Three Leinster players to start in Lions’ first Test against Springboks
July 21, 2021 9:58 am Site Editor
British and Irish Lions head coach, Warren Gatland, has named his side for the first Test against the Springboks at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, 24 July (KO 5pm BST).
Leinster Rugby trio Robbie Henshaw, Tadhg Furlong and Jack Conan will all start in the first test while Tour captain Alun-Wyn Jones will captain the side having recovered from a dislocated shoulder just 24 days ago.
The Welshman will be joined in the second row by Maro Itoje who claims his fourth successive Lions Test cap.
Elsewhere, Wyn Jones, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Furlong make up the front row.
Courtney Lawes 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 is named on the open side, with Conan filling the No 8 shirt.
After impressing against the DHL Stormers last Saturday, scrum-half Ali Price joins Dan Biggar in the half-back berths.
Henshaw, who made his comeback from a hamstring injury last weekend, partners Elliot Daly in midfield.
Anthony Watson wins his fourth Lions Test cap as he takes his spot on the wing opposite Duhan van der Merwe, with fellow Scot, Stuart Hogg, rounding off the side at full-back.
“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.
“While the stands will be empty in Cape Town Stadium, we know Lions fans from across the home nations will be cheering us on back home. We’ll do our best to get the win.”
The much-anticipated clash against the reigning World Champions is the first of three Tests matches in the Lions Series to be shown live and exclusively on Sky Sports.
British and Irish Lions team to face South Africa:
15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) #783
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) #816
13. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822
12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #824
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #841
10. Dan Bigger (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) #843
1. Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) #842
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) #851
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) #825
5. Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales) #761 CAPTAIN
6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) #826
7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) #853
8. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #839
16. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829
17. Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #840
18. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England) #814
19. Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #838
20. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) #847
21. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790
22. Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) #780
23. Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) #833