British and Irish Lions: Sam Warburton to captain tourists in opener


Scottish trio Tommy Seymour (left), Greig Laidlaw and Stuart Hogg will all start for the Lions against the Barbarians

Sam Warburton will captain the British and Irish Lions in their opening match against the Provincial Barbarians on 3 June.

The flanker will play his first game since suffering a knee injury in April, lining up in an all-Welsh back-row.

The Scottish trio of Greig Laidlaw, Tommy Seymour and Stuart Hogg all start, as does Kyle Sinckler, who has yet to start a Test for England.

Anyone involved in club finals or play-offs last weekend was not considered.

“We have selected the majority of players who were together for the training weeks in Wales and Ireland,” said head coach Warren Gatland.

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones has recovered from a shoulder problem to start in the second row, and joins compatriots Ross Moriarty, Taulupe Faletau and Warburton in the forwards.

England prop Joe Marler is named alongside his Harlequins’ team-mate Sinckler in the front row, with hooker Rory Best and second row Iain Henderson making up the pack.

After being called up as a replacement for Ben Youngs, scrum-half Laidlaw partners Ireland’s Jonny Sexton at half-back, with Ben Te’o paired with fellow Englishman Jonathan Joseph in the centre.

Bath and England wing Anthony Watson joins Hogg and Seymour in the back three.

British & Irish Lions greeted by haka in New Zealand airport

“We have named a side that showcases a strong combination of experience and youth and we are really looking forward to Saturday,” Gatland added.

“We are all hugely excited about the first game; it’s a great opportunity for the starting XV and the whole match day squad to lay down a marker and get the tour off to a good start.”

The Saracens quartet of Jamie George, Mako Vunipola, George Kruis and Owen Farrell are all on the bench, as are the Irishmen Tadgh Furlong and Jared Payne, and the Welsh pair of Justin Tipuric and Rhys Webb.

Lions squad to play Barbarians:

Team: Hogg; Watson, Joseph, Te’o, Seymour, Sexton, Laidlaw; Marler, Best, Sinckler, Jones, Henderson, Moriarty, Warburton, Faletau.

View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/40114593

Replacements: George, Vunipola, Furlong, Kruis, Tipuric, Webb, Farrell, Payne.

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