British & Irish Lions
Lancaster praises English Lions
ESPN Staff
April 30, 2013
Lions coach Warren Gatland shares a joke with England coach Stuart Lancaster during an England training session, St Georges Park, Burton-upon-Trent, England, February 13, 2013
Lions coach Warren Gatland has selected 10 Englishmen for the tour of Australia © Getty Images

England coach Stuart Lancaster was quick to praise the 10 English players that have been included in the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia.

Seven forwards - Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Dylan Hartley, Geoff Parling, Matt Stevens, Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs and three backs - Owen Farrel, Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs - have been included in the 37-man squad for the three-Test tour.

"Being selected by the British & Irish Lions is a major honour and I know the England players named in the squad today will do the jersey proud," Lancaster said. "I'm sure they will contribute a great deal to the tour and coming into a new environment with the best players from Ireland, Scotland and Wales will only enhance their development as players and people.

"Taking on Australia away from home in three Tests is a great challenge but one I know they will relish. Everyone involved in England Rugby will be cheering them on."

The Lions begin their 10-match tour against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1 and then play five state and club sides in Australia before the Test series starts at Suncorp Stadium on June 22. They then have a match against the Melbourne Rebels on Tuesday June 25 before concluding the tour with Tests in Melbourne on June 29 and Sydney on July 6.

Leicester Tigers have the highest representation with six of the 10 English players. Cole, Croft, Parling, Tuilagi and the Youngs brothers all play their club rugby at Welford Road and their director of rugby Richard Cockerill echoed Lancaster's praise.

"It is fantastic to have six players named in the squad," Cockerill said. "Their selection is thoroughly deserved and it shows the quality of the playing group we have at Tigers. Five of the six players have come through our academy, which underlines the work that we do here. They have worked very hard and I am delighted for them."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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