Wyn to start Lions tour opener; Gareth on bench

Rob Lloyd News

Scarlets prop Wyn Jones has been named in the British & Irish Lions starting XV for the opening match of the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series when the tourists take on the Emirates Lions this Saturday (kick-off 5pm BST).  

Jones, who came off the bench in the win over Japan last weekend, starts at loose-head prop, while scrum-half Gareth Davies is set for his first appearance in the famous red jersey after being selected among the replacements.

Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg will lead a side showing 14 changes to the one that defeated Japan 28-10 in Edinburgh with Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) the lone survivor.

“It’s good to have arrived in Johannesburg and get the tour under way,” said Lions head coach, Warren Gatland.  

“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.”  

EMIRATES 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); 14. Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales), 13. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland),  12. Owen Farrell (Saracens, England); 11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales); 10. Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland), 9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland);  1. Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales), 2. Jamie George (Saracens, England), 3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England), 4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, England), 5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, England), 6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England), 7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) , 8. Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales).

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