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Lions captain Jones was ruled out of the tour after the dislocated shoulder, but lands in Cape Town today to rejoin the squad having completed a miracle recovery with Wales. He will look to prove his fitness to play the First Test next Saturday.
After four easy victories against Japan and undermanned South African domestic teams, the Lions lost their first game of the tour last night. A mighty South Africa A side, featuring many Springbok Test starters and World Cup winners, ran out 17-13 winners in a brutal game that gave the Lions a taste of what is to come in the Test series, which begins next Saturday.
Coach Warren Gatland said last night that he would not go into full training with the Lions until Monday, but this morning he named Jones on his bench to face the Stormers.
Stuart Hogg captains the Lions from full-back in the final tour game, having only joined the squad in Cape Town yesterday having been deemed a close contact of the member of staff who tested positive for Covid-19 last week.
As the Lions struggle at fly-half, Marcus Smith starts in the No10 jersey. Owen Farrell was thrust into action at short notice last night, with Dan Biggar sitting out due to a “minor ankle sprain”, while Finn Russell is also injured.
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Smith was called up on Saturday, while he played for England against Canada at Twickenham to cap a remarkable month in the 22-year-old’s life in which he guided Harlequins to extraordinary victories over Bristol Bears and Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership semi-final and final, then won his first two international caps.
Robbie Henshaw is also named in the side, having not played since the Japan fixture due to injury. Josh Adams returns after missing last night’s fixture to join his partner on Zoom as she gave birth to their first child, a daughter. Liam Williams, who came into the side for Adams, misses out due to an HIA.
“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,” said Gatland.
“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.
“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."
Lions teams to face Stormers
15 Stuart Hogg (captain), 14 Josh Adams, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Ali Price, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Tadhg Beirne, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Rory Sutherland
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Alun Wyn Jones, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Chris Harris, 23 Louis Rees-Zammit
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