Forwards Tom Curry, Josh Navidi and Adam Beard will make their first appearances for the British and Irish Lions against the Sharks at Ellis Park on Wednesday.
JOHANNESBURG – Forwards Tom Curry, Josh Navidi and Adam Beard will make their first appearances for the British and Irish Lions against the Sharks at Ellis Park on Wednesday.
The match is the second of eight for the tourists, who overwhelmed the Johannesburg-based Lions 56-14 on Saturday with winger Josh Adams scoring four tries.
Coach Warren Gatland has chosen a completely new run-on team for the clash with the Sharks, who are expected to provide stronger opposition than the hapless local Lions.
Flanker Navidi and lock Beard were late inclusions to the travelling party after fellow Wales forwards Alun Wyn Jones, the original tour captain, and Justin Tipuric were injured in a warm-up win over Japan.
New tour skipper and scrum-half Conor Murray is among the replacements on Wednesday with lock Iain Henderson filling the role of leader against the Sharks.
The Lions backline includes Duhan van der Merwe, a South Africa-born winger whose Six Nations performances for Scotland won him a tour place.
“It is a quick turnaround from Saturday, but we will be ready to go by Wednesday night,” said New Zealand-born former Wales coach Gatland.
“I’m pleased we managed to come through the weekend game unscathed, and the boys have rested and recovered well.
“We feel like we are slowly building, but, as ever, there is still room for improvement in all facets of our game.
“Wednesday night is another chance for us to have a look at a few more combinations.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how the back row goes – it is an exciting mixture and one that we hope will offer something a bit different.
“We expect another physical test against a side who are known for their power play and ambition.
“My congratulations to Tom, Josh and Adam ahead of their first starts in a Lions jersey.”
LIONS (15-1): Liam Williams; Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly, Bundee Aki, Duhan van der Merwe; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Sam Simmonds, Tom Curry, Josh Navidi; Adam Beard, Iain Henderson (capt); Zander Fagerson, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola
Replacements: Ken Owens, Rory Sutherland, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Stuart Hogg, Chris Harris