Rory to make Lions debut in first Aussie game

Rory Best will make his first appearance in a Lions jersey tomorrow (Wednesday) when they take on Western Force in Perth.

The Scarva hooker sat out Saturday’s impressive victory against the Barbarians, with Warren Gatland keeping Wednesday’s game in mind.

Gatland is now looking for his team to push on against the Force after their eight-try rout of the Baabaas on Saturday. “There were a lot of positives to come out oft he first match in Hong Kong. Our fitness and application were excellent and we operated well in the set pieces. That said, it was our first match and naturally we were a bit rusty, and there is definitely room for improvement.

It sets up a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for the Ulster and Banbridge clubman. Gatland overlooked Best, who was later added when English hooker Dylan Hartley was banned for 11 weeks for verbally abusing the referee in the English Premiership final and ruled out of the Lions tour.

The Lions flew to Australia from London via Hong Kong, where they easily beat an invitational Barbarians side 59-8 on Saturday in temperatures of 30 Celsius (84 Fahrenheit) and humidity of 85 percent. That’s a far cry from the match conditions they should face in Australia, where winter just began and temperatures generally should be cool for the night test matches.