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Lions start for Warburton

06th June 2013 10:58

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British and Irish Lions 2013  Sam Warburton training

Captain: Sam Warburton

Sam Warburton will make his Lions bow against the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday after the openside flanker was named captain for the game.

The Wales flanker will become the last of the original squad who left London on May 27 to make his Lions debut and to add to the sense of occasion he will be leading the side for the first time as well.

Gethin Jenkins will join Warburton in making his first appearance on the 2013 tour, while lock Geoff Parling, prop Matt Stevens, hooker Tom Youngs and his brother and scrum-half Ben Youngs will all make their run-on debuts for the Lions.

"Two games and two victories is great, but those two matches are building blocks as we head towards the Test series. We always said we would give every player a start in the first three matches and this team reflects that. It also provides us with the opportunity to continue to look at different combinations," said head coach Warren Gatland.

"For the Reds match this includes a new centre pairing and a different front five. At the same time we have several players playing their second matches on tour and some proven combinations starting the match - Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell are the incumbent England halfbacks and we have an all-Welsh back-row."

Warburton has fully recovered from the knee ligament strain he suffered in training and will form an all Wales 2013 Grand Slam back-row unit with Dan Lydiate and Toby Faletau, who will be seeing action for the third game in a row.

Tour Manager Andy Irvine said: "We have played two matches so far and done very well but the stakes get higher on Saturday against the Reds, who are a leading Super Rugby side. It is the type of game we require at this point in the tour and it will be a measure of how we are progressing on the field.

"Tour captain Sam Warburton is the last of the 2013 tourists that has yet to pull on the famous red jersey. He is now fit and raring to play and it is great that he marks the occasion by becoming the 800th British and Irish Lion."

Lions: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Tommy Bowe, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (capt), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Alun-Wyn Jones, 19 Paul O'Connell, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Jonathan Sexton, 23 George North.

Date: Saturday, June 8
Kick-off: 19:30 local (10:30 BST, 09:30 GMT)
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Television match official: tba (New Zealand)
Assessor: Scott Young/Andrew Cole (Australia)