Hawick’s Stuart Hogg to captain Lions for first game in South Africa
Hawick’s Stuart Hogg has been named as captain for the British and Irish Lions’ first match in South Africa.
That’s against Emirates Lions this Saturday, July 3, at 5pm at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg.
The full-back will lead a starting XV all changed, but for Welsh wing Josh Adams, from the one that beat Japan 28-10 at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday, June 26, to win the Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup.
Hogg, 29, was unavailable for selection for that game as he was playing for his club side, Exeter Chiefs, that day but he was able to catch up with Warren Gatland’s squad, now being captained by Conor Murray after original skipper Alun Wyn Jones was ruled out by a shoulder injury sustained against the Japanese, the day after to fly out to South Africa.
Louis Rees-Zammit, Chris Harris and Hogg’s Exeter team-mate Jonny Hill are all set to make their Lions debuts in Johannesburg in the first of eight tour games.
Replacements Zander Fagerson, Gareth Davies and Exeter pair Sam Simmonds and Luke Cowan-Dickie are also in line to make their first appearances for the multinational side if they get off the bench.
“It’s good to have arrived in Johannesburg and get the tour under way,” said Lions head coach 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.”
Also in the starting line-up are Owen Farrell, Finn Russell, Ali Price, Wyn Jones, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Hamish Watson and Taulupe Faletau.
Saturday’s other substitutes are Mako Vunipola, Zander Fagerson, Iain Henderson, Bundee Aki and Elliot Daly.
Saturday’s game will be Scotland captain Hogg’s eighth for the Lions after playing five in Australia in 2013 and two in New Zealand four years later.
Fellow ex-Hawick star Rory Sutherland is being rested after featuring in Saturday’s match against Japan, his first game since sustaining a shoulder injury while playing for Scotland against France in March.
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