The British and Irish Lions will look to build on their early momentum when they take on the Sharks in the third match of their tour of South Africa this evening.
Warren Gatland’s side got off the mark with an opening pre-departure win over Japan at Murrayfield before they secured their first win on South African soil with a comprehensive victory against the Sigma Lions on Saturday.
With just three days’ rest in between that fixture and tonight’s match, Gatland has made several changes to his side for the match against the Sharks, including giving a first start to England’s Tom Curry.
Josh Navidi will also make his debut while Sam Simmonds, who is making his first international start in over three years, completes the back-row, and Gatland has challenged those players to “express themselves” in what the head coach said was a “huge competition” for places in the Test side.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of tonight’s match.
What time is it?
The match will kick off at 6 p.m. BST on Wednesday 7 July. It was originally scheduled to be later in the evening but the kick-off time was brought forwards to avoid clashing with England’s Euro 2020 semi-final against Denmark.
How can I watch?
It will air live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action, with coverage starting from 5 p.m. Subscribers can stream the game online via the Sky Sports website and Sky Go app.
What is the team news?
Given the Lions’ last match was only a few days ago, Gatland has named a completely different XV ahead of Wednesday’s match.
Ireland’s Iain Henderson captains the side and starts in the second-row alongside Adam Beard, who is making his debut after being a late call-up to the Lions squad.
There are three new faces in the back-row as Tom Curry makes his debut alongside Josh Navidi and Sam Simmonds, who are set to make their first starts of the tour.
Scrum-half Gareth Davies is also set to make his first start of the series and is joined by Wales team-mate Dan Biggar at 9 and 10 respectively, while Elliot Daly lines up at centre with Anthony Watson and Duhan Van der Merwe on the wings.
Confirmed British and Irish Lions XV
15. Williams; 14. Watson, 13. Daly, 12. Aki, 11. Van der Merwe; 10. Biggar, 9. Davies; 1. M Vunipola, 2. Cowan-Dickie, 3. Fagerson, 4. Henderson (capt), 5. Beard, 6, Navidi, 7. Curry, 8. Simmonds.
Who are the Sharks?
The Sharks were formerly part of Super Rugby along with the Stormers, Bulls and Lions and finished as runners-up on four occasions. They are the best-represented side in the South Africa squad, and feature nine players, including captain Siya Kolisi.
However, with those players ruled out of tonight’s match, head coach Sean Everitt’s side will be weakened against the Lions. The Sharks played the British and Irish Lions during the 2009 tour, with the select side winning 39-3 against the Durban-based outfit.
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