On Monday afternoon at 2pm, Warren Gatland assembled his coaching team in a conference room at The Lensbury hotel in London and convened the first selection meeting.
It lasted four hours and, according to forwards coach Robin McBryde, 57 names were mentioned for an expected 36-man squad that will be named in May.
Before they met, the former Ireland and Wales coach asked each of McBryde, Gregor Townsend, Neil Jenkins and Steve Tandy to submit the 36 names they'd pick.
According to Gatland, the five men had 20-25 names in common and then a "wide variance" on the rest. Whittling those down and selecting a captain are the primary objectives for the next three weeks.
Players from Leinster have a big advantage in that regard. Unlike their rivals, they will play a tie of near-Test match intensity away to La Rochelle days before the squad is named and just before the final decisions are made.
Attack coach Townsend said: "Leinster are still in Europe and that weekend of the semi-finals will be the last opportunity before we announce the squad. It could be timely for them and the clubs in the Challenge Cup.
"There are derby games going on in the PRO14 too, Premiership games. We are probably influenced by what we see the previous weekend but when you go into more in-depth discussions, you look back at the Six Nations and games played over the last two years to the World Cup.
"You look at what players have done on previous Lions tours. Warren and Neil have coached a lot of them on Lions tours and know how well they interacted and performed. That will put a few players in a strong position."
One of those who brings that Lions experience is Johnny Sexton, who finished the Six Nations brilliantly but has suffered two head injuries in his Leinster outings since and will turn 36 before the Test series.
"Johnny is very much in the mix," Townsend added. "It's a very strong position with players at the top of the game at a good age. Finn Russell is 28, Dan Biggar is a bit older and Owen Farrell is a similar age.
"Sexton is older but with a lot of experience, who played really well against Scotland and England. There's real depth at 10 with more discussions to come."
Sexton was the starting out-half in five of the last six Lions Tests and Jenkins, another veteran of the 1997 success in South Africa, believes he's still operating at the top level.
"He's been an incredible player," Jenkins said of Sexton. "Watching him this year, watching closely because when we (Wales) played Ireland he was a big threat to us. A fantastic player for Leinster and Ireland and he has been for the Lions.
"We've got Alun Wyn (Jones) as well who is 35, these guys seem to get better. It's incredible, especially with the demands of the modern game. Johnny has been incredible, it's no surprise he's banging down the door. A fantastic player."
Leinster assistant McBryde confirmed that James Ryan, Caelan Doris and Ronan Kelleher's names were among the 57, but demurred when asked how many players from the province made his squad.
"It was quite a few more after the game at the weekend," he said with a smile. "But the door is not closed on anybody."