Eight Irish make Independent.ie's ridiculously early 2017 Lions touring squad
Published 21/03/2016 | 16:49
The 2016 Six Nations has come to an end, which means we are about a year away from the Lions head coach announcing his squad for the gruelling tour of New Zealand.
Nobody has yet been appointed to the role but all the signs point to Warren Gatland getting another opportunity to lead the Lions after masterminding the test series win over Australia in 2013.
A year out from the Lions tour is a good time to take stock and see which players are competing for spots - oftentimes someone who seems a sure thing a year out can find themselves watching the test matches on TV the following summer.
With that in mind, we decided to pick a 37-man squad based on today's form, with a little bit of leeway to accommodate a few injured players.
As with every Lions selection, this will probably prove divisive but what stood out most of all was how hard it is to narrow it down to a select few for each position.
Here is our full squad:
Prop (6): Jack McGrath (Ire), Mako Vunipola (Eng), Rob Evans (Wal), Samson Lee (Wal), Dan Cole (Eng), WP Nel (Sco)
Hooker (3): Scott Baldwin (Wal), Dylan Hartley (Eng), Rory Best (Ire)
Second Row (5): Iain Henderson (Ire), Alun Wyn Jones (Wal), Maro Itoje (Eng), Joe Launchbury (Eng), Jonny Gray (Sco)
Flanker (5): Peter O'Mahony (Ire), John Hardie (Sco), Sam Warburton (Wal), Sean O'Brien (Ire), Steffon Armitage (Eng)
Number Eight (2): Toby Faletau (Wal), Billy Vunipola (Eng)
Scrum-half (3): Conor Murray (Ire), Gareth Davies (Wal), Ben Youngs (Eng)
Out-half (2)*: Johnny Sexton (Ire), Dan Biggar (Wal)
*There is a 0% chance that Owen Farrell does not go on this tour
Centre (4): Jamie Roberts (Wal), Jonathan Joseph (Eng), Jonathan Davies (Wal), Robbie Henshaw (Ire)
Wing (4): George North (Wal), Tommy Seymour (Sco), Anthony Watson (Eng), Jack Nowell (Eng)
Fullback (3): Mike Brown (Eng), Leigh Halfpenny (Wal), Stuart Hogg (Sco)
Head coach: Warren Gatland (Wal)
Defence coach: Paul Gustard (Eng)
Attack coach: Gregor Townsend (Sco)