10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
England full-back Jason Robinson, who is to stay at home until early June due to his pregnant wife Amanda being unwell, and French-tied Wales duo Gareth Thomas and Stephen Jones are the three players missing.
Heineken Cup winner Thomas (Toulouse) and fly-half Jones (Clermont-Auvergne) are both contractually obliged to remain with their club sides until their involvement in the French Top 16 Championship, which finishes with a June 11 final, comes to an end.
Leinster and Ireland lock Malcolm O'Kelly is continuing to nurse the abdominal injury that kept him out of Monday night's 25-25 draw with Argentina. The 30-year-old sat out yesterday's training session at the Treforest University training ground in Glamorgan, Wales.
Sir Clive Woodward's Lions kick-off the New Zealand tour on Saturday, June 4 (8.10am Irish time), with a tie against Bay of Plenty at the Rotorua International Stadium.
Bay of Plenty, known as "the Steamers", and inspired by three tries from speedy Fijian winger Filimone Bolavucu, claimed a 43-15 victory over Poverty Bay in a representative "warm-up" game at Gisborne's Rugby Park earlier today.
Rotorua, a Maori heartland, will also act as the venue next Sunday, at which the Lions will be officially welcomed to New Zealand.
The Lions last toured New Zealand in 1993 when they lost the series 2-1, with the touring side's only series success on All-Black soil coming in 1971. Wales' John Dawes skippered and the legendary Carwyn James, also from Wales, managed back then, with the following Irish players involved: Mike Gibson (Centre) (North of Ireland/Ireland), Mike Hipwell (Number 8) (Terenure College/Ireland), Sean Lynch (Prop) (St Mary's College/Ireland), Willie John McBride (Lock) (Ballymena/Ireland), Ray McLoughlin (Prop) (Blackrock College/Ireland), Fergus Slattery (University College Dublin/Ireland).
The 2005 tour will see the first Test take place in Christchurch on Saturday, June 25, followed by the second Test in Wellington on Saturday, July 2 and the third and final one in Auckland, the "City of Sails", on Saturday, July 9.
The Lions' flight is due to touch down in Auckland, the biggest city in New Zealand with 1.5 million residents, at midday local time (01.00am Irish time) on Friday.
Graham Henry's extended All-Blacks squad, meanwhile, will take part in a "Probables v Possibles" trial match in Napier on Friday, June 3, and seven days later, they take on Fiji in a Test match in Albany.
There is also the little matter of the Super 12 final, involving the Crusaders and the Waratahs, this coming Saturday.