Thursday 6 May 2021 1:27 pm

Sam Simmonds and Jonny Hill named in British and Irish Lions squad for South Africa tour

Warren Gatland has named Sam Simmonds, Jonny Hill and Bundee Aki in his British and Irish Lions squad for the tour of South Africa this summer.

But despite expanding the party to 37 players, there is no place for Billy Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler, Johnny Sexton or Manu Tuilagi.

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones will skipper the Lions on his fourth tour.

“We believe we’ve picked a squad capable of winning a Test series in South Africa,” said Gatland.

“Selecting a Lions squad is never easy and, in many ways, this has been the most challenging selection I have been involved in.

“We’ve left out some very talented players which gives an indication to the strength of this squad and we know how important that stand-by list will be.”

Flanker Simmonds is included despite failing to convince England head coach Eddie Jones, while Exeter team-mate Hill is preferred to more experienced second rows such as James Ryan.

Aki is among the centres, along with fellow Irishman Robbie Henshaw, England’s Eliott Daly and Chris Harris of Scotland – but not Garry Ringrose or Tuilagi.

Dan Biggar, Owen Farrell and Finn Russell are the fly-halves, meaning there is no Johnny Sexton. Gareth Davies, Conor Murray and Ali Price are the scrum-halves.

Anthony Watson, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes and Tom Curry are also among the 11 English players selected.

Wales captin Alun Wyn Jones will skipper the British and Irish Lionson the 2021 Tour to South Africa.
Picture credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

The Lions face Japan in a pre-tour warm-up at Murrayfield on 26 June before departing for South Africa.

There they are due to play five tour matches before a three-Test series against the Springboks that begins on 24 July in Johannesburg.

The Lions’s travelling army of supporters are set to be absent due to issues around Covid-19, but it is hoped that local rugby fans may be able to attend games.

British and Irish Lions squad to tour South Africa

Backs (16):
Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) – Wing
Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) – Centre   
Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) – Fly-half
Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) – Centre
Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales) – Scrum-half  
Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) – Fly-half
Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) – Centre
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) – Centre
Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) – Full-back
Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) – Scrum-half
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) – Scrum-half
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales) – Wing
Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland) – Fly-half
Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) – Wing
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) – Wing
Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) – Full-back

Forwards (21):
Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland) – Second row
Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) – Back row
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) – Hooker
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) – Back row  
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) – Prop  
Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) – Back row
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) – Prop
Jamie George (Saracens, England) – Hooker
Iain Henderson (Ulster Rugby, Ireland) – Second row
Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, England) – Second row
Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) – Second row
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales) (Captain) – Second ro
Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) – Prop
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) – Second row
Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) – Hooker
Andrew Porter (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) – Prop
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) – Back row
Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) – Prop
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys, Wales) – Back row
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) – Prop
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) – Back row