South Africa have their captain, Siya Kolisi, in the starting line-up after all reports suggested his Covid protocols would prevent him taking part. His leadership will be vital in the opening hour given his pack is a little light on experience. Kwagga Smith is in at Number 8, and the starting Lions props will fancy getting into Ox Nché and Trevor Nyakane. Nyakane is particular had a horrible time in the scrum during his outing for South Africa A.
The backs have put the band back together for this huge gig, with the complete set from the original RWC winning line-up taking the field.
Warren Gatland said this week that the selection meeting for this match was the most difficult he’s have ever been involved in during his four Lions tours. Not surprising when you consider some of the selections.
Duhan van der Werwe is given a wing berth ahead of the excellent Josh Adams; Ali Price jumps over tour vice-captain Conor Murray at scrum-half and Jack Conan gets the nod at Number 8 where he’s not even first choice for Ireland. Captain Alun Wyn Jones completes his phoenix-esque return, if the legend of the Phoenix was the bird slamming his busted wing repeatedly at the fire to put it out then rejoining his mates with little fuss.
A late withdrawal for Wyn Jones with a shoulder issue brings Rory Sutherland into the starting XV and Mako Vunipola onto the bench.
South Africa: Willie le Roux; Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handré Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Ox Nché, Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane, Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (capt), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Kwagga Smith.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse.
Lions: Stuart Hogg; Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly, Robbie Henshaw, Duhan van der Merwe; Dan Biggar, Ali Price; Rory Sutherland, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tadhg Furlong, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Jack Conan.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Liam Williams.