Biggar, Tipuric & Webb start versus Blues

Warren Gatland has handed a first tour start to Justin Tipuric, with half backs Dan Biggar and Rhys Webb both making their first ever starts for the Lions.

It will also be Biggar’s Lions debut, with Webb having impressed from the bench at the weekend along with Tipuric, who also toured in 2013.

The Lions play the Blues on Wednesday with Wales hooker Ken Owens captaining the side. In total there will be 11 players making their British & Irish Lions debut at Eden Park after Gatland made 15 changes to the side that kicked off the 2017 Tour with a victory over New Zealand Provincial Barbarians on Saturday.

Commenting on the team to face Super Rugby side the Blues, Gatland said:

“We have made 15 changes to the starting XV and we are excited to see what this team is able to do against the Blues on Wednesday.

“We have stated from the off that we want to give every player a start in the first three games and Wednesday is an opportunity for this set of players to show what they can do in a Lions jersey.

“It was good to get the win under our belts last weekend. The boys in the stand were itching to get their chance and they are really excited about Wednesday.

“In terms of Ken, he has worked really hard on his recovery and its great to have him available. He has captained the Scarlets and has assumed a leadership role within the camp and it is a great opportunity for him.

“We are expecting a big crowd at Eden Park. It will be the first of three matches there for us and we know the atmosphere will be outstanding. We are hoping for some good weather and are expecting a tough, fast and open game of rugby.

“We have a few work ons from last weekend and we know we need to be more clinical. We created some good opportunties against the Barbarians but didn’t see them through and that is something we want to improve on Wednesday."

The Team to Play the Blues (Wednesday June 7, KO 7.35pm NZ):

15. Leigh Halfpenny – Toulon, Wales, #775

14. Jack Nowell – Exeter Chiefs, England

13. Jared Payne – Ulster, Ireland

12. Robbie Henshaw – Leinster, Ireland

11. Elliot Daly – Wasps, England

10. Dan Biggar – Ospreys, Wales

9. Rhys Webb – Ospreys, Wales, #820

1. Jack McGrath – Leinster, Ireland

2. Ken Owens (Capt) – Scarlets, Wales

3. Dan Cole Leicester Tigers, England, #794

4. Maro Itoje – Saracens, England

5. Courtney Lawes – Northampton Saints, England

6. James Haskell – Wasps, England

7. Justin Tipuric – Ospreys, Wales, #786

8. CJ Stander – Munster, Ireland



16. Rory Best – Ulster, Ireland, #793

17. Joe Marler – Harlequins, England, #811

18. Kyle Sinckler – Harlequins, England, #814

19. Iain Henderson – Ulster, Ireland, #808

20. Peter O’Mahony – Munster, Ireland

21. Greig Laidlaw – Gloucester, Scotland, #810

22. Johnny Sexton – Leinster, Ireland, #791

23. Liam Williams – Scarlets, Wales