Lions squad for New Zealand tour: Player-by-player guide

Taulupe Faletau, of Wales,   is a brilliant ball-carrier and could be a key player for the Lions in New Zealand.
Taulupe Faletau, of Wales, is a brilliant ball-carrier and could be a key player for the Lions in New Zealand.
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Warren Gatland’s 41-man Lions’ squad in detail

BACKS

STUART HOGG (Scotland) Age: 24. Position: full-back. Caps: 53: Scotland’s attacking catalyst capable of testing any defence.

LEIGH HALFPENNY (Wales) 28/full-back /71: Goalkicking ace and a hero of 2013.

JARED PAYNE (Ireland) 31/full-back/20: New Zealand-born back can prove his worth on home soil.

ANTHONY WATSON (England) 23/wing/full-back/26: Strong aerial threat and a lethal finisher.

ELLIOT DALY (England) 24/wing/centre/13: Searing pace and a good eye for the line.

GEORGE NORTH (Wales) 25/wing/69: Bulldozing wing with a proven Lions pedigree.

LIAM WILLIAMS (Wales) 26/wing/full-back/43: Will travel to New 
Zealand as the Lions’ form wing.

JACK NOWELL (England) 24/wing/23: A devilish turn of speed with an eye for a try.

TOMMY SEYMOUR (Scotland) 28/wing/36: Glasgow star has 
the form to do damage in New Zealand.

ROBBIE HENSHAW (Ireland) 23/centre/29: Powerful carrier who offers options at inside and outside centre.

JONATHAN JOSEPH (England) 25/centre/wing/33: Lightning-fast runner with dancing feet and robust defence.

JONATHAN DAVIES (Wales) 29/centre/64:

A muscular presence at outside centre and proven Lion.

BEN TE’O (England) 30/centre/8: Strong 
carrier who will get the Lions over the gainline.

OWEN FARRELL (England) 25/centre/
stand-off/52: World-class playmaker and goalkicker, far left, who is a Test certainty.

JONATHAN SEXTON (Ireland) 31/
stand-off/66: Travels to New Zealand as the 
Lions’ conductor-in-chief. Brave, skilful and bright.

DAN BIGGAR (Wales) 27/stand-off/56: A dependable playmaker and fierce competitor.

BEN YOUNGS (England) 27/scrum-half/70: Strong all-round skill-set.

CONOR MURRAY (Ireland) 27/scrum-half/57: 
Outstanding half-back general, pictured left, whose game management is impeccable.

RHYS WEBB (Wales) 28/scrum-half/28: Rapid and combative scrum-half who emerged as a star of the Six Nations.

FORWARDS

MAKO VUNIPOLA (England) Age: 26. Position: prop. Caps: 42: Has developed into an outstanding all-round forward. Supremely consistent.

JACK McGRATH (Ireland) 27/prop/41: An integral part of Ireland’s success under head coach Joe Schmidt. High work-rate.

JOE MARLER (England) 26/prop/51: Had some disciplinary issues in the past, but a tough, no-nonsense operator.

DAN COLE (England) 29/prop/74: Involved in all three Tests on the last Lions tour, and is a model of consistency.

TADHG FURLONG (Ireland) 24/prop/16: One of Ireland’s great discoveries in recent seasons, he is a world-class scrummager.

KYLE SINCKLER (England) 24/prop/8: England’s tighthead understudy to Cole, he looks made for Test rugby.

RORY BEST (Ireland) 34/hooker/104: Best, right, led Ireland to victory over New Zealand earlier this season.

KEN OWENS (Wales) 30/hooker/50: Waited patiently for his Wales chance, but now among their most consistent performers.

JAMIE GEORGE (England) 26/hooker/17: England’s back-up to Dylan Hartley, who always makes an impact when he features off the bench.

ALUN WYN JONES (Wales) 31/lock/110: Captained the Lions to a Test 
series-clinching win in Australia four years ago, and remains at the peak of his powers.

MARO ITOJE (England) 22/lock/12: Current European player of the year who has made a rapid rise through the ranks.

COURTNEY LAWES (England) 28/lock/58: Has hit peak form this season. A tough, uncompromising player with skills to match.

GEORGE KRUIS (England) 27/lock/20: Experienced an injury-hit season, but a brilliant lineout operator and tactician.

IAIN HENDERSON (Ireland) 25/lock/32: A tough competitor who has performed well for club and country.

CJ STANDER (Ireland) 
27/flanker/15: South Africa-born forward who qualified for Ireland on residency, he has looked a natural at Test level.

PETER O’MAHONY (Ireland) 27/flanker/40: Has an ability to sway games his team’s way. 
Fearless and tireless 
performer.

SEAN O’BRIEN (Ireland) 30/flanker/49: Had his share of injuries, but few better operators than the Leinster forward when in peak form.

SAM WARBURTON (Wales) 28/flanker/74: The 2013 Lions tour captain in Australia, he has gone from strength to strength.

JUSTIN TIPURIC (Wales) 27/flanker/51: Quick, elusive, highly-skilled and effective at the breakdown. What is there not to like?

ROSS MORIARTY (Wales) 23/flanker/
No 8/17: A surprise inclusion but the rookie has all the ingredients to succeed.

TAULUPE FALETAU (Wales) 26/No 8/66: The complete package. Powerful, quick and a brilliant ball-carrier, one of the best back-row players around.

BILLY VUNIPOLA (England) 24/No 8/34: Vunipola, above, is very difficult to stop when on the charge. He could be a Lions game-breaker.