Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O\'Driscoll will captain the Liions against Western Force in Perth on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Brian O'Driscoll will captain the British and Irish Lions against Western Force in Perth on Wednesday night some 12 years on from his Lions debut in the very same city.

The Ireland centre will captain a much-changed side in the first of nine games on Australian soil against the Super Rugby franchise.

O'Driscoll made his first appearance for the Lions back in 2001 when he started at full back in the 116-10 win over a Western Australia XV in Perth. The 2005 Tour captain scored the final of his side's 18 tries that day and will be hoping for similar success come Wednesday.

The 34 year old will be joined in the starting XV by seven of his countrymen, with Jonathaon Sexton and Conor Murray at half-back, Tommy Bowe on the right wing, Cian Healy and Rory Best in the front row, while Sean O'Brien is at openside flanker and Jamie Heaslip at No.8.

There is also a first Lions start for Manu Tuilagi who will partner O'Driscoll in midfield, while O'Brien, Ian Evans, Dan Cole and Best will also be making their debuts.

The starting XV does not include any of the player that began the 59-8 win over the Barbarians in Hong Kong on Saturday as Leigh Halfpenny and George North complete the backline.

Cole starts at tight-head prop with Ospreys par Ian Evans and Alun Wyn Homes in the second row, while Tom Croft has been included on the blindside flank.

"The lads who played in Hong Kong put down a marker as they performed extremely well in very tough conditions. I am sure that this team playing against the Western Force will be just as eager to show their mettle in Perth," tour manager Andy Irvine told the official Lions website.

"I told the team in Hong Kong that they were custodians of the red jersey. That responsibility is now with this group of players and I am confident they will give their all against the Force. This is the first match of the tour in Australia and the Lions are keen to make a winning start here."


Leigh Halfpenny, Tommy Bowe, Brian O'Driscoll (captain), Manu Tuilagi, George North, Jonny Sexton; Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best, Dan Cole, Alun-Wyn Jones, Ian Evans, Tom Croft, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Tom Youngs, Mako Vunipola, Matt Stevens, Geoff Parling, Toby Faletau, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, Sean Maitland.