England’s Manu Tuilagi has made Scrum V’s 36-man British and Irish Lions squad despite still being out with an Achilles injury.

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The 2013 tourist has been out of action since September, but made the squad on the BBC Scrum V Rugby podcast selected by 2009 and 2013 tourists Tommy Bowe and Adam Jones, as well as former Wales fly-half Nick Robinson and presenters Gareth Rhys Owen and Lauren Jenkins.

Bowe and Jones are best remembered for their exploits on the 2009 Lions tour in South Africa, where the Irishman was one of the standout players on the tour and the Welshman was tasked with repressing Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira. However, they both played alongside Tuilagi four years later in Australia.

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In the absence of George North in the centres, who recently sustained an ACL injury, there will be no lessening of physicality in the midfield with the addition of the Sale Sharks man. Though he is still yet to return, he is expected to be fit for the Lions tour and has proved over his ten-year Test career how devastating he can be when fully fit.

Elsewhere in the back line, there is no room for Finn Russell, who misses out on Scrum V’s squad, with Owen Farrell, Johnny Sexton and Dan Biggar being picked ahead of the Scot.

Though Farrell can be deployed in the centres, the reality is that one of these No10s could miss out in this slimline squad being selected by Warren Gatland, and it is Russell in this situation.
The squad is set to be announced next Thursday.

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Scrum V’s Lions squad:
Forwards: Ken Owens, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jamie George, Rory Sutherland, Wyn Jones, Mako Vunipola, Tadhg Furlong, Kyle Sinckler, Tomas Francis, Alun Wyn Jones, Maro Itoje, James Ryan, Tadhg Beirne, Iain Henderson, Tom Curry, Justin Tipuric, Hamish Watson, CJ Stander, Taulupe Faletau, Billy Vunipola.

Backs: Conor Murray, Gareth Davies, Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar, Owen Farrell, Johnny Sexton, Robbie Henshaw, Jonathan Davies, Garry Ringrose, Manu Tuilagi, Josh Adams, Anthony Watson, Duhan van der Merwe, Louis Rees-Zammit, Stuart Hogg, Liam Williams.

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