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British and Irish Lions squad in full: Ulster captain Iain Henderson earns spot in panel but Johnny Sexton misses out


Iain Henderson

Iain Henderson

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Iain Henderson

Ulster skipper Iain Henderson has been named as a British and Irish Lion for the second time in his career.

The lock will travel to South Africa this summer having been a part of the 37-man panel - increased by one ahead of Thursday afternoon's announcement as a result of the 'tough calls' facing head coach Warren Gatland.

Henderson now will follow in the recent footsteps of former team-mates Tommy Bowe and Rory Best, who both also made two trips with the famed invitational side.

The former Queens and Belfast Royal Academy student didn't put his best foot forward on debut four years ago with a jet-lagged performance in the first tour game in New Zealand but excelled thereafter and by the end of the series was unfortunate his stellar performances didn't yield a Test cap.

That surely will be the 29-year-old's aim this time around, although with his fellow second-rower Alun Wyn Jones named as tour captain competition will naturally be fierce.

Henderson will at least not have to fend off his Irish team-mates James Ryan, who will be disappointed to miss out as Maro Itoje and Jonny Hill complete the options at lock, with Courtney Lawes and Tadhg Beirne also capable of filling in.

Henderson is part of an eight strong Ireland contingent with the exclusion of skipper Johnny Sexton the biggest story.

The 36-year-old out-half looked certain to travel after leading Ireland to victory over England in the final round of the Six Nations but had endured an injury-interrupted run since and missed out on Leinster's Champions Cup loss to La Rochelle last weekend.

Garry Ringrose also misses out but there will still be a strong representation from the RDS with Robbie Henshaw, Jack Conan, Tadhg Furlong, Andrew Porter all selected.

Munster's Conor Murray and Tadhg Beirne are also included while perhaps the biggest Irish surprise was a call-up for Connacht's Bundee Aki.

2021 British and Irish Lions squad

(Ireland players in bold, Ulster player in bold caps)

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Captain: Alun Wyn Jones

Backs: Josh Adams, Bundee Aki, Dan Biggar, Elliot Daly, Gareth Davies, Owen Farrell, Chris Harris, Robbie Henshaw, Stuart Hogg, Conor Murray, Ali Price, Lewis Rees-Zammit, Finn Russell, Duhan van der Merwe, Anthony Watson, Liam Williams.

Forwards: Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Zander Fagerson, Taulupe Faletau, Tadhg Furlong, Jamie George, IAIN HENDERSON, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones, Wyn Jones, Courtney Lawes, Ken Owens, Andrew Porter, Sam Simmonds, Rory Sutherland, Justin Tipuric, Mako Vunipola, Hamish Watson.

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