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Austin Healey And Lawrence Dallaglio Pack Their Lions Squad With Irishmen

Austin Healey And Lawrence Dallaglio Pack Their Lions Squad With Irishmen
By Gavin Cooney Updated

Mercifully, it is nearly here. After months and months of build-up, Warren Gatland will finally announce his 39-man squad for the Irish and British Lions British tour of New Zealand. Pretty much every rugby pundit has been asked to pick the Lions team that they want to start the first test, with Sky's Will Greenwood mentally choosing Leinster's Adam Byrne on the wing. 

On BT Sport's Rugby Tonight, Austin Healey and Lawrence Dallaglio went further, and tonight have picked their full squad. Standing in front of a board with 60-odd names on it, and decided to pick their squad from there. Both had agreed on the bulk of the squad earlier, and spent a ten-minute periscope broadcast deciding who to pick from those whose inclusion is not guaranteed.

In all, twelve Irishmen made the cut. The bankers included were:

Jack McGrath

Rory Best

Tadhg Furlong

Sean O'Brien

CJ Stander

Conor Murray

Johnny Sexton

Robbie Henshaw

From there, a further four Irishmen made the cut from the marginal calls. Cian Healy is included for his impact from the bench, says Lawrence Dallaglio. Surprisingly, Dallaglio believes that Richie and Johnny Gray have played themselves out of contention, and picks Donnacha Ryan ahead of them for the second row, following a glowing recommendation from Brian O'Driscoll.

 

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Dallaglio expects Gatland to stockpile his back rows, meaning Peter O'Mahony sneaks in, ahead of Jamie Heaslip. while Dallaglio made the case for Garry Ringrose owing to his versatility, despite the fact that Ringrose has not played an international game in a position other than centre.

Elsewhere, Dylan Hartley isn't included, with Dallaglio believing that Ken Owens is likely to be selected instead, and Austin Healey believes that Chris Ashton deserves to go as one of the form wingers, the position which both believe the Lions are weakest, along with centre and hooker.

Both are certain that Sam Warburton will be captain. Watch it below:

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