After all the talk and speculation, the British & Irish Lions squad has now been announced in the build up to their 125th Anniversary Tour of Australia this summer.
The coaches have selected a squad of 37 players to board the plane down under with a split of 16 backs and 21 forwards. Although the squad has only just been picked, people are already discussing who they would like to see the make the test XV with mixed responses from all parties.
Cardiff Blues and Wales flanker Sam Warburton has been appointed captain of the 37 man squad. Warburton has experience of captaincy at both club and country level.
For some players, this is their first tour with the British & Irish Lions whilst others will be pulling on the red jersey for a fourth time. Brian O’Driscoll will be visiting Australia for a second with the Lions after after also being involved in the 2001 tour.
The likes of Halfpenny, Warburton and Roberts were always likely to make the squad whilst others such as Murray and Vunipola were only expecting to go on their respectives nations tours this summer.
The British & Irish Lions 2013 squad is:
Forwards: Dan Cole, Cian Healy, Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, Matt Stevens, Mako Vunipola, Dylan Hartley, Richard Hibbard, Tom Youngs, Ian Evans, Richie Gray, Alun-Wyn Jones, Paul O’Connell, Geoff Parling, Tom Croft, Toby Faletau, Jamie Heaslip, Dan Lydiate, Sean O’Brien, Justin Tipuric, Sam Warburton (capt).
Backs: Leigh Halfpenny, Stuart Hogg, Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe, Alex Cuthbert, Sean Maitland, George North, Jonathan Davies, Brian O’Driscoll, Jamie Roberts, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray, Mike Phillips, Ben Youngs.
Make sure you throw your support behind the British & Irish Lions with our collection of clothing, designed to be worn with pride both on and off the rugby field.