Picking The British & Irish Lions XV For Their South African Tour Opener This Weekend

Tour opener.

There won’t be any crowds at the game this weekend but there will be people tuning in from every corner of the globe when the British and Irish Lions get their tour of South Africa underway this weekend.

Warren Gatland’s side will take on the Emirates Lions, a formidable opponent who reached two Super Rugby finals in recent memory and will be out to set a marker down of what’s to come for their visitors in the coming weeks.

A very special British & Irish Lions House of Rugby show – fronted by Sean O'Brien and Alex Goode – is available now and will run for the duration of the tour. Follow and subscribe to it HERE

Saturday’s curtain-raiser against Japan was a success in terms of the result, with the Lions scoring four tries in a 28-10 win at Murrayfield. But that game also saw them lose tour captain Alun Wyn Jones and flanker Justin Tipuric to injury.

Keeping that in mind and going with Gatland’s promise that every player in the squad will be given an opportunity to start in the first few games, expect sweeping changes when the team is named tomorrow morning.

The Saracens lads who arrived late, along with the others who missed the first week will likely be handed starts this weekend – with the likes of Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Elliot Daly all expected to start.

Here’s a possible selection that Gatland could go with for this weekend with the Irish lads likely to miss out having all started against Japan.

POTENTIAL LIONS XV vs. Emirates Lions

15. Elliot Daly
14. Louis Rees-Zammit
13. Chris Harris
12. Owen Farrell
11. Anthony Watson
10. Finn Russell
9. Gareth Davies

1. Mako Vunipola
2. Jamie George
3. Zander Fagerson
4. Maro Itoje
5. Jonny Hill
6. Tom Curry
7. Hamish Watson
8. Toby Faletau

REPLACEMENTS: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Wyn Jones, Kyle Sinckler, Adam Beard, Josh Navidi, Sam Simmonds, Ali Price, Stuart Hogg.