THE decision to leave Jonathan Davies out of the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa was "a tough call," according to head coach Warren Gatland.

Davies – who was brought up in Bancyfelin and represented St Clears and Whitland at junior level – has played in six Tests on two British and Irish Lions tours.

He was part of the Lions' series success in Australia in 2013, and was named Man of the Series in the drawn contest out in New Zealand four years later.

Davies, a former pupil of Dyffryn Taf Comprehensive School in Whitland, however was a notable omission from Gatland's Lions' squad announcement.

The 33 year-old Scarlets centre has missed out on this year's tour to Irish duo Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw and Scotland centre Chris Harris.

England duo Owen Farrell and Elliot Daly are also able to play in midfield, but Gatland believes that Davies still could be called up as injury cover.

"It was a tough call and he was absolutely outstanding in 2017, but this is four years on," said Gatland, who coached Davies during his time with Wales.

"He's come back from injury, and I thought we started to see some of his old form during the Six Nations, but it's probably taken a little bit of time.

"It's tough, he has experience, and there's no doubt we'll pick injuries up before we get on the plane to South Africa, and we may get injuries out there.

"We've got players with experience who could get called up if that does happen, but this was a really tough call, and it's a really challenging squad."

A record-equalling four Scarlets' players were named in the 37-man squad, including hooker Ken Owens, loose-head prop Wyn Jones, full-back Liam Williams and scrum-half Gareth Davies.

The Scarlets previously had four squad members on the all-conquering Lions tour to South Africa in 1974, in Phil Bennett, JJ Williams, Derek Quinnell and Roy Bergiers.

Meanwhile Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones will lead the British and Irish Lions squad to South Africa this summer, after he was confirmed as Warren Gatland’s tour captain.

The second row veteran, 35, has clocked up a world record 157 Tests for his country and the Lions on three previous tours, including South Africa 12 years ago.

The 10 Welshmen named in the squad are Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues), Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester), Liam Williams (Scarlets), Taulupe Faletau (Bath), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Ken Owens (Scarlets) and Justin Tipuric (Ospreys).