AFP
2 minute read
22 Jun 2021
1:32 pm

Van der Merwe given British and Irish Lions ‘inside lane’

AFP

The former South African is one of four Scotland players picked to face Japan in Edinburgh ahead of the tour of South Africa.

Duhan van der Merwe passes the ball during the British and Irish Lions training session held at Stade Santander International stadium recently. The former South African will make his Lions debut this weekend. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

Four Scotland players have been selected in the British and Irish Lions starting XV for Saturday’s landmark match against Japan in Edinburgh.

Wing Duhan van der Merwe, flanker Hamish Watson and props Zander Fagerson and Rory Sutherland will all make their debuts for the combined side, who will be skippered by tour captain Alun Wyn Jones.

This match, staged a day before the squad departs for South Africa for a tour that culminates with a three-Test series against the world champion Springboks, will be the first time the Lions have played in Scotland, with this warm-up fixture also their first match against Japan.

The back-row selected by Warren Gatland will all be making their Lions debuts, with Ireland’s Tadhg Beirne and Jack Conan joining Watson in the loose-forward trio.

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But the veteran coach, in charge of the Lions for a third successive tour after a 2013 series win in Australia which was followed by a drawn 2017 Test campaign in his native New Zealand, has selected an experienced half-back pairing of Ireland scrumhalf Conor Murray and Wales flyhalf Dan Biggar.

Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw form an all-Ireland centre pairing, with no England players in the starting XV.

But four members of the Red Rose brigade are on the bench, with England captain Owen Farrell and Jamie George providing flyhalf and hooker cover respectively despite only arriving into the Lions’ training camp in Jersey on Monday.

Lions

Liam Williams (WAL), Josh Adams (WAL), Robbie Henshaw (IRL), Bundee Aki (IRL), Duhan van der Merwe (SCO);  Dan Biggar (WAL), Conor Murray (IRL); Jack Conan (IRL), Hamish Watson (SCO), Tadhg Beirne (IRL); Alun Wyn Jones (WAL, capt), Iain Henderson (IRL); Zander Fagerson (SCO), Ken Owens (WAL), Rory Sutherland (SCO).

Bench: Jamie George (ENG), Wyn Jones (WAL), Tadhg Furlong (IRL), Courtney Lawes (ENG), Taulupe Faletau (WAL), Ali Price (SCO), Owen Farrell (ENG), Anthony Watson (ENG)