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Adams retains starting spot for opening clash on South African soil

First Team News | 1st July 2021

Josh Adams is the only British & Irish Lions player to retain his starting spot as Warren Gatland makes wholesale changes for their opening clash on South African soil.

The Cardiff star, who was joined in the squad earlier this week by club team-mate Josh Navidi, crossed the whitewash in last week's Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup win over Japan at BT Murrayfield.

And despite Gatland making 14 changes for the clash against Cardiff's fellow United Rugby Championship outfit, Emirates Lions, Adams once again lines-up on the wing.

Scotland and Exeter Chiefs full back, Stuart Hogg, captains the side and is joined in the backline by international team-mates, Finn Russell and Ali Price.

Former Cardiff Blues age grade wing, Louis Rees-Zammit, who now plies his trade with Gloucester Rugby, lines up on Adams' opposite wing while Owen Farrell combines with Chris Harris in midfield.

Wyn Jones, Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler form the front row while England duo Maro Itoje and Jonny Hill link up at second row.

The side is completed by the back row trio of Courtney Lawes, Hamish Watson and Taulupe Faletau.

Speaking ahead of the clash in Johannesburg, head coach Gatland said: “It’s good to have arrived in Johannesburg and get the Tour underway.

“We had a pleasing win last week up in Edinburgh, but there’s still plenty we need to get right on Saturday.

“I’ve been encouraged by the way the boys have trained this week. I feel it’s gone up a level from where we were in Jersey and we’re starting to see a better understanding of some of our tactics.

“There’s some new player combinations for us to have a look at this Saturday – which is good information for us as the Test Series approaches.

“My congratulations to all those playing their first game as a Lion, and also to Hoggy too – who I am sure will lead the side by example.”

On the bench, Luke Cowan-Dickie,  Zander Fagerson, Sam Simmonds and Gareth Davies are in-line for their Lions debuts, with starting quartet Rees-Zammit, Harris, Hill and Watson also making their first appearances for the iconic invitational side.


15, Stuart Hogg – captain (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) #783

14. Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales)

13. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland)

12. Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) #780

11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) #836

10. Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland) #835

9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) #843

1. Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) #842

2. Jamie George (Saracens, England) #819

3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England) #814

4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) #825

5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, England)

6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) #826

7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)

8. Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) #779


16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England)

17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) – Prop #787

18. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)

19. Iain Henderson (Ulster Rugby, Ireland) #808

20. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England)

21. Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales)

22. Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) #837

23. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822