Saints duo named in Lions squad
Courtney Lawes and George North have been included in the British & Irish Lions squad for this summer's tour of New Zealand - but Dylan Hartley has missed out.
Warren Gatland named his touring group on Wednesday afternoon, with two Saints stars getting the call.
But it was disappointment for Hartley, who has captained England to two successive Six Nations titles as well as a tour whitewash in Australia.
In the hooker department, the Lions have opted to select Ireland’s Rory Best, Wales No.2 Ken Owens and Hartley’s England deputy, Jamie George.
Hartley, who missed out on the 2013 Lions tour due to suspension, will now be expected to be named in the England squad that will travel to Argentina this summer.
That announcement will be made on Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, Hartley’s Saints team-mates Lawes and North can prepare themselves for the trip to New Zealand.
Lawes has been in fine form for club and country this season, while North is now a staple feature for the Lions having starred in their 2013 series win in Australia.
Gatland’s group, who will be captained by Wales flanker Sam Warburton, will kick off their 10-match trip against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei on June 3, with the Blues, Crusaders, Highlanders, Maori All Blacks and Chiefs all on their agenda before the first Test three weeks later.
Lions squad: Backs: Dan Biggar, Elliot Daly, Jonathan Davies, Owen Farrell, Leigh Halfpenny, Robbie Henshaw, Stuart Hogg, Jonathan Joseph, Conor Murray, George North, Jack Nowell, Jared Payne, Jonathan Sexton, Tommy Seymour, Ben Te’o, Antony Watson, Rhys Webb, Liam Williams, Ben Youngs; Forwards: Rory Best, Dan Cole, Taulupe Faletau, Tadhg Furlong, Jamie George, Iain Henderson, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones, George Kruis, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Jack McGrath, Ross Moriarty, Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony, Ken Owens, Kyle Sinckler, CJ Stander, Justin Tipuric, Mako Vunipola, Billy Vunipola, Sam Warburton (c).