Watson to make British & Irish Lions debut

Watson to make British & Irish Lions debut

Hamish Watson will make his British & Irish Lions debut against the Emirates Lions in the opening match of the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series this Saturday (kick-off 5pm BST).

Watson - who missed out on last weekend's warm-up victory over Japan due to concussion - is back fit and will make his first appearance for the tourists at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg

Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg is named captain and will lead an all-new starting XV to the one that defeated Japan 28-10 in Edinburgh last weekend to win The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup, save for Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) who retains his place on the left wing.

Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales), Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) and Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, England) are all set to make their Lions debuts at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg, in the first of eight Tour games to be shown live and exclusively on Sky Sports (Main Event and Action from 4pm BST).

Replacements Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland), Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) and Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales) are also in line to make their first appearances in the famous red jersey should they join the fray on Saturday.

“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.”


EMIRATES LIONS v THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS

Saturday 3 July 2021, Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg, kick-off: 5pm (BST)

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) – 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


Full 2021 Tour schedule:

Saturday 3 July: Emirates Lions v The British & Irish Lions (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
Wednesday 7 July: Cell C Sharks v The British & Irish Lions (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg) KO 20h00 (SAT) / 19h00 (BST)
Saturday 10 July: Vodacom Bulls v The British & Irish Lions (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
Wednesday 14 July: South Africa ‘A’ v The British & Irish Lions (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) KO 20h00 (SAT) / 19h00 (BST)
Saturday 17 July: DHL Stormers v The British & Irish Lions (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
Saturday 24 July: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (1st Test, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
Saturday 31 July: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (2nd Test, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
Saturday 7 Aug: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (3rd Test, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)

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