Warren Gatland’s team announcement for the third and final Lions Test against South Africa brings with it confirmation of the tour being over for a number of players.
For nine unlucky players, their chance to impress and shine on the Test stage of the 2021 tour is over after spending weeks away from family and loved ones.
Here’s a look at who the unlucky group are and how their tours have panned out.
The Wales and Scarlets scrum-half headed into the 2021 tour hoping to impress after being part of the controversial Geography Six in New Zealand in 2017, but Conor Murray and Ali Price have been ahead in Gatland’s No. 9 pecking order.
The 30-year-old has been restricted to just 93 minutes of Lions warm-up matches, in which he has scored one try, made seven carries totalling 78 metres, beat three defenders and made seven gainline breaks.
Not helped by having to self-isolate after Covid hit the Lions squad which forced him to miss the first game against the Sharks, he started the following rematch but was withdrawn when the Lions moved up the gears and then had just four minutes off the bench against South Africa A followed by a final quarter against the Stormers.
Gatland described Davies as a player he has a lot of time for on this tour.
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“He’s a different type of player. He’s a very powerful person in terms of how he defends. He’s got a great try-scoring record. I think in 40 Test matches, he’s scored about 19 or 20 tries.”
Each scrum-half was encouraged to play their own game and showcase their strengths, but Murray and Price have been playing very well.
After enjoying a solid title-winning Six Nations campaign with Wales this year, in which he started three of five games, he would have been hoping for more from his second stint with the Lions.
The 25-year-old Scotland and Glasgow Warriors prop started the tour late due to a back spasm, not helping in his bid to add more than 120 minutes to his tour – during which he scored one try.
He made five carries with 17 metres made, five gainline breaks, one defender beaten, seven tackles made but two turnovers lost, all coming over one start and three outings off the bench.
But he has faced competition from Tadhg Furlong and Kyle Sinckler, who have both played well on the tour.
The England hooker, 30, has 59 caps for his country and would have been hoping for more than his 183 minutes in South Africa, where he scored two tries, made 11 carries, made 52 metres, beat two defenders, made 36 tackles and won three turnovers.
He was at the heart of the pack which helped the Lions come from 1-0 down to earn a share of the spoils in the three-Test series against the All Blacks four years ago, and started all three Tests, but selection has not gone his way this time around.
Four years ago in New Zealand, Henderson also missed out on a Test appearance, but wore the red jersey on six occasions after becoming a regular in the midweek side.
But with Alun Wyn Jones’ return from an apparent tour-ending injury as well as Maro Itoje’s form and Adam Beard also chomping at the bit in South Africa, it’s no surprise Ireland and Ulster lock Henderson has found that Test minutes have eluded him.
Being able to compete in the back-row, competition there has also been fierce.
Henderson, 29, has racked up 221 minutes during which he made 28 tackles and missed three.
Will this Lions team win the third Test? Have your say in the comments below Jonny Hill
The above points on competition in the second row apply here, too.
Hill, 27, has racked up 240 minutes on this tour, achieving a 75 per cent tackle success with 24 made and eight missed.
He also scored one try and assisted another, while making nine carries over 59 metres, beating one defender and making nine gainline breaks.
The powerful Wales back rower missed out on initial Lions squad selection after a season plagued with injury, but was called up to replace injured Justin Tipuric.
The 30-year-old Cardiff Rugby flanker, capped 28 times, racked up a 96.3 per cent tackle success rate – making 26 tackles and missing just one – over 140 minutes in two starts.
He was outstanding in his first outing against the Sharks, and performed well in defence against South Africa A.
A Lions Test cap would have been a perfect achievement to add to a Wales career which saw four years pass between his first and second international caps, before becoming a first-team regular and powerhouse.
The Wales and Gloucester wing has enjoyed a remarkable 18-month rise onto the international stage, and his searing pace and finishing ability earned him a call-up to Gatland’s squad.
Rees-Zammit, 20, who made the most clean breaks of any player during the 2021 Six Nations, has notched up 262 minutes of action in South Africa.
Three tries and one assist, eight carries, 10 defenders beaten and eight gainline breaks, along with 11 of 14 tackle attempts successful are the stats he walks away with.
For the Tests, though, Gatland has opted more experienced heads. He is still young enough to aim for the next Lions tour, though.
The Ireland hooker was called into the squad the same time Alun Wyn Jones returned, being somewhat overshadowed.
The 23-year-old previously trained with the squad in Jersey as cover for Jamie George and Luke Cowan-Dickie, who were unavailable due to club commitments, but was not initially selected for the tour.
But midway through, Gatland summoned the front rower for greater cover at hooker ahead of the Test series, but he has not featured in the famous red jersey.
The England fly-half was playing on his second international outing when the rugby world learned of his Lions call-up before he even did.
Called in for fly-half cover in light of Finn Russell’s Achilles injury, the 22-year-old Harlequins Premiership winner has managed 80 minutes since being summoned on July 10, along with one try assist and eight in 10 successful tackles.
He also made two carries across 87 metres, beat five defenders and made two gainline breaks.
A remarkable experience for a player so young, but he was up against nigh impossible to beat competition in Dan Biggar.