Warren Gatland has ended weeks of speculation, by naming his squad for this summer's British and Irish Lions tour.

Gatland selected 16 players from Six Nations champions England, 11 from Ireland, 12 from Wales and only two from Scotland for June and July's trip to his native New Zealand.

With Sam Warburton named as captain once more, Sportsmail's Rory Keane reflects on the big talking points surrounding the 41-man squad.

Jared Payne


The New Zealand-born centre/fullback qualified for Ireland under the three-year residency rule in 2014 and won his first cap against the Springboks in November of that year. The Ulster three-quarter has been a favourite of Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt throughout his tenure.

Payne's superb performance against England on the final weekend of the Six Nations pushed right him into the reckoning. A renowned defender and highly-effective communicator.

Jonathan Joseph

The electric England centre looked set to be a shock omission form the travelling squad, but has rightfully been included, after a sublime Six Nations campaign. The Bath centre's hat-trick in the 61-21 victory over Scotland was one of the highlights of the championship.

Brings a real point of difference and flair to the Lions' midfield options.

Ben Te'o

Born in Auckland to a Samoan father and an English mother, Ben Te'o cut his teeth with Silverdale rugby club, before moving onto rugby league in his teens. The powerful midfielder would go on to have a stellar career in Australian Rugby League with West Tigers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Te'o then made the move to the 15-man code, when Matt O'Connor signed him for Leinster. Te'o's remarkable journey continued, when he moved across the Irish Sea to Worcester last season, with Eddie Jones subsequently drafting him into his England squad.

One of Jones' renowned "finishers" throughout the Six Nations, the 30-year-old made his first start against Italy at Twickenham. Now, he will return to the land of his birth as a Lion.

Dylan Hartley

It was widely-expected that the England captain would be left out of Galtland's squad, but the shock still resonated at Wednesday's squad announcement in London.

The fiery Northampton hooker led England to 18 consecutive test wins and back-to-back Six Nations titles, but a poor disciplinary record looks to have counted against him in Gatland's plans.

Joe Launchbury

Ever-present for England during their title-winning Six Nations campaign, Wasps lock Joe Launchbury has missed out on selection, with Gatland opting for fellow England locks Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes and George Kruis.

Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick are the world's most fearsome second row combination, and the Lions coaching team have opted for a selection of uber-physical forwards.

Launchbury is a supreme athlete, but the likes of Lawes and Ireland's Iain Henderson have a bit of dog in them, which will be vital.

George Ford

England's first-choice fly-half is one of the most exciting attacking playmakers in Europe, but is surplus to requirements for this summer's tour.

Reservations about Ford's defence and goal-kicking has seen Wales No 10 Dan Biggar move up the pecking order.