Our next section of the 100 best players goes from 60 to 51. Compiled at the end of 2017, take a look at who makes the cut
55 Jack Nowell
Country England Date of Birth 11.4.93 Position Wing
There are quicker wings but none as industrious as Nowell, who made 20 carries in last year’s Premiership final. “He’s a sensational player,” says Lions coach Warren Gatland. “I’d love him in my team every week.”
54 Damian McKenzie
Country New Zealand Date of Birth 20.4.95 Position Full-Back
McKenzie is one of the most exciting and entertaining players on the planet. When he is on the pitch, the ball is never dead, because he is all too willing to take a gamble and try something which will open the game up. As a result, there are some in New Zealand who do not like his cavalier attitude, but what they cannot deny is the Chiefs man is a box-office star.
53 Liam Williams
Country Wales Date of Birth 9.4.91 Position Back three
The fact Williams almost slipped through the Scarlets net, putting up scaffolding before a rugby career beckoned, is impossible to comprehend when you’ve seen the chaos he caused in All Blacks ranks while running from deep for the Lions. An effective wing and devastating counter-attacking full-back, he is one of the world’s premier back-three players.
52 Anthony Watson
Country England Date of Birth 26.2.94 Position Back three
If there was one player you’d back to translate his natural fast-twitch fibres to athletics, it is Watson. The Bath wing is seen by many as England’s full-back in the long term. He is seriously rapid in unstructured play, his gallop and fast feet making him the Lions’ first-choice right-wing.
51 Sonatane Takulua
Country Tonga Date of Birth 11.1.91 Position Scrum-half
The Tongan has topped the Premiership charts this season for fewest errors made per pass. He can scuttle, too, and knows where the try-line is, but what stands out is his kicking skill-set. When box-kicking, playing corners or at the tee, he bends games to his will. Lee Dickson says he’s the Premiership’s form nine. “Everything Newcastle do well he’s at the heart of it.”
Our next section of the 100 best players…