By Alan Dymock
NOW WE know. We have the 37 and despite the outrage and the spitting across tribal lines they are our 37. They are Lions.
Want to get more of a feel of the squad? Well here are some stats and facts for you.
The initial squad has 15 Welshmen, 10 English, nine Irish and three Scots. It is the highest number of Welshmen on tour since 1977’s trip to New Zealand, when there were 16 in the initial squad. It s also worth noting that there were 13 Welsh players in the 1950 tour of New Zealand and Australia.
The only tourist not currently playing test rugby is Saracens’ Matt Stevens.
Only 13 of the 37 have toured with the Lions before (including Stevens). Brian O’Driscoll is on his fourth tour, returning to the place where his legend began. Remember him ducking under tackles and roaring past Nathan Grey and Owen Finnegan?
Of course, he only has five Test points to his name. Mike Phillips and Rob Kearney are the only other ones who have scored in Tests before, with a try each.
Skipper Sam is not the youngest Lions captain ever, with England’s Frank Stout having the honour of being the youngest leader in 1899 at the age of 22 when he trotted out on to the turf in Brisbane.
The youngest tourist will be Stuart Hogg, 20, turning 21 on June 24. He is closely followed by George North, who is only two months older than him.
The oldest will, of course, be O’Driscoll who is 34. He is just 10 months older than Paul O’Connell.
Richie Gray is the tallest on tour at 6ft 9in. Ian Evans is almost as much of a ceiling-scraper, standing at 6ft 8in.
Mako Vunipola, tipping the scales at 20st 6lb, is the heaviest specimen with Gray just a little lighter than him at 19st 12lb.
Want to know something interesting? Winger Sean Maitland makes the squad after only six months in the country. He is one of six players in the squad who were born outside these Isles.
The only tourist set to feature in every game? Bil the Lion. And did you know that BIL stands for British & Irish Lions? What a fluffy hero.
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