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emfizz.com April 27, 2017


Lions squad 'what you'd expect' - Hansen

20 April 2017, 10:27 | Andy Ferguson

Gatland has refused to pander to public opinion when selecting his squad Warren Little Getty Images

Gatland has refused to pander to public opinion when selecting his squad Warren Little  Getty Images

Hartley has lost out to England team-mate Jamie George, who has been selected despite acting as understudy at hooker for his global captain, Ireland captain Rory Best and Ken Owens.

The Rotorua-born hooker joins Chris Robshaw and Steve Borthwick in failing to make the Lions squad despite captaining England, with Gatland opting for Ireland's Rory Best, Hartley's England understudy Jamie George and Wales' Ken Owens.

If there was heartache for Hartley, there was set to be uproar in Scotland.

Despite winning three games in the Six Nations for their performance in more than a decade and moving up to fifth in the world rankings, the Scots had only two representatives in the Lions squad - fullback Stuart Hogg and winger Tommy Seymour.

The squad contains 25 players who will be on their first Lions tour.

Gatland, who oversaw the 2-1 win in Australia four years ago, underlined the need for the rest of the squad to support their skipper, whose experience in the role counted significantly in his favour.

"That's why we've taken a few extra players than we did in 2013".

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The theme of continuity extended to Gatland's choice of captain.

Sam Warburton becomes only the second player after Martin Johnson to captain the Lions on two different tours.

"I remember speaking at a dinner shortly after we returned and I just said it would be nice to get another chance". That ruled him out for six weeks, and the Lions' tour opener is on June 3 against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei.

Head coach Warren Gatland has selected a 41-man squad for the 10 fixtures culminating in a three-Test series against New Zealand, including surprise call-ups for Ireland full-back Jared Payne, England wing Jack Nowell and Wales back row Ross Moriarty. Launchbury was particularly unlucky to miss out, with Lions especially strong in the second row with Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones, Courtney Lawes, George Kruis and Iain Henderson.

'There are a number of people who are playing very, very well who haven't been All Blacks, and there are a number of All Blacks who are playing well'.

Best started in two matches on the Tour, one of those in which he was captain and playing for a Test start - the Lions lost their only match of the Tour to the Brumbies 14-12. We just needed to make sure we have the depth and quality in the squad to make sure we can handle the quality of the sides we're coming up against.



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