AWJ to start Lions opener…

… with Tipuric and Webb on the bench to make it three Ospreys involved as the British and Irish Lions face NZ Provincial Barbarians on Saturday in Whangarei.

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.”



1 Joe Marler – Harlequins, England

2 Rory Best – Ulster, Ireland, #793

3 Kyle Sinckler – Harlequins, England

4 Alun Wyn Jones – Ospreys, Wales, #761

5 Iain Henderson – Ulster, Ireland

6 Ross Moriarty – Gloucester Rugby, Wales

7 Sam Warburton – Cardiff Blues, Wales, #800

8 Taulupe Faletau – Bath Rugby, Wales, #779

9 Greig Laidlaw – Gloucester Rugby, Scotland

10 Johnny Sexton – Leinster, Ireland, #791

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, #783



16 Jamie George – Saracens, England

17 Mako Vunipola – Saracens, England, #787

18 Tadhg Furlong – Leinster, Ireland

19 George Kruis – Saracens, England

20 Justin Tipuric – Ospreys, Wales, #786

21 Rhys Webb – Ospreys, Wales

22 Owen Farrell – Saracens, England, #780

23 Jared Payne – Ulster, Ireland


# denotes Lions number