James Ryan and Iain Henderson may be fighting for one Lions spot 1 year ago

James Ryan and Iain Henderson may be fighting for one Lions spot

"You'd imagine it would be Tadhg, Johnny, I do think James Ryan should go, and Ronan Kelleher as a bolter."

On Thursday, the waiting and the speculating will be over. Warren Gatland will announce his British & Irish Lions squad and all eyes will turn to that tour to South Africa.


There may only be room for two Irish locks in the squad, and Tadhg Beirne has one of the spots nailed down. That leaves James Ryan and Iain Henderson facing the possibility that they may be fighting over the last spot.

The latest expert takes - from pundits and former players - saw Ryan making one squad while Henderson made the other. That's how tight a call it may be, on Thursday.

On the latest House of Rugby Ireland episode [LISTEN from 20:00 below] Fergus McFadden and Ian Madigan discussed Ryan's chances when talking about how many Leinster players would make the touring Lions squad.


"Tadhg [Furlong] will go and Johnny, although he was out with a head knock, you'd imagine he'll go, if he's fit," said McFadden.

"I do think James Ryan should go. Yeah, he hasn't had that much game-time and it was a tough day for the Leinster pack [on Sunday] as they probably got out-played by La Rochelle over the 80 minutes. But Ryan has shown so much quality over the years. I know he missed much of the Six Nations [with concussions] but I still think he should go."

McFadden is also backing Ronan Kelleher and Leinster centres Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose to travel, and he also makes a case why Hugo Keenan would be a good back three option.


Daily Mail rugby correspondent was the latest to try his hand at selecting a Lions team after the final round of fixtures before Gatland announces his squad.

Foy has only seven Irish and five Scottish players in his Anglo-Welsh heavy Lions squad of 36 players. From an Irish perspective, there is no Johnny Sexton, Cian Healy, Keith Earls and CJ Stander. There is Iain Henderson, but no James Ryan.


Over in The Sunday Times, former Scotland flanker John Barclay has nine Ireland stars in his squad, with Ryan getting in ahead of Henderson.

Perhaps with a nod to his playing days in the back-row, Barclay has selected eight back-rows and only four locks with two of them [Maro Itoje and Tadhg Beirne] also capable of covering back row positions.

Barclay does have Healy, Stander, Ryan and Earls in his squad, but there is no room for Henderson or for Sexton.

The Scots have been under-represented in many of the squad selections we have seen in recent weeks, but Barclay seeks to redress that balance. There are nine Scots in his squad, including George Turner, Jamie Ritchie, Ali Price and Cameron Redpath.