Iain Henderson to captain the Lions against Sharks on Wednesday

Ulster captain is joined by Bundee Aki in the starting lineup for Johannesburg clash

Iain Henderson will captain the British and Irish Lions against the Cell C Sharks. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Iain Henderson will captain the British and Irish Lions against the Cell C Sharks. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

Cell C Sharks v British & Irish Lions

Kick-off: 6pm, Wednesday. Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg. How to follow: The Irish Times liveblog will begin at 5.30pm. On TV: Live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Rugby.

Iain Henderson will captain the British & Irish Lions for the first time when he leads out the tourists against the Sharks on Wednesday evening at Emirates Airline Park.

Bundee Aki, a replacement in Saturday’s win over the Sigma Lions, will play his third successive game after being named in midfield while tour captain Conor Murray will be among the replacements alongside Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne and Jack Conan.

Tom Curry will make his Lions debut as will the Welsh players called up as replacements, Josh Navidi and Adam Beard, with Sam Simmonds making his first start in a new backrow.

“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: Liam Williams; Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly, Bundee Aki, Duhan van der Merwe; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Mako Vunipola, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Zander Fagerson; Iain Henderson, Adam Beard; Josh Navidi, Tom Curry, Sam Simmonds.

Replacements: Ken Owens, Rory Sutherland, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Stuart Hogg, Chris Harris.

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