Rory Best has backed Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton to start for the British and Irish Lions when they take on the Springboks this summer.
The former Ireland captain selected his team on World Rugby’s The Wrap and chose an experience starting team, with just one player chosen having not toured New Zealand with the Lions four years ago.
England’s Tom Curry is the only first-time Lion to appear in Bests’ team, as the Irishman has gone for 11 players who started in the Lions third test against the All Blacks in 2017.
All eyes are on the @lionsofficial squad announcement 👀
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) May 5, 2021
Roy Best picks his Lions XV.
Best has gone with the same tight five that started in that last test at Eden Park in Auckland, with three Saracens players – Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and Maro Itoje – retaining the starting positions.
The former Ulster captain believes the second-row is potentially open to the most interpretation, as he named Ireland’s Iain Henderson and James Ryan as potential starters there.
The all-Irish half-back pairing of Murray and Sexton also features in the former Lions hooker’s team, a combination that has worked well for the Lions in their last two tours to New Zealand and Australia.
Wales’ Liam Williams has also been backed to start again for the Lions, although the Scarlets player has been selected on the wing to make room for Stuart Hogg at fullback.
The Ulsterman has gone with experienced Wales centre Jonathan Davies to start in his fifth consecutive Lions test, alongside the in-form Robbie Henshaw at inside-centre.
Rory Best’s full Lions starting XV.
15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
14. Anthony Watson (England)
13. Jonathan Davies (Wales)
12. Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)
11. Liam Williams (Wales)
10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)
9. Conor Murray (Ireland)
8. Taulupe Faletau (Wales)
7. Justin Tipuric (Wales)
6. Tom Curry (England)
5. Maro Itoje (England)
4. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
2. Jamie George (England)
1. Mako Vunipola (England)