The Lions squad to take on South Africa during the summer was announced this afternoon with Ireland lock Paul O'Connell confirmed as captain. Grand Slam winners Ireland and Wales dominate the squad with fourteen and thirteen players respectively. There are just eight tourists from England and two from Scotland.
There was no place in the 37-man squad for Steve Borthwick, Mike Blair and Ryan Jones the respective captains of England, Scotland and Wales. The big surprise was the inclusion of the Munster pair Alan Quinlan and Keith Earls neither of whom played for Ireland in the Six Nations.
Coach Ian McGeechan says that he selected the 37-players on form which explains the inclusion of eight players from Munster who are favourites to retain their Heineken Cup title again this year. The Lions will depart on May 24 for the 10-match tour which includes three tests against the World Champions South Africa.
British and Irish Lions squad for tour of South Africa. Backs: Lee Byrne (Wales), Rob Kearney (Ireland), Shane Williams (Wales), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Ugo Monye (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), Mike Phillips (Wales), Harry Ellis (England), Tomás O'Leary (Ireland). Forwards: 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 - captain (Ireland), 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).