Stuart Hogg to captain the British & Irish Lions at the opening game of the South Africa Tour | British and Irish lions
Stuart Hogg will be captain of the British & Irish Lions for the first time when the touring team will play their inaugural game against the Emirates Lions on South African soil in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Finn Russell, Hogg’s compatriot, has also got a first start in the number 10 jersey, with Owen Farrell selected from a 23-man roster that includes a survivor – Josh Adams of Wales – in the starting XI for the 28-10 Warm-up win against Japan in Murrayfield.
It completes a two-week roller coaster ride for Hogg, who was dumped by Exeter for the final knockout phase of the Premiership campaign. However, Warraen Gatland has chosen the Scottish captain to lead the team ahead of Farrell and Maro Itoje.
The Ellis Park game will also feature prominently for Louis Rees-Zammit, Chris Harris and Jonny Hill, all of whom will make their Lions debuts. Substitutes Luke Cowan-Dickie, Zander Fagerson, Sam Simmonds and Gareth Davies are also on the line to make their first bets on the bench.
“It’s good to have arrived in Johannesburg and got the tour going,” said the head coach. “We took a good win in Edinburgh last week, but there is still a lot we need to do right on Saturday. I was encouraged by the way the guys trained this week. I feel like it’s gone up a level from what we were in Jersey and we’re starting to better understand some of our tactics.
“We can look at some new player combinations, which is good information for us as the test series approaches. I congratulate everyone who played their first game as Lion, and also Hoggy, who will set a good example. “
British and Irish Lions (v Lions) S Hogg (captain); L. Rees-Zammit, C. Harris, O. Farrell, J. Adams; F. Russell, A. Price; W. Jones, J. George, K. Sinckler, M. Itoje, J. Hill, C. Lawes, H. Watson, T. Faletau. replacement L Cowan-Dickie, M Vunipola, Z Fagerson, I Henderson, S Simmonds, G Davies, B Aki, E Daly.