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Lions: What the players said

Lions: What the players said

Earning selection for The British & Irish Lions, whether for your first Tour or your third, is one of the career highlights of every rugby player.

Earning selection for The British & Irish Lions, whether for your first Tour or your third, is one of the career highlights of every rugby player.

And last Wednesday 41 men experienced the unparalleled joy of hearing their name read out by Tour Manager John Spencer at Hilton Syon Park in London.

The 2017 Tour party will head down to New Zealand with the aim of creating history – the Lions last won a Test series against the All Blacks in 1971.

And while the domestic season is still to come to a conclusion, the focus on Wednesday was allowed to turn to the All Blacks and the six-week, ten-match Tour this summer.

The response on social media from the players fortunate enough to earn selection was overwhelmingly positive, starting with skipper Sam Warburton who becomes only the second man after Martin Johnson to captain two Tours in a row.
 

Thanks for all the extremely kind messages. Amazing honour to captain the @lionsofficial again. Squad looks very very strong! #AllForOne???

— Sam Warburton (@samwarburton_) April 19, 2017


Leigh Halfpenny was a tourist in 2009 to South Africa and man of the series in 2013 but the thrill of being selected never gets old: 
 

What a feeling #AllForOne pic.twitter.com/R6xjbtIeHl

— Leigh Halfpenny (@LeighHalfpenny1) April 19, 2017


Kyle Sinckler was named as one of six props in the squad, despite not having started a Test for his country, and it was clearly a surprise to the man himself.

Wow

— Kyle Sinckler (@KyleSinckler) April 19, 2017


His England teammate Anthony Watson was similarly taken aback at his inclusion in the back three.
 

It's all mad…

— Anthony Watson (@anthonywatson_) April 19, 2017


Tommy Seymour also earns his first-ever Lions call-up on the wing, the Scotland star rewarded for impressive form in this year’s RBS 6 Nations
 

Unbelievably honoured to be selected in the @lionsofficial squad. Thank you for all the messages and support over the last few days.

— Tommy Seymour (@tommy_seymour14) April 22, 2017


Another man to earn his spurs because of his fine showings in this year’s Championship is hooker Ken Owens.
 

Thank you for all the kind messages over the last few days. Hugely proud and honoured to be selected for the @lionsofficial #AllForOne

— ken owens (@kenctsowens) April 22, 2017 

While Peter O’Mahony’s displays for his province Munster and in the green of Ireland got him on the plane.
 

Extremely honoured to be selected for the @lionsofficial Dream come true is an understatement!… https://t.co/gYXbNs1v3Y

— Peter O'Mahony (@peterom6) April 20, 2017 

There he will be joined by his Ireland teammate Iain Henderson – one of five locks to make the cut in the touring party.
 

Humbled & privileged by inclusion in the @lionsofficial '17 squad. Delighted by yesterday's announcement, thanks for the messages #AllForOne

— Iain Henderson (@HendersonIain) April 20, 2017


Robbie Henshaw, Jack McGrath Conor Murray and CJ Stander were also included from the Ireland side that downed the All Blacks in Chicago last summer
 

Huge honour being named in @lionsofficial squad. Thanks for all the kind messages. Plenty of work to do before then. Exciting times ahead!

— Robbie Henshaw (@henshawrob) April 20, 2017

A massive thank you to everyone who has congratulated me on my inclusion in the @lionsofficialhttps://t.co/coOF9tRkqW

— C J Stander (@CJStander) April 20, 2017

Yesterday really took the sting out of turning 28 today ??! Honoured to be selected for @lionsofficial this summer. #AllForOne

— Conor Murray (@ConorMurray_9) April 20, 2017

Thankyou to everyone for all the kind messages, genuinely humbled.

— Jack McGrath (@jackmc100) April 19, 2017


Ireland captain on that magical day on Soldier Field was Rory Best and the hooker will now be heading on his second Lions Tour.
 

Honoured & delighted to be named in the @lionsofficial squad for NZ tour. Thanks for all the messages of support!! #AllForOne

— Rory Best (@RoryBest2) April 20, 2017

 
Completing the set of three hookers in the squad is Saracens and England star Jamie George – another who has yet to start a Test for England but has made such an impact from the bench that he could not be ignored.
 

Yesterday was crazy!! Huge honour to be selected on the @lionsofficial tour, I can't wait. Thanks for all the kind messages ??

— Jamie George (@J_George2) April 20, 2017


Fellow Saracens, and England locks, Maro Itoje and George Kruis were both humbled by their inclusions.
 

Thanks for the messages! All much appreciated. Incredibly honoured and excited to be apart of the tour! Looking forward to meeting Bil aha

— Maro Itoje (@maroitoje) April 19, 2017 

Crazy day.. appreciate the messages! ???

— George Kruis (@GeorgeKruis) April 19, 2017

 
While Wales star Liam Williams, who will join Saracens following the Lions Tour, was similarly delighted.

Huge honour to be selected for @lionsofficial tour to NZ. Thanks for all the kind messages! #AllForOne ?

— Liam Williams (@SanjayWills) April 20, 2017


His Wales teammate and scrum-half Rhys Webb was overdue some good news after missing the 2015 World Cup with injury.
 

Hugely honoured to be named in the @lionsofficial squad. Thanks everyone for all your kind messages ????

— Rhys Webb (@Rhys_W009) April 19, 2017


While one of the other Welshman to surprise a few people with his inclusion was Ross Moriarty – what a perfect birthday present a day before he turned 23!
 

Overwhelmed by all the messages iv been receiving for making it into the @lionsofficial squad. thank you so much honestly can't believe it ?

— Ross Moriarty (@RossMoriarty6) April 19, 2017


He will battle in the back row with Sean O’Brien, the Leinster flanker who will be heading on his second Lions Tour.
 

Incredibly honoured to be named in the @lionsofficial squad. Thank you to everyone for all the kind words and messages #AllForOne ?

— Sean O' Brien (@SeanOBrien1987) April 19, 2017


Another returning after getting his first taste in 2013 is Stuart Hogg, although this time the full-back will not have to look after BIL as the youngest on Tour – that honour goes to Itoje
 

Massive honour to be named in the @lionsofficial squad. Thanks for all the support. #AllForOne

— Stuart W Hogg (@StuartWHOGG_) April 19, 2017


There will be plenty of familiar faces though as Mako Vunipola, George North and Ben Youngs all return from 2013.
 

Thanks for the messages. Much appreciated ??

— Mako Vunipola (@Mako_Vunipola) April 19, 2017

Massive thanks for all the messages. Honoured to be selected for @lionsofficial tour! ??

— George North (@George_North) April 19, 2017 

Honoured to be named in the @lionsofficial touring squad. Was fun finding out in the car listening to @talkSPORT with the kids screaming ?

— Ben Youngs (@benyoungs09) April 19, 2017

 
Overall 16 Englishmen made the cut, with Jack Nowell, Joe Marler, Jonathan Joseph and Courtney Lawes all getting their first call-ups.
 

What an honour to be name in the @lionsofficial squad. A day I certainly wont forget. Thank you for all amazing messages, very grateful??

— Jack Nowell (@nowellsy15) April 19, 2017

Thanks for the lovely messages.

— Joe Marler (@JoeMarler) April 19, 2017

Interesting couple of days. Absolute honour to be named in a strong @lionsofficial squad. Very excited about the challenges ahead!

— Jonathan Joseph (@Jonathanjoseph0) April 19, 2017

Thank you everyone for your kind messages It's an honour to be selected for the tour to NZ And… https://t.co/WwKUcl2odD

— Courtney Lawes (@Courtney_Lawes) April 19, 2017


 

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