Hill and Simmonds to face Cell C Sharks
By Mark Stevens
Exeter Chiefs forward Jonny Hill is set for his second start in a British & Irish Lions jersey after been named in their teamn to play Cell C Sharks for this Saturday’s match at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria (kick off 5pm BST).
The towering lock sat out Wednesday's 54-7 victory over the same opposition at Emirates Airline Park, but starts alongside England colleague Maro Itoje in the second row.
Hill is joined in the match-day squad by Sam Simmonds, who is named amongst the replacements. Fellow Chiefs, Stuart Hogg and Luke Cowan-Dickie, are not included for the fixture.
Elsewhere, Jamie George (Saracens, England) is named captain of a starting XV which has 13 changes to the team that which played earlier this week. Only Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) and Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) are retained.
The game against the Durban-based Sharks replaces the scheduled Tour match against the Bulls and is the third in an eight-game Series culminating in the three Tests against World Champions, the Springboks.
Earlier today the Tour PCR screening programme returned a negative set of results.
On Wednesday, one member of staff tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the individual and four close contacts (one player and three members of staff) are being isolated at the team hotel.
“It’s obviously been a slightly turbulent week, but we remain determined to keep rolling with the punches,” said head coach Warren Gatland. “In many ways, the challenges we’ve faced this week have strengthened our resolve to do everything we can to overcome the challenges created by covid.
“The feeling in the camp on Wednesday night was just to give it a crack – I was really proud by how everyone reacted, particularly the match day squad who would have never prepared for a game like that before.
“Saturday is another opportunity to see how the boys go and for us as coaches to try out a few more combinations ahead of the Test series. I have long been an admirer of Jamie’s leadership skills, so I am delighted to name him skipper.
“We want to pass on thanks to the Sharks boys for fronting up and going again on Saturday. That’s the spirit of rugby, and a great chance for them to have another shot at us.”
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS SIDE TO FACE CELL C SHARKS
Saturday 10 July, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria (5pm).
15. Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) #833
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) #816
13. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822
12. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) #844
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #841
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821
9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales) #850
1. Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #840
2. Jamie George (Saracens, England, capt) #819
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) #825
5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, England) #845
6. Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #838
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) #847
8. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #839
16. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829
17. Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) #842
18. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England) #814
19. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) #826
20. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) #849
21. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) #853
22. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790
23. Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland) #835