Borderers Stuart Hogg and Rory Sutherland both in British and Irish Lions squad to face South Africa this weekend
Both Borderers with the British and Irish Lions in South Africa have been named in the matchday squad for their first test against the Springboks this weekend.
Stuart Hogg is in the starting line-up for that game in Cape Town and fellow ex-Hawick star Rory Sutherland will be among the replacements.
They’re among five Scots in the squad, along with Duhan van der Merwe and Ali Price in the starting XV and Hamish Watson on the substitutes’ bench.
Head coach Warren Gatland had originally planned to reveal his squad tomorrow, July 22, but brought forward that announcement by a day after the South Africans revealed their line-up yesterday.
Tour captain Alun Wyn Jones will skipper the Lions after recovering from a dislocated shoulder sustained in the tourists’ 28-10 warm-up win over Japan at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium just 24 days ago.
That will be the Welsh lock’s tenth successive test cap for the Lions, making him the first player to reach that milestone since rugby went professional.
The 35-year-old will be joined in the second row by Maro Itoje, claiming his fourth successive Lions test cap.
Wyn Jones, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Tadhg Furlong make up the front row.
Courtney Lawes packs down on the blind side flank to make his third Lions test appearance, having got his previous two from the bench in the second and third tests in New Zealand in 2017.
Tom Curry is named on the open side, with Jack Conan filling the No 8 shirt.
Scrum-half Price and Dan Biggar are named at half-back.
Robbie Henshaw, only just back from a hamstring injury last weekend, partners Elliot Daly in midfield.
Anthony Watson wins his fourth Lions test cap as on the wing opposite van der Merwe.
Scotland captain Hogg, 29, is playing in his usual full-back position.
It will be the first time that a starting XV for the Lions has included three Scots since current Lions assistant coach and ex-Gala star Gregor Townsend was named alongside Kelso’s Alan Tait and Tom Smith for the first and second tests in South Africa in 1997.
“In my four tours as a Lions coach, this was by far the hardest test selection I have been involved in,” said Gatland.
“We couldn’t have asked for more from the players so far.
“They’ve all put their hands up and made picking a starting XV incredibly difficult.
“In truth, we would have been happy with any number of different combinations across the 23. However, we’re very pleased with the side we’ve settled on.
“We know what we’re coming up against on Saturday. It’s going to be an arm-wrestle, there’s no doubt about it.
“We’ll need to front up physically and be ready to go from the first whistle.
“When we played South Africa A last week, we probably took a bit too long to get into the game, something we can’t afford to do again this weekend.
“We need to make sure we play in the right areas of the field, not give them easy territory, and take our chances when they come.
“While the stands will be empty in Cape Town Stadium, we know Lions fans from across the home nations will be cheering us on back home. We’ll do our best to get the win.”
Also among the replacements alongside Sutherland, 28, and Hamish Watson, 29, are Ken Owens, Kyle Sinckler, Tadhg Beirne, Conor Murray, Owen Farrell and Liam Williams.
The first of three tests against South Africa takes place this Saturday, July 24, starting at 5pm.