The Lions team for the opening Match v Royal XV

Sat 30 May 14:00 at Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, Rustenburg the Lions open their tour and here is the selection made for that game:

Ireland’s Keith Earls will be among nine debutants in a British and Irish Lions side featuring seven Welshmen for Saturday’s tour opener in South Africa. He joins captain Paul O’Connell, Ronan O’Gara and fellow Irish débutante Tommy Bowe against a Royal XV in Rustenburg. Lee Byrne, Jamie Roberts, Andy Powell, Matthew Rees, Adam Jones, Scot Mike Blair and English flanker Joe Worsley will also play their first Lions match and they are joined by Andrew Sheridan and Simon Shaw who complete the tourists’ line-up.

Five more players, Mike Phillips and Alun-Wyn Jones of Wales, Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris plus England pair Riki Flutey and Lee Mears could also taste their first action as a Lion off the bench. With Wales’ 20-year-old wing Leigh Halfpenny yet to join the tour, Earls, 21, is currently the youngest player in the squad.

Full Selection

Lee Byrne (Ospreys/Wales), Tommy Bowe (Ospreys/Ireland), Keith Earls (Munster/Ireland), Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues/Wales), Shane Williams (Ospreys/Wales); Ronan O’Gara (Munster/Ireland), Mike Blair (Edinburgh/Scotland); Andrew Sheridan (Sales Sharks/England), Matthew Rees (Scarlets/Wales), Adam Jones (Ospreys/Wales), Simon Shaw (London Wasps/England), Paul O’Connell (Munster/Ireland – captain), Joe Worsley (London Wasps/England), Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues/Wales), Andy Powell (Cardiff Blues/Wales).
Replacements: Lee Mears (Bath/England), Phil Vickery (London Wasps/England), Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys/Wales), Stephen Ferris (Ulster/Ireland), Mike Phillips (Ospreys/Wales), Stephen Jones (Scarlets/Wales), Riki Flutey (London Wasps/England).