Robbie Henshaw - set for Lions start this Saturday.

Henshaw to start against Stormers as first Test moves closer

Photo: Robbie Henshaw - set for Lions start this Saturday.

Robbie Henshaw will make his first appearance for the British & Irish Lions since the warm-up match against Japan in this Saturday's clash with the DHL Stormers in Cape Town.

The Athlone man has shaken off a hamstring injury and has been selected at inside centre, where he will be partnered by England's Elliot Daly.

The clash against the Stormers will give Henshaw the chance to put himself in the frame for a coveted starting place in the first Test against South Africa.

The Lions will face the Springboks, the World Cup holders, in the first of three Tests on Saturday week, July 24.

Henshaw, who began his rugby career with Buccaneers RFC in Athlone, is one of four Irish players in the team for the meeting with the Stormers. The others are Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne and Jack Conan.

The Lions will be looking to bounce back after their defeat to South Africa 'A' yesterday (Wednesday).

“It’s an important game as it’s the final chance for the coaching group to see the players perform prior to the start of the Test Series,” said Lions head coach Warren Gatland.

“For the match-day 23 it’s their last opportunity to stake a claim for a Test place, so I expect to see a highly motivated group of players."

England's Marcus Smith will make his Lions debut at out-half against the Stormers, while Scotland's Stuart Hogg will captain the team. Smith was called up to the squad after Finn Russell sustained a torn Achilles injury.

In a surprising boost, Alun Wyn Jones is included on the bench after recovering from a dislocated shoulder injury much quicker than anticipated. Originally chosen as tour captain, the Welsh warrior's involvement in the tour had looked in major doubt, with Ireland's Conor Murray named as replacement captain.

Saturday's match against the Stormers kicks off at 5pm Irish time.

British & Irish Lions v DHL Stormers

(Saturday, July 17, Cape Town)

15. Stuart Hogg – captain (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland)

14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales)

13. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England)

12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)

11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland)

10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, England)

9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)

1. Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland)

2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England)

3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)

4. Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales)

5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, England)

6. Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland)

7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)

8. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)


16. Jamie George (Saracens, England)

17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England)

18. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)

19. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales)

20. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England)

21. Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales)

22. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland)

23. Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales)