EIGHT Irish players have been included in the British & Irish Lions squad to tour South Africa this summer, including Munster's Tadhg Beirne and Conor Murray.
Jack Conan, Beirne, Iain Henderson, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Furlong, Bundee Aki, Robbie Henshaw and Murray will travel, but Ireland and Leinster out-half Johnny Sexton doesn't feature. Furlong provides a Cork connection, as his mother hails from Whiddy Island, near Bantry.
Head coach Warren Gatland named a 37-man squad to tour South Africa for the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series.
"We believe we’ve picked a squad capable of winning a Test series in South Africa," said Gatland.
"Selecting a Lions squad is never easy and, in many ways, this has been the most challenging selection I have been involved in. Over the course of the last three weeks the coaches and I have rigorously debated each position. We saw some outstanding performances in the recent Six Nations, so competition for places has been tough with some incredibly tight calls to make.
"However, we are very happy with the squad we have assembled and look forward to meeting up in Jersey in just over a month’s time to start our preparation to take on the World Champions. We've left out some very talented players which gives an indication to the strength of this squad and we know how important that stand-by list will be.
"Being selected for a Lions Tour is the greatest honour for a British and Irish player and I congratulate everyone named today."
Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales)
Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland)
Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, England)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, England)
Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland)
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)
Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland)
Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland)
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales)
Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland)
Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England)
Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales)
Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland)
Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England)
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales)
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)
Jamie George (Saracens, England)
Iain Henderson (Ulster Rugby, Ireland)
Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, England)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, England)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales, c)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England)
Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales)
Andrew Porter (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England)
Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys, Wales)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England)
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
Meanwhile, there are eight changes to the side that defeated Leinster for Munster's Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup clash against Ulster at Thomond Park on Friday night, 8.15pm.
Dan Goggin, in his first appearance since sustaining a hand injury against Benetton, comes into the backline with Andrew Conway, Rory Scannell and JJ Hanrahan, while John Ryan, Fineen Wycherley, Chris Cloete and Gavin Coombes join the pack.
Peter O'Mahony captains the team and Lions Murray and Beirne both start.
Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Fineen Wycherley, Tadhg Beirne; Peter O’Mahony (c), Chris Cloete, Gavin Coombes.
Kevin O’Byrne, Jeremy Loughman, Roman Salanoa, Jean Kleyn, CJ Stander, Nick McCarthy, Ben Healy, Damian de Allende.