TEAM: Three Irish starters as Warren Gatland announces team for first Springbok test

Warren Gatland has released his official Lions squad to play the Springbok’s in the first test match of the series.

Gatland was originally due to release the team tomorrow morning, but instead followed the lead of Springbok head coach Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber by revealing the match-day squad a day early.

Three Leinster representatives in the form of Tadhg Furlong, Jack Conan and Robbie Henshaw are found in the starting 15, while Munster’s Conor Murray and Tadhg Beirne are among the replacements.

26 June 2021; Tadhg Beirne of British and Irish Lions escapes the tackle of Amanaki Mafi of Japan on his way to scoring his side’s fourth try during the 2021 British and irish Lions tour match between the British and Irish Lions and Japan at BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo by Ian Rutherford/Sportsfile

Returning tour captain Alun Wyn Jones starts in the second row after his miraculous recovery, he is joined by fellow Wales teammates Wyn Jones, Dan Biggar, Ken Owens and Liam Williams in the squad.

A hefty English presence can be found within the squad, among the eight players selected is England’s captain and seasoned Lion Owen Farrell, who is starts from the bench.

Scotland’s captain Stuart Hogg is named to start at fullback, his fellow countrymen Ali Price, Duhan van der Merwe start with him while Rory Sutherland and Hamish Watson are among the replacements.

Apart from the talent included in the test squad it’s hard to ignore the names absent from this test team sheet. Wales winger Josh Adams has been more than productive so far in the series, scoring 8 tries in the tour’s opening four games, Adams was also the leading try scorer in the 2019 World Cup finishing the tournament with 7 tries.

Also omitted from the test squad is Wales speedster Louis Rees-Zammit, who has also turned heads throughout the opening weeks of the tour, scoring 3 tries in 4 games.

Rees-Zammit and Adams are not alone in their exclusion, players such as Bundee Aki, Chris Harris and Josh Navidi were also not included in Gatland’s test squad to the surprise of many.

Have a look at the Lions squad to face the Springbok’s in the first test match of the series below:

  1. Wyn Jones
  2. Luke Cowan Dickie
  3. Tadhg Furlong
  4. Maro Itoje
  5. Alun Wyn Jones
  6. Courtney Lawes
  7. Tom Curry
  8. Jack Conan
  9. Ali Price
  10. Dan Biggar
  11. Duhan van der Merwe
  12. Robbie Henshaw
  13. Elliot Daly
  14. Anthony Watson
  15. Stuart Hogg

Replacements: Ken Owens, Rory Sutherland, Kyle Sinckler, Tadhg Beirne, Hamish Watson, Conor Murray, Owen Farrell, Liam Williams

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