Warburton returns to captain Lions v Highlanders

Updated: 

Wales duo Sam Warburton and Dan Biggar will return from injury when the British and Irish Lions take on Highlanders on Tuesday.

Warren Galtand's tourists face the Super Rugby franchise in Dunedin on the back of tackling the competition's dominant force, Crusaders, and beating them 12-3 on Saturday.

Returning captain Warburton has not played the last two fixtures due to an ankle injury, while Biggar sat out the Crusaders win due to concussion.

The skipper is joined by James Haskell and CJ Stander in the back row, while Iain Henderson replaces Maro Itoje at lock from the Lions' last midweek match - a 22-16 defeat to Blues - to partner Courtney Lawes.

Rhys Webb returns at scrum-half, while Ireland's Jared Payne will start at full-back, with Robbie Henshaw and Jonathan Joseph in the centres. Jack Nowell is given another go on the wing despite struggling against the Blues, with Tommy Seymour lining up on the left.

The front three of Joe Marler, Rory Best and Kyle Sinckler that started the first game of the tour will do so again on Tuesday.

Gatland said: "At this stage of the tour everyone has had a start and as coaches we are happy that all the players have had a chance to put their hand up and perform in the Lions jersey.

"Each game is a chance for individuals to shine but more importantly it's about a collective performance. We are building some momentum and we have improved with every game.

"We were obviously pleased with the win against the Crusaders, especially our defence and game management, but we know the Highlanders will be another massive test for us as a squad."

Highlanders will be missing All Blacks Ben Smith and Aaron Smith for the clash, but New Zealand international trio Malakai Fekitoa, Waisake Naholo and Lima Sopoaga will get a look at the Lions.


British and Irish Lions: Jared Payne, Jack Nowell,  Jonathan Joseph, Robbie Henshaw, Tommy Seymour, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Joe Marler, Rory Best, Kyle Sinckler, Courtney Lawes, Iain Henderson, James Haskell, Sam Warburton, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Ken Owens, Jack McGrath, Dan Cole, Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, Greig Laidlaw, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly.


Highlanders: Richard Buckman, Waisake Naholo, Malakai Fekitoa, Teihorangi Walden, Tevita Li, Lima Sopoaga, Kayne Hammington; Daniel Lienert-Brown, Liam Coltman, Siate Tokolahi, Alex Ainley, Jackson Hemopo, Gareth Evans, Dillon Hunt, Luke Whitelock.

Replacements: Greg Pleasants-Tate, Aki Seiuli, Siosuia Halanukonuka, Josh Dickson, Jimmy Lentjes, Josh Renton, Marty Banks, Patrick Osborne.