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.
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