Warren G and Warbs: Lions Captain Sam Warburton is paraded in front of the cameras by a happy Warren Gatland

By Rugby World Staff


So now we know. We’ve got our squad and our captain! Follow us on Twitter @Rugbyworldmag and like us on Facebook Rugby World Magazine for all the updates over the next few weeks!


Talk is now turning to who has cried into their brunch the most today. Rory Best must be particularly upset (although not as much as the masses on Twitter). According to Opta the hooker has five more turnovers than anyone else in the Heineken Cup, with 14.

Robshaw should take this in his stride, you would think. Despite some outraged fans bristling and suggesting he play for the Baabaas this summer, he will keep on trucking. He will go to South America on the England tour, won’t he?


Here is what Warburton said of his prestigious role: “Warren gave me a call, it’s been nine or 10 days since I found out and the biggest secret I’ve had to keep. It’s unbelievable, an accolade very few people achieve and it’s an unbelievable honour.”

Warren G? He is obviously chuffed: “In the last two or three years he’s been the most successful captain in the northern hemisphere.I have a huge amount of respect for Sam, he’s an absolute professional and he leads from the front.”


That rumour mill keeps churning, doesn’t it. Apparently Gatland has been talking to Wilkinson about being a back-up. Which is probably the sensible thing to do considering there are only two 10s. (Yet another rumour) Stuart Hogg may be the ‘utility back’ on his first tour. That dreaded role that Keith Earls occupied in South Africa. Let’s hope young Hogg’s first taste of Lions rugby goes a bit smoother.


Here is the voice of reason:


Then, there is the oppositions view on the matter. Who do they fear?:


There’s a teeny weenie bit of outrage out there. It’s an emotive subject, obviously. It may be time to forget your favourites, but of course there is always the back up list.


Remember we mentioned the Leicester boys? All six mentioned made it. That is double the number of Scots. There are also four Cardiff Blues.


What’s being said:

Warren G: “Last night was the seventh meeting we’ve had and it was a ‘robust’ debate. There was some really healthy discussions.

Andy Farrell, defensive leader says: “There’s no bigger occasion than the Lions going anywhere. These three Tests are the ultimate challenge. Australia will be ready for us.”


Gethin Jenkins is the only France-based player who will miss a potential Top 14 final to play the BaaBaas. Phillips is the only other player from France. That means no Jonny Wilkinson. Other notable absentees: Rory Best, Le Jonny, England captain Chris Robshaw, Chris Ashton, Ryan Grant, Kelly Brown. And I bet you all thought “Wade!” when we said surprises…

Still, you do the maths: Six props, two fly-halves, three full-backs, four centres. Outta 37. Someone was always going to miss out.


So there you go. 15 Welshmen, 10 English, nine Irish and three Scots.

Make a joke outta THAT!


So, here are your backs:

Full-backs – Leigh Halfpenny, Stuart Hogg, Rob Kearney

Wings – Tommy Bowe, Alex Cuthbert, Sean Maitland, George North

Centres – Jonathan Davies, Brian O’Driscoll, Jamie Roberts, Manu Tuilagi

Fly-halves – Owen Farrell, Jonny Sexton

Scrum-halves – Conor Murray, Mike Phillips, Ben Youngs

Props – Dan Cole, Cian Healy, Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, Matt Stevens, Mako Vunipola

Hookers – Dylan Hartley, Richard Hibbard, Tom Youngs

Second-rows – Ian Evans, Richie Gray, Alun Wyn Jones, Paul O’Connell, Geoff Parling

Back-rows – Tom Croft, Toby Faletau, Jamie Heaslip, Dan Lydiate, Sean O’Brien, Justin Tipuric, SAM WARBURTON

Sammy boy is the captain of your ship. Aye, aye, captain!


Here. We. Go.


Yes, we know, five minutes to go is not the time for wild rumours. Soon enough we will know who the captain is, and my how we will laugh about those crazy suggestions. Why would we ever think that?!


The teases! The Lions official twitter account posts this photo of some nervy coaches…

But where is the Captain?! In the makeup room probably, there are a lot of cameras… Of course, if the “wild rumours” are true, they aren’t the type to break out the blusher!


The word ‘surprises’ is being used a lot. Santa Gatland is bringing gifts, but will they be the ones you asked for?!
In scrabble games around the country a lot of people will be playing the word Bolter tonight, it seems.


The journalists are being called in to the hall….


More news. Apparently as the list is read out we will get the backs, then the forwards. Then pandemonium. Then moaning, and then the final stages of acceptance and support. Strap yourselves in. It will be carnage and then, after that, they are our Lions.


Rumours abound that the magic number is 37 for this squad.


Our spies on the ground soaking up some last minute sun before the announcement…


One dead cert, nailed-on Lion? This fluffy fella.

Who will be carrying him out under their arm in the tests, though?!


Mind you, with Rugby World columnist Craig Chalmers suggesting that he has five Lions going, and others naming three, could there be more Leicester Tigers than Scots in the squad? Still just speculation at this stage, of course. Who would the five be, though? Stuart Hogg, Tim Visser, Sean Maitland, Greig Laidlaw, Ryan Grant, Richie Gray and Kelly Brown all in with a shout, and Nathan Hines could come from left field.


There could be up to six Leicester Tigers named in the Lions squad today. Manu Tuilagi, Geoff Parling, Tom Croft, Dan Cole, Ben Youngs, Tom Youngs…



Do we reckon Gatland is on the stage now, frantically scribbling away still?


A lot of people outside the hall, with registration opening at 10. It’s a bit like the first day of school… Lots of journos, lots of flashes of red. Nervous chatting. Not long now…

Tension is building. The clocks have stopped. Traffic is…well, still as much of a mangle as ever.
It’s Lions day. That day that international rugby players love and dread in equal measure. Will they be in; out; shaking it all about? Only one man knows for sure and at 11am Warren Gatland will proudly present his squad for the 2013 tour to Australia.

Will your favourites make it? Will my favourites make it? It is a day we have been speculating about for the last year and Rugby World will be there every step of the way.