5 Players Who Are Near The Top Of Warren Gatland’s Lions Standby List

There’s a lot of rugby to be played between now and June 3rd.

Warren Gatland last week named his 41-man British & Irish Lions squad that will tour New Zealand this summer. Gatland’s men will fly out just one week after the Premiership and PRO12 finals and face one of the most gruesome schedules in recent memory.

As things stand Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, Conor Murray, Alun Wyn Jones and captain Sam Warburton are all on the injured list. And while all five are expected to be fit and ready come June 3rd- there’s a huge chance a couple of players won’t even make the plane the New Zealand, as has been the case in several tours.

Given the level of rugby that the Lions will face in New Zealand, and the sheer amount of fixtures, chances are players will have to be flown in during the tour also. We could realistically see 5-10 more players called up between now and the end of the tour.

That being said, here are the first five we reckon should get called up, depending on what position Gatland needs some cover.

Joe Launchbury
A shock omission from the original squad. The best lock at this year’s Six Nations.

Garry Ringrose
Perhaps should have been in the original squad ahead of Ben Te’o. His performance against Clermont certainly did him plenty of favours.

Simon Zebo
Another player that was out to prove a point this past weekend. Incredible performance against Saracens and has experience with the Lions after being a late call-up in 2013.

Finn Russell
It was a 50/50 call between the Scot and Biggar last week with Gatland going with his tried and tested. Offers something different and now way ahead of George Ford who was once again found out against Stade Francais.

Hamish Watson
Not one Scottish forward made Gatland’s original squad with the Edinburgh man probably the most hard done by. Sean O’Brien is once again out injured and remains a concern given his torrid history. Watson would be an excellent replacement.

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