Scotland’s Stuart Hogg will be the captain of the British & Irish Lions captain in the first game in South Africa
Scottish full-back Stuart Hogg will lead the British & Irish Lions in the opening game of their South Africa tour when they face the Gauteng Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Welsh winger Josh Adams is the only player to stay in the starting XI of the side who defeated Japan 28:10 in a warm-up game in Edinburgh last weekend before leaving for Johannesburg.
Louis Rees-Zammit, Chris Harris and Jonny Hill will all debut for the Lions from the start, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Zander Fagerson, Sam Simmonds and Gareth Davies will likely get their first taste of Lions action from the bench.
The team includes four players from the Exeter Chiefs team who lost the Premiership final at Twickenham last Saturday and did not attend the Lions training camp in Jersey.
“The exciting thing from a coach’s point of view … I don’t know that much about the players … just the competition we have in the squad,” said Hogg on Thursday.
“The boys are starting to grow together.
“There were aspects of the Japan game that we were particularly happy with, especially in the first half, and the guys looked pretty sharp over the last few days of practice.”
“Owens [Farrell] had a lot of experience. It is his third tour, he is the captain of England and he contributes a lot to the environment. And then Finn [Russell] has a slightly different style of play, but I think he has matured amazingly over the past few years in terms of the way he controls the game.
“It’s pretty exciting to see this back combo, but we want to see Owen in 10th place as well.”
Lions from XV
Stuart Hogg (Captain), Louis Rees-Zammit, Chris Harris, Owen Farrell, Josh Adams, Finn Russell, Ali Price, Taulupe Faletau, Hamish Watson, Courtney Lawes, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, Wyn Jones.
Replacement: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Zander Fagerson, Iain Henderson, Sam Simmonds, Gareth Davies, Bundee Aki, Elliot Daly.