22 Apr 2009

Irish lock to lead Lions from the front

9:08 am on 22 April 2009

A record 14 Irishman have been selected on the British and Irish Lions squad of 37 for their South African tour starting late next month.

The bolter in the side is the 21 year old Ireland utility back Keith Earls, who has been capped only twice but didn't play in the last Six Nations championship.

Another back in Ian McGeechan's side is England's New Zealand centre Rikki Flutey who played against the Lions in a provincial game when they toured here four years ago.

In naming the Irish lock Paul O'Connell as captain, coach McGeechan underlined the need to lead from the front.

The forwards coach for the tour is New Zealander Warren Gatland.

The Lions leave for South Africa on the 24th of next month and the first of three tests is in Durban on the 20th of June.