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April 21, 2017
Strong Welsh Contingent in Lions Squad
Warren Gatland found himself in the unenviable position of picking a Lions squad to take on the might of New Zealand this summer.
Whoever made the final 41-man squad, there was always going to be a few big names missing and Gatland has certainly made some big calls ahead of the Lions tour which starts on the 3rd June in Whangarei.
The main talking point is the number of Welsh players selected in the squad. Wales finished fifth in the 2017 Six Nations yet have 12 players in the squad, compared to 11 Irish and just two from Scotland. Both Ireland and Scotland finished above Wales in the Six Nations table but Gatland has seemingly ignored form in some of his selections, opting to choose players he knows well.
Having been asked about the nationality split, Gatland said "I didn't realise the split in the numbers," a clear indication he did not want to discuss the topic of which countries were strongly represented.
England have the largest number of players in the squad, as was expected but even with 16 players selected, captain Dylan Hartley was not picked. Other names who will feel unlucky not be chosen include Ireland's Donnacha Ryan, England's Joe Launchbury and Scotland brothers Jonny and Richie Gray.
However, the consensus is the balance of the squad looks good and the group of players selected are capable of winning. Gatland has picked players who suit the style of rugby he plans on playing against New Zealand and you must take the game to the All Blacks if you are to defeat them on their own turf.
This is going to be the most intense Lions series in history. Have the players selected by Gatland got what it takes to defeat the All Blacks?