British & Irish Lions front row contenders to face South Africa this summer

We look through the contenders for the 2021 British and Irish Lions front row positions…


Wyn Jones (Wales caps 35, Lions 0)

The loosehead was impressive for Wales in the Six Nations with some powerful performances in the set-piece. While the main objective will be to match the Springboks up front, Jones also brings his jackalling abilities to the table.

Mako Vunipola (England caps 67, Lions 6)

Mako did not have the best of Six Nations and will need to get back to form playing in the Championship. However, he has the pedigree and can produce the goods when required.

Joe Marler (England caps 72, Lions 5)

Marler has been in great form for Harlequins and is a master of the dark arts come scrum time. He also is a ferocious tackler and will relish the big hits against the Springboks. His unique personality will also help the Lions bond!

Ellis Genge (England caps 27, Lions 0)

Genge could make a massive impact on the tour. He has the ability to be one of those players who comes off the bench and raises the physicality – that will be crucial against South Africa.

Cian Healy (Ireland caps 109, Lions 2)

Another player with plenty of experience and he knows what it is like to beat the Springboks. A great rugby brain who will eke out every advantage that he can.

Tadhg Furlong (Ireland caps 49, Lions 3)

Barring injury, Furlong must be the front runner for the No 3 jersey. An exceptional scrummager who has the potential to get the Lions on the front foot come scrum time. He also has a pretty impressive sidestep!

Kyle Sinckler (England caps 43 , Lions 3)

The England tighthead brings a great all-round game including some lovely hands and a bit of pace too. He will be desperate to get stuck into the Springboks, having been concussed early on during the 2019 World Cup final. He has also benefited from England forwards coach Matt Proudfoot, who was part of the Springboks coaching team in 2019.

Andrew Porter (Ireland caps 37, Lions 0)

Another great scrummager who can cover both sides of the scrum if needed. Can bring something off the bench with his carries and his strong offloading game.

Rory Sutherland (Scotland caps 12, Lions 0)

Sutherland was superb for Scotland in the Six Nations, he showed plenty of dynamism and brings something extra in both defence and attack. A shoulder injury suffered in Scotland’s win over France has sidelined him for several weeks and he will face a race against time to prove his fitness to Gatland and co.


Ken Owens (Wales caps 81, Lions 2)

The in-form hooker at the moment and probably the Test starter at this early stage. South Africa’s lineout during the World Cup was immense and the starting hooker will need to get his throws spot on.

Luke Cowan-Dickie (England caps 28, Lions 0)

Has massive physicality and will look to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Malcolm Marx and Bongi Mbombi. Very good getting over the gainline and loves getting stuck in at the loose.

Jamie George (England caps 58, Lions 3 )

Another player who has battled with form but he is a big match player and started all three Tests for the Lions against New Zealand in 2017. Gatland knows what he offers and if he can get him back to his best then he will be a key man for the Lions.

George Turner (Scotland caps 13, Lions 0)

Turner had a very impressive Six Nations and could well get the nod. Turner brings a massive work-rate to the game and loves those carries in and around the ruck area. He will need to get his arrows right though as against Wales he did miss his man on a few occasions.

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