Warburton to lead Lions against Reds

by RUGBY.com.au staff

The British & Irish Lions have announced the team to play the Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday.

Tour captain Sam Warburton will lead the team and becomes the 800th British & Irish Lion in the proud history of the side celebrating its 125th anniversary year.

Warburton will make his tour debut against the Reds, while lock Geoff Parling, prop Matt Stevens, hooker Tom Youngs and his brother and scrum-half Ben Youngs will all make their run-on debuts for the Lions.

Tour Manager Andy Irvine said: "We have played two matches so far and done very well but the stakes get higher on Saturday against the Reds, who are a leading Super Rugby side. It is the type of game we require at this point in the tour and it will be a measure of how we are progressing on the field.

“Tour captain Sam Warburton is the last of the 2013 tourists that has yet to pull on the famous red jersey. He is now fit and raring to play and it is great that he marks the occasion by becoming the 800th British & Irish Lion.”

Head Coach Warren Gatland said: “Two wins and two victories is great but those two matches are building blocks as we head towards the Test series. We always said we would give every player a start in the first three matches and this team reflects that. It also provides us with the opportunity to continue to look at different combinations.

“For the Reds match this includes a new centre pairing and a different front five. At the same time we have several players playing their second matches on tour and some proven combinations starting the match. Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell are the incumbent England halfbacks and we have an all-Welsh backrow.”

British & Irish Lions versus Queensland Reds, June 8, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

15. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland)

14. Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues/Wales)

13. Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers/England)

12. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets/Wales)

11. Tommy Bowe (Ulster/Ireland)

10. Owen Farrell (Saracens/England)

9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England)

1. Makovina Vunipola (Saracens/England)

2. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England)

3. Matt Stevens (Saracens/England)

4. Richie Gray (Scotland)

5. Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers/England)

6. Dan Lydiate (Dragons/Wales)

7. Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues/Wales)

8. Tangaki Taulupe Faletau (Dragons/Wales)


16. Richard Hibbard (Ospreys/Wales)

17. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers/England)

18. Adam Jones (Ospreys/Wales)

19. Paul O’Connell (Munster/Ireland)

20. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys/Wales)

21. Conor Murray (Munster/Ireland)

22. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/Ireland)

23. George North (Scarlets/Wales)