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Lions hopefuls await 'iconic' announcement

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/04/2017

A British and Irish Lions squad announcement is one of rugby's "iconic moments", England star Elliot Daly says.

Daly, who should be among head coach Warren Gatland's chosen 37 or 38 players, is preparing for a normal training day at his club Wasps' base near Coventry on Wednesday.

But he acknowledges that the live televised midday announcement (11pm NZT) won't go unnoticed.

"I think everyone will be watching it," he said.

"It's one of those iconic moments... every four years, everyone watches it.

"It is a massive thing for the rugby community, and I think everyone is looking forward to it."

If selected, Daly could prove to be an integral part of Gatland's New Zealand-bound squad, given his ability to provide options at fullback, centre and wing, with many pundits tipping him for a Test team place.

In 2013, a then-uncapped 20-year-old Daly lined up as one of only two Englishmen in a Barbarians team thumped 59-8 by the Lions in their tour-opening match in Hong Kong.

Four years on, he is firmly established as a member of England's Six Nations title-winning team, with 13 caps to his name and a burgeoning reputation among the most exciting attacking players in European rugby.

Daly is expected to be among a double figure England contingent named in the Lions squad for the northern summer's 10-match tour, and the waiting game will soon be over.

"I think it (Lions) is in the back of everyone's mind, really, but you can't do anything but play well for your club," he said.

"I like playing anywhere on the pitch, whether that is centre, wing or fullback, I don't mind.

"I just want to do the best for whatever team I am in at that time, just try to get my hands on the ball and influence the game. Wherever that is on the field, I just love playing rugby and want to get on the pitch.

"You grow up watching international rugby, and then you grow up watching Lions rugby. You always remember the big games and what an honour it is to be involved in sides like that.

"I think everyone knows the prestige of it."

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