Former Scotland international Jim Hamilton has chosen his starting British and Irish Lions XV for next year’s tour of South Africa with a number of surprise inclusions.
Unsurprisingly, England dominate the team with nine players while Hamilton has included three Irish men, two from Scotland and only one from Wales.
In fact, Hamilton does not believe that Lions head coach Warren Gatland should choose any Welsh player that he capped, instead choosing Nick Tompkins as their representative who made his debut under Wayne Pivac.
Revealing his selection to RugbyPass, the former second-row chooses Joe Marler at loose-head alongside England teammate Jamie George at hooker with Tadhg Furlong completing the front-row.
For the Lions second-row combination, Hamilton selects Maro Itoje and Ireland and Leinster youngster James Ryan, believing their combined work rate will be “phenomenal”.
After an impressive Six Nations, Jamie Ritchie is chosen at flanker alongside Sam Underhill while Billy Vunipola is selected to wear the No. 8 jersey.
Moving to the backs, Hamilton believes John Cooney will be the Lions starting scrum-half despite his lack of game time on the international stage while there are no surprises at fly-half with England captain Owen Farrell selected.
Alongside Tompkins in the centre is Manu Tuilagi while Hamilton believes England will dominate the back line with Jonny May and Anthony Watson chosen on the wings.
Hamilton’s final selection sees Stuart Hogg retain the Lions 15 jersey following his tours in 2013 and 2017.
The first Test of the series will take place in Johannesburg on July 24 next year.
Jim Hamilton’s British and Irish Lions XV v South Africa:
15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
14. Anthony Watson (England)
13. Nick Tompkins (Wales)
12. Manu Tuilagi (England)
11. Jonny May (England)
10. Owen Farrell (England)
9. John Cooney (Ireland)
1. Joe Marler (England)
2. Jamie George (England)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
4. Maro Itoje (England)
5. James Ryan (Ireland)
6. Jamie Ritchie (Scotland)
7. Sam Underhill (England)
8. Billy Vunipola (England)