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British and Irish Lions Tour 2017

The British and Irish Lions is a rugby union team selected from players eligible for any of the Home Nations sides of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The Lions are a Test side, and generally select international players, but they can pick uncapped players available to any one of the four unions. The side tours every four years, with these rotating among Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

The 2009 Test series was lost 2–1 to South Africa, while the 2013 Test series was won 2–1 over Australia.

From 1888 onwards combined rugby sides from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland toured the Southern Hemisphere.

The first tour was a commercial venture, and was undertaken without official backing. The six subsequent visits enjoyed a growing degree of support from the authorities, before the 1910 South Africa tour, which was the first tour representative of the four Home Unions.

In 1949 the four Home Unions formally created a Tours Committee and for the first time, every player of the 1950 Lions squad had played internationally before the tour. The 1950’s tours saw high win rates in provincial games, but the Test series were typically lost or drawn.

The winning series in 1971 (New Zealand) and 1974 (South Africa) changed this pattern.

The last tour of the amateur age took place in 1993.

The multi-nation team that is today named the British and Irish Lions first came into existence in 1888 as the Shaw & Shrewsbury Team.

It was then primarily English in composition but also contained players from Scotland and Wales. Later the name British Isles became associated with the team.

On their 1950 tour of New Zealand and Australia they officially adopted the name British Lions, the nickname first used by British and South African journalists on the 1924 South African tour after the lion emblem on their ties, the emblem on their jerseys having been dropped in favour of the four-quartered badge with the symbols of the four represented unions.

Overall test matches

Updated after the 2013 Tour

Against Played Won Lost Drawn For Against  % Won
 Argentina 7 6 0 1 236 31 86
 Australia 23 17 6 0 414 248 74
 New Zealand 38 6 29 3 345 634 16
 South Africa 46 17 23 6 470 546 37
Total 114 46 58 10 1,465 1,459 40

Overall tour results

Against Tours Won Lost Drawn  % Won
 Argentina 3 3 0 0 100%
 Australia 9 7 2 0 78%
 New Zealand 11 1 10 0 9%
 South Africa 13 4 8 1 31%
Total 36 15 20 1 42%

The Lions first played New Zealand in 1904 and it was 1930 before the Lions recorded a victory over New Zealand.

The Lions’ only Test series triumph to date against New Zealand was in 1971, when they claimed the series 2-1 with one game drawn. The Lions have suffered Test series whitewashes on five occasions in New Zealand, the last of those being 11 years ago.

The Lions’ 2005 New Zealand tour, when England’s World Cup-winning supremo Sir Clive Woodward was at the helm, saw them concede 107 points in the Test series. The Lions’ last victory against New Zealand came on the 1993 tour in Wellington.

The Lions’ overall record against New Zealand shows six victories, three draws and 29 defeats. The last player to score a try for the Lions against New Zealand was former England flanker Lewis Moody in 2005.

A 10-game schedule for this summer’s New Zealand tour will see the Lions play at seven different venues – Whangarei, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Rotorua, Hamilton and Wellington.

Auckland’s Eden Park – venue for the 2011 Rugby World Cup final – will stage two of the three Lions Tests.

Here in full is all you need to know about the British and Irish Lions squad:

BACKS

STUART HOGG (Scotland)

  • Age: 24
  • Position: Full-back
  • Caps: 53
  • Verdict: Scotland’s attacking catalyst capable of testing any defence.

LEIGH HALFPENNY (Wales)

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Full-back
  • Caps: 71
  • Verdict: Goalkicking ace and a hero of 2013.

JARED PAYNE (Ireland)

  • Age: 31
  • Position: Full-back
  • Caps: 20
  • Verdict: New Zealand-born back will get the chance to prove his worth on home soil.

ANTHONY WATSON (England)

  • Age: 23
  • Position: Wing/full-back
  • Caps: 26
  • Verdict: Strong aerial threat and a lethal finisher.

ELLIOT DALY (England)

  • Age: 24
  • Position: Wing/centre
  • Caps: 13
  • Verdict: Searing pace and a good eye for the line.

GEORGE NORTH (Wales)

  • Age: 25
  • Position: Wing
  • Caps: 69
  • Verdict: Bulldozing wing with a proven Lions pedigree.

LIAM WILLIAMS (Wales)

  • Age: 26
  • Position: Wing/full-back
  • Caps: 43
  • Verdict: Will travel to New Zealand as the Lions’ form wing.

JACK NOWELL (England)

  • Age: 24
  • Position: Wing
  • Caps: 23
  • Verdict: A devilish turn of speed with an eye for a try.

TOMMY SEYMOUR (Scotland)

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Wing
  • Caps: 36
  • Verdict: Glasgow star has the form to do damage in New Zealand.

ROBBIE HENSHAW (Ireland)

  • Age: 23
  • Position: Centre
  • Caps: 29
  • Verdict: Powerful carrier who offers options at inside and outside centre.

JONATHAN JOSEPH (England)

  • Age: 26
  • Position: Centre/wing
  • Caps: 33
  • Verdict: Lightning-fast runner with dancing feet and robust defender.

JONATHAN DAVIES (Wales)

  • Age: 29
  • Position: Centre
  • Caps: 64
  • Verdict: A muscular presence at outside centre and proven Lion.

BEN TE’O (England)

  • Age: 30
  • Position: Centre
  • Caps: 8
  • Verdict: Strong carrier who will get the Lions over the gainline.

OWEN FARRELL (England)

  • Age: 25
  • Position: Centre/fly-half
  • Caps: 52
  • Verdict: World-class playmaker and goalkicker who is a Test certainty.

JONATHAN SEXTON (Ireland)

  • Age: 31
  • Position: Fly-half
  • Caps: 66
  • Verdict: Travels to New Zealand as the Lions’ conductor-in-chief. Brave, skilful and bright.

DAN BIGGAR (Wales)

  • Age: 27
  • Position: Fly-half
  • Caps: 56
  • Verdict: A dependable playmaker and fierce competitor.

GREIG LAIDLAW (Scotland)

  • Age: 31
  • Position: Scrum-half
  • Caps: 58
  • Verdict: Dependable Scotland skipper summoned to replace Ben Youngs.

CONOR MURRAY (Ireland)

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Scrum-half
  • Caps: 57
  • Verdict: Outstanding half-back general whose game management is impeccable.

RHYS WEBB (Wales)

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Scrum-half
  • Caps: 28
  • Verdict: Rapid and combative scrum-half who emerged as a star of the Six Nations.

FORWARDS

MAKO VUNIPOLA (England)

  • Age: 26
  • Position: Prop
  • Caps: 42
  • Verdict: Has developed into an outstanding all-round forward. Supremely consistent.

JACK McGRATH (Ireland)

  • Age: 27
  • Position: Prop
  • Caps: 41
  • Verdict: An integral part of Ireland’s success under head coach Joe Schmidt. High work-rate.

JOE MARLER (England)

  • Age: 26
  • Position: Prop
  • Caps: 51
  • Verdict: Had some disciplinary issues in the past, but a tough, no-nonsense operator.

DAN COLE (England)

  • Age: 30
  • Position: Prop
  • Caps: 74
  • Verdict: Involved in all three Tests on the last Lions tour, and is a model of consistency.

TADHG FURLONG (Ireland)

  • Age: 24
  • Position: Prop
  • Caps: 16
  • Verdict: One of Ireland’s great discoveries in recent seasons, he is a world-class scrummager.

KYLE SINCKLER (England)

  • Age: 24
  • Position: Prop
  • Caps: 8
  • Verdict: England’s tighthead understudy to Cole, he looks made for Test rugby.

RORY BEST (Ireland)

  • Age: 34
  • Position: Hooker
  • Caps: 104
  • Verdict: Led Ireland to a famous victory over New Zealand earlier this season, and is vastly experienced.

KEN OWENS (Wales)

  • Age: 30
  • Position: Hooker
  • Caps: 50
  • Verdict: Waited patiently for his Wales chance, but now among their most consistent performers.

JAMIE GEORGE (England)

  • Age: 26
  • Position: Hooker
  • Caps: 17
  • Verdict: England’s back-up to Dylan Hartley, who always makes an impact when he features off the bench.

ALUN WYN JONES (Wales)

  • Age: 31
  • Position: Lock
  • Caps: 110
  • Verdict: Captained the Lions to a Test series-clinching win in Australia four years ago, and remains at the peak of his powers.

MARO ITOJE (England)

  • Age: 22
  • Position: Lock
  • Caps: 12
  • Verdict: 2016 European player of the year who has made a rapid rise through the ranks.

COURTNEY LAWES (England)

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Lock
  • Caps: 58
  • Verdict: Has hit peak form this season. A tough, uncompromising player with skills to match.

GEORGE KRUIS (England)

  • Age: 27
  • Position: Lock
  • Caps: 20
  • Verdict: Experienced an injury-hit season, but a brilliant lineout operator and tactician.

IAIN HENDERSON (Ireland)

  • Age: 25
  • Position: Lock
  • Caps: 32
  • Verdict: A tough competitor who has performed well for club and country.

CJ STANDER (Ireland)

  • Age: 27
  • Position: Flanker
  • Caps: 15
  • Verdict: South Africa-born forward who qualified for Ireland on residency, he has looked a natural at Test level.

PETER O’MAHONY (Ireland)

  • Age: 27
  • Position: Flanker
  • Caps: 40
  • Verdict: Has an ability to sway games his team’s way. Fearless and tireless performer.

SEAN O’BRIEN (Ireland)

  • Age: 30
  • Position: Flanker
  • Caps: 49
  • Verdict: Had his share of injuries, but few better operators than the Leinster forward when in peak form.

SAM WARBURTON (Wales)

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Flanker
  • Caps: 74
  • Verdict: Reprising his role as captain having led the 2013 tour win in Australia, he has gone from strength to strength.

JUSTIN TIPURIC (Wales)

  • Age: 27
  • Position: Flanker
  • Caps: 51
  • Verdict: Quick, elusive, highly-skilled and effective at the breakdown. What is there not to like?

JAMES HASKELL (England)

  • Age: 32
  • Position: Flanker
  • Caps: 75
  • Verdict: A belated, and long-awaited, Lions call after Billy Vunipola’s injury. Will give his all.

ROSS MORIARTY (Wales)

  • Age: 23
  • Position: Flanker/number eight
  • Caps: 17
  • Verdict: A surprise inclusion but the rookie has all the ingredients to succeed.

TAULUPE FALETAU (Wales)

  • Age: 26
  • Position: Number eight
  • Caps: 66
  • Verdict: The complete package. Powerful, quick and a brilliant ball-carrier, one of the best back-row players around.

 

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