Welsh journalist Stephen Jones has given us his predicted Lions 2017 squad in this morning’s Sunday Times.
Jones only has room for four Irish players in his squad which is dominated by England who have fourteen players with eleven from Wales and five from Scotland. There’s no room for the likes of George Ford and Johnny Sexton in his squad, with Scotland outhalf Ruaridh Jackson a surprise inclusion.
In the front-row Jones has amazingly chosen all three England hookers for his part, with a total of six Englishmen in his front row.
In total there are 13 players included from 2013’s winning tour with the likes of Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Jamie Roberts, Owen Farrell and captain Sam Warburton returning from the last tour. Interestingly there’s no place for Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw in Jones’ squad yet tour veteran Rob Kearney is included, despite his poor form the past couple of seasons. Other high profile exclusions include Sean O’Brien and Stuart Hogg.
Full-backs: Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Rob Kearney (Ireland)
Wings: Tommy Seymour (Scotland), Anthony Watson (England), George North (Wales)
Centres: Scott Williams (Wales), Jonathan Joseph (England), Jamie Roberts (Wales), Duncan Taylor (Scotland)
Fly-halves: Owen Farrell (England), Dan Biggar (Wales), Ruaridh Jackson (Scotland)
Scrum-halves: Conor Murray (Ireland), Rhys Webb (Wales), Ben Youngs (England)
Props: Jack McGrath (Ireland), Joe Marler (England), Mako Vunipola (England), Dan Cole (England), WP Nel (Scotland)
Hookers: Dylan Hartley (England), Luke Cowan-Dickie (England), Jamie George (England)
Locks: George Kruis (England), Luke Charteris (Wales), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), Maro Itoje (England), Iain Henderson (Ireland)
Flankers: John Hardie (Scotland), James Haskell (England), Ros Moriarty (Wales), Sam Warburton (Wales)
No 8s: Billy Vunipola (England), Toby Faletau (Wales)