British and Irish Lions team to play the Barbarians

Warren Gatland has named his first British and Irish Lions team, to play the Barbarians this Saturday in Hong Kong. The game kicks off at 12.30 GMT.

Ireland lock Paul O’Connell will captain the team in Saturday’s game.

O’Connell, who led the Lions in their last game in South Africa in 2009, will lead a side that contains all three Scottish tourists, eleven Welshman, five Irishmen and four Englishmen.

Lions coach Warren Gatland has rested tour captain Sam Warburton following a knock to his knee received in training and O’Connell is one of six former Lions in the squad.

He joins Adam Jones, Mike Phillips, Jamie Roberts, Alun Wyn Jones and Jamie Heaslip, all of whom played in the opening game four years ago.

“I’m really excited by the first selection of the tour,” said Gatland.

“Naturally it comprises largely those players not involved in last weekend’s Aviva Premiership and PRO12 finals and we’ve a lot of players making their debuts for the Lions.

“At the same time we have a hard core of experience with the six former Lions sharing 430 caps between them and 19 Lions Tests.

“There are also some proven combinations such as the Welsh centre pairing and back row.

“Some of the boys who played last weekend are on the bench as cover and generally everyone in the camp is raring to go.”

British and Irish Lions to play the Barbarians:
15. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland)
14. Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets/Wales)
12. Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
11. Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland)
10. Owen Farrell (Saracens/England)
9. Mike Phillips (Bayonne/Wales)

1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens/England)
2. Richard Hibbard (Ospreys/Wales)
3. Adam Jones (Ospreys/Wales)
4. Richie Gray (Scotland)
5. Paul O’Connell (Munster/Ireland, captain)
6. Dan Lydiate (Dragons/Wales)
7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys/Wales)
8. Toby Faletau (Dragons/Wales)

16. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England)
17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Ireland)
18. Matt Stevens (Saracens/England)
19. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys/wales)
20. Jamie Heaslip (Leinster/Ireland)
21. Conor Murray (Munster/Ireland)
22. Johnny Sexton (Leinster/Ireland)
23. George North (Scarlets/Wales)

Are you happy with Gatland’s selection?

15 thoughts on “British and Irish Lions team to play the Barbarians

  1. Not a particularly surprising team when you consider that most of the guys not selected played last week.

    Also, is there a reason that you haven’t given Grey a club? Is it that embarrassing to have a Sale player on the Lions tour?

    1. you should see the furore on Facebook about the selection. Moronic doesn’t cover it!

      He’s listed without a club as he technically left Sale at the end of April, and isn’t joining Castres until 1st July. pretty sure I read that on the Lions webpage or Twitter account :)

      1. That makes sense Niall. Also I know he is joining Castres. But based on the fact that North, Lydiate and Roberts are all listed as with their ‘old’ clubs, I had assumed he was technically still a Sale player.

  2. Looks like an interesting game, given neither team has had much time to gel. Expecting it to be dis-jointed with some excellent passages.

    I’ll be looking forward to seeing how the back lines match up. The Barbarians have some real speedsters in Rokocoko, Ngwenya and Daly and with Evans orchestrating things, they could cause the Lions some problems.

    Have to go with the Lions up front – would like to see Gray play well and see if Lydiate is back to his destructive best – with Manoa and Parisse in the opposition back row, he’ll need to be. Massive test for Jones to play against Tipuric.

    Scrum should go Lions way – James has improved but not to Jones’ level, Castro is a bit past it and the Lions will have the weight of POC and Gray in the second row.

    Really looking forward to it and crossing my fingers for a reasonably fluent performance and a win for the Lions

  3. Is the precedent for teams being able to field two props on the bench carrying on throughout the tour and, if so, doesn’t that rather negate the only thing that Stevens had going for him (namely that he ‘can’ play both sides of the scrum)?

    1. That isn’t the reason Stevens is going is it? They have taken six props, so they have three loose heads and Stevens has gone as the third tight head.

  4. If it is to be 30 degree heat and 80%-90% humidity it will be a day for the ball to do the work. Baa Baas back line may have the advantage in that department. Tough conditions to play your first game for ~3 months (Gray & Cuthbert) as well.

    Really hope Farrell has a decent game in terms of his distribution, discipline and temperament. Hopefully he can prove we do have a backup if Sexton breaks down.

  5. When Gatland named his squad, he would have expected Saracens and Leinster to be in their respective club finals.

    Presumably we would have seen Hogg at 10 for this game if Saints hadn’t beaten Sarries in the Premiership semi??

    Looking forward to the game, hopefully the Barbarians will put up a decent fight.

  6. Clearly a sighter for certain players such as the Scottish contigent, I expect more English and Irish come the first test.

  7. Backline looks poor. Pack looks decent. Should beat the Barbarians pretty comfortably.

  8. Pretty much what I expected. Interesting to see Hogg starting though, with no Halfpenny or Kearney on the bench? Not seen any reports of Halfpenny being injured, so not sure what’s going on there. Interesting to see how Farrell will bring Davies into the game, and I expect to see Maitland coming into midfield quite a lot to take ball up the middle as well, the way that North does for Wales. Also excited to see Vunipola and Jones playing together, should make the scrums very interesting, as they are a similar shape with low centres of gravity. They could give the Baa Baas and the Aussies a serious problem at scrum time.

  9. It doesn’t look like a great backline but interesting nontheless, every lions tour has a surprise player, I believe hogg and Maitland are 2 possible candiates.

    The Lions lack a bit of imagination in the centres, if Sexton breaks it could be robotic to say the least. One option is the fullback or wing coming into the line early to make things happen, I would like to see Maitland have a crack at this as he he has the speed footwork and handling skills to do so, being a kiwi he knows how to time a pass.

    Hogg as well has all the required skills for this role and he has more chance of getting into the team on the wing than at 15, halpenny being a shoe in. Hogg has played centre and 10 for Glasgow, I would like to see him with lots of ball in hand in the middle of the park, he has real speed and a great step.

    Like I said at the moment neither are in the team but I wouldn’t put it past one of them making the test team.

    1. You’re right, the combo of Farrell, Roberts and Davies doesn’t fill you with excitement does it. But once Tuilagi, BOD and Sexton are in, we could see a very different midfield. I would also like to see either Maitland, Hogg or North in the centres. He’s taken enough diverse back line players to move a few people round and try things out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hogg getting a shot at fly half in a midweek game either.

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