England and Saracens number 8 Billy Vunipola is unlikely to be called up to the Lions after he was reportedly ‘blacklisted’ by head coach Warren Gatland.
Below, we look at three players that Gatland controversially left out, and the reported reason why.
#1. Billy Vunipola (England)
Despite a lacklustre Six Nations aside, many considered the 6’2, 130kg Saracens’ No.8’s size and power too enticing a prospect for Gatland not to pick him, especially given the ultra physical nature of the Springboks.
However, Adam Jones believes Billy Vunipola didn’t stand a chance of making the Lions squad after comments he made four years ago.
Vunipola told the BBC at the time, “I wasn’t there on tour but I guess if he (O’Brien) is saying it and the authority he said it with, he’s probably right.
“For me to sit here and say the Lions would have probably won is wrong. But personally my opinion is that if Eddie Jones went as coach they would have won 3-0. He is that good.
“I don’t know how he would have done it, but Eddie would have found a way. Eddie has changed our mindset at England from always accepting we can’t always be too outspoken and confident and he’s really helped us a team to kick on.”