The 2021 Lions squad has been announced but history has taught us that other players will inevitably be called up

British & Irish Lions replacements: Players brought in on previous tours

After months of speculation and heated debate, the British & Irish Lions 2021 squad has been announced. Yet history has shown that missing out on a place in the initial squad does not necessarily mean a player’s chances of touring are gone.

We look at the past 13 tours, noting who was called up after the initial squads were announced – and some of these latecomers had a big impact on the field.

British & Irish Lions replacements

2017 – New Zealand

Greig Laidlaw (Sco) – replaced Ben Youngs (Eng) pre-tour
James Haskell (Eng) – replaced Billy Vunipola (Eng) pre-tour

Warren Gatland also called up a group of players to provide short-term cover in midweek games around the first and second Tests. This group became known as the ‘Geography Six’ and consisted:

Kristian Dacey (Wal)
Gareth Davies (Wal)
Allan Dell (Sco)
Tomas Francis (Wal)
Cory Hill (Wal)
Finn Russell (Sco)

2013 – Australia

Rory Best (Ire) – replaced Dylan Hartley (Eng) pre-tour
Alex Corbisiero (Eng) – replaced Cian Healy (Ire)
Ryan Grant (Sco) – replaced Gethin Jenkins (Wal)
Tom Court (Ire) – general prop cover
Brad Barritt (Eng) – general back-line cover
Billy Twelvetrees (Eng) – general back-line cover
Christian Wade (Eng) – general back-line cover
Shane Williams (Wal) – general back-line cover
Simon Zebo (Ire) – precautionary cover for Tommy Bowe (Ire)

British & Irish Lions replacements

John Hayes and Ross Ford came in to the squad in 2009 (Getty Images)

2009 – South Africa

Ross Ford (Sco) – replaced Jerry Flannery (Ire) pre-tour
Tom Croft (Eng) – replaced Alan Quinlan (Ire) pre-tour
Mike Blair (Sco) – replaced Tomas O’Leary (Ire) pre-tour
James Hook (Wal) – replaced Leigh Halfpenny (Wal) pre-tour
John Hayes (Ire) – replaced Euan Murray (Sco)
Tim Payne (Eng) – replaced Andrew Sheridan (Eng)
Ryan Jones (Wal) – replaced Stephen Ferris (Ire) but pulled out shortly after without playing a game
Gordon D’Arcy (Ire) – general back-line replacement
Leigh Halfpenny (Wal) – having dropped out of original squad he came back in mid-tour

2005 – New Zealand

Mark Cueto (Eng) – replaced Iain Balshaw (Eng)
Simon Shaw (Eng) – replaced Malcolm O’Kelly (Ire)
Simon Easterby (Ire) – replaced Lawrence Dallaglio (Eng)
Ryan Jones (Wal) – replaced Simon Taylor (Sco)
Brent Cockbain (Wal) – replaced Danny Grewcock (Eng)
Jason White (Sco) – replaced Richard Hill (Eng)

British & Irish Lions replacements

Ryan Jones played in all three Tests after a late call in 2005 (Getty Images)

2001 – Australia

Tyrone Howe (Ire) – replaced Dan Luger (Eng)
Scott Gibbs (Wal) – replaced Mike Catt (Eng)
Andy Nicol (Sco) – replaced Rob Howley (Wal)
Gordon Bulloch (Sco) – replaced Phil Greening (Eng)
Dorian West (Eng) – general injury cover
Martin Corry (Eng) – replaced Simon Taylor (Sco)
David Wallace (Ire) – replaced Lawrence Dallaglio (Eng)

1997 – South Africa

Tony Stanger (Sco) – replaced Ieuan Evans (Wal)
Mike Catt (Eng) – replaced Paul Grayson (Eng)
Kyran Bracken (Eng) – replaced Rob Howley (Wal)
Tony Diprose (Eng) – replaced Scott Quinnell (Wal)
Nigel Redman (Eng) – replaced Doddie Weir (Sco)

1993 – New Zealand

Vince Cunningham (Ire) – replaced Scott Hastings (Sco)
Andy Nicol (Sco) – replaced Robert Jones (Wal)
Richard Wallace (Ire) – replaced Ian Hunter (Eng)
Martin Johnson (Eng) – replaced Wade Dooley (Eng)

Martin Johnson (high right) was a late replacement in 1993 (Getty Images)

1989 – Australia

Rob Andrew (Eng) – replaced Paul Dean (Ire)
Tony Clement (Wal) – replaced Chris Oti (Eng)

1983 – New Zealand

Nigel Melville (Eng) – replaced Terry Holmes (Wal)
Steve Smith (Eng) – replaced Nigel Melville (Eng)
Eddie Butler (Wal) – replaced Jeff Squire (Wal)
Nick Jeavons (Eng) – cover for John O’Driscoll (Ire)
Donal Lenihan (Ire) – replaced Bob Norster (Wal)
Gerry McLoughlin (Ire) – replaced Ian Stephens (Wal)

1980 – South Africa

Gareth Williams (Wal) – replaced Stuart Lane (Wal)
Tony Ward (Ire) – replaced Gareth Davies (Wal)
Ian Stephens (Wal) – replaced Fran Cotton (Eng)
John Robbie (Ire) – replaced Colin Patterson (Ire)
Phil Orr (Ire) – replaced Phil Blakeway (Eng)
Andy Irvine (Sco) – having dropped out of original squad he replaced Mike Slemen (Eng)
Paul Dodge (Eng) – replaced Dai Richards (Wal)
Steve Smith (Eng) – replaced Terry Holmes (Wal)

Andy Irvine was out then came in back in 1980 (Getty Images)

1977 – New Zealand

Moss Keane (Ire) – replaced Geoff Wheel (Wal) pre-tour
Jeff Squire (Wal)– replaced Roger Uttley (Eng) pre-tour
Bill Beaumont (Eng) – replaced Nigel Horton (Eng)
Charlie Faulkner (Wal) – replaced Clive Williams (Wal)
Alun Lewis (Wal) – replaced Brynmor Williams (Wal)

1974 – South Africa

Alan Morley (Eng) – replaced Clive Rees (Wal)
Mike Gibson (Ire) – replaced Alan Old (Eng)

1971 – New Zealand

Chris Rea (Sco) – replaced Chris Wardlow (Eng) pre-tour
Stack Stevens (Eng) – replaced Sandy Carmichael (Sco)
Geoff Evans (Wal) – replaced Ray McLoughlin (Ire)
Rodger Arneil (Sco) – replaced Mike Hipwell (Ire)

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