Warburton to lead Lions

Tue, 30 Apr 2013 10:27
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Wales skipper Sam Warburton will captain the British and Irish Lions on their tour of Australia in June and July.

Wales skipper Sam Warburton will captain the British and Irish Lions on their tour of Australia in June and July, head coach Warren Gatland announced on Tuesday.

At 24, Warburton becomes the youngest tour captain in Lions history, but there was no place in the 37-man touring party for either England captain Chris Robshaw or flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson.

However, Ireland great and 2005 Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll was included, with the centre chosen for his fourth successive tour with the combined side.

The squad for the 10-match, three-Test series is made up of 15 Welshmen, 10 Englishmen, nine Irishmen and three Scotsmen.

Warren Gatland said: "We spent a long time selecting this squad and there were some close calls with a lot of competition for places.

"But ultimately we chose the players who will give us the best chance of a Test series victory. A Lions Tour to Australia only comes around once every 12 years and we believe we have the right balance in the squad to be successful.

"We have a tremendous challenge in front of us but I know the players will be dedicated to the adventure and task ahead," Gatland added.

The Lions will be looking for their first series win since 1997 when they defeated South Africa.

They face the Wallabies in the first of three Tests on June 22, after starting their tour against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1.

British & Irish Lions Squad: Leigh Halfpenny, Stuart Hogg, Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe, Alex Cuthbert, Sean Maitland, George North, Jonathan Davies, Brian O'Driscoll, Jamie Roberts, Manusamoa Tuilagi, Owen Farrell, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray, Mike Phillips, Ben Youngs, Dan Cole, Cian Healy, Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, Matt Stevens, Mako Vunipola, Dylan Hartley, Richard Hibbard, Tom Youngs, Ian Evans, Richie Gray, Alun Wyn Jones, Paul O'Connell, Geoff Parling, Tom Croft, Toby Faletau, Jamie Heaslip, Dan Lydiate, Sean O'Brien, Justin Tipuric, Sam Warburton (Captain).


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