Taulupe Faletau has been named at Number 8 for The British & Irish Lions’ opening match of the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series on Saturday.
The tourists, who arrived in South Africa this week after seeing off Japan in Scotland, take on the Emirates Lions at Ellis Park in Johannesburg (17:00 kick-off BST).
Bath Rugby back rower Faletau featured in The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup win over Japan last weekend, making 17 tackles in an excellent defensive display.
The Wales international, the 779th Lion, is now a three-time British & Irish Lions tourist after touring in 2013 and 2017 – winning and drawing series against Australia and New Zealand respectively.
On the latter tour, he started six games in total and his try in the second Test in Wellington proved to be a game-changing one, swinging the momentum in the favour of the tourists as they became the first side to beat the All Blacks in the Westpac since 2003.
Faletau is named in the back row alongside England’s Courtney Lawes and Hamish Watson of Scotland.
Anthony Watson has had an injection in his toe following the Japan game.
“It’s good to have arrived in Johannesburg and get the Tour underway,” said Lions Head coach, Warren Gatland.
“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.”
THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS TEAM TO FACE THE EMIRATES LIONS
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
16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England), 17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) – Prop #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