British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton will miss this weekend's opening tour match against the Barbarians in Hong Kong with a knee injury amid a raft of notable omissions from Warren Gatland first matchday squad.

Ireland's Paul O'Connell, captain for the Lions tour to South Africa in 2009, will deputise for the first of a 10-match tour while Warburton nurses an inflamed knee picked up during the first week of training.

While Gatland had previously warned that the 23-man squad for the opening match of the tour would be dictated by players participating in the Premiership and PRO12 finals, and coupled with injuries to both Warburton and Sean O'Brien, the stark reality of the Lions' uneven preparation has been hammered home.

Paul O'Connell and Warren Gatland
O'Connell will replace Warburton for the Barbarians duel, but his captain's injury is the least of his problems.

"I am really excited by the first selection of the tour," Gatland said. "Naturally it comprises largely those players not involved in last weekend's Aviva Premiership and RaboDirect PRO12 finals and we have a lot of players making their debuts for the Lions.

"At the same time we have a hard core of experience with the six former Lions sharing 430 caps between them and 19 Lions Tests.

"There are also some proven combinations such as the Welsh centre pairing and backrow. Some of the boys who played last weekend are on the bench as cover and generally everyone in the camp is raring to go."

The tour's youngster member Stuart Hogg and Scottish compatriots Sean Maitland and Richie Gray are all involved from the start, as are nine Welshman; including the centre partnership of Jonathan Davies and Jamie Roberts and the back row of Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric and Toby Faletau.

The replacements sees Leinster's victorious trio from the Pro12 final of Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip and Johnny Sexton all selected, but Brian O'Driscoll, Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe and newcomer Rory Best are all omitted.

Dan Cole, Rob Croft, Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs, all involved in the Premiership final last weekend, are rested. Ian Evans, Geoff Parling, Gethin Jenkins and Leigh Halfpenny, are those not involved in either major domestic final, are out of the 23 but will be expected to face Western Force on Wednesday.

British & Irish Lions: Stuart Hogg, Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Sean Maitland, Owen Farrell, Mike Phillips; Mako Vunipola, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Richie Gray, Paul O'Connell, Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric, Toby Faletau

Replacements: Tom Youngs, Cian Healy, Matt Stevens, Alun Wyn Jones, Jamie Heaslip, Conor Murray, Johnny Sexton, George North