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Warren Gatland Announces Lions Squad for South Africa Tour

Posted on May 6, 2021

Warren Gatland has announced the eagerly anticipated Lion’s squad ahead of their summer tour in South Africa.  The rugby legend commented, “Being selected for a Lion’s tour is the greatest honour for a British and Irish player and I congratulate everyone named.” The squad includes 11 England players, 10 Wales players, 8 Scottish players and 8 Irish players.

Gatland announced a 37-man squad believing they are more than capable of beating the World Champions. He added, “We believe we’ve picked a squad capable of winning a test series in South Africa.” He went on to add selecting a Lion’s squad is never easy and this has been the most challenging selection he has been involved in.

Alun Wyn Jones Named As Captain

Gatland has chosen the veteran Welsh hero, Alun Wyn Jones as the man to lead the Lions this summer. Jones is a leader in every sense of the word and was Gatland’s trusted lieutenant for so many years when he was the Head Coach of the Welsh national team. Jones is one of the all-time greats of the game and helped drive the Welsh team to their sixth Six Nations title since 2005, earlier this year. This will be Jones’s fourth Lion’s tour.

Surprises Inclusions & Absentees

There were a number of surprises, including the omission of Wales star Navidi, Welsh captain Jonny Sexton, Kyle Sinckler, Billy Vunipola and Johnathan Davies. Other absentees include the injured Manu Tuilagi.

Surprise additions included Exeter Chief’s back-row Sam Simmonds who hasn’t played for England since 2018. Ireland centre Bundee Aki was a shock, as was England second-row Jonny Hill. His England team-mate and Sale Shark flanker, Tom Curry, was selected and is expected to star in the tour.

The Lions Squad In Detail

Hooker: Ken Owens (Scarlets and Wales), Jamie George (Saracens and England), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs and England).

Tighthead prop: Tadhg Furlong (Leinster and Ireland), Andrew Porter (Leinster and Ireland), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors and Scotland).

Second Row: Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys and Wales, Captain), Maro Itoje (Saracens and England), Iain Henderson (Ulster and Ireland), Tadhg Beirne (Munster and Ireland), Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs and Scotland), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints and England).

Back-Row: Tom Curry (Sale Sharks and England), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys and Wales), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh and Scotland), Taulupe Faletau (Bath and Wales), Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs and England), Jack Conan (Leinster and Ireland).

Backs (16)

Scrum-half: Conor Murray (Munster and Ireland), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors and Scotland), Gareth Davies (Scarlets and Wales).

Fly-half: Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints and Wales), Owen Farrell (Saracens and England), Finn Russell (Racing 92 and Scotland).

Centre: Robbie Henshaw (Leinster and Ireland), Chris Harris (Gloucester and Scotland), Bundee Aki (Connacht and Ireland).

Back-three: Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs and Scotland), Liam Williams (Scarlets and Wales), Anthony Watson (Bath and England), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester and Wales), Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh and Scotland), Elliot Daly (Saracens and England), Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues and Wales).

When Does the Lions Tour Start

The tour will kick off on Saturday 10th July against Cell C Sharks. The Lions will play their first test against South Africa on Saturday 24th July. The Lions will meet up in Jersey for their pre-tour training camp in June.