Louis Rees-Zammit is set to star for the Lions this summer
Louis Rees-Zammit capped his remarkable rise to international rugby prominence with his selection to the British and Irish Lions squad for the Tour of South Africa on Thursday.
At just 20 years old, the flying Welsh winger is one of the youngest players to ever receive a selection to the invitational side in its illustrious history.
For comparison, Maro Itoje was the youngest player on the 2017 Tour of New Zealand – but the England lock was 22 years old when he was selected by head coach Warren Gatland.
The honour for the youngest player to be selected for the team goes to Irish rugby legend Tony O’Reilly, who made 10 Test appearances for the side, scoring 10 tries.
O’Reilly played rugby for Old Belvedere and Leicester while a student and made his international debut at age 18 as a centre against France in 1955.
That same year he became the youngest-ever player selected for the British Lions and played on the wing at Ellis Park in Johannesburg against South Africa before a then world-record crowd of 95,000, scoring a try in a famous 23–22 Lions victory.
“I loved the freedom that I didn’t get with Ireland, the thrill of receiving the ball ten or 15 times in a game,” O’Reilly said on his Lions career.
“The Lions played running rugby and I was a runner.”
Despite starting at a young age, O’Reilly went on to have a 15-year international career. He retired in 1970 while playing for London Irish.
England’s Frank Stout is the youngest player to captain the Lions. He led the team in 1899 at the age of 22.
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