Head coach Warren Gatland has announced his 37-strong squad for the British & Irish Lions ahead of their 2021 Tour of South Africa, to be captained by Welsh rugby hero, Alun Wyn Jones.
The hotly anticipated squad was revealed live to fans and players alike via the Official Lions app, powered by Vodafone.
And although fans can’t travel this year, the team and sponsors are doing everything they can to keep them close to the action.
Inclusion in the Lions squad is widely considered to be the pinnacle of any rugby player’s career, and Gatland’s selection features a mix of seasoned veterans and first-time Lions, including 20-year-old Wales and Gloucester star, Louis Rees-Zammit.
Rees-Zammit’s exhilarating performances in the recent Six Nations championship made him a firm favourite with fans, but it’s clear that the call from ‘Gats’ was still a career highlight, if this clip is anything to go by.
Officially part of the @lionsofficial squad…words can’t explain how I feel! Luckily @VodafoneUK captured the moment I got the news, which gives you an idea! Proud to #UniteThePride and bring fans closer to the tour as a Vodafone Ambassador #Ad pic.twitter.com/1NsSUqKblg
— Louis Rees-Zammit ⚡️ (@LouisReesZammit) May 7, 2021
Joining him in South Africa is Scotland and Edinburgh flanker, Hamish Watson, whose signature mullet hairstyle is well known on the pitch. Manchester-born Hamish was just as proud to get the call to represent the best of British and Irish rugby.
Nothing compares to this! The moment I was selected to represent @lionsofficial, captured exclusively by @VodafoneUK. I’m beyond honoured & can't wait to get started! As a Vodafone Ambassador for the British & Irish Lions, I'm excited to take you all on the journey #UniteThePride pic.twitter.com/GDPUvwgUnC
— Hamish Watson (@hamishwatson7) May 7, 2021
And in a truly touching moment, Stuart Hogg dedicated his third Lions jersey to boyhood coach and long-time mentor, Bryan Easson.
I’m thrilled to be wearing the @lionsofficial jersey again this summer, but I didn’t get here on my own. I’m dedicating my jersey to a man who’s been with me from the start. @VodafoneUK #UniteThePride #Ad #Lions2021 pic.twitter.com/6G1uTOWaiy
— Stuart W Hogg (@StuartWHOGG_) May 7, 2021
Despite this being his third Tour as Head Coach, Gatland admitted that selecting 37 players from four countries to take on the world champions this year was his hardest selection yet.
“We saw some outstanding performances in the recent Six Nations, so competition for places has been tough. [But] We believe we’ve picked a squad capable of winning a Test series in South Africa.”
Check out the full selection below and catch all the action on the Official Lions app, including exclusive analysis from legends Sam Warburton and Sir Ian McGeechan.
Josh Adams (Cardiff, Wales) Wing
Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) Centre
Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) Fly-half
Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) Centre
Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales) Scrum-half
Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) Fly-half
Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) Centre
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) Centre
Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) Full-back
Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) Scrum-half
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) Scrum-half
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales) Wing
Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland) Fly-half
Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) Wing
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) Wing
Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) Full-back
Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland) Second row
Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) Back row
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) Hooker
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) Back row
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) Prop
Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) Back row
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) Prop
Jamie George (Saracens, England) Hooker
Iain Henderson (Ulster Rugby, Ireland) Second row
Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, England) Second row
Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) Second row
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales) (Captain) Second row
Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) Prop
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) Second row
Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) Hooker
Andrew Porter (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) Prop
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) Back row
Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) Prop
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys, Wales) Back row
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) Prop
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) Back row
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