Lions Tour 2021: Most Scots in a Lions Test team for 24 years

The British and Irish Lions have named the most Scots in their starting line-up in a Test match for 24 years.

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg will start for the Lions at full-back in the first Test.

Stuart Hogg, Duhan van der Merwe and Ali Price have all been picked to face South Africa in Cape Town on Saturday.

It will be the first time since the 1997 tour to South Africa that three Scots will start a Test for the Lions.

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On that tour, current Lions assistant coach Gregor Townsend was named alongside Alan Tait and Tom Smith for the first and second Tests.

They beat the Springboks in both matches to take an unassailable lead and it remains the Lions’ last Test series triumph on South African soil.

Then, as now, the hosts were the world champions and a huge task awaits Warren Gatland’s side.

Hogg, van der Merwe and Price are joined in the squad by their Scotland team-mates Rory Sutherland and Hamish Watson who are both among the replacements.

Gatland, the Lions head coach, said it was the hardest Test side he has ever had to pick.

Duhan van der Merwe impressed in the British and Irish Lions' 49-3 win over the DHL Stormers. Picture: Halden Krog/AP

Alun Wyn Jones will captain the side having recovered from a dislocated shoulder sustained in the Lions’ 28-10 win over Japan at Murrayfield just 24 days ago.

In doing so, the Welsh lock will win his tenth-successive Test cap for the Lions in Cape Town, moving him into an illustrious list of Lions legends to have made 10 Test appearances or more, including Gareth Edwards (10), Graham Price (12), Mike Gibson (12) Dickie Jeeps (13) and Willie-John McBride (17).

Jones is the first to play 10 Tests for the side in the professional era.

The Welshman will be joined in the second row by England’s Maro Itoje who claims his fourth successive Lions Test cap.

Ali Price laughs during a British & Irish Lions training session. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) and Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) make up the front row.

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Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) packs down on the blind side flank to win his third Lions test appearance, having won his previous two from the bench in the second and third Tests in New Zealand in 2017. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) is named on the open side, with Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) filling the No.8 shirt.

After impressing against the DHL Stormers last Saturday, Glasgow scrum-half Price joins Wales stand-off Dan Biggar in the half back berths.

Ireland inside centre Robbie Henshaw, who made his comeback from a hamstring injury last weekend, partners Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) in midfield.

England’s Anthony Watson wins his fourth Lions Test cap as he takes his spot on the wing opposite van der Merwe, with Hogg at fullback.

“In my four Tours as a Lions coach, this was by far the hardest Test selection I have been involved in,” said Gatland.

“We couldn’t have asked for more from the players so far; they’ve all put their hands up and made picking a starting XV incredibly difficult. In truth, we would have been happy with any number of different combinations across the 23, however, we’re very pleased with the side we’ve settled on.

“We know what we’re coming up against on Saturday. It’s going to be an arm wrestle, there’s no doubt about it. We’ll need to front up physically and be ready to go from the first whistle. When we played SA ‘A’ last week we probably took a bit too long to get into the game, something we can’t afford to do that again this weekend.

“We need to make sure we play in the right areas of the field, not give them easy territory and take our chances when they come.”

British & Irish Lions team (v South Africa, first Test, Cape Town Stadium, Saturday, 5pm BST)

15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland)

14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England)

13. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England)

12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)

11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland)

10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales)

9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)

1. Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales)

2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England)

3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)

4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, England)

5. Alun Wyn Jones – captain (Ospreys, Wales)

6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England)

7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England)

8. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)

Replacements:

16. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales)

17. Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland)

18. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England)

19. Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland)

20. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)

21. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland)

22. Owen Farrell (Saracens, England)

23. Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales)

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