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Greenwood backs Townsend to lead Lions in 2025 as he selects matchday 23

By Josh Raisey

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Will Greenwood has picked a British & Irish Lions matchday 23 to take on Australia in 2025, and has selected this year’s attack coach Gregor Townsend to step up and replace Warren Gatland.

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The former England centre, who toured with the Lions in 1997, 2001 and 2005, shared his team in The Telegraph after the Lions’ narrow series-defining loss to South Africa last Saturday. He has also tipped La Rochelle coach Ronan O’Gara and Leicester Tigers coach Steve Borthwick to make up Townsend’s coaching team.

The squad also includes three uncapped players to date, all of which play for Sale Sharks. Scottish hooker Ewan Ashman and England hopefuls Bevan Rodd and Raffi Quirke are the three. The loosehead Rodd is also eligible for Scotland while scrum-half Quirke is eligible for Ireland.

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Warren Gatland speaks about what must change on B&I Lions tour and what is in his future
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Warren Gatland speaks about what must change on B&I Lions tour and what is in his future

Eight players from the party that have just left South Africa are picked again, including late call-ups Marcus Smith and Adam Beard, with the latter putting in a string of “phenomenal showings”.

Only two players who started in the third Test against the Springboks in Cape Town have made it into the starting XV this time, player of the series Maro Itoje and openside flanker Tom Curry.

The youngest member of the most recent squad, 20-year-old Louis Rees-Zammit, makes the XV after missing out on the Test series this year, as Greenwood wrote “in the short periods he did feature you could tell there was a star in the making.”

Will Greenwood’s 2025 Lions team:

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15. Hugo Keenan (Ireland)
14. Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales)
13. Gary Ringrose (Ireland)
12. Cameron Redpath (Scotland)
11. Adam Radwan (England)
10. Marcus Smith (England)
9. Tomos Williams (Wales)
1. Ellis Genge (England)
2. Ronan Kelleher (Ireland)
3. Zander Fagerson (Scotland)
4. Maro Itoje (England)
5. Adam Beard (Wales)
6. Jamie Ritchie (Scotland)
7. Tom Curry (England)8.
8. Caelan Doris (Ireland)

Replacements:
16. Ewan Ashman (Scotland)
17. Bevan Rodd (England)
18. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
19. Ryan Baird (Ireland)
20. James Botham (Wales)
21. Raffi Quirke (England)
22. Adam Hastings (Scotland)
23. Ioan Lloyd (Wales).

 

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