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Iain Henderson to captain British and Irish Lions against the Sharks


Iain Henderson will captain the Lions on Wednesday evening. Pic: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Iain Henderson will captain the Lions on Wednesday evening. Pic: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Iain Henderson will captain the Lions on Wednesday evening. Pic: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Ireland's Iain Henderson has been named Lions captain for Wednesday's clash with the Sharks.

As promised, Gatland named a brand new team with lock Henderson captain, and Adam Beard, Tom Curry and Josh Navidi to make their Lions debuts.

There is also a first international start in three years for flanker Sam Simmonds, ignored over the last years by England coach Eddie Jones.

"It's a quick turnaround from Saturday, but we'll be ready to go by Wednesday night," Gatland said in a statement naming the team. He was to hold a news conference later on Monday.

"I'm pleased we managed to come through the weekend's game unscathed, and the boys have rested and recovered well. We feel like we're slowly building, but, as ever, there's still room for improvement in all facets of our game.

"Wednesday night is another chance for us to have a look at a few more combinations. 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."

Gatland named Luke Cowan-Dickie in their team for their tour clash with the Sharks on Wednesday despite criticism of his playing at the weekend seven days after being knocked unconscious in the English Premiership rugby final.

Exeter Chiefs' Cowan-Dickie was taken off after an hour of their final with Harlequins at Twickenham on June 26. He lay motionless for several seconds after a tackle, but was then able to get to his feet and walk off.

The next day Cowan-Dickie flew to South Africa and was used as a substitute when the Lions opened their tour on Saturday with a 56-14 win over their Johannesburg namesakes.

It was a decision that drew criticism from Progressive Rugby, a lobby group of former players, coaches and medics, but was defended by Lions coach Warren Gatland. On Monday, he selected the England hooker in the starting lineup for their second game of the eight-match South Africa tour.

British and Irish Lions: 15-Liam Williams, 14-Anthony Watson, 13-Elliot Daly, 12-Bundee Aki, 11-Duhan van der Merwe, 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Gareth Davies, 8-Sam Simmonds, 7-Tom Curry, 6-Josh Navidi, 5-Adam Beard, 4-Iain Henderson, 3-Zander Fagerson, 2-Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1-Mako Vunipola

Replacements: 16-Ken Owens, 17-Rory Sutherland, 18-Tadhg Furlong, 19-Tadhg Beirne, 20-Jack Conan, 21-Conor Murray, 22-Stuart Hogg, 23-Chris Harris. (Writing by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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