South Africa v Lions
Scots ready to roar for Lions as three named in Test team
Test: Duhan van der Merwe will face South Africa (pic: SNS Group).
Warren Gatland has named three Scots in his British and Irish Lions team for the first Test against South Africa this weekend.
Ali Price has been handed the scrum-half responsibilities in preference to Conor Murray, with Stuart Hogg and Duhan van der Merwe also getting the nod for the showdown in Cape Town.
It’s the first time since 1997 that Scotland has had such a representation in a Lions Test team when current Lions attack coach Gregor Townsend was named alongside Alan Tait and Tom Smith for the first and second Tests in South Africa.
“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 SA ‘A’ last week we probably took a bit too long to get into the game, something we can’t afford to do that 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.
Alun Wyn Jones returns to captain the team, just 28 days after dislocating a shoulder against Japan at Murrayfield.
Kick-off on Saturday is 5pm, with the remaining two Tests also going ahead in Cape Town due to the ongoing Covid situation in South Africa.
Lions team: Hogg; A Watson, Daly, Henshaw, Van Der Merwe; Biggar, Price; W Jones, Cowan-Dickie, Furlong, Itoje, AW Jones (capt), Lawes, Curry, Conan. Replacements: Owens, Sutherland, Sinckler, Beirne, H Watson, Murray, Farrell, L Williams.