Head coach Warren Gatland today unveiled the 41-man squad for the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand. Eleven Ireland players have been selected, including the front row trio of Jack McGrath, Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong.
The Ireland players who will link up with the 2017 Lions squad are backs Robbie Henshaw, Conor Murray, Jared Payne and Jonathan Sexton and forwards Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Jack McGrath, Sean O'Brien, Peter O'Mahony and CJ Stander.
Sam Warburton of Cardiff Blues and Wales will lead the Lions for a second consecutive tour, an honour only ever achieved once before by Martin Johnson in 1997 and 2001. Warburton will be supported by a number of former Lions with two players on their third and 14 on their second Tour.
The squad consists of 22 forwards and 19 backs, with England's Maro Itoje the youngest player at the age of 22.
Warren Gatland explained: "Sam is a great player, an outstanding leader and a winning Lions captain. We believe that Sam's experience and leadership qualities make him an obvious choice as captain. He has earned the respect of his peers and coaches through his resilience, tenacity and hard work."
On the eve of the announcement, Warburton attended a private dinner with all the living Lions captains in the Hilton Syon Park.
He said: "Being in the same room as so many Lions legends was an amazing experience. I feel humbled and extremely proud to be given the opportunity to captain the Lions for a second tour and look forward to playing the world champions on their own turf with the best players of the UK and Ireland at my side."
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS Squad (2017 New Zealand Tour):
Dan Biggar (Ospreys/Wales)
Elliot Daly (Wasps/England)
Jonathan Davies (Scarlets/Wales) Lions #778
Owen Farrell (Saracens/England) Lions #780
Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon/Wales) Lions #775 Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Ireland)
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland) Lions #783
Jonathan Joseph (Bath/England) Conor Murray (Munster/Ireland) Lions #790
George North (Northampton Saints/Wales) Lions #792
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs/England)
Jared Payne (Ulster/Ireland)
Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/Ireland) Lions #791
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland)
Ben Te'o (Worcester Warriors/England)
Anthony Watson (Bath/England)
Rhys Webb (Ospreys/Wales)
Liam Williams (Scarlets/Wales)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England) Lions #799
Rory Best (Ulster/Ireland) Lions #793
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers/England) Lions #794
Taulupe Faletau (Bath/Wales) Lions #779 Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Ireland)
Jamie George (Saracens/England) Iain Henderson (Ulster/Ireland)
Maro Itoje (Saracens/England)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys/Wales) Lions #761
George Kruis (Saracens/England)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints/England)
Joe Marler (Harlequins/England) Jack McGrath (Leinster/Ireland)
Ross Moriarty (Gloucester/Wales) Sean O'Brien (Leinster/Ireland) Lions #796 Peter O'Mahony (Munster/Ireland)
Ken Owens (Scarlets/Wales)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins/England) CJ Stander (Munster/Ireland)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys/Wales) Lions #786
Mako Vunipola (Saracens/England) Lions #787
Billy Vunipola (Saracens/England)
Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues/Wales) Lions #800 (capt)
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