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Last Updated: Monday, 11 April, 2005, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Eleven Irish in Lions tour squad
Shane Horgan can play midfield or on the wing
Ireland have 11 players on the Lions summer tour to New Zealand including Brian O'Driscoll who will captain the 44-man squad.

Despite a disappointing Six Nations the Irish contribute six backs and five forwards to Sir Clive Woodward's squad.

O'Driscoll is joined by Geordan Murphy, Denis Hickie, Gordon D'Arcy, Shane Horgan and Ronan O'Gara in the backs.

Up front, locks Malcolm O'Kelly, Paul O'Connell and Donnacha O'Callaghan are joined by Shane Byrne and John Hayes.

The naming of O'Driscoll as tour captain was a certainty, but there will be a little surprise that Ireland have more players in the squad than Grand Slam-winning Wales who have 10.

2005 LIONS TOUR FIXTURES
4 June v Bay of Plenty
Rotorua International Stadium
8 June v Taranaki
Yarrow Stadium
11 June v NZ Maori
Waikato Stadium
15 June v Wellington
Westpac Stadium
18 June v Otago
Carisbrook
21 June v Southland
Rugby Park Stadium
25 June v New Zealand
Jade Stadium
28 June v Manawatu
Arena Manawatu
2 July v New Zealand
Westpac Stadium
5 July v Auckland
Eden Park
9 July v New Zealand
Eden Park

Murphy and D'Arcy were widely tipped to travel, while Horgan was an outside chance.

However, the Leinster player's size, power and ball-handling skills undoubtedly gave him the edge, plus he can play either wing of midfield.

It would not be in the realms of possibility that he could function beside his skipper in the Tests after missing the least two Six Nations games.

Hickie deserves his place. His defence has tightened up considerably while he still has blistering pace. O'Gara, however, is rather fortunate to make the final shake down.

He almost played himself off what will be his second Lions following a very ordinary Six Nations campaign.

In the forwards, O'Connell, O'Kelly and Bryne were certainties to travel. O'Callaghan, who spent all season on the Irish bench, impressed Sir Clive during the tsunami game at Twickenham.

Hayes is another some will say is fortunate to be travelling. He is not the best scrummager in the world, but his work-rate around the park at breakdown and line-out is phenomenal.


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).





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


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