British & Irish Lions

Van der Merwe cracks nod for Lions tour to SA, Stander misses out

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Duhan van der Merwe of Scotland battles for the ball. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
Duhan van der Merwe of Scotland battles for the ball. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

South African-born Duhan van der Merwe on Thursday earned inclusion in the British & Irish Lions' squad for their tour to South Africa, but there was no spot for CJ Stander in the touring team to be led by Welshman Alun Wyn Jones.

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Earlier this year, South African-born Stander announced his impending retirement from all forms of rugby, but the Ireland No 8 did leave the door open to be selected for the Lions tour.

His spot has effectively gone the way of surprise inclusion Sam Simmonds. The Exeter Chiefs No 8 is the English Premiership's leading try scorer, but has been snubbed by England coach Eddie Jones for the past three seasons.

But Scotland winger Van der Merwe, who dazzled in the Six Nations by beating a record 31 defenders and finishing as the Championship's top try-scorer with five, did crack the nod in coach Warren Gatland's squad.

Other players named in the Lions squad for the first time include Josh Adams, Bundee Aki, Chris Harris, Ali Price, Louis Rees-Zammit, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Zander Fagerson, Iain Henderson, Jonny Hill, Wyn Jones, Andrew Porter, Sam Simmonds, Rory Sutherland and Hamish Watson.

British & Irish Lions squad:

Backs (16)

Josh Adams (WAL), Bundee Aki (IRL), Dan Biggar (WAL), Elliot Daly (ENG), Gareth Davies (WAL), Owen Farrell (ENG), Chris Harris (SCO), Robbie Henshaw (IRL), Stuart Hogg (SCO), Conor Murray (IRL), Ali Price (SCO), Louis Rees-Zammit (WAL), Finn Russell (SCO), Duhan van der Merwe (SCO), Anthony Watson (ENG), Liam Williams (WAL)

Forwards (21)

Tadhg Beirne (IRL), Jack Conan (IRL), Luke Cowan-Dickie (ENG), Tom Curry (ENG), Zander Fagerson (SCO), Taulupe Faletau (WAL), Tadhg Furlong (IRL), Jamie George (ENG), Iain Henderson (IRL), Jonny Hill (ENG), Maro Itoje (ENG), Alun Wyn Jones (WAL, capt), Wyn Jones (WAL), Courtney Lawes (ENG), Ken Owens (WAL), Andrew Porter (IRL), Sam Simmonds (ENG), Rory Sutherland (SCO), Justin Tipuric (WAL), Mako Vunipola (ENG), Hamish Watson (SCO)

Fixtures:

Jun 26: v Japan, Murrayfield (warm-up match)

Jul 3: v Stormers, Cape Town

Jul 7: v SA Invitation XV, Gqeberha

Jul 10: v Sharks, Durban

Jul 14: v South Africa 'A', Mbombela

Jul 17: v Bulls, Pretoria

Jul 24: SOUTH AFRICA v BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS, 1st TEST, Johannesburg

Jul 31: SOUTH AFRICA v BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS, 2ND TEST, Cape Town

Aug 7: SOUTH AFRICA v BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS, 3RD TEST, Johannesburg

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