

Age: 30

Region: Scarlets

Caps: 62

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Possesses searing pace and an eye for tries, he can change games in an instant.

Forwards

Wyn Jones (Wales)

Position: Prop

Age: 29

Region: Scarlets

Caps: 35

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Impressive during Wales’ Six Nations title campaign this year. Strong Test team claims.

Mako Vunipola (England)

Mako Vunipola makes the squad
Mako Vunipola makes the squad (Ashley Western/PA)

Position: Prop

Age: 30

Club: Saracens

Caps: 67

Lions Tests: 6

Form guide: Had his share of injuries, but offers an enormous amount of quality and experience.

Rory Sutherland (Scotland)

Position: Prop

Age: 28

Caps: 16

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Impressed for Scotland this season through admirable consistency. Deserves his Lions chance.

Zander Fagerson (Scotland)

Position: Prop

Age: 25

Club: Glasgow

Caps: 38

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Solid performer for Scotland this season, who is part of a strong Lions front-row contingent.

Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)

Position: Prop

Age: 28

Province: Leinster

Caps: 49

Lions Tests: 3

Form guide: Currently shades the contest for a Test team place.

Andrew Porter (Ireland)

Position: Prop

Age: 25

Province: Leinster

Caps: 37

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Behind Furlong in the pecking order for Ireland and Leinster, but a player who consistently impresses.

Ken Owens (Wales)

Ken Owens, pictured, has been included by Warren Gatland
Ken Owens, pictured, has been included by Warren Gatland (Jane Barlow/PA)

Position: Hooker

Age: 34

Region: Scarlets

Caps: 82

Lions Tests: 2

Form guide: Returned from injury to shine in this season’s Six Nations. An experienced leader.

Jamie George (England)

Position: Hooker

Age: 30

Club: Saracens

Caps: 59

Lions Tests: 3

Form guide: Key Lions Test team performer in 2017, and will have a thirst for more action in South Africa.

Luke Cowan-Dickie (England)

Position: Hooker

Age: 27

Club: Exeter

Caps: 31

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: A destructive forward who is a handful for any opponent. Will relish his Lions chance.

Maro Itoje (England)

Position: Lock

Age: 26

Club: Saracens

Caps: 48

Lions Tests: 3

Form guide: Likely to be among the first names on Gatland’s Test team-sheet. World-class.

Jonny Hill (England)

Position: Lock

Age: 26

Club: Exeter

Caps: 9

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Continues his rapid emergence on the international scene with his Lions selection. All-action performer.

Courtney Lawes (England)

Position: Lock

Age: 32

Club: Northampton

Caps: 87

Lions Tests: 2

Form guide: Currently sidelined through injury, but should be back in action soon. Could make a major Lions contribution.

Alun Wyn Jones (Wales, captain)

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Position: Lock

Age: 35

Region: Ospreys

Caps: 148

Lions Tests: 9

Form guide: Gatland’s choice as captain is the squad’s most experienced player. Fourth Lions tour, and remains in peak form.

Iain Henderson (Ireland)

Position: Lock

Age: 29

Province: Ulster

Caps: 63

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Will be an important part of the squad. Vastly-experienced and a possible midweek team captain.

Tadhg Beirne (Ireland)

Position: Lock/back-row

Age: 29

Province: Munster

Caps: 22

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Consistency personified for Munster and Ireland. Will be in Test team shake-up.

Jack Conan (Ireland)

Position: Number eight

Age: 28

Province: Leinster

Caps: 28

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Outstanding in Leinster colours over an extended period. Strong performer.

Tom Curry (England)

Position: Flanker

Age: 22

Club: Sale Sharks

Caps: 33

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: One of the world’s finest players on current form. Appears a Test team certainty.

Justin Tipuric (Wales)

Position: Flanker

Age: 31

Region: Ospreys

Caps: 85

Lions Tests: 1

Form guide: One of the most naturally-gifted forwards in world rugby. Strong in all departments.

Hamish Watson (Scotland)

Position: Flanker

Age: 29

Club: Edinburgh

Caps: 41

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: This season’s Six Nations player of the tournament who is rightly among Gatland’s back-row riches.

Sam Simmonds (England)

Position: Number eight/flanker

Age: 26

Club: Exeter

Caps: 7

Lions Tests: 0

Form guide: Overlooked by England boss Eddie Jones since 2018, but is arguably the Premiership’s most consistent player.

Taulupe Faletau (Wales)

Position: Number eight/flanker

Age: 30

Club: Bath

Caps: 86

Lions Tests: 4

Form guide: Test team certainty. Back to his very best, which will be a concern for the Springboks.

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