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Lions pick team for Barbarians


The British and Irish Lions team to play their opening 2017 Tour match against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei has been announced.

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 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.

“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.”

British and Lions: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Rory Best, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Tadgh Furlong, 19 George Kruis, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Jared Payne

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  1. Pretty damn good side… this is arguably their easiest game of the tour with so many newbies in the NZ Barbarian’s side…

  2. Jeez I’m not sure this is such a great side at all. Can’t believe laidlaw is actually being selected.

  3. @cab:

    Are you for real mate… you must have missed Scotland’s resurgence last year with Laidlaw leading from the front as captain. Ireland/France/Argentina/Wales all convincing wins!

    Many in that side like Sexton/Farrell/Tipuric/Vunipola/Joseph/Best/Watson to name but a few would walk into a Bok 23…

  4. Sorry Bryce, have to disagree. Laudlaw has a tapper on him for sure, but v kak. Best and warburtin good but better in SH. Sexton, the centres and Vuni maybe a threat. Marler is decent for half a game. Even then sexton been developed over many years, not a natural game-breaking star.

  5. Laudlaw was kak. Slow service, moaning whole time, poor passing, poor kicking – was no surprise when taken off. Gatland said Woodward’s team lost tour on day 1 – 2017 Lions lost way before that! Picking Wales team, with uninspiring Wales captain, and not enough English (and no Eddy Jones to asssit). Will go down as most embarrasing Lions ever.

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