November 29, 2022

Spy Gists

Fresh Updates From Around The World.

Warren Gatland had to seek last-minute permission to up his Lions squad from 36 to 37

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Warren Gatland revealed he made a dramatic late move to up the number of players in his British and Irish Lions squad from 36 to 37 – with the lucky the 37th man probably Ireland’s Jack Conan.

Speaking after announcing his squad to tour South Africa this summer, which contained a number of surprise picks including Conan, Gatland revealed: ‘We had a four-hour meeting and have added an extra name to make the squad 37 – getting permission to do that from the board and CEO was what we did yesterday.’

The New Zealander confirmed that the extra man was in the back row, saying: ‘Looking at our loose forwards, getting that extra number there is a guarantee of a back-up.’

Ireland's Jack Conan is a surprise inclusion in the British and Irish Lions squad

Ireland's Jack Conan is a surprise inclusion in the British and Irish Lions squad

Ireland’s Jack Conan is a surprise inclusion in the British and Irish Lions squad

Exeter's Sam Simmonds

Exeter's Sam Simmonds

Scotland's Hamish Watson

Scotland's Hamish Watson

Exeter’s Sam Simmonds (left) and Scotland’s Hamish Watson (right) are also included

With Ireland lock Tadhg Beirne able to cover blindside flanker, Gatland was expected to name fewer loose forwards in a squad which has been streamlined to minimise the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak.

While not England’s regular No 8, Exeter’s Sam Simmonds’ selection as back up to Taulupe Faletau had been mooted for some time, and flankers Tom Curry and Justin Tipuric always appeared certainties. Hamish Watson got the nod over Sam Underhill to compete with Tipuric for the No 7 jersey, but Conan’s inclusion was a surprise.

Able to play at No 8 or on the blindside, the selection of the 28-year-old Leinster man gives Gatland extra cover in the back row, and potentially frees up Simmonds as an option on the flank too.

BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS SQUAD 

BACKS 

J Adams (Wales)

B Aki (Ireland)

D Biggar (Wales)

E Daly (England)

G Davies (Wales)

O Farrell (England)

C Harris (Scotland)

R Henshaw (Ireland)

S Hogg (Scotland)

C Murray (Ireland)

A Price (Scotland) 

L Rees-Zammit (Wales) 

F Russell (Scotland)

D Van der Merwe (Scotland)

A Watson (England)

L Williams (Wales) 

FORWARDS

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T Beirne (Ireland)

J Conan (Ireland)

L Cowan-Dickie (England)

T Curry (England)

Z Fagerson (Scotland) 

T Faletau (Wales) 

T Furlong (Ireland) 

J George (England) 

I Henderson (Ireland)

J Hill (England)

M Itoje (England)

AW Jones (Wales, capt) 

W Jones (Wales)

C Lawes (England)

K Owens (Wales)

A Porter (Ireland)

S Simmonds (England)

R Sutherland (Scotland)

J Tipuric (Wales)

M Vunipola (England)

H Watson (Scotland) 

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