Our rugby experts pick their British and Irish Lions team
Last Updated: 04/11/15 3:45pm
The World Cup is over for another four years but before New Zealand start to think about a hat-trick of titles, there is a British and Irish Lions tour to consider.
The Lions will tour New Zealand in 2017 and already talk has turned to who will make the grade. Have the best of Britain and Ireland got any chance of beating the world champions?
Wales coach Warren Gatland, who led the Lions to a series win against Australia in 2013, could well be the man to lead the class of 2017, although fellow Kiwi - and Ireland coach - Joe Schmidt is also a strong contender,
We got our magnificent seven rugby pundits to select their British and Irish lions XV to take on New Zealand in the first Test on the 24th of June 2017 at Eden Park, Auckland.
Stuart Barnes, Scott Quinnell, Will Greenwood, Alan Quinlan and Shane Horgan all picked Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones as the man to lead the 2017 Lions, while Rory Lawson and Ieuan Evans opted for another Welshman in Sam Warburton as captain .
England's Dylan Hartley gets the nod for the No 2 jersey from Barnes, Greenwood and Evans, while Ross Ford, Scott Baldwin and Rory Best are also nominated. Scotland's powerhouse prop WP Nel is only selected by three of our pundits - Quinnell, Greenwood and Horgan - with the rest backing Wales tighthead Samson Lee to cause maximum damage upfront.
The chances that Richie McCaw will still be around in black come 2017 are slim, but New Zealand will still have a formidable backrow and getting the balance just right will be crucial.
Triumphant 2013 Lions skipper Warburton (who missed the final Test through injury) is the favourite to once again wear the No 7 jersey. However, Stuart Barnes and Will Greenwood have thrown Steffon Armitage into the mix. Ireland's Sean O'Brien is favoured at No 6 by Lawson, Horgan and Greenwood while Barnes has him at No 8.
The half-back pairing is another crucial area and only Rory Lawson has gone for a current international pairing - Wales duo Rhys Webb at scrum-half and Dan Biggar at fly-half. Webb and Biggar both feature in the other selections but are teamed up with - in Biggar's case - Greg Laidlaw (Quinnell) and Conor Murray (Greenwood and Quinlan). Webb has Johnny Sexton (Evans and Horgan) and George Ford (Barnes) outside of him.
England's centre partnership has been a real issue in recent years, but for the Lions tour of 2017 three Englishmen are favoured - none together, though!
Alan Quinlan opts for Robbie Henshaw and Manu Tuilagi while Quinnell and Lawson believe that Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Joseph are the men to get the midfield firing. Evans and Horgan believe that Henry Slade and Henshaw are key - although Evans has Slade at inside centre and Horgan at outside.
Stuart Barnes is the only pundit not to pick George North on the wing, and has instead opted for Luke Fitzgerald, however they are all on the same page when it comes to Anthony Watson on the other wing.
No place for Halfpenny?
Surprisingly the man of the series of 2013 - full-back Leigh Halfpenny - only makes Scott Quinnell's and Stuart Barnes' line-up. Scotland's Stuart Hogg is favoured by Greenwood, Lawson and Evans, while Kearney gets Shane Horgan's vote and Quinlan opts for Mike Brown.
Let us know which expert has got it right and send us your Lions starting XV