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Ireland Quartet Involved In Lions’ Rematch With Sharks

Ireland Quartet Involved In Lions’ Rematch With Sharks

Tadhg Beirne will make his second appearance for the British & Irish Lions when they meet the Sharks in Pretoria ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Ireland’s Tadhg Beirne and Jack Conan will form two-thirds of the British & Irish Lions’ starting back row when they play the Cell C Sharks again at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (kick-off 6pm local time/5pm Irish time).

Tighthead Tadhg Furlong also starts, while recently-appointed tour captain Conor Murray will provide back-up to Wales’ Gareth Davies at scrum half.

England hooker Jamie George takes over the captaincy reins with the selection side showing 13 changes from Wednesday’s 54-7 victory over the same opposition in Johannesburg. Only Elliot Daly and Duhan van der Merwe are retained.

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On Wednesday, one member of Lions staff tested positive for Covid-19. As a result, the individual and four close contacts (one player and three members of staff) are being isolated at the team hotel.

The game against the Durban-based Sharks (live on Sky Sports Action & Main Event) replaces the scheduled tour match against the Bulls and is the third in an eight-game series culminating in the three Tests against South Africa.

Earlier today, the tour PCR screening programme returned a negative set of results, with head coach Warren Gatland admitting: “It’s obviously been a slightly turbulent week, but we remain determined to keep rolling with the punches.

In many ways, the challenges we’ve faced this week have strengthened our resolve to do everything we can to overcome the challenges created by Covid.

“The feeling in the camp on Wednesday night was just to give it a crack – I was really proud by how everyone reacted, particularly the matchday squad who would have never prepared for a game like that before.”

He added: “Saturday is another opportunity to see how the boys go, and for us as coaches to try out a few more combinations ahead of the Test series.

“I have long been an admirer of Jamie’s leadership skills, so I am delighted to name him skipper.

“We want to pass on thanks to the Sharks boys for fronting up and going again on Saturday. That’s the spirit of rugby, and a great chance for them to have another shot at us.”

BRITISH & IRISH LIONS Team & Replacements (v Cell C Sharks, 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series – Tour Match, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, Saturday, July 10, kick-off 6pm local time/5pm Irish time):

15. Liam Williams (Scarlets/Wales) #833
14. Anthony Watson (Bath/England) #816
13. Elliot Daly (Saracens/England) #822
12. Chris Harris (Gloucester/Scotland) #844
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors/Scotland) #841
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints/Wales) #821
9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets/Wales) #850
1. Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors/Scotland) #840
2. Jamie George (Saracens/England) (capt) #819
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Ireland) #818
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens/England) #825
5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs/England) #845
6. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Ireland) #838
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh/Scotland) #847
8. Jack Conan (Leinster/Ireland) #839


16. Ken Owens (Scarlets/Wales) #829
17. Wyn Jones (Scarlets/Wales) #842
18. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears/England) #814
19. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints/England) #826
20. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs/England) #849
21. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks/England) #853
22. Conor Murray (Munster/Ireland) #790
23. Finn Russell (Racing 92/Scotland) #835