Three RBS 6 Nations captains - Ryan Jones, Steve Borthwick and Mike Blair - have failed to make the British and Irish Lions squad for the tour of South Africa.
Lions manager Gerald Davies today ended the waiting game by announcing a 37-man party for the 10-match trip, that includes three Tests against the world champion Springboks.
But there was only disappointment for Wales skipper Jones, England captain Borthwick and Scotland leader Blair.
Other absentees include Jonny Wilkinson, Danny Cipriani, Gavin Henson and James Hook, plus the shock omission of England flanker Tom Croft.
But there were surprise call-ups for the likes of Munster pair Keith Earls and Alan Quinlan in a squad that will be captained by their Munster colleague, Ireland lock Paul O’Connell.
Ireland will provide 14 players, Wales 13, England eight and Scotland just two - prop Euan Murray and lock Nathan Hines.
Among the other players who have emerged into potential stardom are Wales wing Leigh Halfpenny, England flyer Ugo Monye and Wales number eight Andy Powell.
Powell has arguably beaten his national captain Jones for a back-row slot, with Jones - Wales’ Grand Slam skipper last year - going from hero to zero in just 12 months.
Earls, meanwhile, has provided a dynamic presence for Heineken Cup holders Munster this season, while Quinlan is a renowned hard-man who will relish the challenge of a South African trip.
Joining Jones among the casualties are England full-back Delon Armitage, who impressed many through his outstanding displays this season.
Armitage’s omission appears to buck the trend of Lions head coach Ian McGeechan selecting on form, especially as Wales wing Shane Williams has made the cut after an average campaign.
And there are also call-ups for four members of McGeechan’s Wasps - centre Riki Flutey, prop Phil Vickery, lock Simon Shaw and back-row forward Joe Worsley.
British and Irish Lions squad for the 2009 tour of South Africa:
Lee Byrne (Wales), Rob Kearney (Ireland)
Shane Williams (Wales), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Ugo Monye (England), Luke Fitzgerald (Ireland), Tommy Bowe (Ireland)
Tom Shanklin (Wales), Jamie Roberts (Wales), Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland), Keith Earls (Ireland), Riki Flutey (England)
Ronan O’Gara (Ireland), Stephen Jones (Wales)
Mike Phillips (Wales), Harry Ellis (England), Tomas O’Leary (Ireland)
Jamie Heaslip (Ireland), Andy Powell (Wales)
David Wallace (Ireland), Stephen Ferris (Ireland), Alan Quinlan (Ireland), Joe Worsley (England), Martyn Williams (Wales)
Alun-Wyn Jones (Wales), Paul O’Connell (Ireland, capt), Donncha O’Callaghan (Ireland), Simon Shaw (England), Nathan Hines (Scotland)
Gethin Jenkins (Wales), Adam Jones (Wales), Andrew Sheridan (England), Phil Vickery (England), Euan Murray (Scotland)
Jerry Flannery (Ireland), Lee Mears (England), Matthew Rees (Wales)