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Faletau, Joseph and Watson all start in Lions opener

1 June 2017

Bath Rugby’s Taulupe Faletau, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson have all been named in the starting line-up for the British & Irish Lions for their game against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians on Saturday.

Faletau, who ended the domestic season in sparkling form, takes his place at number eight in an all Welsh back row, featuring Ross Moriarty and captain Sam Warburton.

England internationals Joseph and Ben T’eo will be looking to use their pace and trickery to great effect from the midfield in the Lions’ opening match of the tour at Toll Stadium, Whangarei.

In an exciting back three, Watson lines up on the right wing alongside Scottish duo Tommy Seymour and Stuart Hogg.

British & Irish Lions Head Coach, Warren Gatland, said: “You are always excited about the first game on Tour but a bit apprehensive,” said Gatland.

“It’s a great opportunity for that starting 23 to lay down a marker in terms of getting the Tour hopefully off to a good start.

“The advantage of the team that was selected was obviously the players that were together the first week in Wales. It was an opportunity for some combinations that have worked together for a couple of weeks to prepare for that first game.

“There is some real experience there with Rory Best, Alun Wyn Jones, Johnny Sexton and then Sam Warburton obviously as captain. There is a big responsibility on the experienced players and also the younger players to go out there and perform and get us off to a winning start.”

British & Irish Lions team to face the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians

15. Stuart Hogg

14. Anthony Watson

13. Jonathan Joseph

12. Ben T’eo

11. Tommy Seymour

10. Johnny Sexton

9. Greg Laidlaw

1. Joe Marler

2. Rory Best

3. Kyle Sinckler

4. Alun Wyn Jones

5. Iain Henderson

6. Ross Moriarty

7. Sam Warburton (capt)

8. Taulupe Faletau

Replacements

16. Jamie George

17. Mako Vunipola

18. Tadhg Furlong

19. George Kruis

20. Justin Tipuric

21. Rhys Webb

22. Owen Farrell

23. Jared Payne

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