Conor Murray leads the squad for the first time against strong South Africa A – .

Conor Murray leads the squad for the first time against strong South Africa A – .

Scrum-half Conor Murray was a substitute in Saturday’s win over the Sharks
Lieu: Cape Town Stadium Date: Wednesday July 14 Start: 19h00 BST
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Tour captain Conor Murray leads the British and Irish Lions for the first time against a strong South African A side in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Faf de Klerk and Pieter-Steph du Toit are among the stars of the World Cup leaving for the hosts affected by the coronavirus.

“It will be pretty much a test game,” said Murray.

“It’s almost a fourth test. This will only sharpen our focus. It’s a huge challenge and good preparation for what’s to come. “

Bundee Aki joins Biggar and Harris in the Lions midfield, while Maro Itoje returns to the field after recovering from an illness.

Wednesday’s game continues despite a Covid-19 epidemic in the Springbok camp. bringing the team’s total number of cases to over 20 since the start of the Lions tour.

British and Irish Lions: Watson ; Rees-Zammit, Harris, Aki, Adams ; Biggar, Murray (capitaine) ; Jones, Owens, Sinckler, Itoje, Henderson, Navidi, Curry, Faletau.

Substitutes: Cowan-Dickie, Vunipola, Fagerson, Beard, Beirne, Simmonds, Davies, Daly.

South Africa A: Le Roux; Kolbe, Am (captain of tableware), De Allende, Nkosi; Steyn, the clerk; Kitshoff, Dweba, Nyakane, Etzebeth, Mostert, Van Staden, Du Toit, Wiese.

Substitutions (to be reduced to eight players before kick-off): Marx, Oosthuizen, Koch, Janse van Rensburg, Elstadt, H Jantjies, Kriel, Willemse, Smith, E Jantjies.

South Africa announced that captain Siya Kolisi tested positive for the virus on Sunday, with the entire team isolating themselves in their hotel rooms last week.

The Lions traveled to Cape Town for Wednesday’s game after playing their first three high-altitude games in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

“Fine margins” expected in the selection of tests – Gatland

Josh Adams runs with the ball
Winger Josh Adams has scored eight tries for the British and Irish Lions

Opportunities are running out for players to prove they are worthy of a starting test spot against the Springboks.

South Africa’s A match is the Lions’ penultimate warm-up before facing the world champions in the first of three tests on July 24.

Biggar is leaving and could see his chances of keeping the 10 jersey improved by the absence of Finn Russell, who will be unavailable until the start of the Springboks series due to an Achilles tendon injury.

Galtand said England captain Owen Farrell was ruled out due to “slight abdominal tension” but is expected to return for Saturday’s game against the Stormers.

The Lions head coach added that Marcus Smith – who was called as cover for Russell last Saturday – was likely to be involved in this game.

Full-backs are one of the most competitive areas and Gatland has moved Watson to full-back, with prolific Josh Adams on one wing and Louis Rees-Zammit on the other as Duhan van der Merwe is at rest .

The Lions head coach also faces tough decisions in the back row and this time opts for flankers Josh Navidi and Tom Curry, with Taulupe Faletau in eighth.

Forwards Tadhg Beirne and Sam Simmonds are close to making their mark on the bench, as is Elliot Daly, who impressed center in the opener.

“We reiterated [to players] just how close some of those selections will be, ”Gatland said.

“There are going to be good margins, so it’s a matter of going out there and making the most of all the opportunities. “

Gatland added that he was “still waiting to know” whether his team would return to Johannesburg for the last two tests as planned, or stay in Cape Town to reduce the risk of coronavirus disrupting the series.

Strong Springbok Team “Help Lions Huge”

Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber is self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19 and will hand over the reins to rugby director Rassie Erasmus for Wednesday’s game.

South Africa beat Georgia in their first test since winning the 2019 World Cup, before having a second game against the same opponents canceled due to coronavirus outbreaks in the same team.

As a result, Gatland says it’s “perfectly understandable” for Nienaber to name a team that looks more like a test team than an A team.

Willie le Roux starts at the back, with Cheslin Kolbe on the wing and Eben Etzebeth in second, while fellow World Cup winner Lukhanyo Am is captain in Kolisi’s absence.

“I probably didn’t expect him to be as strong as them, but I’m actually thrilled,” said Gatland.

“It really helps our preparation. We will have a good indication of the situation of both teams. “

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