Anthony Watson will move from wing to rear for the British and Irish Lions who have changed a lot as they enter a new, more difficult phase of their tour against South Africa “A” in Cape Town on Wednesday.
Watson, who has only started four of his 54 caps in the No.15 jersey, is one of three players in the squad that sidelined the Sharks 71-31 on Saturday, along with center Chris Harris and running back opening Dan Biggar.
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Tour captain Conor Murray returns to the scrum-half squad for what will be the Lions’ biggest challenge yet against a squad drawn from the extended 46-player Springboks squad as they prepare for the series. three tests which will begin on July 24.
“We are delighted to have arrived in Cape Town as we approach the halfway point of the series,” Lions coach Warren Gatland said during the team’s announcement on Monday.
“Wednesday’s game against South Africa ‘A’ will be our toughest encounter since arriving here and we look forward to it. We expect them to be physical in the contact zone and will seek to test ourselves at the time of the melee. “
Louis Rees-Zammit and prolific Josh Adams will be the starting wings, while Harris and Bundee Aki will be the central duo.
Props Kyle Sinckler and Wyn Jones will be on either side of hooker Ken Owens leading the scrimmage, with Iain Henderson and Maro Itoje in second.
Taulupe Faletau will line up at the back of the scrum, with Tom Curry and Josh Navidi the two flankers.
Meanwhile, South Africa A has named a squad that includes 18 players from the World Cup winning team two years ago.
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Next up is veteran opening half Morne Steyn, who played against the Lions 12 years ago, and the team is led by Lukanyo Am.
South Africa has spent the last week in self-isolation after an outbreak of COVID cases and had to cancel the second of two warm-up tests against Georgia. They only resumed training on Sunday, although they are still without several players who are still self-isolating.
Coach Jacques Nienaber will not be at the game, however, as he is recovering from a COVID-19 infection.
South Africa A: Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am (capt), Damian de Allende, S’bu Nkosi, Mornée Steyn, Faf de Klerk, Jasper Wiese, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Marco van Staden, Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Trevor Nyakane , Joseph Dweba, Steven Kitshoff
Reserves: Malcolm Marx, -Coenie Oosthuizen, Vincent Koch, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Rynhardt Elstadt, Herschel Jantjies, Jesse Kriel, Damian Willemse, Kwagga Smith, Elton Jantjies.
The Lions: Anthony Watson, Louis Rees-Zammit, Chris Harris, Bundee Aki, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Conor Murray (captain), Taulupe Faletau, Tom Curry, Josh Navidi, Iain Henderson, Maro Itoje, Kyle Sinckler, Ken Owens, Wyn Jones.
Reserves: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Zander Fagerson, Adam Beard, Tadhg Beirne, Sam Simmonds, Gareth Davies, Elliot Daly.