Iain Henderson to lead the Lions into clash with the Sharks

Ulster and Ireland’s Iain Henderson will lead the British and Irish Lions team from the second row in tomorrow’s clash with the Sharks in Johannesburg.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 7:44 pm
Updated Monday, 5th July 2021, 7:46 pm

Henderson becomes the third player to captain the side after Alun Wyn Jones and Stuart Hogg took charge against Japan and the Sigma Lions and coach Warren Gatland said the lock was an obvious choice as captain.

“There are a couple of other players who we could have looked at but I just thought that Iain’s an obvious choice for us given his experience and stature in the game,” Gatland said.

“I spoke to (Ireland head coach) Andy Farrell during the Six Nations and he was full of praise for Iain’s leadership and what he was bringing to the Ireland side. He’s a natural fit for us.”

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Iain Henderson
Iain Henderson

Conor Murray, Jones’ permanent replacement as tour skipper, is on the bench as scrum-half cover for Gareth Davies, who is making his first start of the tour at Emirates Airline Park.

Gatland has stuck to his policy of ensuring all squad members will start at least one of the first three games with wing Anthony Watson, centre Elliot Daly, props Mako Vunipola and Zander Fagerson, second row Adam Beard and hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie also in action.

The Lions boss is adamant that selection for the series against the Springboks, which begins in Cape Town on July 24, is wide open.

“As we get a little bit closer to the Test series we’ll start looking at potential combinations,” he said.