Ian McGeechan has announced his Lions squad of 37 players to tour South Africa in 39 Days time.
Paul O’Connell has been appointed captain for the 2009 Lions tour to South Africa, but three Six Nations skippers have been omitted from the 37-man squad.
O’Connell edged out team-mate and Ireland’s Grand Slam-winning skipper Brian O’Driscoll for the most prestigious job in British and Irish rugby.
The 29-year-old lock has led Ireland on just four occasions and becomes the nation’s 10th Lions captain.
He leads a squad with 14 representatives from Ireland, 13 from Wales, eight from England and two from Scotland.
And that squad doesn’t include Wales captain Ryan Jones, England skipper Steve Borthwick and their Scotland counterpart Mike Blair.
Other absentees include Jonny Wilkinson, Danny Cipriani, Gavin Henson and James Hook, plus the shock omission of England flanker Tom Croft.
But there were surprise call-ups for the likes of Munster pair Keith Earls and Alan Quinlan in a squad that will be captained by their Munster colleague.
Lee Byrne (Wales) Rob Kearney (Ireland)
Shane Williams (Wales) Leigh Halfpenny (Wales) Ugo Moyne (England) Luke Fitzgerald (Ireland) Tommy Bowe (Ireland)
Tom Shanklin (Wales) Jamie Roberts (Wales) Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland) Keith Earls (Ireland) Riki Flutey (England)
Ronan O’Gara (Ireland) Stephen Jones (Wales)
Mike Phillips (Wales) Harry Ellis (England) Tomas O’Leary (Ireland)
Jamie Heaslip (Ireland) Andy Powell (Wales)
David Wallace (Ireland) Stephen Ferris (Ireland) Alan Quainlan (Ireland) Joe Worsley (England) Martyn Williams (Wales)
Alun-Wyn Jones (Wales) Paul O’Connell (Ireland) Captain Donncha O’Callaghan (Ireland) Simon Shaw (England) Nathan Hines (Scotland)
Gethin Jenkins (Wales) Adam Jones (Wales) Andrew Sheridan (England) Phil Vickery (England) Euan Murray (Scotland)
Jerry Flannery (Ireland) Lee Mears (England) Matthew Rees (Wales)
The team’s management is:
Manager – Gerald Davies;
Head coach – Ian McGeechan;
Forwards coach – Warren Gatland,
Defence coach – Shaun Edwards;
Backline coach – Rob Howley;
Technical adviser – Graham Rowntree.
UPDATE Courtesy of PA Sport
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