Lions 2017: Warren Gatland's backs in profile

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The 2017 British and Irish Lions tour gets under way on Saturday with a clash against the New Zealand Barbarians.

That fixture is the first of six as Warren Gatland's men gear up for their opening Test against the All Blacks on June 24.

Gatland has named a 41-man squad as he looks to repeat the 2013 victory over Australia.

Here we take a closer look at the backs.

 

Backs

Dan Biggar
Ospreys & Wales
Age: 27
Position: Fly-half
Test Caps: 56
Test Tries: 3
Lions Tours: N/A

Ospreys fly-half Biggar has been Wales first-choice number 10 since 2013 and is instantly recognisable by his unique pre-kick routine. Biggar will face stern competition for a Test starting spot, with Jonathan Sexton considered the frontrunner and Owen Farrell also in the squad.

Elliot Daly
Wasps & England
Age: 24
Position: Utility back
Test Caps: 13
Test Tries: 3
Lions Tours: N/A

Daly proved to be one of the breakout players of this year's Six Nations, scoring two tries as England retained the title. Daly's versatility makes him a real asset to Gatland's squad -  he can play at centre, full-back or on the wings.

Jonathan Davies
Scarlets & Wales
Age: 29
Position: Centre
Test Caps: 67
Test Tries: 13
Lions Tours: 2013

Davies has been a mainstay for Gatland's Wales team, racking up 64 caps since making his debut in 2009 and playing all three Lions Tests in Australia four years ago.

Owen Farrell
Saracens & England
Age: 25
Position: Fly-half/Centre
Test Caps: 53
Test Tries: 5
Lions Tours: 2013

Selected as a fly-half, but Farrell's performances at centre for England mean he is surely in pole position for the Lions' 12 shirt. He seems a dead cert to start, wherever that may be.

Leigh Halfpenny
Toulon & Wales
Age: 28
Position: Full-back
Test Caps: 74
Test Tries: 12
Lions Tours: 2009, 2013

Toulon full-back Halfpenny may be left hoping the Wales connection earns him a place in Gatland's first-choice XV, with Six Nations Player of the Championship Stuart Hogg his main competition for the number 15 jersey.

Robbie Henshaw
Leinster & Ireland
Age: 23
Position: Centre
Test Caps: 29
Test Tries: 2
Lions Tours: N/A

Gatland caused a stir when he dropped Brian O'Driscoll for the decisive third Test in the 2-1 victory over Australia last time around. Henshaw is this year's Irish representative among the centres and will hope to force his way into the Test side.

Stuart Hogg
Glasgow Warriors & Scotland
Age: 24
Position: Full-back
Test Caps: 53
Test Tries: 16
Lions Tours: 2013

Hogg is one of only three Scots in the entire squad but, after being named Six Nations Player of the Championship for the second year running, the full-back looks likely to be part of Gatland's Test team. His spark could be crucial to unlocking the All Blacks' defence.

Jonathan Joseph
Bath & England
Age: 26
Position: Centre
Test Caps: 33
Test Tries: 16
Lions Tours: N/A

Joseph looked set to miss out on selection when, on the morning of the announcement, it was reported that experienced Wales centre Jamie Roberts would instead be included. He is among the most prolific try-scorers in the squad.

Greig Laidlaw
Gloucester & Scotland
Age: 31
Position: Scrum-half
Test Caps: 58
Test Tries: 4
Lions Tours: N/A

Laidlaw was called into the squad as a replacement for Ben Youngs, who will stay at home to support brother Tom, whose wife has terminal cancer. Scotland captain Laidlaw will join Clermont Auvergne next season and his kicking game is an added bonus for Gatland.

Conor Murray
Munster & Ireland
Age: 28
Position: Scrum-half
Test Caps: 59
Test Tries: 10
Lions Tours: 2013

Murray has struggled with a neck injury sustained against Wales in March in the build-up, but, if fit, he leads the race for the number-nine jersey. The opportunity to pair the Munster man with Ireland team-mate Sexton will be difficult for Gatland to resist.

George North
Northampton Saints & Wales
Age: 25
Position: Wing
Test Caps: 72
Test Tries: 32
Lions Tours: 2013

The Northampton Saints wing has not been in the best form of late and came in for plenty of flak during a disappointing Six Nations with Wales. However, he was a Lion in 2013 and Gatland knows him well, so that could play in his favour when the Test team is selected.

Jack Nowell
Exeter Chiefs & England
Age: 24
Position: Wing
Test Caps: 23
Test Tries: 11
Lions Tours: N/A

Nowell is Exeter's first Lion and is among the players never to have faced the All Blacks at senior level. He is also a Lego fanatic and will be taking some sets on tour to keep him occupied, but he says fellow enthusiast North will have to get his own.

Jared Payne
Ulster & Ireland
Age: 31
Position: Full-back
Test Caps: 20
Test Tries: 4
Lions Tours: N/A

The New Zealand-born full-back has been playing for Ireland since 2014, having arrived at Ulster three years earlier. Gatland will hope his experience of Super Rugby and the provincial game can be of use in the tour matches.

Jonathan Sexton
Leinster & Ireland
Age: 31
Position: Fly-half
Test Caps: 69
Test Tries: 10
Lions Tours: 2013

Gatland has talked up the competition for selection at fly-half and said Biggar is very much in the frame, along with Sexton and Farrell. But it is the Irish 10 who looks most likely to get the nod, particularly if international colleague Murray is chosen at scrum-half.

Tommy Seymour
Glasgow Warriors & Scotland
Age: 28
Position: Wing
Test Caps: 36
Test Tries: 16
Lions Tours: N/A

Seymour completes the trio of Scottish backs called up by Gatland but could face a battle to force his way into the Test XV, with Daly, North, Nowell, Anthony Watson, Halfpenny and Liam Williams for competition.

Ben Te'o
Worcester Warriors & England
Age: 30
Position: Centre
Test Caps: 8
Test Tries: 2
Lions Tours: N/A

The centre - another Kiwi-born player - is included despite only racking up eight England caps to date and starting just one of five Six Nations fixtures for Eddie Jones' men. As one of the Australian coach's "finishers", Te'o proved his worth from the bench on more than one occasion.

Anthony Watson
Bath & England
Age: 23
Position: Wing
Test Caps: 26
Test Tries: 13
Lions Tours: N/A

A try in every other Test demonstrates the threat posed by the Bath flyer, and Gatland will hope to see him replicate his England form with the Lions.

Rhys Webb
Ospreys & Wales
Age: 28
Position: Scrum-half
Test Caps: 28
Test Tries: 7
Lions Tours: N/A

Murray's biggest competition for a starting berth following the withdrawal of Youngs, Webb's prospects could hinge on who starts at fly-half.

Liam Williams
Scarlets & Wales
Age: 26
Position: Wing/Full-back
Test Caps: 43
Test Tries: 8
Lions Tours: N/A

Williams was one of Wales' brightest sparks during this year's Six Nations and will join up with European champions Saracens following the conclusion of the Lions tour. Effective at both wing and full-back.