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Lawes to start Lions' first clash in South Africa

Northampton Saints lock Courtney Lawes has been named in the British & Irish Lions' starting line-up for their first match on South African soil against Emirates Lions this Saturday (3 July, kick-off: 5pm BST). 

After replacing an injured Alun Wyn Jones' early in last weekend's 28-10 win against Japan, Lawes makes the shift to start this weekend – with the 32-year-old starting in the back row in Johannesburg.

Saturday's skirmish with Emirates Lions marks the first of five opening ties with South African club teams before the Lions play their first Test against the Springboks on 24 July. 

Lions' Head Coach Warren 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.”

BRITISH & IRISH LIONS vs EMIRATES LIONS
2021 Castle Lager Lions Series
Saturday 3 July, 2021
Emirates Airline Park
Kick-off: 5pm (BST)
Live on Sky Sports

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

Replacements:
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England)
17 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) #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

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