The Four Irish Players That Were Name-Dropped By Lions Coaches Yesterday
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Head coach Warren Gatland yesterday named his coaching ticket for this summer’s British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa.
Scotland’s Gregor Townsend and Steve Tandy, Leinster coach Robin McBryde and the ever-present Neil Jenkins will join Gatland as they attempt to take down the world champions.
It’s a bit of a makeshift ticket for Gatland with the New Zealander hoping to have Andy Farrell, Steve Borthwick and Graham Rowntree before all three were forced to make themselves unavailable for different reasons.
But it’s a balanced ticket nonetheless and at the end of the day – it’s the players that will have to do a job against the Springboks, not the coaches. And speaking of players, four Irishmen were specifically mentioned by the coaches yesterday.
First up was Johnny Sexton, who kicking coach Neil Jenkins called an “incredible player” – suggesting the Ireland captain will indeed tour once again this summer.
An interesting name that came up was young Leinster and Ireland hooker Ronan Kelleher who McBryde said was part of a selection discussion on Monday with the backroom team drawing up a list of 57 players that will eventually be whittled down to just 36,
Caelan Doris was also mentioned, despite missing the Six Nations with a concussion problem, as was second-row James Ryan.
Add in the fact that the likes of Conor Murray, Tadgh Furlong, Robbie Henshaw and Tadhg Beirne are almost certain to travel – Irish fans look set to have a very strong contingent of their players in South Africa this summer.