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Murray named Lions captain after Jones ruled out of tour

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Murray named Lions captain after Jones ruled out of tour

Conor Murray

Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray has been chosen to take over from Alun Wyn Jones as captain of 2021 The British & Irish Lions after the Wales legend was ruled out of the tour.

Three-time tourist Jones, who led Wales to the 2021 Guinness Six Nations title, was replaced by Courtney Lawes just seven minutes into the Lions’ warm-up game against Japan.

Warren Gatland confirmed after the final whistle that the 35-year-old would not be able to fly to South Africa after dislocating his shoulder in the 28-10 victory for the Lions.

Jones was not the only casualty from the Lions’ first-ever meeting with the Brave Blossoms, though, with Justin Tipuric also sustaining a tour-ending shoulder injury in Edinburgh.

Welsh duo Adam Bears and Josh Navidi – both part of Wayne Pivac’s 2021 Championship-winning side – have since been called into the 37-man squad as replacements.

Josh Adams and Murray

And after naming Murray as his new skipper for the eight-game tour in South Africa, Lions head coach Gatland said: “We’re all incredibly disappointed for Alun Wyn and Justin.

“The timing of these injuries seem particularly cruel given we fly to South Africa tomorrow, but unfortunately they’re part of the game.

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“Alun Wyn will obviously be a big loss, both on and off the field, but will be ably replaced by Conor.

Biggar stars as Lions defeat Japan in Edinburgh

“Conor is an outstanding rugby player and is held in the highest regard with both the players and coaches.

“As a three-time Lions tourist, he knows what will be required as captain and I am certain he will lead the squad with excellence.

Conor Murray

“He will also be well supported by an experienced leadership group. We plan for Adam and Josh to join up with the touring party before we depart for South Africa tomorrow evening.”

Exeter Chiefs quartet Luke Cowan-Dickie, Stuart Hogg, Jonny Hill and Sam Simmonds will also link up with the 37-man touring party as planned in Edinburgh on Sunday 27 June.

All four players were involved in the Premiership final for the Chiefs on Saturday, which ended in a thrilling 40-38 victory to Harlequins over the defending champions at Twickenham.

The lions play the first match of their tour to South Africa against the Emirates Lions next weekend, with the three-Test series against the Springboks kicking off on July 24.