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Late changes for Lions as Maro Itoje and Finn Russell withdraw from Sharks clash

Courtney Lawes replaces Itoje in the second row.

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Maro Itoje has been ruled out against the Sharks because of a gastric bug (Steve Haag/PA)

Maro Itoje has been ruled out against the Sharks because of a gastric bug (Steve Haag/PA)

Maro Itoje has been ruled out against the Sharks because of a gastric bug (Steve Haag/PA)

The British and Irish Lions have been forced to make two late changes for their clash with the Sharks in Pretoria after Maro Itoje and Finn Russell were ruled out.

Itoje has a mild gastric bug and is replaced in the second row by England team-mate Courtney Lawes, whose place on the bench is taken by Adam Beard.

Russell has withdrawn from the replacements because of an Achilles injury he has been managing, so Bundee Aki comes in to offer back cover.

The Lions are playing the Sharks for the second time in four days after original opponents the Bulls pulled out because of an outbreak of coronavirus in their camp.

Warren Gatland’s men won the first meeting on Wednesday night 54-7 to continue their winning progress through the tour.

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