British and Irish Lions name team for opening tour match

All three Scots in the squad have been selected to play in the British and Irish Lions' first tour match, with Greig Laidlaw, Tommy Seymour and Stuart Hogg all in the side to face the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei on Saturday (8.35am BST).
Stuart Hogg arrives at Auckland International Airport.  Picture: Phil Walter/Getty ImagesStuart Hogg arrives at Auckland International Airport.  Picture: Phil Walter/Getty Images
Stuart Hogg arrives at Auckland International Airport. Picture: Phil Walter/Getty Images

The starting XV includes six 2013 Lions and a further three on the bench with the side captained by Sam Warburton.

Commenting on his first team selection head coach Warren Gatland said: “We are all hugely excited about the first game on tour, 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.

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

“We are lucky to have some real leaders in the squad and to be able to select them for this match in the likes of Rory Best, Alun Wyn Jones and Greig Laidlaw.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what Greig can do alongside Johnny Sexton who both are experienced half-backs. It is also great to have Sam starting in the first game of the tour, something he didn’t do in 2013 and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do this weekend.

“The balance of the squad is really good, we have selected the majority of players who were together for the training weeks in Wales and Ireland and they have worked together and prepared well for a number of weeks.

“It is important these guys get a run early and lay down a marker for others to follow. We’ve picked the team for Saturday but it is still the plan to try and give the whole squad a start in the next two matches. It is important the players get that opportunity, because if they go well and the team goes well, they put themselves in the shop window for a Test start.”


1 Joe Marler – Harlequins, England

2 Rory Best – Ulster, Ireland

3 Kyle Sinckler – Harlequins, England

4 Alun Wyn Jones – Ospreys, Wales

5 Iain Henderson – Ulster, Ireland

6 Ross Moriarty – Gloucester Rugby, Wales

7 Sam Warburton – Cardiff Blues, Wales

8 Taulupe Faletau - Bath Rugby, Wales

9 Greig Laidlaw – Gloucester Rugby

10 Johnny Sexton – Leinster, Ireland

11 Tommy Seymour – Glasgow Warriors, Scotland

12 Ben Te’o – Worcester Warriors, England

13 Jonathan Joseph – Bath Rugby, England

14 Anthony Watson – Bath Rugby, England

15 Stuart Hogg – Glasgow Warriors, Scotland


16 Jamie George – Saracens, England

17 Mako Vunipola – Saracens, England

18 Tadhg Furlong – Leinster, Ireland

19 George Kruis – Saracens, England

20 Justin Tipuric – Ospreys, Wales

21 Rhys Webb – Ospreys, Wales

22 Owen Farrell – Saracens, England

23 Jared Payne – Ulster, Ireland