Saracens fly half Owen Farrell to start first Test for British & Irish Lions against New Zealand

Saracens fly half Owen Farrell in training with the British & Irish Lions (pic: David Davies/PA)

Saracens fly half Owen Farrell in training with the British & Irish Lions (pic: David Davies/PA) - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

England international shrugs off quad strain to start against the All Blacks in Auckland

Saracens fly half Owen Farrell has overcome a quad strain to be named in the British & Irish Lions starting XV to face New Zealand in the first Test on Saturday.

The 25-year-old was withdrawn from the squad to face the Maori All Blacks last Saturday and there were fears he would miss the clash this weekend in Auckland.

However, Farrell has been passed fit and has edged Irish rival Johnny Sexton for the starting berth at 10.

Sarries team mates Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and George Kruis start at prop, hooker and lock respectively.

Wales international Liam Williams, who will move to Allianz Park following the tour, will start at fullback after an impressive showing on Tuesday against Super Rugby side the Chiefs.

However, Saracens lock Maro Itoje has to settle for a place on the bench despite scoring a try against the Maori last Saturday.

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Ireland flanker Peter O’Mahony will skipper the team, with tour captain Sam Warburton on the bench.

Lions XV to face New Zealand: L Williams (Wales/Scarlets); A Watson (England/Bath), J Davies (Wales/Scarlets), B Te’o (England/Worcester Warriors), E Daly (England/Wasps); O Farrell (England/Saracens), C Murray (Ireland/Munster); M Vunipola (England/Saracens), J George (England/Saracens), T Furlong (Ireland/Leinster); A W Jones (Wales/Ospreys), G Kruis (England/Saracens); P O’Mahony (Ireland/Munster), S O’Brien (Ireland/Leinster); T Faletau (Wales/Bath).

Replacements: K Owens (Wales/Scarlets), J McGrath (Ireland/Leinster), K Sinckler (England/Harlequins), M Itoje (England/Saracens), S Warburton (Wales/Cardiff Blues), R Webb (Wales/Ospreys), J Sexton (Ireland/Leinster), L Halfpenny (Wales/Toulon).

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