The British and Irish Lions will face South Africa this summer, as the home nations combine their talent to once again take on the best that the Southern Hemisphere has to offer.
Despite doubts over the location of the tour – due to coronavirus concerns – it looks set to go ahead, as the Lions aim to return home glorious after the dramatic series draw in New Zealand in 2017.
Gloucester Rugby and Bristol Bears could be well represented in Warren Gatland’s squad, so here’s a look at five of the hopefuls’ chances of a call-up.
Louis Rees-Zammit – 8
Wales wonderkid Louis Rees-Zammit has exploded onto the scene at Kingsholm over the last year or so, with his countless impressive performances in the Gallagher Premiership earning him a consistent place at 14 in the Welsh XV.
He leads the way for try scorers in the 2021 Six Nations, with four, alongside fellow 14, Anthony Watson. The Englishman started all three games in New Zealand four years ago, but Rees-Zammit will be hot on the heels of the Bath winger.
An excellent finisher and brilliant with the ball in his hands, the dynamic winger has the pace to carve through any defence in the world, a trait much desired for any back.
Gatland will surely take Rees-Zammit, but a start in the first game may be a little beyond reach.
Jonny May – 9
With 32 tries in 65 test matches for England, Jonny May is a sure-fire selection ahead of the tour.
Whilst he suffered as a result of England’s whimpering Six Nations campaign, May has cemented his status as a stalwart at 11 over the last few years.
The Cherry and Whites have been heavily reliant on his brilliance on a multitude of occasions, and the Lions squad will only be better with his inclusion.
Chris Harris – 6
Perhaps an outside shot, but a shot nonetheless, Chris Harris may just have one eye on a potential Lions call-up.
The Scot is a strong carrier at outside centre, and defensively stout. Add to that his six tries in Gloucester colours over the last couple of years and his chances of an unsuspected call-up look increasingly likely.
However, with quality competition at 13 – including the likes of Henry Slade, Robbie Henshaw and Jonathan Davies – Harris may be watching the tour from the comfort of his own home.
Kyle Sinckler – 9
Onto the Bears contingent now, and the most likely local Lions member come the summer, Kyle Sinckler.
After a slow start, his move to Premiership table-toppers Bristol has proved crucial to furthering his reputation as the standout British tighthead.
The former-Harlequins prop came off the bench in all three games in the 2017 tour, even winning the penalty that Owen Farrell kicked three minutes from time to win the first test.
Sinckler will almost certainly start all three games this time around though, despite his doubters.
Callum Sheedy – 5
And finally, we have another outside shot in the form of Bears fly-half Callum Sheedy.
The 25-year-old has only recently broken into the Wales squad, earning a spot in the Six Nations squad on the back of an excellent Premiership campaign.
Despite being limited to substitute appearances, Sheedy still impressed in this year’s Six Nations, notably helping to dismantle England in Cardiff.
With fierce competition for the 10 shirt a given on a Lions tour, the aforementioned Farrell, Ireland’s Johnny Sexton and Scotland’s Finn Russell will undisputedly lead the way for selection.
However, with Farrell likely to fill in at inside centre on occasions, dips in form likely, and injuries inevitable, Sheedy could find himself on the tour if he’s fortunate.