Sports

Warburton leads, Te'o in for Lions rugby

Warburton leads, Te'o in for Lions rugby

There were 12 players from Wales - a country coached by Gatland - 11 from Ireland and two from Scotland, which will be one of the big talking points of the selections.

Yet there are some significant absentees, the most notable of which sees their captain Hartley overlooked in favour of his global understudy Jamie George, who travels as one of three hookers alongside Rory Best and Ken Owens despite never having started a Test.

General view of the stage ahead of the British and Irish Lions Squad Announcement at Hilton London Syon Park.

The 27-year-old put in a man of the match performance for Ireland in their Six Nations win over England last month.

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

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Both men have denied this, but Page said he did briefly meet with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich during the trip. Fisa warrants are nearly never made public, and the Post cited unnamed law enforcement and other officials in its report.

Ultimately it came down to a straight choice between Launchbury or his England team-mate Lawes with Wasps director of rugby Dai Young "mystified" by the call to leave out his club captain. The Wales flanker will be the second player to captain the Lions twice, after England great Martin Johnson (1997, 2001).

Warburton, who was Gatland's captain for Wales from 2011-16, found out he was being retained in the role when he got a phone call from Gatland as he sat in his auto at a supermarket waiting for his girlfriend to return with the shopping.

Also poised to tour Argentina are prolific try-scoring rugby league convert Denny Solomona, who qualifies for England on residency grounds, and uncapped back-row prospect Sam Underhill.

Lions forwards coach Graham Rowntree said they needed a pack that had character and a willingness to always compete in what will be a tough 10-game tour that includes three Tests.

Reflecting on Warburton being succeeded by his fellow Lion Alun Wyn Jones in Wales' top playing job, Howley added: "The key at that moment in time was for Sam to be the best that he could be, and the best thing that happened with Sam is that he has played week in, week out".

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The Lions have won just one series in 11 trips to New Zealand, 2-1 in 1971, and were demolished 3-0 on their last visit in 2005 by a rampant All Blacks side led by Dan Carter.

The team travel to New Zealand in late May, before their opening match against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians on June 3rd in Whangarei.

"That's what makes us pretty excited about the quality of the squad going to New Zealand".

There were surprise call-ups on Wednesday for Ireland fullback Jared Payne, England wing Jack Nowell and Wales back-row Ross Moriarty in a squad selected by New Zealand-born coach Warren Gatland.

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