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British & Irish Lions Squad Announced

British & Irish Lions Squad Announced

The 2009 British & Irish Lions squad to tour South Africa has been announced. The Lions will be captained by Munster and Ireland lock Paul O’Connell. The squad contains a total of 14 Irish players.

Lions coach Ian McGeechan has announced a 37-man squad for the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa.

The Lions will play ten matches including Test matches against the world champion Springboks in Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg.

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A record 14 Irish players have been included in the Lions squad – eight from Munster, four from Leinster, one from Ulster and one from the Ospreys.

Ireland’s previous highest Lions representation was 11 for the 2005 tour to New Zealand.

The number of players included from captain Paul O’Connell’s Munster side – eight – equals the mark set by Newport in 1910 and Leicester Tigers for the 2005 tour.

Alongside newly-appointed captain O’Connell there are call ups for Ireland’s Rob Kearney, Luke Fitzgerald, Tommy Bowe, Brian O’Driscoll, Keith Earls, Ronan O’Gara, Tomás O’Leary, Jamie Heaslip, David Wallace, Stephen Ferris, Alan Quinlan, Donncha O’Callaghan and Jerry Flannery.

McGeechan has selected 37 players in all – 17 backs and 20 forwards. The country by country breakdown is – England 8, Scotland 2, Ireland 14 and Wales 13.

The last two winning Lions skippers have both been second rows – Martin Johnson in South Africa in 1997 and Irish legend Willie John McBride in South Africa in 1974.

There are 13 players in the party who have played for the Lions before, of which four will be making their third tours – Brian O’Driscoll (2001, 2005 and 2009), Ronan O’Gara (2001, 2005 and 2009), Simon Shaw (1997, 2005 and 2009) and Martyn Williams (2001, 2005 and 2009).

Shaw is the only survivor from the 1997 Test series-winning tour to South Africa. He will also be the oldest member of the party at 35.

Other players who are making a second tour are – Shane Williams, Tom Shanklin, Stephen Jones, Wallace, O’Connell, O’Callaghan, Gethin Jenkins, Phil Vickery, Andrew Sheridan.

Cardiff Blues and Wales winger Leigh Halfpenny will be the youngest member of the tour party at 20.

Leinster and Ireland winger Luke Fitzgerald follows his father, Des, into the Lions colours.

Irish prop Des played for the Lions against the Rest of the World in the 1986 IRB Centenary game in Cardiff.

David Wallace, meanwhile, will be hoping to follow in his brother Paul’s footsteps by winning a Test series in South Africa.

It will be his second tour, taking the family tour total to four (Richard in 1983, Paul in 1997 and David in 2001 and 2009).

The 2009 touring party will depart for South Africa on May 24.


Lee Byrne (Wales)
Rob Kearney (Ireland) 

Shane Williams (Wales)
Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)
Ugo Moyne (England)
Luke Fitzgerald (Ireland)
Tommy Bowe (Ireland) 

Tom Shanklin (Wales)
Jamie Roberts (Wales)
Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
Keith Earls (Ireland)
Riki Flutey (England) 

Ronan O’Gara (Ireland)
Stephen Jones (Wales) 

Scrum Halves:
Mike Phillips (Wales)
Harry Ellis (England)
Tomas O’Leary (Ireland) 

Number 8s:
Jamie Heaslip (Ireland)
Andy Powell (Wales) 

David Wallace (Ireland)
Stephen Ferris (Ireland)
Alan Quinlan (Ireland)
Joe Worsley (England)
Martyn Williams (Wales) 

Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
Paul O’Connell (Ireland) (capt)
Donncha O’Callaghan (Ireland)
Simon Shaw (England)
Nathan Hines (Scotland) 

Gethin Jenkins (Wales)
Adam Jones (Wales)
Andrew Sheridan (England)
Phil Vickery (England)
Euan Murray (Scotland) 

Jerry Flannery (Ireland)
Lee Mears (England)
Matthew Rees (Wales)


May 30: v Highveld XV, Royal Bafokeng, Rustenburg
June 3: v Golden Lions, Ellis Park, Johannesburg
June 6: v Cheetahs, Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein
June 10: v Sharks, ABSA Park, Durban
June 13: v Western Province, Newlands, Cape Town
June 16: v Coastal XV, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
June 20: v South Africa (first Test), ABSA Park, Durban
June 23: v Emerging Springboks, Newlands, Cape Town
June 27: v South Africa (second Test), Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
July 4: v South Africa (third Test), Ellis Park, Johannesburg