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Possible Lions squad to take on NZ

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/04/2017 Andrew Baldock

Months of speculation will end in London on Wednesday when the British and Irish Lions squad for this summer's New Zealand tour is announced.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the possible make-up of a squad charged with targeting a first Test series triumph against the All Blacks since 1971.

BACKS

BACK-THREE

Stuart Hogg (Scotland): Scotland's attacking catalyst with pace and skill in abundance.

Leigh Halfpenny (Wales): Average season by his standards, but starred on 2013 Lions tour and is a supreme goalkicker.

Anthony Watson (England): Quality operator at wing or full-back.

Liam Williams (Wales): Impressed for Wales in New Zealand last summer. Class act.

George North (Wales): A try-scoring force of nature when in top form.

Jack Nowell (England): Superb finisher and fine all-round player.

Elliot Daly (England): Offers options at full-back, wing and centre. What is there not to like?

CENTRES

Jonathan Davies (Wales): Started all three Lions Tests four years ago. Experienced performer.

Robbie Henshaw (Ireland): Memorable try-scoring display for Ireland against New Zealand in Chicago last November.

Ben Te'o (England): Hard-edged midfielder who also possesses subtle skills.

Owen Farrell (England): Likely to start at inside centre in the Test series. Could be a star of the tour.

FLY-HALVES

Jonathan Sexton (Ireland): Brilliant when at his best, but also injury-prone.

Dan Biggar (Wales): Experience, better defence and goalkicking might see him edge out England's George Ford.

SCRUM-HALVES

Conor Murray (Ireland): Magnificent when Ireland beat the All Blacks earlier this season.

Rhys Webb (Wales): An all-action machine. Will push Murray close for a Test place.

Ben Youngs (England): Lions tourist in 2013. Has his work cut out for Test series recognition, though.

FORWARDS

PROPS

Mako Vunipola (England): Hard to spot a weakness in his game.

Jack McGrath (Ireland): A strong cornerstone of Ireland's pack under head coach Joe Schmidt.

Joe Marler (England): Had brushes with rugby authority, but arguably in form of his life.

Tadhg Furlong (Ireland): Best tighthead prop on British and Irish shores. Mature beyond his years.

Dan Cole (England): Immovable member of England's front-row. So consistent.

Kyle Sinckler (England): A rising star of the front-row ranks.

HOOKERS

Ken Owens (Wales): Excelled for Wales this season in all areas of his game.

Dylan Hartley (England): England's double Six Nations title-winning captain who would deserve Lions' call.

Jamie George (England): Hartley's England understudy who has excelled in Test arena.

LOCKS

Alun Wyn Jones (Wales): World-class. Pure and simple.

George Kruis (England): Injury-hit season, but a renowned lineout giant.

Donnacha Ryan (Ireland): Uncompromising and tough as teak. Would relish Lions challenge.

Maro Itoje (England): European player of the year, and now a likely Test Lion.

Courtney Lawes (England): Starred for England under Eddie Jones, delivering consistent performances.

BACK-ROW

CJ Stander (Ireland): Fearless back-row warrior. Superb defender and ball-carrier.

Peter O'Mahony (Ireland): Ultra-consistent performer who leads from the front.

Sean O'Brien (Ireland): Versatile across the back-row, offering quality in all areas.

Sam Warburton (Wales, capt): Best openside flanker in Europe. Simple as that.

Justin Tipuric (Wales): Superb all-round talent with skills to burn.

Taulupe Faletau (Wales): Tried and tested at the highest level. Rarely disappoints.

Billy Vunipola (England): Destructive number eight capable of game-changing moments.

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