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The British And Irish Lions ‘Finishers’ XV

The British and Irish Lions squad is far more than just the starting fifteen that will take on New Zealand in a three test series this summer.

Head coach Warren Gatland is planning for a ten-match tour over a six week period that will see his side take on club and provincial sides that will be peppered with current and former All Blacks, all hell bent on claiming a tourist’s scalp.

Gatland must therefore select a squad of 37 players to make the trip down under in June so that he might negotiate what will surely be a bruising tour before they even line out for the first All Blacks test.

Luckily for the Lions boss, he has the luxury of having probably the greatest ever strength and depth of potential Lions to choose from, something he will need in order to stock his bench with world class replacements, or ‘finishers’ to use an Eddie Jones phrase.

Competition for pretty much every position is fierce and while there are a handful of players nailed on for the seat on the plane, starting spots for the three tests is far less assured.

Having already revealed the statistical Lions XV based on the recently concluded Six Nations, let’s take a look at a potential Lions ‘Finishers’ XV.

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Loosehead Prop  – Joe Marler

during the RBS Six Nations match between England and Wales at Twickenham Stadium on March 12, 2016 in London, England.

Hooker – Rory Best

Ireland’s Rory Best 18/6/2016

Tighthead Prop – Dan Cole

England v France - RBS Six Nations

Lock – Alun Wyn Jones

Italy v Wales - RBS Six Nations

Lock – Peter O’Mahony

Peter O'Mahony celebrates the final whistle 26/11/2016

Blindside Flanker – Maro Itoje

Maro Itoje

Openside Flanker –  Sam Warburton

Sam Warburton

No. 8 – Billy Vunipola

Billy Vunipola

Scrum-half – Conor Murray

Ireland’s Conor Murray 19/11/2016

Out-half – Johnny Sexton

Sexton

Inside Centre – Robbie Henshaw

Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw is tackled by Scotland’s Mark Bennett 4/2/2017

Outside Centre – Jonathan Joseph

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: Jonathan Joseph of England passes the ball during the Old Mutual Wealth Series match between England and Australia at Twickenham Stadium on December 3, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Wing – Liam Williams

ROME, ITALY - MARCH 21: Liam Williams of Wales celebrates scoring his try during the RBS 6 Nations match between Italy and Wales at Stadio Olimpico on March 21, 2015 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Wing – George North

CARDIFF, WALES - FEBRUARY 13: Wales wing George North crosses for his try as Jamie Roberts (r) looks on during the RBS Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland at Principality Stadium on February 13, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Full-back – Leigh Halfpenny

Wales v Ireland - RBS Six Nations

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Having already named 30 potential Lions, it become increasingly clear that there is a huge talent pool to choose from. With names like Stuart Hogg, Justin Tipuric, Nathan Hughes and Dylan Hartley not listed in either squad, it is safe to say that Gatland is certainly not short on options.

Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena

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About Gary Brennan

Gary applies his questionable skills to the reporting of Rugby, MMA and Football. He is contactable on Twitter here:

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