Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

10 facts about the British and Irish Lions squad

Although the squad had been heavily leaked in advance of the announcement, there were a few shocks.

"I'm really excited about the potential, the competition, the ability to play in certain ways". I've got to be able to communicate that to the players and that's going to be part of the biggest challenge.

"We're certainly preparing for the toughest tour that has ever been out there".

"In previous tours the midweek games tended to be a little easier, but when you look at the quality of the opposition we're facing in midweek, it's going to be hugely challenging".

He tweeted: "Lions - you aren't a true fan if there are terms on your support (.ie. pick my players)- all in it together or not: bitch when it's over".

Five-eighths: Dan Biggar (Wales), Johnny Sexton (Ireland), Owen Farrell (England).

1238: Gatland said the decision to select Wales' back-row Warburton as captain was a simple one.

"One of his greatest qualities is that it is not about Sam Warburton, it is about the team", Gatland said.

"He has earned the respect of his peers and coaches through his resilience, tenacity and hard work".

The gaffe happened when a photograph emerged of Warburton in full Lions kit posing with tour officials.

Three surprises were Wales No. 8 Ross Moriarty, Ireland centre Jared Payne and New Zealand-born England centre Ben Te'o, while England prop Kyle Sinckler got the call even though all of his eight test appearances have come off the bench.

"But I'm going to grab it with both hands and hopefully, playing with the world class players there, I can get back to producing some of my best rugby".

The 28-year-old was replaced as Wales captain this year by Alun Wyn Jones, who will also be in the touring party, but has always been a favourite of Gatland. Gatland took notice, as would have the other coaches, and now he is in the party.

Joseph has formed a crucial centre partnership with Owen Farrell as England have claimed back-to-back Six Nations titles. "We discussed at length about it", said Borthwick.

The rumours that Jamie Roberts was in the squad proved unfounded.

April 19 Hosts New Zealand are overwhelming favourites to win their three test series against the British and Irish Lions after the visitors announced their squad on Wednesday, according to leading bookmakers.

The Australian may choose to rest the likes of Mike Brown, Chris Robshaw, George Ford, Joe Launchbury and Tom Wood, giving them a precious breather in a packed calendar.

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland insists having a Scottish influence in his selection panel would have made no impact on his squad selection. Players talk. Loyalties are tested.

Warburton led the Lions to a 2-1 victory in 2013 but chose to step down as Wales skipper ahead of the Six Nations, in a bid to improve his form.

Nowell, who has scored 11 tries in 23 appearances for England, will make history by becoming the first player to be included in the squad whilst playing for the Chiefs.

Two of the Test matches will be at Eden Park, Auckland, where New Zealand are unbeaten since 1994.

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