Hogg to skipper Tour opener

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Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) will captain The British & Irish Lions in the opening match of the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series when the tourists take on The Lions this Saturday (kick-off 5pm BST).

The Scottish full back will lead an all-new starting XV to the one that defeated Japan 28-10 in Edinburgh last weekend to win The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup, save for Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) who retains his place on the left wing.

Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales), Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) and Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, England) are all set to make their Lions debuts at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg, in the first of eight Tour games to be shown live and exclusively on Sky Sports (Main Event and Action from 4pm BST).

Replacements Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland), Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) and Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales) are also in line to make their first appearances in the famous red jersey should they join the fray on Saturday.

“It’s good to have arrived in Johannesburg and get the Tour underway,” said Lions Head coach, Warren Gatland.

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“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.”

THE LIONS v THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS

Saturday 3 July 2021
Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 5pm (BST)

15. Stuart Hogg – captain (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) #783
14. Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales)
13. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland)
12. Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) #780
11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) #836
10. Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland) #835
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) #843
1. Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) #842
2. Jamie George (Saracens, England) #819
3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England) #814
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) #825
5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, England)
6.Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) #826
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
8. Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) #779

Replacements:
16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England)
17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) – Prop #787
18. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
19. Iain Henderson (Ulster Rugby, Ireland) #808
20. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England)
21.Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales)
22. Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) #837
23. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822

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