Hogg ready to smash both NSW and QLD on the field

THE British and Irish Lions team mascot, Bil the Lion, will be without his guardian, Scotland's Stuart Hogg, for the second consecutive game on tour tomorrow night.

Hogg, who played at fullback in the 22-12 win against the Queensland Reds on Saturday, will start at fly-half against the Combined Queensland and New South Wales Country XV in Newcastle.

With Jonathan Sexton and Owen Farrell both rested, it means Hogg, 20, who has been entrusted with the job of looking after Bil as he's the youngest tourist, will start in a position he last played at school.

Hogg is one of only three players from Saturday's run-on side to back up tomorrow - Richie Gray and Alex Cuthbert are the others, while George North, who came off the bench, starts.

The line-up will include the two props called up in place of the injured Cian Healy and Gethin Jenkins - Alex Corbisiero and Ryan Grant.

Corbisiero starts the game, while Grant is on the bench.

"They've just got to get up to speed with calls and so on but it's nice to give them a start," coach Warren Gatland said.

"You feel sorry for the players who are injured and have to go home, but when you see the excitement in the players that come in, it's a lift not just for the players but for the coaches."

After seeing Healy and Jenkins head for home, Gatland did have some good news about Irish winger Tommy Bowe's broken bone in his hand which he suffered against the Reds.

Bowe had surgery and Gatland said it was now possible he might be available in two weeks and no replacement would be made immediately.

Lions: Sean Maitland, Alex Cuthbert, Brian O'Driscoll (c), Jamie Roberts, George North, Stuart Hogg, Conor Murray; Jamie Heaslip, Justin Tipuric, Sean O'Brien, Ian Evans, Richie Gray, Dan Cole, Richard Hibbard, Alex Corbisiero. Reserves: Rory Best, Ryan Grant, Matt Stevens, Alun Wyn Jones, Toby Faletau, Mike Phillips, Jonathan Davies, Leigh Halfpenny.


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