Alun Wyn Jones will lead a 37-man British and Irish Lions squad on the tour of South Africa in July and August.

Wales second-row Jones was confirmed as captain during a ceremony in which Lions coach Warren Gatland revealed the coaching staff had decided to increase the size of the playing group from 36 players to 37. 

Sam Simmonds has been selected despite not featuring for England in almost three years, while Ireland’s Bundee Aki and Scotland’s Chris Harris have also been included.

The Lions are scheduled to face Japan at Murrayfield on 26 June before departing for South Africa, where they will play five tour matches ahead of the three-test series against the Springboks.

We’ve profiled each of the 37 players selected for the tour below.

Zander Fagerson
Age: 25
Position: Prop
Nationality: Scotland
Club: Glasgow Warriors
International caps: 38
Previous Lions tours: None

One of two Scottish props named in the squad, Fagerson can call on international experience far beyond his years having made his test debut as a 20-year-old.

The tighthead has been a fixture in the Scotland front-row for much of the last five years and represented his country at Rugby World Cup 2019, where he scored his first test try.

Tadhg Furlong
Age: 28
Position: Prop
Nationality: Ireland
Club: Leinster
International caps: 52 (49 Ireland, three Lions)
Previous Lions tours: 2017

A cornerstone of the Ireland pack, the tight-head started all three tests in the drawn Lions series against New Zealand in 2017. 

Has been in great form since returning in January after nearly a year on the sidelines with injury, earning a nomination for European Player of the Year as well as plenty of plaudits for his deft footwork in Ireland’s Six Nations game against Scotland. 

Wyn Jones
Age: 29
Position: Prop
Nationality: Wales
Club: Scarlets
International caps: 35
Previous Lions tours: None

Has established himself as Wales’ number one loosehead after being a relative latecomer to the international arena. 

Putting his heart and soul into every performance has helped shore up a creaking scrum as well as coming up with important contributions in defence and attack, scoring a rare try in the win over Scotland. 

Andrew Porter
Age: 25
Position: Prop
Nationality: Ireland
Club: Leinster
International caps: 37
Previous Lions tours: None 

Largely used as a back-up for Tadhg Furlong for both Leinster and Ireland, Porter could be a valuable tourist in South Africa as he is able to play on both sides of the scrum.

Although international recognition has come as a tighthead, the Leinster prop started life as a ball-carrying loosehead with Ireland U20 and is comfortable in either position. 

Rory Sutherland
Age: 28
Position: Prop
Nationality: Scotland
Club: Edinburgh
International caps: 16
Previous Lions tours: None 

Picked ahead of more experienced looseheads, including Cian Healy and Joe Marler, Sutherland has been rewarded for his fine form in the test arena over the past two seasons.

The Edinburgh prop had to wait four years to win his fourth Scotland cap, having earned his first three in 2016 but has made up for lost time since. Sutherland has been an ever-present in Scotland’s last two Six Nations campaigns.

Mako Vunipola
Age: 30
Position: Prop
Nationality: England
Club: Saracens
International caps: 73 (67 England, six Lions)
Previous Lions tours: 2013, 2017 

A powerful scrummager and destructive ball-carrier who gives any team he plays for good go-forward.

As a Lion, Vunipola appeared in all three tests on the victorious tour of Australia in 2013, when he was just nine caps into his England career, and then repeated the feat in New Zealand four years later as the Lions claimed a memorable 1-1 draw against the All Blacks. 

Luke Cowan-Dickie
Age: 27
Position: Hooker
Nationality: England
Club: Exeter Chiefs
International caps: 31
Previous Lions tours: None 

The son of a Cornish fisherman, Cowan-Dickie was a member of England’s victorious World Rugby U20 Championship 2013  team before earning a senior call-up two years later. 

A pugnacious hooker with an eye for the try-line, Cowan-Dickie scored three tries in England Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign, appearing in every match, albeit only one from the start.

Jamie George
Age: 30
Position: Hooker
Nationality: England
Club: Saracens
International caps: 62 (59 England, three Lions)
Previous Lions tours: 2017 

The barrel-chested hooker started all three Lions tests in the drawn series with New Zealand in 2017 and has been England’s first-choice hooker for much of the last two-and-a-half years. 

With his ball-playing ability and turn of pace over 10 metres, George adds plenty around the park as well as being a very solid set-piece operator. 

Ken Owens
Age: 34
Position: Hooker
Nationality: Wales
Club: Scarlets
International caps: 84 (82 Wales, two Lions)
Previous Lions tours: 2017 

Having been ruled out of the Autumn Nations Cup in 2020 with a dislocated shoulder, Scarlets’ legend Owens returned in time to play a prominent part in Wales’ Six Nations 2021 win.

The hooker was on the bench for all three Lions tests in New Zealand in 2017 as understudy to England’s Jamie George and is a fearsome competitor who is never afraid to put his head in where it hurts.

Tadgh Beirne
Age: 29
Position: Second-row/flanker
Nationality: Ireland
Club: Munster
International caps: 22
Previous Lions tours: None 

Capable of playing in the second row or back row, Beirne’s versatility was obviously considered a major plus point when it came down to discussions around selection.  

Beirne is brilliant at forcing turnovers at the breakdown and warrants his place in the squad on the back of a very strong Six Nations. 

Iain Henderson
Age: 29
Position: Second-row
Nationality: Ireland
Club: Ulster
International caps: 63
Previous Lions tours: 2017 

The Ulster captain will embark on his second Lions tour having seemingly edged out his Ireland team-mate James Ryan for a place in Gatland’s squad. 

A seasoned international, Henderson captained Ireland for the first time during the Six Nations 2021 and was also responsible for his country’s lineout, working closely with Paul O’Connell to improve the Irish set-piece. 

Jonny Hill
Age: 26
Position: Second-row
Nationality: England 
Club: Exeter Chiefs
International caps: 9
Previous Lions tours: None

Like Cowan-Dickie and Sam Simmonds, Hill is a member of Exeter’s Premiership and European double-winning team.

The gargantuan second-row has been a key figure in the Chiefs’ famed driving lineout and is becoming equally influential with England. 

Hill started the first three tests of Six Nations 2021 and came off the bench in the other two. 

Maro Itoje
Age: 26
Position: Second-row
Nationality: England
Club: Saracens
International caps: 51 (48 England, three Lions)
Previous Lions tours: 2017

Considered by many to be an England and Lions leader in waiting, Itoje has amassed a half-century of caps in just five years of test rugby. 

The former England U20 captain is a colossus of the second-row with an unswerving appetite for work in the tackle and in the maul. 

He appeared in all three tests in the drawn series against New Zealand in 2017 and described the experience as a bit like cheesecake, “you have one taste and then you want another”.

Alun Wyn Jones (captain)
Age: 35
Position: Second-row
Nationality: Wales
Club: Ospreys
International caps: 157 (148 Wales, nine Lions)
Previous Lions tours: 2009, 2013 and 2017 

The world’s most-capped player becomes the fifth Welshman to be named Lions tour captain after Arthur Harding, the recently deceased John Dawes, Phil Bennett and his immediate predecessor in the role, Sam Warburton.

Jones has experienced the role before having led the Lions to a 41-16 win over Australia in Sydney in June 2013 and if selected for the role for this series against the Springboks, the second-row would become the second-oldest test captain in Lions’ history after England’s Johnny Hammond in 1896. 

Courtney Lawes
Age: 32
Position: Second-row/flanker
Nationality: England
Club: Northampton Saints
International caps: 89 (87 England, two Lions)
Previous Lions tours: 2017

Hugely experienced operator who provides a good lineout option from flanker or as an outright second-row. 

Lawes has gained a reputation in his 12 years of test rugby as a fearsome tackler and someone who plays on the edge.

The Northampton man missed England’s last three games in the Six Nations because of a chest injury and is still not fully fit, but Gatland has given him the opportunity to add to the two Lions caps he won in New Zealand four years ago.

Tom Curry
Age: 22
Position: Flanker
Nationality: England
Club: Sale Sharks
International caps: 33
Previous Lions tours: None

Curry became England’s youngest forward since 1912 when he made his debut against Argentina in 2017 five days before his 19th birthday and has quickly become a mainstay of the team under Eddie Jones.

Ultra-consistent, the tireless back-row started all six of England’s matches on their run to the Rugby World Cup 2019 final and was a standout performer in what was an otherwise disappointing campaign for England in the Six Nations 2021.

Justin Tipuric
Age: 31
Position: Flanker
Nationality: Wales
Club: Ospreys
International caps: 86 (85 Wales, one Lions)
Previous Lions tours: 2013

Since Sam Warburton’s retirement in 2017, Tipuric’s role in the Wales team as a destructive tackler and jackaler has become even more important. The Ospreys captain also brings with him leadership and lineout qualities and the ability to link up play between forwards and backs.

Tipuric was the top tackler in Wales’ Six Nations 2021 title-winning campaign but his record in a Lions jersey is even more impressive. As a tourist in 2013 and 2017, Tipuric made 107 tackles in 11 matches and didn’t miss a single one.

Hamish Watson
Age: 29
Position: Flanker
Club: Edinburgh
International caps: 41
Previous Lions tours: None

Named Six Nations Player of the Championship this year, Watson has emerged as one of the best openside flankers in the world over the past few seasons.

His importance to Scotland was highlighted at RWC 2019 as Gregor Townsend’s side were eliminated in the pool stage after Watson had suffered a tournament ending injury in their opening match against Ireland. 

Jack Conan
Age: 28
Position: Number eight
Nationality: Ireland
Club: Leinster
International caps: 20
Previous Lions tours: None 

Preferred to England’s Billy Vunipola at the back of the pack after excelling for Ireland in the Six Nations.

Conan was handed his first start in 18 months in Ireland’s final fixture against England, scoring a try and coming up with an assist in the 32-18 win. 

A week later, he came up with a man-of-the-match performance for Leinster against Munster in the PRO14 final.

Taulupe Faletau
Age: 30
Position: Number eight
Nationality: Wales
Club: Bath
International caps: 90 (86 Wales, four Lions)
Previous Lions tours: 2013, 2017

Had it not been for a host of injuries, Faletau would easily have a century of caps to his name by now.

A powerful athlete with the handling skills of a back, the number eight hit a rich vein of form in Wales’ most recent Six Nations win and can now look forward to his third Lions tour.

Sam Simmonds
Age: 26
Position: Number 8
Nationality: England
Club: Exeter Chiefs
International caps: 7
Previous Lions tours: None

Overlooked for the last three years by England head coach Eddie Jones, Simmonds was widely tipped as a potential bolter because of his sensational form at club level.

Simmonds’ speed for a forward marks him out as someone special and with an incredible 14 tries to his name from number eight, he is closing in on the all-time individual Premiership record for a single season. 

This comes on the back of a sensational 2019-20 season when he was named European Player of the Year.

Gareth Davies
Age: 30
Position: Scrum-half
Nationality: Wales
Club: Scarlets
International caps: 62
Previous Lions tours: 2017

A member of the ‘Geography Six’ who were called up midway through the tour of New Zealand in 2017, Davies sat on the bench against the Chiefs and Hurricanes without getting on the pitch.

Since then the Scarlets scrum-half has helped Wales to the semi-finals of Rugby World Cup 2019 and two Six Nations titles, and will hope to push for a place in the test team in South Africa.

Conor Murray
Age: 32
Position: Scrum-half
Nationality: Ireland
Club: Leinster
International caps: 94 (89 Ireland, 5 Lions)
Previous Lions tours: 2013 and 2017

The Ireland and Munster scrum-half has been selected for his third Lions tour and will be hoping to add to his five test appearances for the invitational side.

Murray made his Lions debut as a replacement during the opening match of the 2013 tour, against the Barbarians in Hong Kong, and featured in the second and third tests as the Lions secured a 2-1 series victory in Australia. Four years later, he started each of the three matches against the All Blacks and scored a try in the Lions’ second test win.

Ali Price
Age: 27
Position: Scrum-half
Nationality: Scotland
Club: Glasgow Warriors
International caps: 42
Previous Lions tours: None

The Glasgow scrum-half has been selected for his first Lions tour and could renew his fruitful partnership with Scotland team-mate Finn Russell.

Price made his test debut against Georgia in November, 2016 and has since cemented his place as Scotland’s starting number nine.

Dan Biggar
Age: 31
Position: Fly-half
Nationality: Wales
Club: Northampton
International caps: 92
Previous Lions tours: 2017

Warren Gatland knows Biggar well from the pair’s time together with Wales, and has rewarded the playmaker for some fine form for both club and country this season.

Picked to tour New Zealand in 2017, Biggar made his Lions debut in the defeat to the Blues at Eden Park. The Northampton fly-half scored 35 points in five tour matches but did not feature in any of the three tests against the All Blacks.

Owen Farrell
Age: 29
Position: Fly-half
Nationality: England
Club: Saracens
International caps: 97 (93 England, 4 Lions)
Previous Lions tours: 2013 and 2017

The England captain was picked for his first Lions tour aged only 21 eight years ago and was part of the test team that secured a series victory against Australia, although he was an unused replacement in the first two matches.

Farrell started each of the three tests against New Zealand four years ago, the first at fly-half and the second and third at centre. He scored 31 points as the series ended all square.

Finn Russell
Age: 28
Position: Fly-half
Nationality: Scotland
Club: Racing 92
International caps: 55
Previous Lions tours: 2017

Russell will be a popular choice with Lions fans having earned his place on the tour with some mercurial performances for both Scotland and Racing 92 over the past few seasons.

Drafted into the 2017 tour of New Zealand as one of the ‘geography six’ Russell will hope to add to the five minutes he experienced in the red jersey as a replacement against the Hurricanes four years ago.

Bundee Aki
Age: 31
Position: Centre
Nationality: Ireland
Club: Connacht
International caps: 31
Previous Lions tours: None

The Ireland centre has been in fine form for Connacht this season and has done enough to force his way into the Lions squad for South Africa.

Having joined Connacht in 2014, Aki helped the province to the PRO12 title in 2016 and made his Ireland debut in 2017, starting all five matches as Joe Schmidt’s side won a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2018.

Elliot Daly
Age: 28
Position: Centre / full-back / wing
Nationality: England
Club: Saracens
International caps: 55 (52 England, 3 Lions)
Previous Lions tours: 2017

The England and Saracens star is a versatile selection for South Africa, being able to cover centre, full-back and wing.

Daly started all three tests against the All Blacks on the left wing four years ago and will hope to add to those appearances against the Springboks. He won his 50th England cap during the Six Nations 2021.

Chris Harris
Age: 30
Position: Centre
Nationality: Scotland
Club: Gloucester
International caps: 28
Previous Lions tours: None

A key cog in the miserly Scotland defence that conceded just 91 points during the Six Nations 2021, Harris has been selected for his first Lions tour.

Having made his test debut at the end of 2017, Harris travelled to Japan for Rugby World Cup 2019 and has been a mainstay in the Scotland midfield for the past two seasons.

Robbie Henshaw
Age: 27
Position: Centre
Nationality: Ireland
Club: Leinster
International caps: 52
Previous Lions tours: 2017

Henshaw has been in fine form for Ireland and Leinster this season, and was a Six Nations Player of the Championship nominee.

Picked for the tour of New Zealand four years ago, Henshaw suffered an injury during the tour match against the Hurricanes and played no part in the test series.

Josh Adams
Age: 26
Position: Wing
Nationality: Wales
Club: Cardiff Blues
International caps: 32
Previous Lions tours: None

Top scorer at Rugby World Cup 2019 with seven tries, the Wales winger has been one of the form players in the northern hemisphere over the past four years.

Adams got his break having left Wales for English Premiership club Worcester Warriors, but moved back across the Severn Bridge to the Cardiff Blues having starred in Japan.

Louis Rees-Zammit
Age: 20
Position: Wing
Nationality: Wales
Club: Gloucester
International caps: 9
Previous Lions tours: None

One of the most exciting prospects to emerge onto the international scene in the last four years, Rees-Zammit confirmed his class with four tries as Wales won the Six Nations 2021.

Having only turned 20 in February, the Gloucester winger is the youngest player included on the tour to South Africa but will be confident of forcing his way into the test team.

Duhan van der Merwe
Age: 25
Position: Wing
Nationality: Scotland
Club: Edinburgh
International caps: 10
Previous Lions tours: None

A former South Africa U20 international, Van der Merwe has been a revelation since arriving in Scotland with Edinburgh.

His form at the capital club earned him a first Scotland cap against Georgia last October, and he has since scored eight tries in 10 matches. Gatland will hope he can replicate that form in Lions red.

Anthony Watson
Age: 27
Position: Wing / full-back
Nationality: England
Club: Bath
International caps: 54 (51 England, 3 Lions)
Previous Lions tours: 2017

The England winger scored the decisive try in the opening tour match four years ago, against the New Zealand Barbarians, and went on to play in each of the three tests against the All Blacks.

Watson marked his 50th England cap with a try against France in March and was in fine form during the Six Nations 2021, finishing the Championship with four tries.

Liam Williams
Age: 30
Position: Wing / full-back
Nationality: Wales
Club: Scarlets
International caps: 74 (71 Wales, 3 Lions)
Previous Lions tours: 2017

Picked to start at full-back for all three of the 2017 tests against New Zealand, Williams’ jinking run in the first started the move that ended with Sean O’Brien scoring one of the great Lions tries.

Williams, who scored two tries as Wales won the Six Nations 2021, will hope to make similar memories in South Africa.

Stuart Hogg
Age: 28
Position: Full-back
Nationality: Scotland
Club: Exeter Chiefs
International caps: 85
Previous Lions tours: 2013 and 2017

Hogg will hope to make his test debut for the Lions in South Africa having been on two previous tours.

The Scotland captain was the youngest player selected for the 2013 tour of Australia, at 21, but did not feature against the Wallabies. In New Zealand four years later, Hogg was injured as a result of an accidental collision with team-mate Conor Murray during a provincial match and was ruled out of the tour prior to the series with the All Blacks.

READ MORE: The history of British and Irish Lions tour captains >>