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Captain's call for Paul

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Paul O'Connell. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Paul O'Connell. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Paul O'Connell. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

IRELAND'S Paul O'Connell will captain the Lions in place of the injured Sam Warburton in Saturday's match against the Barbarians in Hong Kong.

"He's a world class player," Welsh scrumhalf Mike Phillips said of O'Connell, the only Irish starter - Cian Healy, Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton are named among the replacements.

England's Owen Farrell gets the first chance to impress at flyhalf in his personal battle for the number 10 shirt with Sexton.

Otherwise, though, the backline has a distinctly Welsh feel with Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies pairing up in the centres, Phillips at halfback and Alex Cuthbert on one wing.

New Zealand-born Sean Maitland starts in the back three alongside his Scotland team-mate Stuart Hogg.

One factor heading into Saturday's match is Hong Kong's tropical heat and humidity. Temperatures are expected to hit 33 degrees Celsius.

LIONS (v Barbarians): S Hogg; A Cuthbert, J Davies, J Roberts, S Maitland; O'Farrell, M Phillips; M Vunipola, R Hibbard, A Jones, R Gray, P O'Connell, D Lydiate, J Tipuric, T Faletau. Subs: T Youngs, C Healy, M Stevens, A W Jones, J Heaslip, C Murray, J Sexton, G North.


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