Warburton to captain Lions in New Zealand

New Zealand, the current world champion and top-ranked team, hasn't lost a three-test series since 1994. Every player included is under the age of 27 which is extremely exciting for Saracens and for England, and I'm extremely confident they'll thrive in the red jersey in New Zealand.

'That was when it hit home how big a deal it is and this time against New Zealand is arguably the toughest tour'.

He tweeted: "Lions - you aren't a true fan if there are terms on your support (.ie. pick my players)- all in it together or not: bitch when it's over".

"But I'm going to grab it with both hands and hopefully, playing with the world class players there, I can get back to producing some of my best rugby".

1250: So all the speculation about Jamie Roberts' potential inclusion was just that and the Wales centre misses out. It's interesting to see England's Owen Farrell included at fly-half with Ireland duo Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton nearly certainly Gatland's first-shoice pair at half-back.

Warburton said he would be "100 percent" fit for the start of the tour, despite sustaining a knee-ligament injury while playing for Cardiff Blues on April 7.

"Sam's experience from captaining the team in 2013 means he is the right man for the job".

"He has earned the respect of his peers and coaches through his resilience, tenacity and hard work".

He said: "I feel humbled and extremely proud to be given the opportunity to captain the Lions for a second tour, and look forward to playing the world champions on their own turf with the best players of the United Kingdom and Ireland at my side".

Perhaps Gatland's most controversial selection decision was to overlook England captain Dylan Hartley, picking instead Hartley's under-study at worldwide level Jamie George, as well as Rory Best and Ken Owens for the hooker slots.

Six Nations champions England supply 15 players, Wales 13 and Ireland 11 with outside backs Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour Scotland's sole representatives.

Johnny Sexton, Rory Best, Iain Henderson, Robbie Henshaw, Conor Murray, CJ Stander, Peter O'Mahoney, Sean O'Brien, Jared Payne and Jack McGrath have all made the grade for the tour.

"He will be undoubtedly very, very disappointed by it but the thing about Dylan, one thing that's really struck me is just how resilient he is", said Borthwick, who has got to know Hartley while working as an assistant to England coach Eddie Jones. The squad in full to follow.

And there's no surprise that one of the worst kept secrets in sport, Sam Warburton is named captain. With the talent available to Warren Gatland, it could not be otherwise. But it was Sky Sports watching the manager reading it out.

Centres: Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Jonathan Joseph, Ben Te'o (England).

"But then I spoke to "Gats", and he asked me".

New Zealand will be formidable opponents for the Lions this summer.

Gatland is taking four more players than 2013 when Australia were swept aside 2-1, his total number of tourists only three short of the record high registered on the last occasion when the Lions toured New Zealand in 2005. Get all the latest odds here.

Reappointed British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton revealed yesterday that he was waiting for his wife to finish her shopping when he received the call from head coach Warren Gatland. Players talk. Loyalties are tested.

Related news