/ Rugby

O'Connell to lead 14 Irish Lions

Updated: Wednesday, 22 Apr 2009 08:37

Paul O'Connell is joined by Tour Manager Gerald Davies and Head Coach Ian McGeechan at today's photocall O'Connell is the second Irishman running to captain the Lions after Brian O'Driscoll was named skipper for the tour in New Zealand O'Connell represented the Lions with distinction in New Zealand
Paul O'Connell is joined by Tour Manager Gerald Davies and Head Coach Ian McGeechan at today's photocall O'Connell is the second Irishman running to captain the Lions after Brian O'Driscoll was named skipper for the tour in New Zealand O'Connell represented the Lions with distinction in New Zealand

14 Irishmen will travel with the Lions touring squad for South Africa, with Paul O'Connell confirmed as captain.

<notforsyndication>Listen: Michael Corcoran reports on today's squad announcement. </notforsyndication>

Rob Kearney, Luke Fitzgerald, Tommy Bowe, Brian O’Driscoll, Keith Earls, Ronan O’Gara, Tomás O’Leary, Jamie Heaslip, David Wallace, Stephen Ferris, Alan Quinlan, Donncha O’Callaghan and Jerry Flannery are the other Irishmen travelling.

In Pictures: Lions Squad 2009

There had been widespread speculation 29-year-old O'Connell from Munster had been picked as captain ahead of Ireland's grand slam-winning captain Brian O'Driscoll and his selection was confirmed at a Heathrow hotel news conference at lunchtime.

O'Connell has 62 Ireland caps and three for the Lions, having played in all three tests of the 3-0 defeat in New Zealand in 2005.

He has helped Ireland to three triple crowns, occasionally stepping in as skipper, was the bedrock of the team that this year won their first Six Nations grand slam since 1948, and has won the Heineken Cup twice with Munster, captaining them to their 2008 success.

Coach Ian McGeechan takes a 37-man squad for the 10-match tour in South Africa, which includes Tests in Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg.

The squad will depart on 24 May - a day after the Heineken Cup final.

In all there are 14 players from Ireland, 13 from Wales, eight from England and two from Scotland. Full squad to be listed shortly.

British and Irish Lions squad for tour of South Africa, departing 24 May:

Backs:
Lee Byrne (Wales), Rob Kearney (Ireland), Shane Williams (Wales), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Ugo Monye (England), Luke Fitzgerald (Ireland), Tommy Bowe (Ireland), Tom Shanklin (Wales), Jamie Roberts (Wales), Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland), Keith Earls (Ireland), Riki Flutey (England), Ronan O'Gara (Ireland), Stephen Jones (Wales), Mike Phillips (Wales), Harry Ellis (England), Tomás O'Leary (Ireland).

Forwards:
Jamie Heaslip (Ireland), Andy Powell (Wales), David Wallace (Ireland), Stephen Ferris (Ireland), Alan Quinlan (Ireland), Joe Worsley (England), Martyn Williams (Wales), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), Paul O'Connell - captain (Ireland), Donncha O'Callaghan (Ireland), Simon Shaw (England), Nathan Hines (Scotland), Gethin Jenkins (Wales), Adam Jones (Wales), Andrew Sheridan (England), Phil Vickery (England), Euan Murray (Scotland), Jerry Flannery (Ireland), Lee Mears (England), Matthew Rees (Wales).

LIONS TOUR 2009 FIXTURES

30 May: Highveld XV; Royal Bafokeng, Rustenburg
3 June: Golden Lions; Ellis Park, Johannesburg
6 June: Cheetahs; Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein
10 June: Sharks; ABSA Park, Durban
13 June: Western Province; Newlands, Cape Town
16/17 June: Coastal XV; Port Elizabeth (Venue TBC)
20 June: South Africa (first Test); ABSA Park, Durban
23 June: Emerging Springboks; Newlands, Cape Town
27 June: South Africa (second Test); Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
4 July: South Africa (third Test); Ellis Park, Johannesburg