Warburton to captain Lions in New Zealand

Just three months after stepping down as Wales captain, Sam Warburton has been given the honour of skippering the Lions again.

Sam Warburton will captain the British and Irish Lions on the tour of New Zealand but England skipper Dylan Hartley has been omitted from the squad.

Warburton led the Lions in the series victory over Australia four years ago and Warren Gatland has once again decided that the former Wales captain is the man for the job when they take on the All Blacks in June and July

The inspirational back-row stepped down as skipper of his country in January but will have the honour of becoming only the second man to captain the Lions on two tours – emulating Martin Johnson's feat.

There is no place in the squad for hooker Hartley, who was touted as a potential captain for the 10-match tour but will not even board the plane.

Jamie George has been understudy to Hartley for the Six Nations champions, yet Gatland preferred the Saracens man in a squad that includes 16 England players.

Prop Kyle Sinckler has not started a game for England but has also been included in the touring party, along with New Zealand-born centre Ben Te'o.

Joe Launchbury is a somewhat surprising omission, while centre Jonathan Joseph earns a call despite earlier reports he would miss out.

Ross Moriarty has also been given the nod, as has fellow back-row Taulupe Faletau in a contingent of 12 Welshmen.

Full-back Jared Payne is another player in contention to face his country of birth and centre Robbie Henshaw is among 11 Ireland players who can look forward to a trip to the southern hemisphere.

Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour will fly the flag for Scotland, with brothers Richie and Jonny Gray among those overlooked by New Zealander Gatland.

 

Backs: Dan Biggar (Wales), Elliot Daly (England), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Owen Farrell (England), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), Stuart Hogg (Scotland), Jonathan Joseph (England), Conor Murray (Ireland), George North (Wales), Jack Nowell (England), Jared Payne (Ireland), Jonathan Sexton (Ireland), Tommy Seymour (Scotland), Ben Te'o (England), Anthony Watson (England), Rhys Webb (Wales), Liam Williams (Wales), Ben Youngs (England).

Forwards: Rory Best (Ireland), Dan Cole (England), Taulupe Faletau (Wales), Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), Jamie George (England), Iain Henderson (Ireland), Maro Itoje (England), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), George Kruis (England), Courtney Lawes (England), Joe Marler (England), Jack McGrath (Ireland), Ross Moriarty (Wales), Sean O'Brien (Ireland), Peter O'Mahony (Ireland), Ken Owens (Wales), Kyle Sinckler (England), CJ Stander (Ireland), Justin Tipuric (Wales), Mako Vunipola (England), Billy Vunipola (England), Sam Warburton (Wales, captain).

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