British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has finally revealed his full squad for the summer tour of New Zealand, putting an end to the speculation that has rampant since the start of the year.
Seeking to emulate the heroics of 2013, when the Wales boss guided the tourists to the memorable 2-1 series victory over Australia, Gatland has named a squad that is among the strongest ever assembled in the professional era.
With an appalling record against the double-defending world champions, the Lions will need to be at their very best if they want to avoid the drubbings they have endured since they last took a series win against the All Blacks back in 1971.
Here is the squad Gatland believes can rewrite the history books.
You can watch the full press conference below.
Video Credit: The British & Irish Lions
The Lions captaincy has been the subject of fierce speculation in recent weeks, with both Alun Wyn Jones and Sam Warburton the frontrunners. Today’s announcement confirms Warburton will once again lead the tourists into battle, having been also chosen by Gatland back in 2013.
The squad names a number of currently injured stars but the expectation is that Ireland’s Conor Murray and CJ Stander, along with Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones and Sam Warburton, will be fit and ready come the end of May when the plane leaves for the home of the world champions.
The ten-match tour will almost certainly see a number of fresh injuries to the squad and so those who have failed to make the initial ensemble will likely be in line for a call-up at some stage during the tour.
So that’s it, the wait is over. The 2017 British and Irish Lions squad is now known. All we can do now is wait for their first outing on June 3rd against the Provincial Union Team in Whangarei.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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