Will Greenwood has named just one English player in his British and Irish Lions starting 15 to take on the Springboks.
The Rugby World Cup-winning centre has selected the best team available from the official 37-man Lions squad and he has rewarded form in a team that features six Welsh players, five Irishmen and three Scots.
Greenwood picked his Lions team for The Telegraph and has backed an Irish trio of forwards to take South Africa head on.
The Lions and SA Rugby have confirmed the fixtures for the #CastleLionsSeries.
Every match of the Tour will be played in Gauteng or Cape Town, and the @LionsRugbyCo have replaced the SA Invitational team.
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) May 14, 2021
‘This is a pack that will take the game to South Africa.’
“Aggression, intensity and pace. This is a pack that will take the game to South Africa, spearheaded by the Irish all-rounders of Iain Henderson, Tadhg Beirne and Tadhg Furlong,” Greenwood wrote.
“Behind them, there is zip at half-back, mongrel in midfield and a back three that could go round, rather than through, the Springboks.”
Tom Curry is the only Englishman to appear in Greenwood’s team, with the rest of the forward pack consisting of four Welsh players and three Irishmen.
In the backline, Greenwood has gone with three Scottish players, rewarding them for the impressive victories against England and France in this year’s Six Nations Championship.
Starting Chris Harris at outside-centre is perhaps Greenwood’s most intriguing selection, after the Scottish international was a somewhat surprise inclusion in Warren Gatland’s Lions squad for the tour of South Africa.
Scottish maverick Finn Russell gets the nod at fly-half, in what is a backline with bundles of attacking flair as well as plentiful defensive capabilities.
Check out the full starting XV below.
15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
14. Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales)
13. Chris Harris (Scotland)
12. Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)
11. Liam Williams (Wales)
10. Finn Russell (Scotland)
9. Conor Murray (Ireland)
8. Taulupe Faletau (Wales)
7. Tom Curry (England)
6. Tadhg Beirne (Ireland)
5. Iain Henderson (Ireland)
4. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
2. Ken Owens (Wales)
1. Wyn Jones (Wales)