British & Irish Lions
Lions squad: How the players reacted
ESPN Staff
May 1, 2013
Leicester's Lions react to their selection for the tour Down Under

The confirmation of the 37 players that British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland will take on tour this summer has understandably been greeted with delight by those lucky enough to be included.

With only six warm-up matches in which to push their case for Test inclusion, competition among the players is sure to be fierce. But before the hardwork starts, the players will allow themselves a moment or two to think of what they've achieved. Here's how some of them reacted to the news...

Tommy Bowe (Ireland)

"It has been a fairly nerve-racking couple of weeks for me and last night was a pretty sleepless night. I am delighted to be picked and it will be an exciting end to the season for me. Every rugby player wants to represent their country but touring with the Lions is an amazing experience. I played in all three tests four years ago and hopefully, this time we can go out there and win the series."

Dan Cole (England)

"It's exciting to be in the squad because the Lions are the biggest thing in British and Irish rugby. The guys that have been selected want to push each other because everyone wants to play in a Test match. We will push each other in that collective spirit to beat Australia."

Alun-Wyn Jones (Wales)

""There has been a lot of talk about players in the squad having not played a lot of rugby. I was the same when I went to Australia with Wales last year and that probably did me a bit of good. I missed three months this season and other players have had injuries this season. Is it a bad thing? Not really, they will be rested and ready for what is round the corner."

Dylan Hartley (England)

"I can't stop smiling. I'm just happy that the sleepless nights are over now. I'd put a lot of pressure on myself to try and make it, but it's out of your hands and it's the coaches who are the ones who pick the squad."

Richard Hibbard (Wales)

"Absolutely landed is an understatement, thanks for all the congrats messages. You guys are awesome!! "

Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

"Initially I wasn't going to watch it and then I wanted to watch it, and so I came in for my kicking tee and got my iPhone and took it out with me. As soon as my name came out I screamed like a little girl, and Mossy could hear me from the other end of the pitch. But I'm lost for words. It's just a shame more couldn't be going, but for the three of us this is where the hard work starts and it's all about getting the [Test] jersey now."

Paul O'Connell (Ireland

""I'm probably very lucky to be going. Big thanks to the medical staff at Munster for getting me back and big thanks to the boys for still being in the Heineken Cup quarter-final for when I came back. It's great to be involved in those kind of games and that has probably given me my chance to go. It feels good. When my name was called out it was great."

Sean Maitland (Scotland)

"It was quite brutal the way it was done. No-one knew anything. But this is the best day of my life. It's funny how life works out. Six months ago I was in New Zealand playing for the Crusaders. Now I'm over here representing Scotland, representing Glasgow and now I'm representing the British and Irish Lions."

Geoff Parling (England)

"You don't want to believe it until you see the actual announcement. At the moment, you've just been named in the squad to go over there but the big challenge now is to get involved in those games."

Jamie Roberts (Wales)

"Pretty special feeling today....April 2013 has been unreal #Lions"

Matt Stevens (England)

"It was a bit surreal and a shock to get the news," Stevens told the Evening Standard. "I believe I'm good enough to go but just the fact that it happened was a shock. I didn't have a huge amount planned for this summer which is good and I heard about it while on the train to Bath with my wife who read it out from Twitter. India was pretty restrained and being on a train I couldn't really jump up and down."

Manu Tuilagi (England)

"To have six from Leicester Tigers in the squad is unreal. To have the guys you play with week in and week out is fantastic but when we all come together we are all one. Going on tour with the Lions and knowing you have the opportunity to, hopefully, play alongside some of the great players is a huge honour."

Mako Vunipola (England)

"I was driving into London when I heard I was called up to the squad and to be quite honest, I screamed when I found out. To be in that squad, and have the chance to pull that famous red jersey is such an honour."

Ben Youngs (England)

"It hasn't really sunk in yet but being on a British & Irish Lions tour is the dream of any rugby player. I heard when we came off the training field and the announcement was on the TV in the team room. It is a very special moment and a very proud moment for the whole family with myself and my brother there. I've had some proud moments in my rugby career already but this is definitely the proudest."

Tom Youngs (England)

"I owe a lot to this club and even when I was on loan to Nottingham they stuck by me and I was doing all of my conditioning here and they've invested a lot of time in me and I can't thank them enough.

"When I pull on that Lions jersey it's for them, it's for everyone. It's for everyone who's helped me and my whole family. It'll be a very special day for myself."

Leicester's Lions contingent celebrate their selection © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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