Warren Gatland Names His British & Irish Lions Team For This Weekend’s South Africa Tour Opener

Here we go.

Stuart Hogg will captain The British & Irish Lions in the opening match of the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series when the tourists take on the Emirates Lions this Saturday (kick-off 5pm BST, live on Sky Sports).

The Scottish fullback will lead an all-new starting XV to the one that defeated Japan 28-10 in Edinburgh last weekend to win The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup, save for Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) who retains his place on the left wing.

House of Rugby is back with a brand new URC show – fronted by RugbyLAD founder Jason Hennessy and Ireland international Megan Williams. Follow and subscribe to it HERE.

Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales), Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh, Scotland) and Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, England) are all set to make their Lions debuts at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg, in the first of eight Tour games to be shown live and exclusively on Sky Sports (Main Event and Action from 4pm BST).

Replacements Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland), Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) and Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales) are also in line to make their first appearances in the famous red jersey should they join the fray on Saturday.

“It’s good to have arrived in Johannesburg and get the Tour underway,” said Lions Head coach, Warren Gatland.

“We had a pleasing win last week up in Edinburgh, but there’s still plenty we need to get right on Saturday.

“I’ve been encouraged by the way the boys have trained this week. I feel it’s gone up a level from where we were in Jersey and we’re starting to see a better understanding of some of our tactics.

“There’s some new player combinations for us to have a look at this Saturday – which is good information for us as the Test Series approaches.

“My congratulations to all those playing their first game as a Lion, and also to Hoggy too – who I am sure will lead the side by example.”

LIONS v THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS

15, Stuart Hogg (c) (Exeter, Scotland) #783
14. Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester, Wales)
13. Chris Harris (Gloucester, Scotland)
12. Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) #780
11. Josh Adams (Cardiff, Wales) #836
10. Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland) #835
9. Ali Price (Glasgow, Scotland) #843

1. Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) #842
2. Jamie George (Saracens, England) #819
3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol, England) #814
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) #825
5. Jonny Hill (Exeter, England)
6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton, England) #826
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh, Scotland)
8. Taulupe Faletau (Bath, Wales) #779

Replacements:

16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter, England)
17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) #787
18. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Scotland)
19. Iain Henderson (Ulster, Ireland) #808
20. Sam Simmonds (Exeter, England)
21. Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales)
22. Bundee Aki (Connacht, Ireland) #837
23. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822