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Welsh Lions players a sign of success - First Minister

The First Minister has told AMs that the inclusion of 15 Welsh players in the Lions squad is a good omen for a successful tour of Australia this summer.

History shows that the Lions do best when there is a large Welsh contingent.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Carwyn Jones was responding to the Leader of the Opposition, Andrew RT Davies, who said that having so many players selected was a great achievement for a small nation.

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Sam Warburton 'an absolute professional' - Gatland

Warren Gatland says Sam Warburton's professionalism and leadership skills are the reasons he selected him as his captain.

In the last two or three years he's been the most successful captain in the Northern Hemisphere.

I have a huge amount of respect for Sam. He's an absolute professional and he leads from the front.

Gatland admitted it had been tough to leave out the likes of Robshaw and Wilkinson.

There was a robust debate about the squad and there were healthy discussions for every position.

Some real quality players have missed out. We had a thorough process and it's been tough.

He did offer hope to those left out, however, saying: "If you look at previous tours, six to eight players get injured and there will be a group of back-up players who can be called upon."

Lions 2013: Twitter reaction

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Welsh players hotly tipped for Lions squad

David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images Credit: David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Sam Warburton may be named as captain for the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia. The Welsh skipper has been tipped by many commentators as the most likely choice to lead the squad.

Welsh players are expected to be well-represented with the Six Nations title winners likely to have the strongest contingent.

The 37 man squad will start their tour with a warm up game against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on 1st June 2013.

They'll then fly to Australia for a series of games before the first test against Australia on 22nd June in Brisbane. The second and third tests take place on 29th June in Melbourne and 6th July in Sydney.

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