Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Tigers grab the Lions Share

Six Leicester Tigers have today been selected to tour Australia with the British Lions.  Ben & Tom Youngs will be the first brothers to tour together since fellow Tigers Rory & Tony Underwood 20 years ago; they are joined by Geoff Parling, Dan Cole, Manu Tuilagi and Tom Croft.

Croft, who played in all 3 test matches four years ago in South Africa, becomes the 10th Tigers player to go on a second tour after Neil Back (1997 ,2001, 2005), Martin Johnson (1993, 1997, 2001), Dean Richards (1989, 1993), Rory Underwood (1989, 1993), Peter Wheeler (1977, 1980), Martin Corry (2001, 2005), Graham Rowntree (1997, 2005), Clive Woodward (1980, 1983) and Austin Healey (1997, 2001).

Rowntree is of course going on this summer's tour as forwards coach and was an assistant coach in 2009.  Clive Woodward coached the 2005 tourists and 1930 Tour captain Doug Prentice, a lock and number 8, was manager of the 1936 tour.

The 6 selected is the second most Tigers to tour behind the 8 named for the 2005 Lions and ties with the number who toured South Africa with the victorious 1997 Lions.  Tigers last solo tourist was Peter Wheeler in 1977 and the last tour to have no representation from Leicester was 1968.

Manu Tuilagi and Dan Cole are the 16th and 17th players educated in Leicestershire & Rutland to be selected for the Lions after Alfred Hind (1903), Tom Smith (1908), Kenneth Wood (1910), Doug Prentice (1930), Doug Kendrew (1930), Bernard Gadney (1936), Paul Dodge (1980), Dean Richards (1989, 1993), Martin Johnson (1993, 1997, 2001), Graham Rowntree (1997, 2005), Dorian West (2001), Lewis Moody (2005), Ollie Smith (2005), Harry Ellis (2009) and Tom Croft (2009, 2013).  Prentice, Gadney and Johnson all captained a Lions tour, Johnson famously being the only man to lead the Lions twice in both 1997 and 2001.

The 2013 squad is dominated by Gatland's Welsh players as they provide 15 of the 37 man party, though club-wise it is Tigers and Leinster who supply the most players with 6 players apiece, reigning RaboDirect Champions the Ospreys provide 5 players whilst English champions Harlequins have been snubbed with no players selected.  Chris Robshaw becomes the 3rd England captain in the last 5 tours to miss out on selection after Phil De Glanville (1997) and Steve Borthwick (2009).  

The surprise picks are the kilted kiwi Sean Maitland and English prop Matt Stevens who has retired from international duty with England.  Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson has ruled himself out of contention as he commits himself to the French side's quest for a league and cup double, unlike Gethin Jenkins.  The Welsh prop will presumably rule himself out of any potential Top 14 final to take his seat on the plane for Hong Kong which leaves the week before.  That won't win him many friends in the south of France but as he has already signed for next season at Cardiff I doubt he minds much.  

2013 British & Irish Lions squad

Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff & Wales)
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow & Scotland)
Rob Kearney (Leinster & Ireland)
Tommy Bowe (Ulster & Ireland)
Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff & Wales)
Sean Maitland (Glasgow & Scotland)
George North (Llanelli & Wales)
Jonathan Davies (Llanelli & Wales)
Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster & Ireland)
Jamie Roberts (Cardiff & Wales)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester & England)
Owen Farrell (Saracens & England)
Jonathan Sexton (Leinster & Ireland)
Conor Murray (Munster & Ireland)
Mike Phillips (Bayonne & Wales)
Ben Youngs (Leicester & England)

Dan Cole (Leicester & England)

Cian Healy (Leinster & Ireland)
Gethin Jenkins (Toulon & Wales)
Adam Jones (Ospreys & Wales)
Matt Stevens (Saracens & England)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens & England)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton & England)
Richard "My Eyes" Hibbard (Ospreys & Wales)
Tom Youngs (Leicester & England)
Ian Evans (Ospreys & Wales)
Richie Gray (Sale & Scotland)
Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys & Wales)
Paul O'Connell (Munster & Ireland)
Geoff Parling (Leicester & England)
Tom Croft (Leicester & England)

Toby Faletau (Newport & Wales)
Jamie Heaslip (Leinster & Ireland)
Dan Lydiate (Newport & Wales)
Sean O'Brien (Leinster & Ireland)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys & Wales)
Sam Warburton (c) (Cardiff & Wales)

Breakdown by Club:
Leicester: 6
Leinster: 6
Ospreys: 5
Cardiff: 4
Saracens: 3
Glasgow, Munster, Newport, Llanelli: 2
Northampton, Sale, Toulon, Bayonne, Ulster: 1

Leicester's 36 Previous Lions:

By position (Bold have Test caps)
FB: John Jackett (1908), Dusty Hare (1983), Geordan Murphy (2005)
W: Alfred Hind (1903), Alexander Obolonsky (1936), Rory Underwood (1989, 1993), Tony Underwood (1993)
C: Ken Wood (1910), Clive Woodward (1980, 1983), Paul Dodge (1980), Will Greenwood (1997), Ollie Smith (2005)
FH: J.P. Horrocks-Taylor (1959), Alan Old (1974)
SH: Bernard Gadney (1936), Austin Healey (1997, 2001), Harry Ellis (2009)
P: Doug Kendrew (1930), Graham Rowntree (1997, 2005), Julian White (2005)
H: Peter Wheeler (1977, 1980), Dorian West (2001)
L: Tom Smith (1908), Doug Prentice (1930), Charles Beamish (1936), Martin Johnson (1993, 1997, 2001), Ben Kay (2005)
F: Roger Arneil (1971), Neil Back (1997, 2001, 2005), Eric Miller (1997), Lewis Moody (2005), Tom Croft (2009)
8: Fred Jackson (1908), George Beamish (1930), Dean Richards (1989, 1993), Martin Corry (2001, 2005)

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