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Ireland's Iain Henderson to captain the Lions in clash with the Sharks

The 29-year-old Ulsterman will lead a completely changed starting XV on Wednesday.

Henderson will lead the Lions.
Henderson will lead the Lions.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Updated Jul 5th 2021, 11:50 AM

LIONS BOSS WARREN Gatland has named Ireland international Iain Henderson as his captain for Wednesday’s clash with the Sharks in Johannesburg [KO 6pm Irish time, Sky Sports].

29-year-old Henderson is the Ulster captain and led Ireland for the first time at senior level in the Six Nations earlier this year. He will now achieve the honour in a Lions jersey as Gatland rings the changes for this clash with the Sharks.

Bundee Aki gets another chance to impress at inside centre, teaming up with England’s Elliot Daly in midfield, while tour captain Conor Murray is joined on the bench by fellow Ireland internationals Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, and Jack Conan.

Gatland has handed England’s Tom Curry and Welsh pair Josh Navidi and Adam Beard their Lions debuts in a team that is completely changed after Saturday’s 56-14 win over the Sigma Lions.

“Wednesday night is another chance for us to have a look at a few more combinations,” said Gatland. “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.

Meanwhile, the Sharks have included Springboks-capped out-half Curwin Bosch in their starting XV, which looks stronger than the Sigma Lions selection that faced the Lions, while former Ulster prop Wiehahn Herbst is among the replacements.

Lions:

15. Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales)
14. Anthony Watson (Bath, England)
13. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England)
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht, Ireland)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester, Scotland)
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton, Wales)
9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales) 

1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England)
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter, England)
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow, Scotland)
4. Iain Henderson (Ulster, Ireland) (captain)
5. Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales)
6. Josh Navidi (Cardiff, Wales)
7. Tom Curry (Sale, England)
8. Sam Simmonds (Exeter, England)

Replacements:

16. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales)
17. Rory Sutherland (Worcester, Scotland)
18. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster, Ireland) 
19. Tadhg Beirne (Munster, Ireland)
20. Jack Conan (Leinster, Ireland) 
21. Conor Murray (Munster, Ireland)
22. Stuart Hogg (Exeter, Scotland)
23. Chris Harris (Gloucester, Scotland)

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Sharks:

15. Manie Libbok
14. Werner Kok
13. Jeremy Ward
12. Marius Louw
11. Thaakir Abrahams
10. Curwin Bosch
9. Jaden Hendrikse

1. Khwezi Mona
2. Fez Mbatha
3. Khutha Mchunu
4. Ruben van Heerden
5. Hyron Andrews
6. James Venter
7. Thembelani Bholi
8. Phepsi Buthelezi (captain)

Replacements:

16. Kerron van Vuuren
17. Ntuthuko Mchunu
18. Wiehahn Herbst
19. JJ van der Mescht
20. Reniel Hugo
21. Dylan Richardson
22. Grant Williams
23. Anthony Volmink.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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