The monumental event that will see the Lions taking on the Wallabies in Australia is about to get underway, and ahead of the big match, both camps have announced their squads that will go head-to-head.
Robbie Deans has selected a side which represents the starting XV speculated by the Australian media, with three debutants that will be making their way onto the field.
Israel Folau, Christian Lealiifano and Ben Mowen will be making their debuts, with the playmaking roles falling to James O’Connor at flyhalf and Berrick Barnes at fullback.
Kane Douglas will lock alongside James Horwill, who will captain the Wallabies against the Lions.
Mowen will be placed on the side of the scrum, with Wycliff Palu and Michael Hooper playing at number 8 and 7 respectively.
Rugby league-convert Israel Folau will make his Wallaby debut on the wing instead of his traditional fullback position, with Digby Ioane taking his usual spot on the adjacent wing.
The Lions have presented a strong and physical squad that will tackle the Wallabies in Brisbane.
Welsh duo George North and Alex Cuthbert will provide some bulk and speed out on the wings, with Leigh Halfpenny, Jonathan Davies and Jonny Sexton winning their first caps behind the scrum.
Brian O’Driscoll and Mike Phillips are the two returning Lions, and will fit in at outside centre and scrumhalf respectively.
Jamie Heaslip, Tom Croft, Paul O’Connell, Alun Wyn Jones and Adam Jones make up the bulk of the forwards, and all bring Lions experience having toured South Africa in 2009.
Sam Warburton captains the side, while Tom Youngs and Alex Corbisiero make up the rest of the front-row alongside Adam Jones.
The replacements’ bench features a further eight potential Lions Test debutants, with Richard Hibbard, Mako Vunipola and Dan Cole providing front row cover; Geoff Parling acing as the replacement lock; Dan Lydiate covering the back row; and Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell and Sean Maitland the backline replacements.
Rugby Informer’s take: The Lions side has a wealth of experience behind them, both in the backline and forwards, and will be up against a Wallaby side who is experimenting with combinations. The Wallabies should show some signs of magic with the likes of O’Connor and Lealiifano, but the bulk and clinical-nature of the Lions should show through. Lions by 5.
Wallabies: 15 Berrick Barnes, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Pat McCabe, 23 Kurtley Beale.
British & Irish Lions: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 George North, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Tom Croft, 5 Paul O’Connell,4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Subs: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Dan Lydiate, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Sean Maitland.