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Lions confirm that Ireland's Rónan Kelleher will join the squad tomorrow

The 23-year-old is linking up with Warren Gatland’s tourists.

Kelleher scored four tries against the US last weekend.
Kelleher scored four tries against the US last weekend.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THE LIONS HAVE officially confirmed that Ireland and Leinster hooker Rónan Kelleher will join their squad in South Africa tomorrow.

The 23-year-old impressed while providing cover during the Lions’ pre-tour training camp in Jersey and though the tourists say they don’t have any injuries at hooker, head coach Warren Gatland feels they could do with more cover in the position.

Kelleher, who scored four tries for Ireland against the US last weekend, is flying out to South Africa with tour captain Alun Wyn Jones.

“I’m delighted to announce Rónan will join up with the squad,” said Gatland.

“There’s no injuries to the three hookers out here, but we think it’s prudent to bring in cover in that position ahead of the Test series.”

Gatland also confirmed this evening that Jones will not be considered for selection in Saturday’s meeting with the Stormers but is a “possibility” for the first Test against the Springboks on 24 July.

Gatland said “there’s a good chance” that Jones will resume his job as tour captain, taking over from Conor Murray.

Meanwhile, the Lions have been forced into some late changes to their team to face South Africa A this evening.

Josh Adams drops out as he joins his partner via Zoom to witness the birth of his first child, meaning Liam Williams comes in at fullback as Anthony Watson moves to the left wing.

Owen Farrell replaces Dan Biggar at out-half after the Welshman was ruled out with a minor ankle sprain.

Lions (v South Africa A): 

15. Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) #833

14. Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales) #846

13. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) #844

12. Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) #837

11. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) #816 

10. Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) #780

9. Conor Murray – captain (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790

1. Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) #842

2. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829

3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England) #814

4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) #825

5. Iain Henderson (Ulster Rugby, Ireland) #808

6. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) #854

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7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) #853

8. Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) #779

Replacements:

16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) #851

17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) #787

18. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) #848

19. Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales) #852

20. Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #838

21. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) #849

22. Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales) #850

23. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822.

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