Warburton leads B&I Lions in opening skirmishes
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Tour captain Sam Warburton will lead the British & Irish Lions into the opening skirmish of their New Zealand tour.
The B&I Lions take on the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei on Saturday.
The starting XV includes six 2013 Lions and a further three on the bench.
"We are all hugely excited about the first game on tour, it's a great opportunity for the starting XV and the whole match day squad to lay down a marker and get the tour off to a good start," coach Warren Gatland said.
"We have named a side that showcases a strong combination of experience and youth and we are really looking forward to Saturday.
"We are lucky to have some real leaders in the squad and to be able to select them for this match in the likes of Rory Best, Alun Wyn Jones and Greig Laidlaw.
"I'm looking forward to seeing what Greig can do alongside Johnny Sexton who both are experienced half-backs.
"It is also great to have Sam starting in the first game of the tour, something he didn't do in 2013 and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do this weekend.
"The balance of the squad is really good, we have selected the majority of players who were together for the training weeks in Wales and Ireland and they have worked together and prepared well for a number of weeks.
"It is important these guys get a run early and lay down a marker for others to follow.
"We've picked the team for Saturday but it is still the plan to try and give the whole squad a start in the next two matches.
"It is important the players get that opportunity, because if they go well and the team goes well, they put themselves in the shop window for a Test start."
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ben Te'o, 11 Tommy Seymour –, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Rory Best, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 George Kruis, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Jared Payne.
Date: Saturday, June 3
Venue: Okara Park, Whangarei
Kick-off: 19.35 (08.35 UK & Ireland time; 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)