The British and Irish Lions will aim to secure their second win in a week when they meet the Sharks tonight in Johannesburg.
The Lions won their first match of this year’s tour on South African soil on Saturday thanks to a comprehensive victory over the Sigma Lions, while Warren Gatland’s side also beat Japan in their send-off match at Murrayfield in June.
Head coach Gatland has said there is a “huge competition” for places in the side ahead of the first Test against South Africa on 24 July, and there will be a number of players looking to make their mark against the Sharks this evening.
England’s Tom Curry will make his first start of the tour after recovering from a pectoral injury while Sam Simmonds is set to make his first international start in three years, as both players look to nail down a spot in Gatland’s back-row.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the match this evening.
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.
Source: Read Full Article