The England back-five forward did not know he was in Lions contention

Courtney Lawes Lions letter sent to old email address

In the fallout from the selection of the British & Irish Lions Squad 2021, it was said several times that Northampton Saints and England back-five forward Courtney Lawes had not initially been sent a letter to say he was in consideration. But it has now been revealed that Lawes was sent a letter electronically – but to an out-of-date email address.

The email address the Lions had for Lawes on their database was “out of date”, so although he was in the running, the 6ft 7in enforcer was not aware.

Lawes is widely believed to have been the 37th name on squad list after the Lions coaches decided to extend the squad from 36 to 37 for the tour of South Africa.

Related: Warren Gatland’s Lions coaching team

Of the decision to add an extra squad member, Lions head coach Warren Gatland told the BBC: “”When I had to go back to the CEO and the board about getting an extra player, that costs the Lions well over £100,000 by the time we’ve paid the club and the player and all the costs associated with that. Particularly at the moment when rugby’s struggling financially and the Lions are desperately trying to break even, or there’s potentially a loss situation, it’s not the easiest conversation to have.

“Another three players and I think I’m going to be pushing it!”

Lawes did tour with Gatland and the Lions in 2017, coming off the bench for two caps in the second and third Tests against New Zealand.

What do you make of the Lions squad 2021? Email your views to

Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.