Fantastic four named in Lions squad

Rob LloydNews

Scarlets will provide a club record-equalling four players to the British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa this summer.

Captain Ken Owens, loose-head prop Wyn Jones, scrum-half Gareth Davies and full-back Liam Williams have been named in Warren Gatland’s 37-man squad heading to the Rainbow Nation.

The class of 2021 are following in the footsteps of some of the greats of the game who have worn the Scarlets jersey and red of the Lions.

Those include Delme Thomas, who toured in 1966, 1968 and 1971, current club president and Lions icon Phil Bennett, part of the Invincibles squad that conquered South Africa in 1974 and who skippered the tourists to New Zealand in 1977; the legendary Ray Gravell, a Test Lion against the Boks in 1980 and more recently Ieuan Evans, Dafydd James, Scott Quinnell, Dwayne Peel, Stephen Jones, Simon Easterby, Matthew Rees and George North.

The Scarlets also had four Lions on the all-conquering tour to South Africa in 1974 – Phil Bennett, JJ Williams, Derek Quinnell and Roy Bergiers.

In all, 29 Scarlets have represented the cream of Britain and Ireland, dating back to Ivor Jones, who played five Tests and made a remarkable 20 appearances on the five-month long tour of New Zealand and Australia in 1930.

RH Williams has played the most Lions Tests – 10 in 1955 and 1959 – Delme Thomas has the most appearances in a Lions jersey, playing 44 times across his three tours, while Phil Bennett boasts the most points for a Scarlet with 228 to his name.

Seven players, WH Clement (1938), Alun Thomas (1955), Terry Price (1966), Roy Bergiers (1974), Tom David (1974), Peter Morgan (1980) and Robin McBryde (2001), played on tour but were not capped in Tests, while Gareth Davies was called up as part of Warren Gatland’s infamous ‘Geography Six’ four years ago, but didn’t get on the field, twice being an unused replacement.

Lions roll of honour

Ivor Jones (1930)

Elvet Jones (1938)

WH Clement (1938)

Lewis Jones (1950)

RH Williams (1955 & 1959)

Alun Thomas (1955)

Terry Davies (1959)

D Ken Jones (1962)

Delme Thomas (1966, 1968 & 1971)

Terry Price (1966)

Derek Quinnell (1971, 1977 & 1980)

Phil Bennett (1974 & 1977)

JJ Williams (1974 & 1977)

Roy Bergiers (1974)

Tom David (1974)

Ray Gravell (1980)

Peter Morgan (1980)

Ieuan Evans (1989, 1993 & 1997)

*Scott Quinnell (2001)

Dafydd James (2001)

Robin McBryde (2001)

Dwayne Peel (2005)

Simon Easterby (2005)

*Stephen Jones (2009)

Matthew Rees (2009)

Jonathan Davies (2013 & 2017)

*George North (2013)

Ken Owens (2017 & 2021)

Liam Williams (2017 & 2021)

Wyn Jones (2021)

Gareth Davies (2021)

*Scott Quinnell was picked for the 1997 tour while at Richmond, Stephen Jones in 2005 while at Clermont Auvergne and George North in 2017 while at Northampton Saints. Gareth Davies was called up for the 2017 tour but was an unused replacement twice.

Stats courtesy of Scarlets historian Les Williams