Daily Archives: 18 April 2017
Lock Joe Launchbury and centre Jonathan Joseph are set to lead a list of shock English exclusions from the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand. Both men, who starred in England’s Six Nations triumph, face being left out of Warren Gatland’s squad, which will be named at 12:00 BST (13:00 SA Time) on Wednesday.
About 14 Englishmen are expected to be in the 37-39-man party, including prop Kyle Sinckler and centre Ben Te’o.
But England captain Dylan Hartley’s chances are rated as 50-50.
Other stalwarts of Eddie Jones’ side, such as flankers James Haskell and Chris Robshaw, and fly-half George Ford, are also thought to be unlikely to force their way into Gatland’s plans at this stage.
Despite finishing fifth in the Six Nations, Wales are still set for a strong contingent of up to 11 players, with the likes of Alun Wyn Jones, prospective captain Sam Warburton, Taulupe Faletau, Rhys Webb, Jonathan Davies and George North among those highly likely to be included.
Conversely, winning three of their five matches in the Championship seems unlikely to have helped Scotland’s representatives, with full-back Stuart Hogg the only selection certainty.
Former All-Blacks fly-half Nick Evans is to retire at the end of the season, once his commitments with Premiership side Harlequins come to an end.
Evans, 36, won 16 caps for New Zealand and has been one of the most successful overseas imports to the Premiership since moving to the Stoop in 2008.
He won a Premiership title in 2011-12 and holds Quins’ scoring record, having amassed 2,217 points in 206 games.
“I couldn’t think of a better place to finish my career,” Evans said.
“This game has taught me everything, showed me things I could never imagine and introduced me to people that are not team-mates but family.
“I need to thank the clubs I have represented, the coaches – who have helped shape the player I am today – and the fans, both in New Zealand where it all started, and here in the UK, for their support and cheers.”