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Gatland names Warburton to lead B&I Lions in New Zealand

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British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has named a 41 man Lions squad with Sam Warburton as captain for the 2017 tour of New Zealand.

The British and Irish Lions will play three Test matches against the All Blacks and also take on all five of New Zealand’s Super Rugby teams.


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Sam Warburton of Cardiff Blues and Wales will lead the Lions for a second consecutive Tour, an honour only ever achieved once before by Martin Johnson in 1997 and 2001.

Warburton will be supported by a number of former Lions with 2 players on their third and 14 on their second Tour.

The squad consists of 22 forwards and 19 backs, with Maro Itoje the youngest player at the age of 22.

British and Irish Lions tour schedule

3 June: New Zealand Barbarians
7 June: Blues
10 June: Crusaders
13 June: Highlanders
17 June: Maori All Blacks
20 June: Chiefs
24 June: New Zealand – First Test
27 June: Hurricanes
1 July: New Zealand – Second Test
8 July: New Zealand – Third Test

Gatland, who spoke to Warburton on Thursday afternoon last week, explained: “Sam is a great player, an outstanding leader and a winning Lions captain. We believe that Sam’s experience and leadership qualities make him an obvious choice as captain.  He has earned the respect of his peers and coaches through his resilience, tenacity and hard work.”

On the eve of the announcement Warburton attended a private dinner with all the living Lions captains in the Hilton Syon Park.

He said: “Being in the same room as so many Lions legends was an amazing experience.  I feel humbled and extremely proud to be given the opportunity to captain the Lions for a second Tour and look forward to playing the world champions on their own turf with the best players of the UK and Ireland at my side.”

British and Irish Lions squad
 
Backs
Dan Biggar – Ospreys, Wales
Elliot Daly – Wasps, England
Jonathan Davies – Scarlets, Wales, Lions #778
Owen Farrell – Saracens, England, Lions #780
Leigh Halfpenny – Toulon, Wales, Lions #775
Robbie Henshaw – Leinster Rugby, Ireland
Stuart Hogg – Glasgow Warriors, Scotland, Lions #783
Jonathan Joseph – Bath Rugby, England
Conor Murray – Munster Rugby, Ireland, Lions #790
George North – Northampton Saints, Wales, Lions #792
Jack Nowell – Exeter Chiefs, England
Jared Payne – Ulster Rugby, Ireland
Jonathan Sexton – Leinster Rugby, Ireland, Lions #791
Tommy Seymour – Glasgow Warriors, Scotland
Ben Te’o – Worcester Warriors, England
Anthony Watson – Bath Rugby, England
Rhys Webb – Ospreys, Wales
Liam Williams – Scarlets, Wales
Ben Youngs – Leicester Tigers, England, Lions #799

Forwards
Rory Best – Ulster Rugby, Ireland, Lions #793
Dan Cole – Leicester Tigers, England, Lions #794
Taulupe Faletau – Bath Rugby, Wales, Lions #779
Tadhg Furlong – Leinster Rugby, Ireland
Jamie George – Saracens, England
Iain Henderson – Ulster Rugby, Ireland
Maro Itoje – Saracens, England
Alun Wyn Jones – Ospreys, Wales, Lions #761
George Kruis – Saracens, England
Courtney Lawes – Northampton Saints, England
Joe Marler – Harlequins, England
Jack McGrath – Leinster Rugby, Ireland
Ross Moriarty  – Gloucester Rugby, Wales
Sean O’Brien – Leinster Rugby, Ireland, Lions #796
Peter O’Mahony – Munster Rugby, Ireland
Ken Owens – Scarlets, Wales
Kyle Sinckler – Harlequins, England
CJ Stander – Munster Rugby, Ireland
Justin Tipuric – Ospreys, Wales, Lions #786
Mako Vunipola – Saracens, England, Lions #787
Billy Vunipola – Saracens, England
Sam Warburton (Captain) – Cardiff Blues, Wales, Lions #800

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