Four English players who did not feature in Eddie Jones’ squad for the Six Nations are being considered by Warren Gatland for this summer’s Lions tour.
According to Sky Sports, Gatland has compiled a long-list of at least 50 players for his British and Irish Lions squad, which includes international outcasts Marcus Smith, Danny Care, Sam Simmonds and Ben Spencer.
Smith has never been capped by England but the 22-year-old has been in exceptional form for Harlequins this season, and has been tipped as a future England fly-half since he first played professionally at the age of 18.
We have gone 2️⃣ Series without tasting a Series defeat ?
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) May 4, 2021
While there have been calls from fans for Jones to include Smith in his England squad, few would have predicted a potential Lions call-up for the youngster.
Smith’s Harlequins team mate Danny Care has also been long-listed by Gatland, despite the 34-year-old not having played for his country since 2018.
Care has never toured with the Lions before, but has played 84 times for his country and would bring plenty of experience with him if he is to travel to South Africa.
Four English international outcasts included.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Exeter Chiefs number eight Sam Simmonds also appears on Gatland’s long list, having played excellently for the English champions for the last few years.
Like Care, Simmonds has not played for England since 2018, much to the dismay of countless English fans who can’t understand Jones’ aversion to the try-scoring sensation.
Bath scrum-half Spencer is also being considered by Gatland, which makes four English players who could tour with the Lions despite not being included in Jones’ Six Nations squad.
Scotland’s Cameron Redpath is also understood to be in contention for the Lions’ 36-man squad, which will be named this Thursday.
21-year-old Redpath has only played for Scotland once, but would surely have picked up a few more caps for his country if he hadn’t been sidelined with a neck injury after the Six Nations win against England.