South Africa v British & Irish Lions: First Test – Live!

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South Africa has its captain, Siya Kolisi, in the starting lineup after all reports suggest its Covid protocols would prevent him from participating. His leadership will be vital in the opening hour as his peloton is a bit light on experience. Kwagga Smith is at number 8, and starting Lions props will want to get into Ox Nché and Trevor Nyakane. Nyakane notably had a bad time in scrum when he came out for South Africa A.

The backs have brought the band together for this massive gig, with the full set of RWC’s original winning roster on the pitch.

Warren Gatland said this week that the selection meeting for this game was the toughest he has ever been on in his four Lions tours. Not surprisingly when you consider some of the selections.

Duhan van der Werwe takes a wing spot ahead of the excellent Josh Adams; Ali Price jumps on vice tour captain Conor Murray as scrum half and Jack Conan gets the green light at number 8 where he isn’t even the first choice for Ireland. Captain Alun Wyn Jones completes his Phoenix comeback, though the legend of the phoenix was the bird slamming its broken wing repeatedly on the fire to put it out, then joining its companions with little noise.

A late withdrawal from Wyn Jones with a shoulder problem brought Rory Sutherland in the starting XV and Mako Vunipola on the bench.

South Africa: Willie le Roux; Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handré Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Ox Nché, Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane, Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (capt), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Kwagga Smith.

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse.

The Lions: Stuart Hogg ; Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly, Robbie Henshaw, Duhan van der Merwe ; Dan Biggar, Ali Price ; Rory Sutherland, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tadhg Furlong, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones (capitaine), Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Jack Conan.

Substitutes: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Liam Williams.

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