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O’Connell to Lead Lions Against Barbarians

O’Connell to Lead Lions Against Barbarians

British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has announced the team to play the Barbarians in Hong on Saturday, with Paul O’Connell captaining a matchday squad which includes five Ireland internationals.

The 23-man squad for the match against the Barbarians in Hong Kong comprises 17 players on their first British & Irish Lions tour.

All three Scottish tourists are included plus 11 Welshman, five Irishmen – Paul O’Connell, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton – and four Englishmen.

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The six former Lions in the squad are Adam Jones, Mike Phillips, Jamie Roberts, Alun Wyn Jones, Heaslip and O’Connell who will captain the team.

Tour manager Andy Irvine said: “After all the pre-tour preparation in Cardiff and Dublin the match against the Barbarians on Saturday marks another milestone in the proud history of the Lions and the start of the 2013 tour.

“This is the important first match of a 10-match tour and the players are eager to get the tour off on the right note.

“Training has gone very well and it is exciting to see 11 players making their run-on debuts for the Lions, including the tour’s youngest player Stuart Hogg.”

Head coach Warren Gatland said: “I am really excited by the first selection of the tour. Naturally it comprises largely those players not involved in last weekend’s Aviva Premiership and RaboDirect PRO12 finals and we have 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.”

The opening match of the 2013 tour will be broadcast live on Sky Sports 1HD, while there will also be live radio commentary on a special edition of RTÉ 2fm’s ‘Game On’ on Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, there are two provincial players in the Barbarians’ starting line-up for the much-anticipated clash – Jared Payne of Ulster will start at full-back with O’Connell and Murray’s Munster team-mate Casey Laulala lining out at inside centre.

BRITISH & IRISH LIONS Team & Replacements (v Barbarians, 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour, Hong Kong Stadium, Saturday, June 1, kick-off 7.30pm local time/12.30pm Irish time):

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) (capt)
6. Dan Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons/Wales)
7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys/Wales)
8. Toby Faletau (Newport Gwent 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. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/Ireland)

23. George North (Scarlets/Wales)

BARBARIANS: Jared Payne (Ulster); Joe Rokocoko (Bayonne/New Zealand), Elliot Daly (London Wasps), Casey Laulala (Munster/New Zealand), Takudzwa Ngwenya (Biarritz Olympique/USA); Nick Evans (Harlequins/New Zealand), Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz Olympique/France); Paul James (Bath/Wales), Schalk Brits (Saracens/South Africa), Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester Tigers/Italy), Marco Wentzel (London Wasps/South Africa), Dean Mumm (Exeter Chiefs/Australia), Samu Manoa (Northampton Saints/USA), Sam Jones (London Wasps), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais/Italy) (capt).

Replacements: Leonardo Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso/Italy), Duncan Jones (Ospreys/Wales), Andrea Lo Cicero (Racing Metro 92/Italy), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester/Scotland), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz Olympique/France), Kahn Fotuali’i (Ospreys/Samoa), James Hook (Perpignan/Wales), Mike Tindall (Gloucester/England)/Rowan Varty (DeA Tigers/Hong Kong).