Sports News

British and Irish Lions: Anthony Watson to start against Sharks

Anthony Watson
Watson’s sole appearance on the tour so far came off the bench in the opening match against Japan at Murrayfield
Date: Saturday 10 July Kick-off: 17:00 BST Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app

Anthony Watson will make his first start of the British and Irish Lions tour against the Sharks on Saturday.

Watson’s England team-mate Jamie George captains the team with Ireland’s Jack Conan at eight.

The Lions’ original fixture against the Bulls was called off because of an outbreak of Covid in the hosts’ camp.

There are 13 changes from the starting line-up that ran out conclusive 54-7 winners in midweek with outside centre Elliot Daly and Van der Merwe the only players to keep their place.

Short presentational grey line

British and Irish Lions: L Williams, A Watson, Daly, Harris, Van der Merwe; Biggar, Davies; Sutherland, George (capt), Furlong, Itoje, Hill, Beirne, H Watson, Conan.

Replacements: Owens, Jones, Sinckler, Lawes, Simmonds, Curry, Murray, Russell.

Short presentational grey line

Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray and Scotland fly-half Finn Russell are the only two backs replacements on the bench.

Head coach Warren Gatland is picking from almost a full complement of players after the Lions player who returned a ‘weak’ positive on Wednesday, subsequently tested negative on the following two days.

He and his close contacts have been allowed back into the Lions bubble. One player remains in isolation as a close contact of a member of the management team who has tested positive.

After the Bulls withdrew from the fixture earlier in the week, a rematch against the Sharks, who had completed the required testing and period of isolation, was hastily arranged to allow the Lions to continue their preparations to meet world champions South Africa.

Duhan van der Merwe
Van der Merwe, a former South Africa under-20 international, made his debut for Scotland in October

“It’s obviously been a slightly turbulent week, but we remain determined to keep rolling with the punches,” said Gatland.

“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.

“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.”

The Sharks have also made a raft of changes in light of the three-day turnaround, although captain Phepsi Buthelezi keeps his place at number eight and Werner Kok, who impressed on the wing, moves into midfield.

The Springboks have been forced to cancel their own warm-up match against Georgia after 12 positive cases in their own camp and another six among Georgia’s.

The three-Test series begins on 24 July.

Sharks: Volmink; Potgieter, Kok, Koster, Abrahams; Cronje, Hendrikse; N Mchunu, Van Vuuren, Herbst, Roets, Hugo, Richardson, Gumede, Buthelezi (capt)

Replacements: Jooste, Majola, K Mchunu, Bholi, Labushagne, Wright, Chamberlain, Ward, Adriaanse, Jonker, Bosch

New Around the BBC - GenericNew Around the BBC footer - Generic

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
Source link

Related posts

Australian Open: Ashleigh Barty beats Elena Rybakina to reach fourth round


Ireland welcome fans back to Aviva Stadium for internationals against Japan and USA


Tottenham 2-3 Wolves: I’ll save judgement on Jose Mourinho until summer – Jermaine Jenas


This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy