Sam Warburton, Leigh Halfpenny and Alex Cuthbert have all been named in the Lions starting XV for the first test match against Australia this Saturday, 11:05am KO
The British & Irish Lions today announced the team to play the Qantas Wallabies in the 1st Test at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday.
The starting XV comprises eight new Test Lions and will be captained by Sam Warburton.
In the backs Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, George North, Jonathan Davies and Jonathan Sexton all make their Lions Test debuts, while experience is provided by Brian O’Driscoll and Mike Philips, who have nine Lions Tests between them.
The forward pack contains a wealth of Lions Test experience with Jamie Heaslip, Tom Croft, Paul O’Connell, Alun Wyn Jones and Adam Jones sharing 17 Tests.
Loose-head prop Alex Corbisiero, who joined the tour as a replacement, also makes his debut along with Warburton and hooker Tom Youngs.
British & Irish Lions Tour Manager Andy Irvine said: "We are now at the business end of the tour. You can feel the excitement and commitment within the squad now that we are back in Brisbane and the 1st Test is just days away.
“I congratulate all the players who are making their Lions Test debut on Saturday. Playing against the Wallabies for the Lions is a major milestone in a player’s career and I am confident they will all uphold the history and tradition of the Lions by giving their all.”
Head Coach Warren Gatland said: “After six matches we have arrived at the 1st Test and have selected our strongest possible side with only Jamie Roberts,Tommy Bowe and Manu Tuilagi unavailable for selection.
“The Wallabies at home pose a huge challenge but the Test team contains 20 of the players that played against the Waratahs in what was our best match to date. We now have a couple of more days of match preparation to ensure we improve again on that performance.”
Cardiff Arms Park clubhouse will be showing the Lions v Australia this Saturday and will be open from 9:30am.
British & Irish Lions v Qantas Wallabies, June 22, 11:05am KO
15. Leigh Halfpenny
14. Alex Cuthbert
13. Brian O'Driscoll
12. Jonathan Davies
11. George North
10. Jonathan Sexton
9. Mike Phillips
1. Alex Corbisiero
2. Tom Youngs
3. Adam Jones
4. Alun Wyn Jones
5. Paul O'Connell
6. Tom Croft
7. Sam Warburton (captain)
8. Jamie Heaslip
16. Richard Hibbard
17. Makovina Vunipola
18. Dan Cole
19. Geoff Parling
20. Dan Lydiate
21. Ben Youngs
22. Owen Farrell
23. Sean Maitland