Only three Irish players included in reported Lions team to face Springboks
Huge if true.
The British & Irish Lions team for the First Test against South Africa was supposed to be announced on Thursday morning. It was then moved up to 10am on Wednesday.
Still, it looks as though the Lions have been beaten to it.
Ahead of tomorrow morning's official announcement, The Times are reporting on what they believe to be the exact matchday 23 that Warren Gatland will name to face the Springboks, on Saturday.
There are some huge omissions, and only three Ireland stars have made the Starting XV. Josh Adams, Toby Faletau, Bundee Aki and Jamie George all miss out on the squad entirely, and both Conor Murray and Owen Farrell only make the bench.
Alex Lowe, who is covering the tour in South Africa, reports that Ali Price will start at scrumhalf ahead of Murray. While that may not be a seismic call, due to the Scot's form, Courtney Lawes starting ahead of the in-form Tadhg Beirne is more of a head-scratcher.
Hamish Watson also misses out on a starting berth. He is named on the bench with Iain Henderson, who is bumped out due to the return of Lions tour captain Alun Wyn Jones.
Stuart Hogg starts at fullback after Liam Williams, who was concussed against the South Africa 'A', misses out. Lions assistant coach Neil Jenkins said Williams was getting through Return To Play protocols okay, but the report has him missing out due to injury.
Elsewhere, Duhan van der Merwe is on the left wing, Robbie Henshaw partners Elliot Daly in midfield and Jack Conan beats out Sam Simmonds and Faletau for the No.8 jersey.
REPORTED LIONS TEAM
15. Stuart Hogg
14. Anthony Watson
13. Elliot Daly
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Duhan van der Merwe
10. Dan Biggar
9. Ali Price
1. Wyn Jones
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Alun Wyn Jones (c)
5. Maro Itoje
6. Courtney Lawes
7. Tom Curry
8. Jack Conan
REPLACEMENTS: Ken Owens, Rory Sutherland, Kyle Sinckler, Tadhg Beirne, Hamish Watson, Iain Henderson, Conor Murray, Owen Farrell.
The waiting will be over at 10am on Wednesday, and it will be interesting to see how close to the bone Lowe's team is.
LISTEN TO HOUSE OF RUGBY'S LIONS SERIES: EPISODE 5