Our British & Irish Lions 2017 35-Man Squad
The British & Irish Lions tour New Zealand next summer to take on the mighty All Blacks.
The Lions face one of their toughest challenges in recent memory next summer as they prepare to do battle with the back to back world champions, New Zealand. Yesterday saw Welsh journalist Stephen Jones select his highly controversial 35-man squad and we thought today, we’d have a crack at it.
Now this isn’t a ‘Six Nations’ Lions 2017 squad like a lot of the predictions going around, because realistically- a lot can change in a year and there’s plenty of names currently injured that we believe will go on tour next summer providing they are fit. Enough chat, here’s our squad.
Lions 2017 35-man squad
Head coach: Warren Gatland
Captain: Peter O’Mahony/Sam Warburton
Fullbacks (3): Stuart Hogg (Scotland), Mike Brown (England) and Leigh Halfpenny (Wales).
Missing out: Rob Kearney and Simon Zebo
Wing (3): George North (Wales), Anthony Watson (England) and Tommy Bowe (Ireland)
Missing out: Andrew Trimble, Keith Earls, Tim Visser, Jack Nowell
Centre (4): Jamie Roberts (Wales), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Robbie Henshaw (Ireland) and Manu Tuilagi (England).
Missing out: Owen Farrell, Jonathan Joseph, Stuart McCloskey
Out-half (2): Johnny Sexton (Ireland) Dan Biggar (Wales).
Missing out: George Ford
Scrum-half (3): Conor Murray (Ireland), Gareth Davies (Wales) and Greig Laidlaw (Scotland).
Missing out: Rhys Davies, Danny Care, Ben Youngs
Loosehead Prop (3): Jack McGrath (Ireland) Alasdair Dickinson (Scotland) and Rob Evans (Wales)
Missing out: Cian Healy, Joe Marler, Mako Vunipola
Tighthead Prop (3): Samson Lee (Wales), WP Nel (Scotland) and Dan Cole (England)
Missing out: Mike Ross
Hooker (3): Dylan Hartley (England), Rory Best (Ireland) and Scott Baldwin (Wales).
Missing out: Sean Cronin, Ross Ford, Ken Owens
Second Row (5): Maro Otoje (England), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), Iain Henderson (Ireland), Jonny Gray (Scotland) and George Kruis (England).
Missing out: Devin Toner, Richie Gray, Luke Charteris, Donnacha Ryan, Joe Launchbury
Back Row (6): Sam Warburton (Wales), Peter O’Mahony (Ireland), CJ Stander (Ireland), Sean O’Brien (Ireland), Billy Vunipola (England) and Toby Faletau (Wales).
Missing out: Chris Robshaw, John Hardie, James Haskell, Dan Lydiate, Jamie Heaslip
We reckon Gatland will once again choose to bring just two outhalves, with Stuart Hogg filling in at ten for some of the midweek games. If Leigh Halfpenny can get back to full fitness he should get the nod over Brown and Hogg. Tommy Bowe is currently out with a serious injury but something tells us he will come back stronger and his experience will see him get the nod.
Manu Tuilagi gets the nod in the centre with the Welsh duo and Robbie Henshaw. If anyone can get Manu Tuilagi back to his terrifying best it’s Eddie Jones, so expect a very good 12 months out of him. The scrumhalf trio we have chose are with no question the three best available to Warren Gatland.
The front row is fairly straightforward. Dylan Harley will battle it out with Rory Best to start with Scott Baldwin providing cover. Picking a back row and second row will prove to be Warren Gatland’s most difficult task. We’ve done our best to select who we reckon will fill those positions but the strength in those areas is phenomenal.
Here’s our starting line-up for the first test.