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Paul O'Connell To Captain Lions Vs Barbarians (VIDEO)

30/05/2013 11:27 BST

Paul O'Connell will seal his comeback from serious injury when he captains the British and Irish Lions in Saturday's tour opener at Hong Kong Stadium.

Only a few months ago, the 33-year-old Ireland lock did not expect to be part of what is now his third Lions mission.

But with tour skipper Sam Warburton resting a knee injury, 2009 Lions skipper O'Connell takes over as leader against the Barbarians.

"I suppose around Christmas, and even two or three months after Christmas, I certainly thought I wouldn't be here, so to be here and now captaining the side is fantastic," said O'Connell, who was laid low by groin and back problems.

paul oconnell

O'Connell is a veteran of two Lions tours

"I am delighted. It's a very exciting occasion. We've had a few great weeks, and it has gone up another level since the Leicester boys and the Leinster boys came in.

"I am disappointed, obviously, for Sam. He has run a great ship the last few weeks."

Solitary Irishman O'Connell will take charge of a team containing nine Welshmen - including the entire back-row of Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric and Toby Faletau - three Scots and two English.

British and Irish Lions (versus the Barbarians): S Hogg (Scotland); A Cuthbert (Wales), J Davies (Wales), J Roberts (Wales), S Maitland (Scotland); O Farrell (England), M Phillips (Wales); M Vunipola (England), R Hibbard (Wales), A Jones (Wales), R Gray (Scotland), P O'Connell (Ireland, capt), D Lydiate (Wales), J Tipuric (Wales), T Faletau (Wales).

Replacements: T Youngs (England), C Healy (Ireland), M Stevens (England), A-W Jones (Wales), J Heaslip (Ireland), C Murray (Ireland), J Sexton (Ireland), G North (Wales).