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British and Irish Lions Tour Begins

The British and Irish Lions land in New Zealand, ready to take on the Provincial Barbarians

The British and Irish Lions have finally made their way to New Zealand. They landed in Auckland Tuesday with an amazing reception and haka in the Airport lobby.

Warren Gatland’s squad has embarked on the journey we have all been waiting for. This marks the start of the British and Irish Lions tour that will involve 10 matches over five weeks including three test matches against the All Blacks. The team has taken on a number of changes since the initial naming of the team last month. This includes Greig Laidlaw replacing Ben Youngs and James Haskel replacing Billy Vunipola.

The Lions start with a match against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians on Saturday morning. This will be the first extensive chance for the Lions to work together as a unit. The Lions have had a handful of workout sessions over the past two weeks, but nothing major enough to compare to an actual rugby match.

Greig Laidlaw is excited and ready to play on the tour. After being a late replacement, he is making his impact with the team. Former Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has a lot of confidence in Laidlaw saying that he would make a great mid-week captain.

“He is a strong character who likes winning and he won’t sit and let things happen,’ said Cotter, when asked if Laidlaw could fit the bill as midweek skipper.” ESPN

Laidlaw led Scotland through a very successful World Cup series in 2015 and has the experience to lead any team, not just the mid-week team.

Lions squad for first match announced

The first squad for the 2017 Lions tour has been announced and it is an amazing lineup.

Forward:

1.Joe Marler (England)

2. Rory Best (Ireland)

3. Kyle Sinckler (England)

4. Alun -Wyn Jones (Wales)

5. Iain Henderson (Ireland)

6. Ross Moriarty (Wales)

7. Sam Warburton (Wales, Captain)

8. Taulupe Faletau (Wales)

The front eight for the Lions is a great mix. There is tons of experience and defensive talent in the likes of Jones, Moriarty, and Faletau. The England props and Rory Best had a great performance throughout the Six Nations and expect that performance to continue. This pack will work great for both this match all the way through the test matches coming up.

Backs:

9. Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)

10. Jonathan Sexton (Ireland)

11. Tommy Seymour (Scotland)

12. Ben Te’o (England)

13. Jonathan Joseph (England)

14. Anthony Watson (England)

15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

The back six for the Lions features the very best from England and Scotland, as well as arguably the best fly-half in all of the British Isles in Jonathan Sexton. Both Seymour and Watson are try scoring machines. Stuart Hogg is an amazing attacking fullback who is highly likely to score at least one try in this opening match.

Reserves:

  • Jamie George (England)
  • Mako Vunipola (England)
  • Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
  • George Kruis (England)
  • Justin Tipuric (Wales)
  • Rhys Webb (Wales)
  • Owen Farrell (England)
  • Jared Payne (Ireland)

New Zealand Provincial Barbarians

Forwards:

  • Aiden Ross (Bay Of Plenty)
  • Tolu Fahamokioa (Wellington)
  • Sam Anderson-Heather (Otago)
  • Epalahame Faiva (Waikato)
  • Marcel Renata (Auckland)
  • Quinten Strange (Tasman)
  • Joshua Goodhue (Northland)
  • Heiden Bedwell-Curtis (Manawatu)
  • Mitchell Brown (Taranaki)
  • Matthew Matich (Northland)
  • Peter Rowe (Wanganui)

Backs:

  • Jonathan Taumateine (Counties Manukau)
  • Jack Stratton (Canterbury)
  • Bryn Gatland (North Harbour)
  • Jonathan Fa’auli (Taranaki)
  • Jonah Lowe (Hawke’s Bay)
  • Sevuloni Reece (Waikato)
  • Luteru Laulala (Counties Manukau)
  • Junior Ngaluafe (Southland)
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David Bradham

Active duty Navy, have a true passion for Rugby.
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