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Curry, Beard and Navidi set for Lions debuts against Sharks

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Curry, Beard and Navidi set for Lions debuts against Sharks

Tom Curry

Tom Curry, Josh Navidi and Adam Beard will make their British & Irish Lions debuts against Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park on Wednesday evening.

The three debutants will start in a team led by Ireland’s Iain Henderson for the first time while his international teammate and Tour skipper Conor Murray is among the replacements.

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Navidi and Beard originally missed out on the 37-man squad but were called up following the pre-Tour win over Japan in place of injured Wales teammates Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric.

Wednesday’s game is the second of eight matches taking place as part of the 2021 Tour, which culminates with three Tests against World Champions, the Springboks.

Warren Gatland’s men opened their 2021 Tour with an eight-try victory over Sigma Lions on Saturday, with Wales winger Josh Adams crossing the whitewash four times.

Adam Beard

And Gatland is looking forward to seeing how his new-look back row combination performs, having given them licence to express themselves against the Sharks in Johannesburg.

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“It’s a quick turnaround from Saturday, but we’ll be ready to go by Wednesday night,” he said. “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.

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“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.”

The British & Irish Lions starting XV:

15. Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) #833
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) #816
13. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) #837
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #841
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821
9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales) #850
1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) #787
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) #851
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) #848
4. Iain Henderson – Captain (Ulster Rugby, Ireland) #808
5. Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales)
6. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Rugby, Wales)
7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England)
8. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) #849

Replacements:

16. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829
17. Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #840
18. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818
19. Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #838
20. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #839
21. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790
22. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) #783
23. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) #844