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Sam Warburton to lead British and Irish Lions in New Zealand tour opener

Sam Warburton will captain the British and Irish Lions against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in Saturday's tour opener in Whangarei.

Sam Warburton will lead the British and Irish Lions in their opening tour match against the Provincial Barbarians on June 3.

The Wales flanker and winning 2013 Lions skipper has not played since injuring a knee on April 7 but has been passed fit for the first fixture of the 10-game schedule in New Zealand.

Dragons captain Alun Wyn Jones has recovered from a shoulder problem to start in the second row, and joins compatriots Ross Moriarty, Taulupe Faletau and Warburton in the forwards.

The Scottish trio of Greig Laidlaw, Tommy Seymour and Stuart Hogg all start, as does Kyle Sinckler, who has yet to start a Test for England.

England prop Joe Marler is named alongside Harlequins teammate Sinckler in the front row, with hooker Rory Best and second-row Iain Henderson making up the pack.

After being called up as a replacement for Ben Youngs, scrum-half Laidlaw partners Ireland's Jonny Sexton at half-back, with Ben Te'o paired with fellow Englishman Jonathan Joseph in the centre.

Bath and England wing Anthony Watson, meanwhile, joins Hogg and Seymour in the back three.

Lions team to play Provincial Barbarians:

Hogg; Watson, Joseph, Te'o, Seymour, Sexton, Laidlaw; Marler, Best, Sinckler, Jones, Henderson, Moriarty, Warburton, Faletau

Replacements:

George, Vunipola, Furlong, Kruis, Tipuric, Webb, Farrell, Payne

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The British & Irish Lions celebrate their victory in Australia on July 06, 2013.
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