Sam Simmonds, Bundee Aki, Jack Conan, Jonny Hill named in 37-man British and Irish Lions squad for South Africa series
Sam Simmonds, Bundee Aki, Jack Conan, Chris Harris and Jonny Hill are surprise inclusions, while Ireland captain Johnny Sexton and lock James Ryan, England tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler and No 8 Billy Vunipola, and Wales centre Jonathan Davies are some of the high-profile absentees.
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 06/05/21 6:29pm
Exeter Chiefs back-row Sam Simmonds, who last played for England in 2018, has been included in a 37-man British and Irish Lions squad to face South Africa.
Ireland centre Bundee Aki and back-row Jack Conan, Scotland centre Chris Harris and England second row Jonny Hill are also surprise inclusions, while there are a number of high-profile omissions.
Ireland captain Johnny Sexton and lock James Ryan, England tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler and No 8 Billy Vunipola, and Wales centre Jonathan Davies are just some of a few high-profile absentees.
Others to miss out that were heavily fancied are Ireland centre Garry Ringrose, England midfield duo Henry Slade and Manu Tuilagi, Wales flanker Josh Navidi, England openside Sam Underhill, Ireland back-row CJ Stander and Wales scrum-half Tomos Williams.
The three loosehead slots have gone to England's Mako Vunipola, Wales' Wyn Jones and Scotland's Rory Sutherland - whose shoulder injury has not kept him out.
At hooker, England pair Jamie George and Luke Cowan-Dickie are picked alongside Wales' Ken Owens, while the tighthead spots have gone to Ireland duo Tadhg Furlong and Andrew Porter, as well as Scotland's Zander Fagerson.
The second row slots go to skipper Alun Wyn Jones, England's Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes and Hill and Ireland's Iain Henderson and Tadhg Beirne - the latter of whom may well feature at blindside flanker.
In the back-row, England's Tom Curry and Simmonds, Wales pair Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau, Scotland's Hamish Watson and Ireland's Conan are named.
Into the backs, Ireland's Conor Murray, Wales' Gareth Davies and Scotland's Ali Price are the scrum-halves, while Wales' Dan Biggar and Scotland's Finn Russell will cover 10.
England's Owen Farrell is likely to provide fly-half and centre cover, alongside the three midfielders named: Ireland's Robbie Henshaw and Aki, and Scotland's Harris.
In the back-three, Scotland's Stuart Hogg and Duhan van der Merwe, England's Anthony Watson, and Wales trio Liam Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit and Josh Adams will tour, as will England's Elliot Daly, who is likely to feature as a utility back.
British and Irish Lions squad 2021:
Loosehead prop: Mako Vunipola (Saracens and England), Wyn Jones (Scarlets and Wales), Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh and Scotland).
Hooker: Ken Owens (Scarlets and Wales), Jamie George (Saracens and England), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs and England).
Tighthead prop: Tadhg Furlong (Leinster and Ireland), Andrew Porter (Leinster and Ireland), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors and Scotland).
Second Row: Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys and Wales, Captain), Maro Itoje (Saracens and England), Iain Henderson (Ulster and Ireland), Tadhg Beirne (Munster and Ireland), Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs and England), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints and England).
Back-Row: Tom Curry (Sale Sharks and England), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys and Wales), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh and Scotland), Taulupe Faletau (Bath and Wales), Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs and England), Jack Conan (Leinster and Ireland).
Scrum-half: Conor Murray (Munster and Ireland), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors and Scotland), Gareth Davies (Scarlets and Wales).
Fly-half: Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints and Wales), Owen Farrell (Saracens and England), Finn Russell (Racing 92 and Scotland).
Centre: Robbie Henshaw (Leinster and Ireland), Chris Harris (Gloucester and Scotland), Bundee Aki (Connacht and Ireland).
Back-three: Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs and Scotland), Liam Williams (Scarlets and Wales), Anthony Watson (Bath and England), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester and Wales), Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh and Scotland), Elliot Daly (Saracens and England), Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues and Wales).
From 6pm, tune in on Sky Sports for the Lions Announcement Special, where Alex Payne will be joined by Warren Gatland and the Lions captain as well as Bryan Habana and Will Greenwood.
Watch every match from South Africa exclusively live on Sky Sports this summer.