Warren Gatland had to ask for last-minute permission to increase his Lions squad from 36 to 37


Warren Gatland reveals that he had to ask the Lions board for permission at the last minute to increase his team from 36 to 37 … so, was the surprise inclusion of Ireland Jack Conan the lucky man?

  • Warren Gatland has named a 37-man squad for the Lions tour to South Africa
  • Gatland revealed that he was late asking for permission to choose an additional back row
  • Jack Conan was probably the lucky one, with Sam Simmonds and Hamish Watson also winning squad battles to be included
  • Taulupe Faletau, Tom Curry and Justin Tipuric are expected to start the first test

Warren Gatland revealed that he had made a dramatic late move to increase the number of players in his British and Irish Lions squad from 36 to 37 – luckily the 37th man is probably Ireland’s Jack Conan.

After announcing that his squad would be touring South Africa this summer, with some surprising picks, including Conan, Gatland revealed: ‘We had a four-hour meeting and added an extra name to make the squad 37 – get permission to do so. of management and CEO was what we did yesterday. ‘

The New Zealander confirmed that the extra man was in the back row, saying, “Looking at our loose forwards, getting that extra number there is a guarantee of backup.”

Jack Conan from Ireland is a surprising entry in the selection of the British and Irish lions

Sam Simmonds from Exeter

Hamish Watson of Scotland

Exeter’s Sam Simmonds (left) and Scotland’s Hamish Watson (right) are also included

With Irish lock Tadhg Beirne able to cover the blind flanker, Gatland was expected to name fewer loose strikers in a squad streamlined to minimize the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak.

While not England’s regular No.8, Exeter’s Sam Simmonds’ roster as a backup to Taulupe Faletau had been mentioned for some time, and flankers Tom Curry and Justin Tipuric always seemed certainties. Hamish Watson got the nod about Sam Underhill to compete with Tipuric for the No. 7 jersey, but Conan was a surprise.

The squad of the 28-year-old Leinster man can play at number 8 or on the blind side, giving Gatland extra cover in the back row and possibly freeing Simmonds on the flank as an option as well.



J Adams (Wales)

B Aki (Ireland)

D Biggar (Wales)

E Daly (England)

G Davies (Wales)

O Farrell (England)

C Harris (Scotland)

R Henshaw (Ireland)

S Hogg (Scotland)

C Murray (Ireland)

A Price (Scotland)

L Rees-Zammit (Wales)

F Russell (Scotland)

D Van der Merwe (Scotland)

A Watson (England)

L Williams (Wales)


T Beirne (Ireland)

J Conan (Ireland)

L Cowan-Dickie (England)

T Curry (England)

Z Fagerson (Scotland)

T Faletau (Wales)

T Furlong (Ireland)

J George (England)

I Henderson (Ireland)

J Hill (England)

M Itoje (England)

AW Jones (Wales, captain)

W Jones (Wales)

C Lawes (England)

K Owens (Wales)

A Porter (Ireland)

S Simmonds (England)

R Sutherland (Scotland)

J Tipuric (Wales)

M Vunipola (England)

H Watson (Scotland)