Warren Gatland will reportedly name his smallest ever Lions squad for this summer's tour of South Africa.
According to The Daily Mail, Gatland will announce a 36-man squad on May 6th.
He named a 41-man group for the tour of New Zealand four years ago, and a 37-man squad for the Australian trip in 2013.
When is the Lions squad announced?
The smaller group means that player versatility is likely to be a major factor when deciding squad members. For Irish forwards like Tadhg Beirne and Iain Henderson, both of whom can play in the second row and back row, and Andrew Porter who can play at either tighthead or loosehead, it should increase their likelihood of selection. For others, like CJ Stander and Josh van der Flier, it could be a negative.
The Lions are scheduled to play nine games in all, beginning with a match against Japan at Murrayfield on June 26th. The first test against the Springboks is on July 24th in Johannesburg.
The May 6th squad announcement gives players just five weeks to put their hands up for selection.
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