Three islanders in British and Irish Lions party

Manu Tuilagi goes in for a try against the All Blacks. Photo: Planet Rugby

Manu Tuilagi goes in for a try against the All Blacks. Photo: Planet Rugby

Three Pacific Islanders were named in the 37-man squad that will face Australia this year, with Sam Warburton named as captain.

Centre Manu Tuilagi, prop Mako Vunipola and backrower Toby Faletau made the squad announced yesterday.

Cardiff Blues flanker Warburton was confirmed skipper at Tuesday’s press conference, which saw fifteen Welshman included in the squad.

Surprising omissions from the group were Ireland hooker Rory Best, England flank Chris Robshaw and Scotland back-row forward Kelly Brown.

Not included in the squad is Jonny Wilkinson, with Head Coach Gatland opting for two fly-halves in the shape of Jonathan Sexton and Owen Farrell.

The Lions will take three scrum-halves on tour as Conor Murray, Ben Youngs and Mike Phillips have been chosen so Danny Care misses the trip.

The squad for the 10-match, three-Test series sees 10 Englishmen, nine Irishmen and three Scots join the 15 Welsh going Down Under.

“The announcement of a British and Irish Lions party is always a much anticipated and exciting event,” said Irvine at the announcement.

“Selection for The Lions is the ultimate accolade and it is a great honour for all the players – they should be congratulated along with their clubs, provinces, regions and unions.

“We are fortunate to select from the very best of four nations and there will be some quality players who have sadly not made selection and will rightly feel disappointed.”

Prop Mako Vunipola

Prop Mako Vunipola

Gatland added: “We spent a long time selecting this squad and there were some close calls with a lot of competition for places. But ultimately we chose the players who will give us the best chance of a Test series victory.

“A Lions Tour to Australia only comes around once every 12 years and we believe we have the right balance in the squad to be successful.

“We have a tremendous challenge in front of us but I know the players will be dedicated to the adventure and task ahead.”

Forwards:

Props: Dan Cole, Cian Healy, Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, Matt Stevens, Mako Vunipola.
Hookers: Dylan Hartley, Richard Hibbard, Tom Youngs.
Locks: Ian Evans, Richie Gray, Alun-Wyn Jones, Paul O’Connell, Geoff Parling.
Back-rows: Tom Croft, Toby Faletau, Jamie Heaslip, Dan Lydiate, Sean O’Brien, Justin Tipuric, Sam Warburton (capt).

Backs:

Full-backs: Leigh Halfpenny, Stuart Hogg, Rob Kearney.
Wings: Tommy Bowe, Alex Cuthbert, Sean Maitland, George North.
Centres: Jonathan Davies, Brian O’Driscoll, Jamie Roberts, Manu Tuilagi.
Fly-halves: Owen Farrell, Jonathan Sexton.
Scrum-halves: Conor Murray, Mike Phillips, Ben Youngs.

faletau

Loose forward Toby Faletau

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Filed under Lions, Overseas xvs, Pacific Islanders

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