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SPORTS
30 May 2013
BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS: PAUL O'CONNELL TO CAPTAIN SIDE AGAINST THE BARBARIANS

Warburton was a doubt for a tour opener after he was forced to sit out the first training session at the Aberdeen Sports Ground with a slight knock to his knee.

And Warren Gatland has opted against risking him, with O'Connell - the 2009 tour captain - stepping up to lead a squad that includes 11 Welshmen, five Irishmen, four England players and all three Scots.

O'Connell is one of six players with previous Lions experience - with Adam Jones, Mike Phillips, Jamie Roberts, Alun Wyn Jones and Jamie Heaslip also included in the 23-man squad.

Barring the loss of Warburton, there are no real surprises in the line-up, though. Gatland has opted to give the players that have been in the training camp the longest the first chance - with the contingents from Leinster, Ulster and Leicester only teaming up with the squad on Sunday due to club commitments.

Excited

That means Owen Farrell wears the No 10 jersey, while there is an all-Wales back row of Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric and Toby Faletau.

Stuart Hogg gets the first chance to impress at full-back, with fellow Scots Sean Maitland and Richie Gray also starting.

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 backrow. Some of the boys who played last weekend are on the bench as cover and generally everyone in the camp is raring to go."

British and Irish Lions: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Mike Phillips, 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Richard Hibbard, 3 Adam Jones, 4 Richie Gray, 5 Paul O'Connell (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 7 Justin Tipuric, 8 Toby Faletau.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Alun Wyn Jones, 20 Jamie Heaslip, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Johnny Sexton, 23 George North

 

source:  www1.skysports.com

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