Lions name fresh back row to face Sharks

Iain Henderson will captain a British & Irish Lions team featuring three debutants in their second tour match against the Sharks in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) and Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales) will make their Lions debuts on Wednesday evening when the tourists take on the Sharks at Ellis Park.

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Curry and Navidi both start in a new-look back row that also features England and Exeter Chiefs No 8 Sam Simmonds, who makes his first start after coming off the bench against the Sigma Lions this past Saturday.

The team will be captained by Ireland lock Henderson, while tour captain Conor Murray has been named among the replacements.

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“It’s a quick turnaround from Saturday, but we’ll be ready to go by Wednesday night,” said Lions head coach Warren Gatland.

“I’m pleased we managed to come through the weekend’s game unscathed, and the boys have rested and recovered well. We feel like we’re slowly building but, as ever, there’s 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’s 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.”

British & Irish Lions –  15 Liam Williams, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Ian Henderson (c), 4 Adam Beard, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Subs: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Stuart Hogg, 23 Chris Harris.

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Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

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Dylan Jack