British and Irish Lions squad announced: Full 37-man team for South Africa tour

Warburton backs Itoje to be future Lions captain

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Warren Gatland’s 37-man British and Irish Lions squad for the tour of South Africa has been announced with Alun Wyn Jones confirmed as captain. The Welsh icon will be taking part in his fourth Lions tour having first pulled on the famous shirt back in 2009.

Jones also captained the team to victory in the dramatic third Test victory over Australia back in 2013.

Former England prop and Lions president Jason Leonard revealed the full squad on Thursday afternoon.

English players dominated that squad with 11 players selected while 10 Welsh players were announced.

The Irish and Scottish contingent were split with eight players from each country, with 18 set to make their Lions debuts.

But there was no place for Ireland’s Johnny Sexton or England’s Billy Vunipola.

Jonathan Davies, Kyle Sinckler and James Ryan were also big-name omissions with Sam Simmonds a somewhat surprise selection.

There is still some time before the squad travels for the start of the tour on July 3.

There may well be some replacements for injuries or suspensions with the first of three Tests scheduled for July 4.

The Lions will play a number of warm up games before traveling to South Africa, starting with a match against Japan at Murrayfield on June 26.

It is yet to be confirmed whether games in South Africa will be played in front of spectators.

Flights between the UK and South Africa are currently suspended with quarantine measures in place.

Full British and Irish Lions squad:

Forwards: Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Zander Fagerson, Taulupe Faletau, Tadhg Furlong, Jamie George, Iain Henderson, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones (capt.), Wyn Jones, Courtney Lawes, Ken Owens, Andrew Porter, Sam Simmonds, Rory Sutherland, Justin Tipuric, Mako Vunipola, Hamish Watson.

Backs: Josh Adams, Bundee Aki, Dan Biggar, Elliot Daly, Gareth Davies, Owen Farrell, Chris Harris, Robbie Henshaw, Stuart Hogg, Conor Murray, Ali Price, Louis Rees-Zammit, Finn Russell, Duhan van der Merwe, Anthony Watson, Liam Williams.

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