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Navidi set for British & Irish Lions debut

First Team News | 5th July 2021

Josh Navidi will make his British & Irish Lions debut on Wednesday as the South African tour continues against Cell C Sharks.

The Cardiff Blues back row was a late call up to Warren Gatland’s squad, and joined the set-up following injuries to Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric in the opening clash against Japan.

Academy product Navidi lines-up on the blindside, joining England duo Tom Curry and Sam Simmonds in the back row.

With 160 minutes and five tries under his belt, there is no room for wing Josh Adams, who is handed a well-earned rest for the Johannesburg encounter.

Ospreys lock Adam Bears joins back row duo Navidi and Curry in making his debut in the famous red jersey as Ireland's Iain Henderson is handed the captaincy.

Dan Biggar returns to the number 10 jersey, reuniting with Wales half back partner Gareth Davies, with Liam Williams, Anthony Watson and Duhan van der Merwe lining up in the back three.

Elliot Daly and Bundee Aki form the midfield while the line-up is completed by the front row combination of Mako Vunipola, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Zander Fagerson.

“It’s a quick turnaround from Saturday, but we’ll be ready to go by Wednesday night,” said Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland.

“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.

“My congratulations to Tom, Josh and Adam ahead of their first starts in a Lions jersey.”


15. Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) #833

14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) #816

13. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822

12. Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) #837

11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #841

10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821

9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales) #850

1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) #787

2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) #851

3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) #848

4. Iain Henderson – Captain (Ulster Rugby, Ireland) #808

5. Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales)

6. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Rugby, Wales)

7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England)

8. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) #849


16. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829

17. Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #840

18. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818

19. Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #838

20. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #839

21. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790

22. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) #783

23. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) #844

Wednesday 7 July 2021. Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg, Kick-off: 6pm (BST)