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Last Updated: Monday, 11 April, 2005, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Wilkinson left out of Lions squad

Jonny Wilkinson in action for the Lions in 2001
If he does show in the next few weeks I want to be able to bring him into the squad
Woodward on Wilkinson
England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson has been omitted from the Lions squad to tour New Zealand this summer.

Wilkinson was left out of the 44-man touring party announced by Sir Clive Woodward as he is not yet fully fit.

Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll will captain the squad, with Lawrence Dallaglio and Neil Back among 20 Englishmen selected.

O'Driscoll is one of 11 Irish players called up, while there are 10 members of the Welsh Grand Slam-winning squad and just three Scots.

Woodward stressed that Wilkinson, who has suffered a string of injury problems, could still make the squad if he can prove his fitness.

Fellow World Cup winners Mike Tindall (foot) and Phil Vickery (broken arm) are in the same position.

It's humbling when you see that past captains include the likes of Martin Johnson and Willie John McBride
Brian O'Driscoll

"If they confirm genuine form and fitness in the coming weeks, they could still go," said Woodward.

"The clock is against Tindall and Vickery, but I don't think the clock is against Wilkinson."

Woodward picked 14 members of the England squad which he guided to World Cup glory in 2003.

But he said: "If we were playing this weekend, the majority of the starting XV would come from Wales and Ireland, with two players from England and one from Scotland."

2005 LIONS TEST FIXTURES
25 June v New Zealand
Jade Stadium
2 July v New Zealand
Westpac Stadium
9 July v New Zealand
Eden Park

Woodward called up Dallaglio despite his recent retirement from international rugby, while Back will become the oldest-ever Lion at the age of 36.

The Leicester flanker retired from the England scene after being discarded by Woodward in the Six Nations campaign last year.

Back and Dallaglio are joined for a third Lions tour by Richard Hill, who has just recovered from a serious knee injury.

The "Holy Trinity" played a world record 41 Tests together in England's back row, but have not been in harness since the 2003 World Cup final.

Woodward declared himself impressed with the form of fly-half Stephen Jones, who is one of seven Wales backs to make the squad.

But there was no place in the squad for flanker Colin Charvis, who has just returned after a foot injury.

Ireland have the second biggest contingent despite their patchy Six Nations form, with Woodward confident O'Driscoll has the leadership qualities needed to succeed Down Under.

I'm in Shannon airport and I haven't heard anything myself which is a bit strange!
Shane Williams

Scottish representation is confined to scrum-half Chris Cusiter, hooker Gordon Bulloch and back-row forward Simon Taylor.

The Lions leave for New Zealand on 25 May, with the first Test against New Zealand scheduled for Christchurch a month later.

They have officially toured New Zealand eight times, beginning in 1930, but their 2-1 success in 1971 is the only series victory there.


LIONS SQUAD

Backs: I Balshaw (England), G Murphy (Ireland), J Robinson (England), G Thomas (Wales), S Williams (Wales), J Lewsey (England), S Horgan (Ireland), D Hickie (Ireland), T Shanklin (Wales), B O'Driscoll (Ireland, capt), G Henson (Wales), O Smith (England), G D'Arcy (Ireland), W Greenwood (England), S Jones (Wales), R O'Gara (Ireland), C Hodgson (England), M Dawson (England), D Peel (Wales), G Cooper (Wales), C Cusiter (Scotland).
Forwards: G Rowntree (England), A Sheridan (England), M Stevens (England), G Jenkins (Wales), J White (England), J Hayes (Ireland), G Bulloch (Scotland), S Thompson (England), A Titterrell (England), S Byrne (Ireland), D Grewcock (England), B Kay (England), M O'Kelly (Ireland), D O'Callaghan (Ireland), P O'Connell (Ireland), M Owen (Wales), R Hill (England), N Back (England), M Williams (Wales), L Moody (England), S Taylor (Scotland), M Corry (England), L Dallaglio (England).




WATCH AND LISTEN
Statement: Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward


News conference: Woodward on Wilkinson


Interview: All Blacks coach Graham Henry




SEE ALSO
Lions dismiss tour insurance row
08 Apr 05 |  Internationals
Woodward reveals coaching squad
21 Oct 04 |  Internationals


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