Captains Alun Wyn Jones and Siya Kolisi are set to lead their squad as the British and Irish Lions face South Africa this weekend.
The successful three-test series kicks off in Cape Town this Saturday ahead of three weeks of intense action on the Lions’ summer tour.
Great Welshman Jones will lead Warren Gatland’s men into battle just four weeks after dislocating his shoulder.
Full-back Stuart Hogg, winger Duhan van der Merwe, center Elliot Daly and scrum-half Ali Price beat more established rivals to start.
Forwards, Luke Cowan-Dickie won the hooker race while Jack Conan is in eighth.
Owen Farrell and Conor Murray will be on the bench, while previous Lions tour veterans Taulupe Faletau, Mako Vunipola and Jamie George will be completely missed on the 23rd.
For South Africa, skipper Kolisi will lead his country after defeating COVID-19.
The Sharks flanker was one of 14 Springboks who tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing him to self-isolate in Johannesburg for 10 days.
Winger Makazole Mapimpi and mainstay Ox Nche have also been selected to start for the world champions while opener Handre Pollard, another of the Springboks who tested positive, will win his 50th cap.
South Africa v The Lions: the compositions confirmed
South Africa:Le Roux, Kolbe, Am, De Allende, Mapimpi, Pollard, De Klerk, Nche, Mbonambi, Nyakane, Etzebeth, Mostert, Kolisi (capt), Du Toit, Smith.
Substitutes:Marx, Kitshoff, Malherbe, De Jager, Elstadt, H Jantjies, E Jantjies, Willemse.
The Lions:Hogg, A Watson, Daly, Henshaw, Van Der Merwe, Biggar, Price, W Jones, Cowan-Dickie, Furlong, Itoje, AW Jones (capt), Lawes, Curry, Conan.
Substitutes: Owens, Sutherland, Sinckler, Beirne, H Watson, Murray, Farrell, L Williams.
South Africa v The Lions: How to Listen
This first Test will take place at 5 p.m. on Saturday July 24.
Full coverage of Cape Town Stadium will be live on talkSPORT, with our pre-match preparation starting at 4pm.
Craig Doyle will be your host and comments will come from Andrew McKenna and James Haskell.
We’ll also have expert analysis from former Lions Ben Kay and Tommy Bowe.
To connect, click on the radio player below or HERE for the live stream.
Here are the other ways to listen …
Application iPhone– Download from the Apple store
Android– Download from Google Play
Radio– talkSPORT is available across the UK via DAB digital radio and on 1089 or 1053 AM.
TV –Listen to talkSPORT on your TV on the following channels:Sky:Channel 0108Blank media:Channel 927TNT:Channel 723Freesat:Channel 731
South Africa vs Lions: what was said?
Warren Gatland: “It’s double. You can’t play a game against South Africa without knowing that you have to match their physique because you can’t allow them to dominate.
“The rugby test match is all about physical combat and that doesn’t change, but it’s also about being smart and when these offensive opportunities arise we have to be able to take advantage of them.
“We’re in a great position from a conditioning standpoint, so we’re not going to fall. We believe that as the game progresses, we are going to get stronger and stronger.
“We are going to be in a standoff, but we are convinced that we can overcome this. You’re not going to get it all in a test match, but there are times when you will have the upper hand and we think we can capitalize on that.
Live and exclusive talkSPORT coverage of the British & Irish Lions’ Tour in South Africa continues on Saturday with the 1st test against world champions Springboks. Coverage with Craig Doyle and former Lions Ben Kay, James Haskell and Tommy Bowe begins at 4 p.m. ET.
Before that, don’t miss the Lions Daily on talkSPORT 2 each day from 5:00 p.m. and on Fridays a special test preview on talkSPORT at 7:00 p.m. featuring legendary Lions coach Sir Ian McGeechan and World Cup winner Bryan Habana.
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