British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton to return from injury against Highlanders

 
Frank Dalleres
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New Zealand Provincial Barbarians v British & Irish Lions
Warburton has missed the last two matches with an ankle injury (Source: Getty)

British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton is set to return to the starting line-up on Tuesday against the Highlanders, following a two-match injury absence.

Warburton missed Saturday’s 12-3 win over the Crusaders and the preceding defeat to the Blues in midweek with a minor ankle complaint but the Wales flanker has been restored to Warren Gatland’s XV for the fourth match of the Lions’ tour to New Zealand and joins England’s James Haskell and Ireland No8 CJ Stander in the back row.

No10 Dan Biggar has recovered from concussion to form a half-back partnership with Wales and Ospreys colleague Rhys Webb, while England’s Jonathan Joseph and Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw start in midfield.

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Ireland full-back Jared Payne, England’s Jack Nowell and Scotland’s Tommy Seymour make up the back three, with second-row Courtney Lawes and Harlequins props Joe Marler and Kyle Sinckler the other Englishmen set to start in Dunedin.

The Lions face the Maori All Blacks on Saturday and the Chiefs three days later before the first Test against the world champions on 24 June.

“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,” said Gatland.

"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.”

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