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Henshaw Returns For Lions’ Game Against Stormers

Henshaw Returns For Lions’ Game Against Stormers

Athlone man Robbie Henshaw is pictured during a recent training session with the British & Irish Lions squad ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw is back to full fitness for the British & Irish Lions’ encounter with the DHL Stormers at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 6pm local time/5pm Irish time).

The Leinster centre, who last played in the Lions’ warm-up win over Japan, return from a hamstring injury where he partners Elliot Daly in midfield.

Three of Henshaw’s Ireland team-mates, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne and Jack Conan, will start up front in a full-changed side captained by Scottish full-back Stuart Hogg.

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Harlequins out-half Marcus Smith will make his Lions debut, after flying in from England, while Josh Adams, following the birth of his daughter last night, and the fit-again Alun Wyn Jones are also included in the squad.

Saturday’s match, which will be shown live and exclusively on Sky Sports Action & Main Event, is the final tour fixture before the start of three Tests against South Africa.

Head coach Warren Gatland said: “It’s an important game as it’s the final chance for the coaching group to see the players perform prior to the start of the Test series.

“For the matchday 23 it’s their last opportunity to stake a claim for a Test place, so I expect to see a highly motivated group of players.

“It is particularly pleasing to be able to name Stuart Hogg in the squad. He’s not had much luck on Lions tours to date, so it’ll be great to see him cross the white line again with the captain’s armband.

“I’m also delighted that Marcus will get his first start in a Lions jersey. I’ve been really impressed with his attitude since coming into camp this week. He’s been like a sponge for information.”

He added: “Obviously it’s a tight turnaround from Wednesday’s game but we’re in pretty good shape.

The South Africa ‘A’ game was a physical encounter – we always knew it would be – but we’ve come out of it pretty much intact and ready to go again. Liam Williams will begin his return-to-play protocols following his HIA.

“We learnt a lot from Wednesday’s game and I hope the defeat will serve us well. There’re still some areas of the game we need to tighten up on, particularly reducing our turnover rate.

“Time and again on this tour we’ve had to adapt in the face of the challenges created by Covid-19.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the staff and the players for the role each of them has played to get us to this point on the tour.”

BRITISH & IRISH LIONS Team & Replacements (v DHL Stormers, 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series – Tour Match, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, Saturday, July 17, kick-off 6pm local time/5pm Irish time):

15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs/Scotland) (capt) #783
14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby/Wales) #836
13. Elliot Daly (Saracens/England) #822
12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Ireland) #824
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors/Scotland) #841
10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins/England)
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland) #843
1. Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors/Scotland) #840
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs/England) #851
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Ireland) #818
4. Adam Beard (Ospreys/Wales) #852
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. Jamie George (Saracens/England) #819
17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens/England) #787
18. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland) #848
19. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys/Wales) #761
20. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs/England) #849
21. Gareth Davies (Scarlets/Wales) #850
22. Chris Harris (Gloucester/Scotland) #844
23. Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester/Wales) #846