REVEALED: The six players expected to be called up to the Lions squad
Holy f****** s***!
This is going to drive people crazy.
Warren Gatland is set to take on all comers, even those from the nations he is supposed to be overseeing as British & Irish Lions boss.
Gatland, who is on leave from the Welsh national team to coach the Lions on their tour of New Zealand, is expected to name six additions to his 40-man squad in the coming days.
As pure chance would have it, four of the six are already in New Zealand with the Welsh squad.
Led by Robyn McBride on Friday, Wales beat Tonga 24-6 at Eden Park as a curtain-raiser to the All Blacks' 78-0 annihilation of Samoa.
Four players from that Welsh squad - Kristian Dacey [prop], Tomas Francis [tighthead], Cory Hill [lock] and Gareth Davies [scrumhalf] - are all now set to become Lions and go straight into the matchday 23 for Tuesday's warm-up game against the Chiefs, in Rotorua.
The claim has been made exclusively by The Daily Telegraph, a media partner of the Lions for the 2017 tour. The same outlet also broke the news of Owen Farrell being pulled from the Lions matchday squad for this weekend's game against the Maori All Blacks.
The two remaining call-ups are expected to come from the Scotland squad, which is currently in Australia as part of its summer tour.
Having predicted that the Lions would call in 'a few' additions to their squad, during the week, All Blacks coach Steve Hansem could not resist comparing Gatland's squad to the tourists led by Clive Woodward in 2005. He told reporters:
"Do I think it’s a good move? He clearly wants to bring them in so he can have two squads.
"Asking guys to play Test matches and then a midweek game is tough, so it’s probably a smart play. It’s about as many as Clive brought in now. He [Gatland] should have brought them in the beginning."
As if anyone needed reminding, that Lions squad lost the Test Series 3-0 to New Zealand.
English and Irish rugby fans will certainly be aggrieved if Gatland goes ahead with these call-ups and ignores the likes of Joe Launchbury, Simon Zebo, Dylan Hartley, Keith Earls, Mike Brown and Donnacha Ryan.