Lions Tour - five British Lions squad players to watch

  • 30/05/2017

This year, the Lions squad brings with them not just one of the most competitive teams of a touring party in recent history but some exciting talent and new names:

Jamie George - 26, Saracens, England

Preferred in the squad over Dylan Hartley, Jamie George's throwing and his scrummaging is technically very sound but it's his general ball-running skills that will be seen as a point of difference for Gatland.

His strong leg drive, skill with ball in hand and his turn of pace is a little Keven Mealamu mixed with a bit of Dane Coles.

Possessing a knack to run into gaps, George is an honest if not spectacular player with a lot of room for growth. If Cian Healy and Ken Owens can remain fit, George is unlikely to feature in the Tests, but he'll give a very good account of himself in the midweek matches.

Jamie George
Jamie George in action for Saracens (Getty)

Maro Itoje - 22, Saracens, England

Maro Itoje is one of the All Blacks' main threats in the air and on the ground. A new breed of England lock, the 22-year-old has the potential to become the best second-rowers the country has ever produced.

His movement, agility and the way he runs the ball in the first channel before looking to offload is reminiscent of a younger Brodie Retallick. However, the strength he exhibits in his core at the breakdown means he wouldn't look out of place on either side of the scrum.

CJ Stander - 27, Munster, Ireland

Joining Ireland before the 2016 Six Nations after qualifying for Irish selection, Stander's impact has been immense. Likely to be one of Gatland's first choice players for the Tests, Stander brings a Springbok-like physicality at the breakdown as well as in his barnstorming runs.

CJ Stander
CJ Stander has been outstanding for Munster (Getty)

Able to play in all positions across the back-row, Stander runs hard and direct. The 27-year-old has a very good understanding of the game and his strength makes him an asset in close combat, something the Lions will need in droves.

Elliot Daly - 24, Wasps, England

Another new breed of English player, Elliot Daly is a playmaking centre, able to play 10, 12 or 13. The 24-year old has a really good turn of pace as well as a monster boot that enables him to kick goals from beyond the halfway line.

A shrewd selection from Gatland as he appreciates his versatility could come in handy during the tour. Yet another player with a very high rugby IQ, however, he's not the biggest player so could be vulnerable in the 12, 13 channel.

Stuart Hogg - 24, Glasgow, Scotland

Stuart Hogg threatens to be one of the stars of the tour if the purple patch he's experienced in the last 18 months continues. Initially one of two Scotsmen picked in the Lions side, he's very good in the air, very defensively solid and great at entering into the line.

Stuart Hogg
Stuart Hogg at Lions training (Getty)

The 24-year-old has the ability to burn players with speed and he's an expert at picking out mismatches. He could be a target for the All Blacks as he's not the biggest player of the backline.