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Top Five Players Never To Be Capped By The British And Irish Lions

TWICKENHAM - DECEMBER 20: Ben Cohen of England is challenged by Sam Harding of the Barbarians during the Zurich World Champions Challenge match between England XV and the New Zealand Barbarians on December 20, 2003 at Twickenham, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

[gravityform id=”1″ title=”true” description=”true”]The Lions tour is now less than two months away and with the squad announcement coming up on April 19 interest has never been more intense. 

With fans and pundits alike picking their own Lions XVs for the tour ahead this got me thinking – who are the best players never to be capped?


5. Mike Tindall (England)

England captain, grand slam and World Cup winner and England’s most capped centre. Yet he never represented the British and Irish Lions. He was desperately unlucky that due to a broken foot he was unable to be selected in 2005 in the infamous tour of New Zealand.

Often criticised for his perceived lack of invention and imagination with ball in hand his defensive ability and physicality could never be questioned.


4. Peter Stringer (Ireland)

The diminutive scrum half forged one of the greatest half-back partnerships in European rugby with Ronan O’Gara, winning 98 caps for Ireland. Skilful and reliable, he is still playing for Sale in the Aviva Premiership.

Fantastic form and leadership has lead to him signing a new contract for next season, meaning he will be playing professional rugby at the ripe old age of 40. Despite all his success for Ireland and Munster, the 5’7″ number 9 was rarely talked about to win a call-up for the famous Lions.


3. Ben Cohen (England)

Another member of the victorious 2003 World Cup squad, the muscular winger never won a cap for the Lions. All of this is in spite of Cohen scoring 31 tries for England and consistently terrorising defences via his pace and power.

Called up for the 2001 tour of Australia he scored two tries in a midweek match against the NSW Waratahs but wasn’t considered for the test series. Injuries and a lack of form meant Cohen wasn’t considered for New Zealand four years later and his chances of a test match had disappeared.


2. Jonathan Davies (Wales)

The Welsh Wizard is widely regarded as one of the finest and most skilful players ever to grace a rugby field. Once called the ‘Maradonna of Rugby’ by Jacques Fouroux, the France captain at the time, he was blessed with flair and poise few others have possessed.

Unfortunately he earned his first cap in 1985 and had left union for the riches of league by the time the Lions toured Australia in 1989. An enormous talent, he surely would have flourished given the chance in a backline possessing Jeremy Guscott, Gavin Hastings and Ieuan Evans.


1. Chris Paterson (Scotland)

A national treasure, he is Scotland’s most capped player with 109 test appearances but was never even selected for a Lions tour. A victim of the underperforming national sides he played in, registering only solitary victories against Italy in the 2005 and 2009 Six Nations Championships.

Blessed with pace and consistency of form, he could have offered the Lions fantastic versatility. Equally adept with the boot, the 39-year-old scored 809 test points thanks to his pinpoint goal kicking. Regardless of this, he was never technically strong enough to stake a claim for a starting berth with the Lions.

Aled Price, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

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