309Write - British and Irish Lions 2021: Sam Simmonds in 37-man squad but Billy Vunipola misses out

Exeter's Sam Simmonds is included ahead of fellow England number eight Billy Vunipola in a 37-man British and Irish Lions squad, with two-time tourist Johnny Sexton also left out.

Wales great Alun Wyn Jones, 35, is confirmed as captain for what will be his fourth Lions tour.

 

England forward Courtney Lawes - out injured since February - and lock Jonny Hill are also in the squad.

In the centres, Scotland's Chris Harris and Ireland's Bundee Aki are named.

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England's Jonny May and Henry Slade are left out as is 2013 tourist Manu Tuilagi, who last played in September because of an Achilles injury, and Wales centre Jonathan Davies.

Another notable omission is England prop Kyle Sinckler, with Ireland's Andrew Porter joining compatriot Tadhg Furlong and Scotland's Zander Fagerson as the tight-heads.

Sam Underhill and Josh Navidi miss out on places in the competitive back-row positions, but Jack Conan of Ireland and Scotland's Hamish Watson are present.

Ireland pair James Ryan and Garry Ringrose also failed to make the cut for a squad with 11 England players, 10 Wales players, and eight each from Scotland and Ireland.

Captain Jones, who led Wales to the Six Nations title earlier this year, has clocked up a world record 157 Tests for his country and the Lions.

He was the favourite for the role ahead of other potential contenders such as England's Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell.

"To be selected in the squad is initially what you want to be hearing," said Jones. "And to have the armband as well is a privilege, with the names that have gone before and what those players have achieved.

British and Irish Lions 2021 squad

Captain: Alun Wyn Jones (Wal)

Forwards: Tadhg Beirne (Ire), Jack Conan (Ire), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Eng), Tom Curry (Eng), Zander Fagerson (Sco), Taulupe Faletau (Wal), Tadhg Furlong (Ire), Jamie George (Eng), Iain Henderson (Ire), Jonny Hill (Eng), Maro Itoje (Eng), Wyn Jones (Wal), Courtney Lawes (Eng), Ken Owens (Wal), Andrew Porter (Ire), Sam Simmonds (Eng), Rory Sutherland (Sco), Justin Tipuric (Wal), Mako Vunipola (Eng), Hamish Watson (Sco).

Backs: Josh Adams (Wal), Bundee Aki (Ire), Dan Biggar (Wal), Elliot Daly (Eng), Gareth Davies (Wal), Owen Farrell (Eng), Chris Harris (Sco), Robbie Henshaw (Ire), Stuart Hogg (Sco), Conor Murray (Ire), Ali Price (Sco), Lewis Rees-Zammit (Wal), Finn Russell (Sco), Duhan van der Merwe (Sco), Anthony Watson (Eng), Liam Williams (Wal).

Simmonds comes in from the cold

Back row Simmonds' last international appearance was in a 24-15 defeat by Ireland in March 2018.

He has failed to add to his tally of England caps since despite winning European player of the year last season and leading the Premiership try-scoring charts this term.

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