Warren Gatland names his greatest British & Irish Lions XV
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Wales boss Warren Gatland revealed this week that he will not be putting his name in the hat to lead the British and Irish Lions in 2025 on their tour of Australia.
Gatland has been part of the last three Lions tours, having worked as an assistant to Sir Ian McGeechan in 2009 before leading the famous touring side in 2013, 2017 and 2021.
He has had mixed results on those tours, winning a series against Australia in 13, drawing a series against New Zealand in 17, before defeat to the reigning world champions South Africa in 21.
Ireland boss Andy Farrell is now the favourite to lead them to Australia, but before that, Gatland has reflected on his time with the Lions by picking his greatest XV.
“I have gone through my notes of each of the four tours – my first as an assistant to Sir Ian McGeechan to South Africa in 2009, then as head coach for Australia in 2013, New Zealand in 2017 and South Africa in 2021 and made what is undoubtedly the toughest selection I have ever had to make,” Gatland wrote in his Telegraph column.
“To give it some context, I have made my selections based on a snapshot of all the players when they were at their best for the Lions when I was involved.
“It does not take into account what they achieved over the course of their careers but when they pulled on the red shirt.”
A number of big names miss out but most notable, just like in 2013, Gatland has omitted one of the greatest Lions of all-time in Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll, with Jonathan Davies starting and the Irishman on the bench.
WARREN GATLAND’S GREATEST LIONS XV
15. Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)
14. Tommy Bowe (Ireland)
13. Jonathan Davies (Wales)
12. Jamie Roberts (Wales)
11. George North (Wales)
10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)
9. Mike Phillips (Wales)
1. Mako Vunipola (England)
2. Jamie George (England)
3. Adam Jones (Wales)
4. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
5. Paul O’Connell (Ireland)
6. Tom Croft (England)
7. Sam Warburton (Wales)
8. Taulupe Faletau (Wales)
Replacements: Tom Youngs (E), Gethin Jenkins (W), Tadhg Furlong (I), Maro Itoje (E), Jamie Heaslip (I), Conor Murray (I), Owen Farrell (E), Brian O’Driscoll (I).