Sam Warburton leads British & Irish Lions in tour opener as Kyle Sinckler starts

• All three Scots start, as does Jonathan Sexton, against NZ Provincial Barbarians
• It is important these guys lay down a marker for others, says Warren Gatland

Preparation time may have been strictly limited but the 2017 British & Irish Lions will launch their tour of New Zealand on Saturday with no lack of optimism. Sam Warburton will lead a positive-looking XV against the NZ Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei and his squad firmly believe they have the potential to make a strong impression on their hosts.

Warren Gatland’s first selection has been shaped inevitably by end-of-season domestic commitments which forced a quarter of his squad to miss the two pre?tour training camps in Wales and Ireland. Consequently the starting lineup largely comprises players whose clubs did not make the play-offs, with the choice of Jonathan Sexton at fly-half perhaps the most interesting selection.

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