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Best To Captain Lions Against Brumbies

Best To Captain Lions Against Brumbies

Rory Best will become the third Ireland player to captain the British & Irish Lions during the 2013 tour when he leads them out against the ACT Brumbies on Tuesday.

Rob Kearney and Sean O’Brien join Rory Best as the Irish contingent named in the Lions’ starting line-up for the Canberra clash, while Munster backs Conor Murray and Simon Zebo are listed among the replacements.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland has sprung a major surprise by drafting in Shane Williams, the two-try hero from the third Test win over South Africa in 2009, to help out his injury-hit squad.

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Williams, although retired from lining out for Wales, still plays club rugby for Japanese side Mitsubishi Dynaboars and he will start in a very unexpected back-three combination with Kearney, making his first start of the tour at full-back, and young England flyer Christian Wade.

The 36-year-old Welsh wing wizard last featured on the international stage when he featured for the Barbarians against Wales last year.

Wade, meanwhile, and his England colleagues Billy Twelvetrees and Brad Barritt have been parachuted straight into the team by Gatland after they were called up due to a lengthening injury list in the backs division.

Ireland’s Tommy Bowe (broken hand) is among the on-going injury worries for the tourists, along with George North (tight hamstring) and Manu Tuilagi (shoulder).

Bowe’s Ulster team-mate Best will lead the Lions from the front row. It will be his second start of the tour.

The 30-year-old hooker is the third Irishman to take on the Lions captaincy role in recent weeks, following in the footsteps of Paul O’Connell (v Barbarians) and Brian O’Driscoll (v Western Force and Combined NSW-QLD Country).

In other news, Welsh centre Jamie Roberts will have a scan today after limping out of Saturday’s win over the NSW Waratahs with a right leg injury.

BRITISH & IRISH LIONS Team & Replacements (v ACT Brumbies, 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour, Canberra Stadium, Canberra, Tuesday, June 18, kick-off 7.40pm local time/10.40am Irish time):

15. Rob Kearney (Leinster/Ireland)
Christian Wade (London Wasps/England)
13. Brad Barritt (Saracens/England)
12. Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester/England)
11. Shane Williams (Mitsubishi Dynaboars/Wales)
10. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England)
1. Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland)
2. Rory Best (Ulster/Ireland) (capt)
3. Matt Stevens (Saracens/England)
4. Ian Evans (Ospreys/Wales)
5. Richie Gray (Scotland)
6. Sean O’Brien (Leinster/Ireland)
7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys/Wales)
8. Toby Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons/Wales)


16. Richard Hibbard (Ospreys/Wales)
17. Alex Corbisiero (London Irish/England)
18. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers/England)
19. Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers/England)
20. Dan Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons/Wales)
21. Conor Murray (Munster/Ireland)
22. Owen Farrell (Saracens/England)
23. Simon Zebo (Munster/Ireland)