Rory Best named in Lions squad ahead of Dylan Hartley

At the time, Borthwick said he was devastated and he was in no doubt that New Zealand-born hooker Hartley would be equally distraught at missing out on a three-Test series against the world champion All Blacks that starts in June.

Warburton stood down from the Wales captaincy this season and is now out with a knee injury.

Warren Gatland still had two names up his sleeve who had fallen through the cracks of feverish speculation about the make-up of his 41-man British & Irish Lions squad.

"Having just come back from New Zealand, I think that they may be underestimating just how strong this squad could be", said Fitzgerald to Sky Sports.

Warburton revealed he found out the news while in a auto park last Thursday. "I was in a supermarket auto park and didn't believe him at first", he said.

"His greatest quality is it is not all about Sam Warburton, it's about the team and putting the team first", Gatland said.

Former Wales head coach Gatland is joined by England's Steve Borthwick and Graham Rowntree, Ireland's former England global Andy Farrell and Wales coaches Rob Howley and Neil Jenkins in his coaching team.

Head coach Gatland's group for New Zealand this summer will be revealed in London at midday and while players like England quartet Ben Te'o, Elliot Daly, Joe Marler and Maro Itoje should become first-time Lions, high-profile casualties seem guaranteed.

"What is coming is going to be opponents seeing this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to play against the Lions, to create some history, and every game is going to feel like a final to the Lions players", he added.

For the 2013 Lions tour of Australia, Hartley was withdrawn from the squad after being handed a long ban for verbally abusing a match official.

Discussing the honour of becoming only the second person to captain the side twice, after Martin Johnson, Warburton said: 'It is hard to put it into words.

Now, more than ten years on, Furlong has been named as one three tighthead props for the British & Irish Lions squad charged with taking on the mighty All-Blacks in the summer, and he will be joined by ten Irish teammates.

Wales had 12 and Ireland 11 with Scotland's two representatives fullback Stuart Hogg and wing Tommy Seymour.

All 10 games of the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand will be shown live on Sky Sports, starting June 3.

"We believe the three we've picked have the mix we need for what we want to do in New Zealand".

"That's what makes us pretty excited about the quality of the squad going to New Zealand".

This year Warburton was replaced as Wales skipper by lock Alun Wyn Jones, who led the Lions in the crucial third Test win against the Wallabies in 2013, and seemed to relish the lack of responsibility when producing five fine Six Nations displays.