Former British & Irish Lions coach Sir Ian McGeechan has named his squad for the upcoming tour of South Africa, which includes a few notable omissions.
Writing for Telegraph Sport, McGeechan, who played for the Lions and coached them on three tours, picked a list of 36 players who he believes should be on the plane to South Africa in July.
Notably, Ireland captain Jonathan Sexton is not among the three flyhalves in McGeechan’s squad, as he has preferred England captain Owen Farrell, Wales’ Dan Biggar and Scotland’s Finn Russell.
Sexton has been involved in the previous two tours of New Zealand and Australia and has six Lions caps. With 105 Test caps to his name, the 35-year-old is also the most experienced option available at flyhalf.
Meanwhile, Sexton’s Ireland and Leinster teammate Garry Ringrose has also not been named, despite his excellent form for club and country. Instead, McGeechan opted for Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), Chris Harris (Scotland), Jonathan Davies (Wales) and Henry Slade (England) as his centres for the tour.
Ireland No 8 CJ Stander is the only South African-born player in the squad, with in-form Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe missing out to the Welsh trio of Louis Rees-Zammit, Josh Adams and George North and England duo Elliot Daly and Anthony Watson.
‘Having announced his decision to quit international rugby this summer, Stander will be motivated to go out on a high,’ McGeechan wrote. ‘Solid and covers 6 and 8.’
British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland is set to name his 36-man squad for the 2021 tour on 6 May.
Save the date, 6 May 🗓
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) March 31, 2021