Australia v British and Irish Lions - First Test match preview

Last Updated: 22/06/13 9:07am

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Warren Gatland and Robbie Deans have revealed their hands ahead of the opening Test match at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.

The British and Irish Lions enter the three-match series against the Wallabies with five victories from the opening six tour matches.

Despite being a late replacemet, Alex Corbisiero gets the nod in the front row with Cian Healy and Gethin Jenkins both ruled out through injury.

The in-form Mako Vunipola appeared favourite to take the number one jersey but will start from the bench as Gatland opts for strength up front with Tom Youngs and Adam Jones alongside Corbisiero.

Captain Sam Warburton, Tom Croft and Jamie Heaslip combine to form the back row while there is no place in the match-day squad for Sean O'Brien and Justin Tipuric.

Paul O'Connell and Alun-Wyn Jones create an experienced second row as the Lions seek a first series victory in 16 years.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny is joined by Alex Cuthbert and the fit again George North while Jonathan Davies partners Brian O'Driscoll in the centres with Manu Tuilagi and Jamie Roberts both out injured.

Debutants

In the half-backs, Jonathan Sexton takes the number 10 jersey while Mike Phillips starts at scrum-half for the tourists.

Meanwhile, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has named three debutants in his starting XV ahead of the eagerly anticipated fixture.

Israel Folau will make his international bow on the wing opposite Digby Ioane while Berrick Barnes starts at full-back.

Experienced centre Adam Ashley-Cooper will be joined by newcomer Christian Leali'ifano as he gets the vote ahead of Pat McCabe who starts from the bench.

With Kurtley Beale deemed unready to start following his return from alcohol-related issues, James O'Connor starts at fly-half alongside Will Genia.

In the pack, Ben Mowen starts in the gold of Australia for the first time alongside Michael Hooper and the fit again Wycliff Palu.

Wallabies skipper James Horwill combines with Kane Douglas in the second row while Benn Robinson, Stephen Moore and Ben Alexander form a strong front row.

Australia:15 Berrick Barnes, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Will Genia, 1 Benn Robinson, 2 Stephen Moore, 3 Ben Alexander, 4 Kane Douglas, 5 James Horwill (capt), 6 Ben Mowen, 7 Michael Hooper, 8 Wycliff Palu.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Pat McCabe, 23 Kurtley Beale.

British and Irish Lions: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 George North, 10 Jonny Sexton, 9 Mike Phillips, 1 Alex Corbisiero, 2 Tom Youngs, 3 Adam Jones, 4 Alun-Wyn Jones, 5 Paul O'Connell, 6 Tom Croft, 7 Sam Warburton (capt), 8 Jamie Heaslip.


Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Dan Lydiate, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Sean Maitland.

What they said...

Australia head coach Robbie Deans

"We have witnessed the Lions play but we have built our game around what we bring to the table," he said.

"We have concentrated on what we can influence. It is going to be a battle of wills and momentum is a big part of Test rugby. The side that can generate the momentum will have the greater chance to impose their wills on the opposition."

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland

"After six matches we have arrived at the first Test and have selected our strongest possible side with only Jamie Roberts, Tommy Bowe and Manu Tuilagi unavailable for selection.

"The Wallabies at home pose a huge challenge but the Test team contains 20 of the players that played against the Waratahs in what was our best match to date. We now have a couple of more days of match preparation to ensure we improve again on that performance."

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