Wales legend Alun Wyn Jones will captain the British and Irish Lions squad ahead of their tour in South Africa between July 3 and August 7 after Warren Gatland confirmed his 37-man squad on Thursday afternoon.
There’s a relatively even split between nationalities in the squad, following on from the most exciting Six Nations tournament in years, which Jones’ Wales triumphed in, with eleven England players, ten Wales players, and eight each from Scotland and Ireland.
One of the big headlines from the squad announcement is that Exeter Chiefs’ Sam Simmonds, who is without an England cap in three years, is the preferred choice ahead of Billy Vunipola in the back row.
Ireland captain Johnny Sexton, a key figure in the Lions’ 2017 tour in New Zealand, has also been left out of the 37. Northampton Saints’ Courtney Lawes, injured since February, is included among the forwards, as is England second row Jonny Hill.
Ireland’s Bundee Aki steps in for the absent Manu Tuilagi, whilst Wales centre Jonathan Davies, England prop Kyle Sinckler and Ireland second row James Ryan are all big-name omissions.
Captain Alun Wyn Jones, who will be taking part in his fourth tour with the Lions, said, "I'm obviously very proud and privileged.
"To be selected in the squad is initially what you want to be hearing as a player. To have the armband as well is a privilege.
"I had a call from Gats on Sunday evening - actually a missed call.
"I thought I'd better give him a callback. We had a quick chat and I accepted obviously.
"Initially the aim is to get into the squad. I've just got a huge amount of pride to be able to add this to the CV.
"There is a lot of work to do when we get out there."
Captain: Alun Wyn Jones
Forwards: Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Luke Cowan Dickie, Tom Curry, Zander Fagerson, Taulupe Faletau, Tadhg Furlong, Jamie George, Iain Henderson, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones, Wyn Jones, Courtney Lawes, Ken Owens, Andrew Porter, Sam Simmonds, Rory Sutherland, Justin Tipuric, Mako Vunipola, Hamish Watson.
Backs: Josh Adams, Bundee Aki, Dan Biggar, Elliot Daly, Gareth Davies, Owen Farrell, Chris Harris, Robbie Henshaw, Stuart Hogg, Conor Murray, Ali Price, Louis Rees-Zammit, Finn Russell, Duhan van der Merwe, Anthony Watson, Liam Williams.