Marcus Smith starts for Lions and Alun Wyn Jones makes bench against Stormers
WARREN GATLAND has named his final Lions side before the crunch Test series against South Africa.
The tourists take on Cape Town side The Stormers in the Mother City on Saturday.
In yet more drama on the tour that keeps on giving, the final team announcement time was pushed back TWICE.
And when it finally came Gatland had opted for Marcus Smith to make his first start in the no.10 jersey.
There was more shock news as Alun Wyn Jones was named on the bench – just hours after touching down in Cape Town.
Gatland said his tour skipper wouldn't feature, but with Courtney Lawes missing, Jones came in on the bench just 19 days after dislocating his shoulder.
Stuart Hogg also returned from Covid isolation to skipper the side.
And Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw was also passed fit to feature.
Gatland said: “It’s an important game as it’s the final chance for the coaching group to see the players perform prior to the start of the Test Series.
“For the matchday 23 it’s their last opportunity to stake a claim for a Test place, so I expect to see a highly motivated group of players.
“It is particularly pleasing to be able to name Stuart Hogg in the squad.
"He’s not had much luck on Lions Tours to date, so it’ll be great to see him cross the whitewash again with the captain’s armband.
DHL STORMERS v THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
- Stuart Hogg – captain (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) #783
- Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) #836
- Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822
- Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #824
- Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #841
- Marcus Smith (Harlequins, England)
- Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) #843
- Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #840
- Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) #851
- Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818
- Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales) #852
- Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, England) #845
- Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #838
- Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) #847
- Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #839
- Jamie George (Saracens, England) #819
- Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) #787
- Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) #848
- Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales) #761
- Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) #849
- Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales) #850
- Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) #844
- Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales) #846
“I’m also delighted that Marcus will get his first start in a Lions jersey.
"I’ve been really impressed with his attitude since coming into camp this week; he’s been like a sponge for information.
“Obviously it’s a tight turnaround from Wednesday’s game but we’re in pretty good shape.
"The South Africa ‘A’ game was a physical encounter – we always knew it would be – but we’ve come out of it pretty much intact and ready to go again.
"Liam Williams will begin his return to play protocol following his HIA.
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“We learnt a lot from Wednesday’s game and I hope the defeat will serve us well.
"There’re still some areas of the game we need to tighten up on, particularly reducing our turnover rate.
“Time and again on this Tour we’ve had to adapt in the face of the challenges created by COVID-19.
"I couldn’t be prouder of the staff and the players for the role each of them has played to get us to this point on the Tour.”
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