2017 British and Irish Lions squad announced

England captain, Dylan Hartley amongst those to miss out

by Abi Moses on Wednesday 19th April, 2017


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Warren Gatland has announced his British and Irish Lions squad for the summer's tour of New Zealand, with England captain, Dylan Hartley a shock omission from the tour party. 
 
Hartley becomes the third successive England captain to miss out on a Lions call after Steve Borthwick and Chris Robshaw missed the cut in 2009 and 2013 respectively. 
 
The three hookers selected for the ten-game tour are Ireland's Rory Best, Ken Owens of Wales and Hartley's compatriot, Jamie George. 
 
In the back row, Sam Warburton shrugged off his injury concerns after being named captain for the tour. Whilst fellow Welshman, Ross Moriarty is somewhat of a surprise inclusion. Moriarty was hugely impressive during Wales' Six Nations campaign and is deserved of his place. 
 
Gatland has selected sixteen players from England's Six Nations winning squad, but there is no place for Robshaw, James Haskell, George Ford or Joe Launchbury. 
 
England and Wasps lock, Launchbury, will be disappointed to miss out after a sterling Six Nations, but the second row is considered the strongest area of the Lions squad. Scottish brothers, Richie and Jonny Gray have also been omitted, with Gatland preferring Iain Henderson of Ireland, Welsh captain Alun Wyn Jones and England trio George Kruis, Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje in the engine room. 
 
In the backs, Jonathan Joseph has been preferred to Jamie Roberts in the centre, despite rumours to the contrary. However, the kicking ability of Roberts' Welsh teammate, Leigh Halfpenny means he's given the nod ahead of Mike Brown at full back. Stuart Hogg is favourite to start at full back in the first test after he was named as just one of two Scotland players in the squad. Although Scotland impressed during the recent Six Nations tournament, their embarrassing capitulation at Twickenham has probably cost one or two on the plane. 
 
Current Lions Tour Odds: 
 
New Zealand – 1/4 (32 Red, 888 Sport, Stan James, William Hill)  
Draw - 40/1 (10Bet, NetBet) 
British and Irish Lions - 4/1 (Betfair)

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