No Irish players in changed Lions lineup for first tour match

Stuart Hogg set to captain tourists for meeting with Emirates Lions in Johannesburg

Stuart Hogg will captain the British and Irish Lions against the Emirates Lions. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Stuart Hogg will captain the British and Irish Lions against the Emirates Lions. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

Emirates Lions v British and Irish Lions

Kick-off: 5pm, Saturday. Venue: Emirates Airline Park. On TV: Live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Rugby.

No Irish players have been named in the British and Irish Lions starting lineup for their opening fixture in South Africa against the Emirates Lions on Saturday with Stuart Hogg set to captain the team.

Hogg was dropped by Exeter for the closing stages of their Gallagher Premiership title push but the Scotland skipper has been thrust into Warren Gatland’s team at the first available opportunity.

The 29-year-old full-back only linked up with the squad after Saturday’s Premiership final defeat by Harlequins and has been given an immediate chance to press for Test selection.

He is joined in the backline by Scotland team-mate Finn Russell, who forms an intriguing 10-12 axis with Owen Farrell — one of his rivals for the outhalf duties against the Springboks.

Russell has overcome an ankle injury to make his first appearance of the tour and is picked in a half-back partnership alongside compatriot Ali Price.

A strong Scottish influence runs throughout the team for a fixture that arrives a week after Japan were flattened 28-10 in the pre-tour curtain raiser at Murrayfield.

Hamish Watson, the current Six Nations player of the year, is restored at openside having been forced to withdraw from the back row to face the Brave Blossoms because of concussion sustained in training.

Chris Harris makes his first appearance of the tour at outside centre, lifting the number of Scotsmen in the starting XV to five. Prop Zander Fagerson is on the bench after recovering from a back spasm.

England dominate the pack where they supply five starters in hooker Jamie George, prop Kyle Sinckler, locks Maro Itoje and Jonny Hill and flanker Courtney Lawes.

It comes after Eddie Jones’ men were overlooked entirely against Japan and this time it is Ireland whose only representation is on the bench with Iain Henderson and Bundee Aki.

“It’s good to have arrived in Johannesburg and get the tour under way,” Gatland said. “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.”

British and Irish Lions (v Emirates Lions): Stuart Hogg (captain); Louis Rees-Zammit, Chris Harris, Owen Farrell, Josh Adams; Finn Russell, Ali Price; Wyn Jones, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler; Maro Itoje, Jonny Hill; Courtney Lawes, Hamish Watson, Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Zander Fagerson, Iain Henderson, Sam Simmonds, Gareth Davies, Bundee Aki, Elliot Daly

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.