Sir Clive Woodward dropped a major hint as to who will captain the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand this summer by naming Brian O'Driscoll as skipper of the northern hemisphere side for the IRB Rugby Aid match at Twickenham.
O'Driscoll was selected ahead of Paul O'Connell, the Irish lock who led his country in O'Driscoll's absence against Scotland on Saturday and is another being touted as a possible Lions captain.
Woodward said: "We have a fantastic group of players that are being invited to play and I am looking forward to choosing the starting XV for the game in March and working with such an outstanding player as Brian in his role as captain.''
Woodward, as coach of the northern hemisphere side in a match to aid the victims of the Asia tsunami disaster, will have the opportunity to cast a close eye over a number of Lions candidates ahead of the charity match at Twickenham on March 5.
Ireland's Malcolm O'Kelly and David Humphreys were today confirmed in the squad, while Scotland scrum-half Chris Cusiter, number eight Simon Taylor and hooker Gordon Bulloch are all in the squad.
England's Premiership clubs will release eight players for the game and amongst those invited are Lawrence Dallaglio, Jason Robinson and Steve Thompson, while Wales centre Gavin Henson has been asked to play along with France captain Fabien Pelous and Italy's Marco Bortolami.
The southern hemisphere side, to be coached by Rod Macqueen, who led Australia to World Cup glory in 1999, will be skippered by Australian George Gregan and include compatriot Chris Latham if he recovers from an ankle injury, South African pair John Smit and Schalk Burger, and Tana Umaga and Andrew Mehrtens from New Zealand.
The side provisionally includes explosive Fijian winger Rupeni Caucaunibuca, who expressed a desire to play but is awaiting clearance from his club Agen before he can be confirmed.
"I think that all of the rugby community recognises the importance of getting behind this game - not only the players and coaches but administrators, clubs and unions, all of whom are looking to support the nations affected by the tragedy,'' said Woodward.
"It is important to get a top quality team to sell out this fixture and well done to Rod Macqueen on those players that he has named to participate in what will be a wonderful occasion for a great cause.''
Woodward has also strengthened his own coaching team for the game with the appointment of Gareth Jenkins, a member of the Lions coaching staff, and Brian Ashton, the England 'A' coach and RFU national academies manager.
Southern hemisphere side for the IRB Rugby Aid match at Twickenham on March 5 is:
C Latham (Australia); R Caucaunibuca (Fiji), J Fourie (South Africa), T Umaga (New Zealand), S Bobo (Fiji); A Mehrtens (New Zealand), G Gregan (Australia, captain); C Hoeft (New Zealand), J Smit (South Africa), O Hasan (Argentina), V Matfield (South Africa), I Rawaqa (Fiji), S Burger (South Africa), P Waugh (Australia), J Kaino (New Zealand).
Peter O'Mahony was named man of the match against England last month
21 April 2017, 7:22pm
Peter O'Mahony's performance in the RBS 6 Nations finale for Ireland against England was crucial to his selection for the British & Irish Lions on Wednesday, Ireland and Lions defence coach Andy Farrell has revealed.