Warren Gatland’s 41-man British and Irish Lions squad was finally announced this morning by tour manager John Spencer.
The former Wales coach had plenty of surprises for the assembled media with the likes of Jared Payne and Ross Moriarty unexpectedly making the cut while Joe Launchbury, as reports had claimed, missed out.
Previous Lions Ben Kay and Brian O’Driscoll have had their say on the divisive squad on BT Sport’s live video on Twitter.
— BT Sport Rugby (@btsportrugby) April 19, 2017
Both agreed that the biggest surprise from the announcement was, in fact, not a player but the sheer size of the squad. New Zealand native Gatland has opted to bring 41 players on the plane south. As O’Driscoll pointed out, the 53-year-old has only selected 3 fewer players than Sir Clive Woodward did in 2005, a move the World Cup winning coach received widespread criticism for.
The pair then discussed how they think the Tourists could line-up come June 24th in Eden Park. The Irishman suggested Johnny Sexton would start at 10 while the midfield pairing would be Owen Farrell alongside Robbie Henshaw.
Finally, the eternally-eloquent O’Driscoll named Moriarty the most surprising inclusion.
Gatland’s side kick off their tour in Whangarei against the New Zealand Barbarians on June the 3rd.