The announcement of the British and Irish Lions squad has met with a mixed reaction on social media, as coach Warren Gatland named a 41-man touring party to take on New Zealand.

Gatland's decision to pick 12 Wales players and only two Scotland international was just one of a number of controversial selections.

Despite finishing fifth in the Six Nations table this year, the Wales players were named at the expense of several notable Six Nations-winning England stars.

Scotland's thrilling brand of rugby failed to earn them a strong showing in Gatland's squad, with just Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour called up.

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Speaking on BT Sport's Facebook page after the announcement, former Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll admitted Scotland were unfortunate not to have more representatives in the touring party.

"Beat Ireland, beat Wales - if I was Scottish I would feel hard done by. It's the first time since 1908 they haven't had a representative in the pack," said O'Driscoll.

Glasgow Warriors fly-half Finn Russell was thought to have done enough to earn a call-up, after an impressive season at domestic and international level, but Wales' Dan Biggar filled the last of the three number 10 spots.

Dylan Hartley, who captained England to a record-equalling streak of 18 matches without defeat, was not named in the initial 41-man squad, after his chances of making the tour were rated as "50-50" earlier this week.

Hartley's omission means the last three England captains have now failed to make the Lions touring party, after Steve Borthwick and Chris Robshaw missed out in 2009 and 2013 respectively.




The New Zealand-born hooker reacted to the news with admirable class, tweeting his congratulations to fellow Northampton Saints team-mates George North and Courtney Lawes, who were both handed Lions spots.

"Congrats to all selected, especially @George_North @Courtney_Lawes . Head down, keep grafting, work to be done in Argentina," wrote Hartley.

England stalwarts Mike Brown, Joe Launchbury and George Ford were the most notable absentees from Gatland's Lions squad, while Ben Te'o, who only made his test debut last year, was called up for his first tour.

Launchbury's Premiership club Wasps tweeted that they were all "gobsmacked" that the England lock had not been named in the 41-man touring party.



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"All gobsmacked here that Joe Launchbury wont be with @lionsofficial," the tweet read.


"2 motm's in a 6 Nations winning campaign & player of the comp nominee."

Launchbury was nominated for the Six Nations player of the tournament award, however Gatland opted to select England's Maro Itoje and George Kruis in the second row.




One rugby account on Twitter jokingly suggested the Wasps lock's best chance of earning a call-up was to legally change his name to a Welsh-sounding surname.



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As expected, Sam Warburton was confirmed as Lions captain for the second successive series.

The Wales flanker is currently recovering from a knee ligament injury, but insisted he will be fit and ready to go come the start of the tour.