British & Irish Lions Squad 2017 to tour New Zealand

The 2017 British and Irish Lions squad has been announced, with Sam Warburton to captain the tour.

Backs
Dan Biggar
Elliot Daly
Jonathan Davies
Owen Farrell
Leigh Halfpenny
Robbie Henshaw
Stuart Hogg
Jonathan Joseph
Conor Murray
George North
Jack Nowell
Jared Payne
Jonathan Sexton
Tommy Seymour
Ben Te’o
Anthony Watson
Rhys Webb
Liam Williams
Ben Youngs

Forwards
Rory Best
Dan Cole
Talupe Faletau
Tadhg Furlong
Jamie George
Iain Henderson
Maro Itoje
Alun Wyn Jones
George Kruis
Courtney Lawes
Joe Marler
Jack McGrath
Ross Moriarty
Sean O’Brien
Peter O’Mahoney
Ken Owens
Kyle Sinckler
CJ Stander
Justin Tipuric
Mako Vunipola
Billy Vunipola
Sam Warburton

82 thoughts on “British & Irish Lions Squad 2017 to tour New Zealand

    1. There was apparently huge and lengthy discussion about J Joseph. He’s a lucky lad, but on balance well deserved.

  1. Big squad. Would have taken Robshaw over Moriarty and Biggar’s inclusion is a bit of a shame. Payne’s a surprise but actually not too many form FB’s at the moment so I get it.

    Everyone can calm down about Roberts/Joseph now.

  2. It’s actually not as bad as I was expecting. There are quite a few that I would have gone differently on but I can understand the arguments for inclusion. There are 4 picks that I think are just bad calls. Moriarty, Biggar, Davies and the omission of Launchbury.

    1. Christmas
      If you’re reffing Hartley, you may regret his being replaced by by Boy George, esp as the latter, v Ireland, when he had a last chance saloon opportunity to give England a go @ Ireland line, threw the pill straight to the Irish jumper. When the hair dryer was turned on, he blew it. Big time! @ least DH hits his HIS jumpers & didn’t blot his copy book on ENGLAND duty.
      All very well when playing for a winning Sarries club side who have a tendency to ‘buy’ their way to success (spot the non-Internationals in recent yrs), but it was a bit different @ top level with the elephant kneeling on his chest, eh?

  3. Thank God some of the leaks were wrong!

    But the omission of Launchbury is absurd and in what world is Ross Moriarty a better flanker than either Robshaw or Haskell?

    1. That’s easy – this one. Now ask a difficult question like why so many mediocre English players, soft-track bullies the lot of them. Except Mike Brown – he’s really good. Oh hang on…….

        1. Presumably it’s those Englishmen who equalled the record number of wins in a row and won the last two 6 nations, one with a grand slam.

          Course if they are mediocre than I hate to think what that says about the Welsh players who only managed to come higher than Italy in the last 6 nations…

          1. You know that’s rubbish. Last 6N was very poor quality. My beef with the Welsh players is that, though they may be better than their English counterprts, they just don’t try hard enough when Gatland’s not there.

            1. Well at least the coach that, in Gatland’s absence, got such disappointing results out of a set of players better than their English counterparts isn’t also coaching them this summer …. oh wait ….

              Howley’s inclusion is the only selection I don’t agree with! All the others are tough calls in competitive positions and you will naturally lean towards a player you know. I’m sure Cotter would have selected more Scots, Schmidt more Irish and I can’t imagine EJ would have left Hartley out. Picking a captain you’ve never worked with before would be a huge risk, again you go with what you know. For me this is just the reality of having a current national coach as Lions coach but it doesn’t mean the selection is biased.

              Congrats to everyone selected, may they stay injury free/not abuse any refs/etc through to the end of the season and I’m very jealous of anyone making the trip to watch them!

            1. Disagree.
              Firstly as someone else has said already on here Launchbury is not the BEST in the air.
              Secondly he can go missing in games e.g. against Wales!
              There are just better and more SUITABLE players in the squad to attempt beating NZ with (presumably also baring in mind the style of play WG has in mind)
              IMO the choices made by Warren are spot on. To say otherwise to any major extent on here as a bunch of amateurs (myself included) is farcical.
              I would differ with ONE player only whose form has not been great but i am assuming Warren knows something we don’t about him.
              AM TALKING ABOUT HALFPENNY

  4. The test squad is much what I’d hoped for, just the same quibbles as everyone else with regards to Moriarty, Biggar, Davies and Halfpenny and omission of Launchbury.

    Test squad has gone for mobility and line out prowess, George, Kruis and Itoje work so well that coupled with PoM we’d be untouchable there.

    Backrow has the balance of Jackling carrying and grafting

    I really like double playmaker style with Sexton and Farrell, with Henshaw to truck up the middle. North, Hogg and Daly have a good blend of size power and feet, plus some decent boots between them

    bench are all players who can add something new to the field and all have decent pace (Owens being the only exception but I wanted to start with George)
    1 M Vunipola
    2 J George
    3 T Furlong
    4 G Kruis
    5 M Itoje
    6 P O’Mahoney
    7 S Warburton
    8 B Vunipola
    9 C Murray
    10 J Sexton
    11 E Daly
    12 O Farrell
    13 R Henshaw
    14 G North
    15 S Hogg

    16 K Owens
    17 J McGrath
    18 K Sinckler
    19 C Lawes
    20 CJ Stander
    21 R Webb
    22 J Joseph
    23 L Williams

    1. Thank God – what we’ve been desperately searching for; someone who knows SO much more about rugby than Gatland, Howley, Farrell, Jenks, put together. So grateful.

      1. I like POM in there too but can’t see him starting the tests. Having said that Flatman seemed to think on his podcast a while back that Gatland doesn’t rate Stander that highly, so maybe.

        Also suspect AWJ and Liam Williams will start, but prefer Kruis and Daly in Henno’s team.

    2. Strongly agree with this 23. My original thoughts were Stander starting at 6 and Tipuric off the bench, but tbh I think POM starting with Stander in the rear makes more sense and gives more balance.

      Just splitting hairs l would swap Owens/George and McGrath/Mako to start/bench respectively for impact off bench/’finisher’ material.

  5. Poor calls IMO are Halfpenny and Davies, who get in on previous, but don’t offer anything near as much as others in their position (some of the Irish boys would’ve been better look ins) .

    Lock was always going to be contentious, with an absurd number of high quality locks – AWJ will really need to up his game from 6N to show why he’s better than Launch/Gray’s (but I really hope Kritoje to be the starting test pairing anyhow).

    Think the rest of the calls are fair (and unsurprising). Really glad Moriarty got a nod – he’s got the same “stuff it, I’ll do it myself” attitude that’s stopped Wales looking even more mediocre.

    1. The Scottish are going to quite rightly pissed off though. Shocking ommisions of Watson, Russell, Brown and at least one Gray

        1. Will Greenwood made a good point, some of those selected will get injured before they get on the plane, and even more during the tour. those feeling hard done by should not be public whinging as there’s a good chance they’ll get a call up. But the fact Wales are touring Pacific Islands does sound a little too convenient for me…

    2. Yes, Jonathan Davies not much cop; a bit better than O’Driscoll, but other than that should have been left out.

        1. Yes he is; not a lot better (BOD was [was] a fine, fine player, if hobbled by being over-rated by his compatriots, as often happens) But clearly the Lions selectors felt that, sadly, JD had the edge.

  6. Ah it isn’t terrible
    Just uninspired
    Maybe Owens out for Hartley or Brown
    Marler for Evans/Healy
    AW Jones and Lawes/Henderson for J Gray and Launchbury
    O’Brien for Watson
    Biggar for anyone
    Te’o for Dunbar
    Maybe Payne for Ringrose/Slade
    Halfpenny for Zebo/Maitland/Abendanon/Ashton

  7. Launcbury must have really upset Gatland in a past life! I just can’t see any way you justify AWJ over Launch at the moment and Jonny Gray must be pulling his hair out! JD is nowhere near the form of other centres to have missed out – 12 welshmen from a team that came 5th in 6N could only be justified by Gats!

    1. Yes, Gats is as you say a complete idiot who just picks his pals even though they are clearly no good. Come on, you Saes lot, stop moaning just because the entire squad isn’t English.

      1. You can’t seriously think there isn’t bias when Gatland picks 12 Welshman? A team that finished second bottom in the 6 nations. None of those 12 played in Champions Cup QFs and the Welsh sides are hardly lighting up the pro-12?

        1. I think your argument is superficial. Yes Wales were 5th, no argument about that. But look a little harder; they beat the Irish (quite comfortably), and were 3 and a half minutes from beating England (who themselves then lost to the Irish). These are the sort of things experienced selectors look at, not just table placements.

          1. You mean they beat Ireland but they lost to England, France and Scotland (one of those being at home), and were losing at half time to Italy. Not to mention being the only team that were so inept they couldn’t get a BP try vs a terrible Italian side….

            I think maybe the selectors should have looked at that, but they didn’t. Gatland picked his guys.

    2. By the way, you’re quite wrong about AWJ/Launchbury. AWJ is respected the world over. Launchbury is a good, hard-working, admirable guy, but……….We’re talking different class.

    3. Launchbury was without doubt the outstanding second row of the six nations and has played out of his skin since he returned from injury last year. AW-J hasn´t looked anything like the player he once was for at least two years now and I simply don´t understand why he is going. Don´t think that Halfpenny brings any more than solidity, and am somewhat bemused that Biggar is anywhere near. He plays so deep that I suspect we will struggle to get anywhere near the gain line. Still, enough good players to pick a decent Saturday side if they are not too exhausted after an excessively long season. Feel sorry for Robshaw, who needed more games to show he was back to somewhere near his best to stand a chance, but not totally surprised about Haskell, who seems to still be limping when he walks and was slightly off the pace against Ireland. It would be good if we could leave nationalistic abuse out of comments on this theme and all get behind the whole squad rather than worrying about where they are from.

      1. OK, well then WHY is he not on the trip?? I’m exasperated with people who are deluding themselves that Gatland – Gatland of all people the Great Pragmatist – would avoid picking someone just because of their nationality! If you think that, trust me, you really are so very wrong. He’s as desperate as all of us (more so?) to jus win the series.

        1. The only thing I can think of is lack of mobility.

          Look at the locks he has picked. I think Kruis is the only one who hasn’t played in the back row and he’s no slouch anyway.

          Launchbury is a very good player, but Gatland has gone for a different type. I’m sure if the Lions were going to South Africa Launchbury would be going.

          1. Can’t be – Launchbury is one of the more mobile locks around with a huge engine and work rate. Certainly more so than AWJ nowadays.

            I’ve decided its quite simple why he didn’t get a place. Gatland couldn’t leave Kruis and Itoje given their ability. Lawes had a great 6 nations and offers flexiblity – as does Henderson who also benefited from too much emphasis being placed on Ireland’s last game. And flexibility is likely to be important

            So the choice was AWJ or Launchbury and for Gatland there’s only ever going to be one winner there, despite AWJ’s not particularly great form.

  8. Firstly I would have rather seen Roberts on the list than the arm waving, whining muppet that is Biggar. How on earth does he get picked ahead of Ford or Russell?
    Johnny Gray or Launchbury instead of AWJ but I can understand having him for his experience.
    Moriarty I can understand as well. A very good player who can cover 6 &8. Robshaw has only just come back from a long injury spell so not in best form yet.
    Apart from Biggar the backs looks mostly fair. Still not sure I would take Davies on current form and I would like to have seen at least one curve ball thrown in but overall I’m happy with that.

    1. Dazza, you do yourself no favours by being abusive about Dan Biggar. Yes, he does talk at refs too much – it’s a bad habit. But he is a very fine, dedicated player. If you think Gatland and the others are daft enough to pick him ‘just because he’s Welsh’ then you’re too deluded to be passing comments.

      1. I never said anything about him being selected because he’s Welsh. I was pointing out that his arm waving behaviour is annoying. It is footballesque and has no place on a rugby pitch. A dedicated player yes, fine……maybe, but better than Ford or Russell, no I don’t think so.
        I can understand Gatland picking a lot of Welsh players. He has a limited amount of time to prepare them so it makes sense. Personally I think there are better players to take in some of those positions.

    2. Agree with all of that Dazza except Robshaw not being back to his best. Did you catch the Quins/Exeter game? He was relentless. Maybe he needed a few more of those games and just didn’t have the time to show his form, or maybe Gats was never going to take him.

      Someone on commentary said he and Ewers looked like a perfect tackling/carrying combo that day, their stats were pretty wild. Maybe we’ll see that in Argentina, perhaps with Underhill completing the back row.

      1. A fair point. I didn’t see all of that game but from what I saw Robshaw looked good, but still needs more time to get back to his best.
        Moriarty looked impressive in an underperforming Welsh team and deserves a shot. A similar workrate to Robshaw but a better carrier.
        Argentina tour squad will be interesting with so many players on the Lions tour.

  9. I’m obviously in a minority but I rate Biggar. I also think Moriaty did well for Wales and deserves his place. Launchbury should be there – no ifs, no buts – so to make way, anyone of the other locks apart from Itoje would lose their spot IMO. The Scots should have had more representation that’s for sure. I am also pleased Daly, Nowell and Liam Williams are their too. My test half backs would be the Irish duo.

    Just an arm chair pundits view! But hey, that’s what these forums are about……

    1. Also very happy Nowell is included. Has had a quiet few weeks in the prem but he is a quality player, hard-working in defence and attack which will be needed in NZ. I hope all squad players get given a chance to prove themselves in the warm-ups.

      I personally cannot see anything in Biggar that Ford or Russell wouldn’t have brought tenfold. He brings nothing in attack (other than the occasional up-and-under; which Smith/Dagg will eat up all day long) and his goal kicking is not on par with Farrell’s. A liability given his mouth and poor temperament.

  10. My test team on the current squad

    Front row – don’t care
    Second row – itoje/kruis
    Back row – Stander/faletau/warburton

    Half backs – Murray/sexton
    Centres – Farrell/daly
    Back three – nowell/Hogg/Liam Williams

    Replacements or finishers…
    don’t care

  11. Taliesen, I’m not suggesting he has just picked his pals; certainly players like Warbs and Tipuric are thoroughly deserving, but, I think 12 from a team that came nowhere and had few players present in high level European games is strange given Scotland/Glasgow performances

    1. Well Glasgow were thumped in the quarter finals and Russell went missing.

      But realistically, which other Scottish players would have been taken?

      Huw Jones and WP Nel are both injured, and Laidlaw has only just come back from injury.

      Are either of the Gray brothers better than Joe Launchbury? Not for my money. And are Sean Maitland or Tim Visser better than Simon Zebo? Again, I don’t think so.

      That leaves Watson, but Gatland clearly thinks that two out and out 7s is enough, and Russell.

      Now I’d have liked to see Russell go instead of Biggar, who I don’t think is enough of an attacking threat. But in two big games – England and Saracens – Russell was anonymous, whereas Biggar bossed two big games against England and Ireland, which is quite a sensible reason for Gatland to pick him that doesn’t have anything to do with his nationality.

      1. Biggar far from bossed England in 6 nations and against Scotland he was firmly in Russell’s pocket. Finn is very unlucky not to be ahead of Biggar as is Sam Davies, George Ford, Paddy Wallace, Duncan As it and hell even me a 45 year old diabetic overweight no.8 with dubious handling skills.
        Launchbury and both Grays should be ahead of both AWJ and Henderson.
        And with the players who can cover fb I’d take any of Maitland, Visser, Ashton over 1/2p

  12. Now the dust is beginning to settle, does EJ take Hartley, Launchbury, Robshaw, Haskell and Brown to Argentina or does he rest proven players for the AIs and try some new combinations. I’m really interested to see who he takes at 9 with Care and also if he tries Slade at 10. Not sure who goes in the centres (surely not Barritt and Burrell) and if he rests Brown, who goes at 15? I’d really like to see Wade start on the wing and prove himself to EJ as I think he’s class. In some ways I think it might be more interesting than the Warrenball being played in NZ. At least no-one’s going to accuse him of disloyalty!

    1. Would not be at all surprised if he took Maitland and Mallinder and had a look at Mallinder at full back if he is convinced that he has recovered an ability to tackle after his shoulder injury. Hope he takes Simpson and Spencer at 10, leaves Hartley at home and takes Taylor and Cowan-Dickie at hooker.

    2. I think we can be confident that Barritt and Burrell will not go to Argentina.

      They’ll probably go on holiday to New Zealand and get a bench spot for the last test instead!

    3. I’d look to rest all the established England players. I doubt it will be a full strength Arg side, so you’re not going to discover something about the likes of Brown and Robshaw that you don’t already know. Possible exception Launchbury as Lions have depleted the 2nd row options!

      I’d like to see guys like Ewers, Underhill, Robson, Spencer, Lozowski, Slade, Mallinder, Wade, Haley given a go.

      I’d heard somewhere that EJ was going to rest the lions players for the AI’s, so it would be an opportunity to give fringe players a couple of caps to see if they can cope at international level.

    4. I’d love to see some fresh faces on the Argie tour. I would take Care, but have Robson and Spencer along for the experience. In the centres I would like to see Tomkins and Marchant together . Haley should go as the 15, but have a utility player like Lozowski to cover 10, 12 & 15. On the wings I would take Short and Wade with Bassett along as back up.

    1. Potential 32 man squad for Englands trip to Argentina
      Props – Ellis Genge, Matt Mullan, Nathan Catt, Henry Thomas, Paul Hill, Jake Cooper-Wooley
      Hookers – Dylan Hartley, Tommy Taylor, Luke Cowan-Dickie
      Locks – Charlie Ewels, Dave Attwood, Joe Launchbury, Josh Beaumont
      Backrow – Chris Robshaw, Tom Wood,
      James Haskell, Sam Jones, Nathan Hughes, Jack Clifford
      Scrum Halves – Dan Robson, Danny Care
      Fly Halves – George Ford, Alex Lozowski
      Centres – Henry Slade, Harry Mallinder, Joe Marchant
      Wings – Samesi Rockoduguni, Chritian Wade, Johnny May, Marland Yarde
      Fullbacks – Mike Brown, Mike Haley

      1. Is this England v Argentina or a Lions squad? (only joking, sorry!). These tests could well be better actual games than the Lions/NZ ones. Looking forward.

  13. Since Warburton is currently injured and looks like he is going to miss the rest of his club’s season, is appointing him captain the best thing to do when his form and match fitness are going to be questionable? Why include AWJ if he is not going to be captain when there are more in-form players left at home?

    Gutted for Robshaw, but it looks like his inclusion was never in the cards. I think his injury made it more easily justified for not being picked. Gatland does not rate him!

  14. Gatland’s taking people he knows & trusts; as much as he can @ least. He’s not doing anything other than some do here & who have a ‘natural’ bias towards their own. Many seem to have it in for Hartley or Biggar, but do any ask why the former was left out & the letter included? For me Hartley ought to have gone as he’s exp, a captn, has done nothing wrong on England duty, he hits HIS line outs, leads by e.g. & is apparently respected by his team! Are these the quals required in NZ? H’ever there are those who think George walks on water, presumably as he’s bigger, stronger etc, etc, i.e. he ‘fits’ the old mold. I thinks Gats got sucked into bigger is better on this 1 & has made a mistake (in omitting DH, not nec by including George). But will JG he last? Will he stand the biggest PRESSURE in tour rugby? Maybe, but it would concern me that in the his most vital line out he hit.. an Irishman! Pressure? Darn right. Lancaseter used to talk about NZ having 9 over 30 in their squad last WC. Presumably implying that youth would overcome. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way & the Lions will need buckets of EXP to cope in NZ . That’s prob why Ford, Russell dipped out. They make too many errors, wrong choices under the pump. Regds Biggar, whether he waves his arms about or not, perhaps he’s more robust & will stand up to the rigours better than the other 2? In any event, it’s all stacked against the B&IL’s as it’s a team game & are the Lions 15-20% better than NZ as they’ll likely need to be to have any chance? Where will they, as whatever team they field, out jump NZ in the line out, shunt them @ every scrum, or beat them to the breakdown? We’ll see, but that’s what they’re going to have to do to give themselves a shout.. away & with the S franchises lying in wait.

  15. BTW I think it was an error to have omitted Launchbury. MotM x2 in the 6N! Has more nous, he’s more mobile, handles better, knows when to offload & also does his share of grunt for me. Technically, he would be an even better player if he spent a yr in a Kiwi franchise IMO. Also, Heaslip should have gone for his EXP as much as anything else. conversely, Daly is too INEXP. There are better wings out there, more so as D is really a 3/4! L. Williams should be @ wing (or f/back) instead, leaving room for someone else.. like Zebo? Maybe Kearney @ f/back too. He’s sounder under the high ball/’D’, than Hogg.

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