Versatile Daly savours ‘iconic’ Lions moment

Elliot Daly readily acknowledges that a British and Irish Lions squad announcement is one of rugby’s “iconic moments”.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland will reveal his squad for this summer's 10-match tour of New Zealand at midday tomorrow. Picture: Getty Images

The difference between this week’s squad unveiling and four years ago ahead of the Lions’ Australia tour, though, is that England star Daly should be among head coach Warren Gatland’s chosen 37 or 38 players.

And while Daly is preparing for a normal training day at his club Wasps’ base near Coventry tomorrow, he admits the live televised midday announcement can hardly go unnoticed.

“I think everyone will be watching it,” he said.

“It’s one of those iconic moments, isn’t it. Every four years, everyone watches it.

“It is a massive thing for the rugby community, and I think everyone is looking forward to it.

“I don’t know whether we will be actually training at the time, so we will probably be outside.

“We watched it four years ago, and there were a couple of Wasps boys that might have been involved, so there is always a little buzz around the club, and as soon as Wednesday comes everyone will be talking about it on Twitter and everything like that.

“Hopefully, a few Wasps boys get in there.”

If selected, Daly could prove to be an integral part of Gatland’s New Zealand-bound squad, given his ability to provide options at full-back, centre and wing, with many pundits tipping him for a Test team place.

In 2013 it was a much different story, with a then uncapped 20-year-old Daly lining up against the Lions as one of only two Englishmen in a Barbarians side that provided their opening tour opponents in Hong Kong’s sweltering heat and stamina-sapping humidity.

Daly kicked a penalty for the Baa-baas in a 59-8 defeat, but four years on, he is firmly established as a member of England’s Six Nations title-winning team, with 13 caps to his name and a burgeoning reputation among the most exciting attacking players in European rugby.

“It was a tough tour, that, for the Barbarians,” he added. “We had England at home (Twickenham), then we flew to Hong Kong, where the conditions were very warm, to say the least. I think we stuck with them for about 50 or 60 minutes, but then they blew us away at the end.

“They are a quality side full of quality players, and to play against the Lions was amazing.

“I was up against Jonathan Davies in the centre, and it was Owen Farrell at 10 and Jamie Roberts at 12.”

Daly is expected to be among a double figure England contingent who will be named in the Lions squad for this summer’s 10-match tour, and the waiting game will soon be over.

“I think it (Lions) is in the back of everyone’s mind, really, but you can’t do anything but play well for your club,” he said.

“I like playing anywhere on the pitch, whether that is centre, wing or full-back, I don’t mind.

“I just want to do the best for whatever team I am in at that time, just try to get my hands on the ball and influence the game.

“Wherever that is on the field, I just love playing rugby and want to get on the pitch.

“You grow up watching international rugby, and then you grow up watching Lions rugby.

You always remember the big games and what an honour it is to be involved in sides like that.

“I think everyone knows the prestige of it.”

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