Sunday 17 December 2017

How make-up of 2017 British and Irish Lions squad compares to previous tours

Sam Warburton previously captained the Lions in 2013
Sam Warburton previously captained the Lions in 2013

Warren Gatland on Wednesday ended weeks of speculation by naming his squad for this summer's British and Irish Lions tour.

Gatland selected 16 players from RBS 6 Nations champions England, 11 from Ireland, 12 from Wales and only two from Scotland for June and July's trip to his native New Zealand.

Here, Press Association Sport's Tom White assesses how that compares to the make-up of recent Lions squads and recaps how they fared against Australia, South Africa and New Zealand on their last two tours of each nation.


Opposition: Australia

Captain: Sam Warburton (Wales)

Coach: Warren Gatland (Wales coach, nationality New Zealand)

Original squad (refers to players initially selected - replacement players not included): England 10 players, Ireland 9, Scotland 3, Wales 15.

Test selection: England 20 appearances/9 starts, Ireland 14/11, Scotland 1/0, Wales 29/25.

Wales' back-to-back Six Nations champions - Grand Slam winners in 2012 - provided 15 of the 37-man squad and more than half of the players in the starting line-ups under their established coach and captain. Full-back Leigh Halfpenny was the chief inspiration for a 2-1 series win and a record 41 points in the deciding third Test. Coach Gatland and captain Warburton remain in charge for 2017.


Opposition: South Africa

Captain: Paul O'Connell (Ireland)

Coach: Sir Ian McGeechan (Scotland)

Original squad: England 8, Ireland 14, Scotland 2, Wales 13.

Test selection: England 15 appearances/12 starts, Ireland 21/16, Scotland 1/0, Wales 24/17.

Ireland had won the Six Nations Grand Slam, matching the feat of Wales the previous year, and both nations were well represented as England slipped to third in the pecking order. South Africa won the series 2-1, with Morne Steyn's match-winning penalty from his own half in injury time of the second Test ultimately proving decisive.


Opposition: New Zealand

Captain: Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland)

Coach: Sir Clive Woodward (England)

Original squad: England 20*, Ireland 11, Scotland 3, Wales 10.

Test selection: England 28 appearances/19 starts, Ireland 16/11, Scotland 1/0, Wales 18/15.

Woodward kept faith with many of his 2003 World Cup winners, but suffered a 3-0 series whitewash. Wales' Gareth Thomas took over the captaincy after O'Driscoll was controversially spear-tackled out of the tour two minutes into the first Test.

* Jonny Wilkinson was added to the squad as a 21st England selection, having initially been included on a list of players to join the squad subject to proving their fitness.


Opposition: Australia

Captain: Martin Johnson (England)

Coach: Graham Henry (Wales coach, nationality New Zealand)

Original squad: England 18, Ireland 6, Scotland 3, Wales 10.

Test selection: England 32 appearances/25 starts, Ireland 9/9, Scotland 4/3, Wales 12/8.

England's back-to-back Grand Slam winners dominated the team-sheet, led by captain Johnson two years before he marshalled his country to global success. He was the first man to captain the Lions twice, an achievement now matched by Warburton. Prop Tom Smith was the last Scot to start a Lions Test, making the XV in all three games in a series won 2-1 by Australia.


Opposition: South Africa

Captain: Martin Johnson (England)

Coach: Sir Ian McGeechan (Scotland)

Original squad: England 18, Ireland 4, Scotland 5, Wales 8

Test selection: England 27 appearances/22 starts, Ireland 9/8, Scotland 8/8, Wales 8/7

The last time Scotland were not the nation least represented - they had five players to Ireland's four and eight starts to Wales' seven. The Lions won the series 2-1, largely thanks to the kicking of Neil Jenkins - a member of the 2013 and 2017 coaching staffs.


Opposition: New Zealand

Captain: Gavin Hastings (Scotland)

Coach: Sir Ian McGeechan (Scotland)

Original squad: England 16, Ireland 2, Scotland 7, Wales 5

Test selection: England 32 appearances/31 starts, Ireland 3/3, Scotland 6/6, Wales 5/5

Rory Underwood's try helped the tourists win the second Test but they lost the series 2-1. Eleven players started all three matches, with Mike Teague in the second Test the only Lions replacement used.


Previous tours since 2000:

Original squad: England 14, Ireland 10, Scotland 3, Wales 12

Test selection: England 26 appearances/16 starts, Ireland 15/12, Scotland 2/1, Wales 21/16

Last six tours:

Original squad: England 15, Ireland 8, Scotland 4, Wales 10

Test selection: England 26 appearances/20 starts, Ireland 12/10, Scotland 4/3, Wales 16/13

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