British Lions

Warburton back to lead Lions against Highlanders

2017-06-11 10:20
Sam Warburton (Gallo Images)

Wellington - Welsh flank Sam Warburton has returned from injury to lead a confident British and Irish Lions in their fourth tour match against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Tuesday.

Kick-off is at 09:35 SA time.

On the back of the weekend victory over the Crusaders, a buoyed Lions have changed their entire starting line-up.

Coach Warren Gatland believes his side are gathering momentum towards the first Test but expects a "massive" confrontation with the Highlanders, who only just lost to the Crusaders the previous week.

Along with the return of Warburton, who has not been seen since the tour opener, the side also includes James Haskell who previously played with the Highlanders, with former Crusader Jared Payne at fullback.

Ospreys and Wales team-mates Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar are in the halves.

"At this stage of the Tour everyone has had a start and as coaches we are happy that all the players have had a chance to put their hand up and perform in the Lions jersey," Gatland said when naming his side on Sunday.

"We are building some momentum and we have improved with every game.

"We were obviously pleased with the win against the Crusaders, especially our defence and game management, but we know the Highlanders will be another massive test for us as a squad."

Teams

Lions

15 Jared Payne; 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Tommy Seymour; 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb; 8 CJ Stander, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 James Haskell; 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Courtney Lawes; 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Rory Best, 1 Joe Marler

Substitutes: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Alun Wyn Jones, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Elliot Daly

Highlanders

15 Richard Buckman, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Luke Whitelock (captain), 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Jackson Hemopo, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Substitutes: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siosiua Halanukonuka, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 James Lentjes, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Patrick Osborne

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