Duo named on bench for the Lions
By Mark Stevens
Exeter Chiefs duo Luke Cowan-Dickie and Sam Simmonds have both been named on the bench for the British & Irish Lions ahead of their clash with South Africa ‘A’ at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday 14 July (kick off 7pm BST).
Hooker Cowan-Dickie sat out Saturday’s 71-31 win over the Sharks, but Simmonds was used as a second half replacement for the clash at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
Club-mates Jonny Hill and Stuart Hogg both sit out for the tourists, who have named Conor Murray (Munster, Ireland) as their skipper of a starting XV which has 12changes to that of the weekend. Only Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England), Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) and Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) are retained.
Watson shifts from right wing to full-back with Harris moving to 13 where he is joined in midfield by Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland). Biggar will again start at fly-half.
The game against South Africa ‘A’ will be shown live and exclusively on Sky Sports and is the fourth match in an eight-game Series culminating in the three Tests against World Champions, the Springboks.
“We’re pleased to have arrived in Cape Town as we near the halfway stage of the Series,” said Gatland. “Wednesday’s game against South Africa ‘A’ will be our toughest encounter since we arrived here and we’re looking forward to it. We expect them to be physical in the contact area and look to test us at scrum time.”
“I think we’ve benefitted from playing at altitude in the first three games. While the boys have felt it in their lungs, they’ll be all the better for it now we’re at sea level.
“As we move towards the business end of the Tour, it’s pleasing to see so many players putting in some stand-out performances. As coaches we want the players to make Test selection as hard as possible and that’s we’re seeing.”
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS TO FACE SOUTH AFRICA ‘A’
Wednesday 14 July, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town (7pm)
15. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) #816
14. Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales) #846
13. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) #844
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) #837
11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) #836
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821
9. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland, capt) #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
7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) #853
8. Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) #779
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