The British and Irish Lions will play back-to-back matches against the Sharks on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria as organisers activated what they called Plan-B to keep the Covid-19 ravaged series alive this week.
The move comes after the SA Rugby and the Lions agreed to replace the Bulls with the Sharks in the capital on Saturday afternoon after the Bulls were ruled out of hosting the tourists due to Covid-19 infections in their team.
The Lions thrashed the Sharks 54-7 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Wednesday night in their second match of this and the tourists are expected to continue their dominance over South African franchises after they opened their account with a 56-14 victory over the Lions last weekend.
This change of plans means that Sharks’ Currie Cup match against the Lions on Saturday has been cancelled with a decision on the points allocation to be confirmed.
“We’re very grateful to the Sharks for agreeing to play us again this Saturday at Loftus Versfeld,” said Managing Director for The British & Irish Lions Ben Calveley.
“We have further COVID-19 testing scheduled for today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday). The results of those tests will determine whether we will be able fulfil this fixture, but, as it stands, we are optimistic. We remain committed to the Tour in South Africa and determined to rise to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Lions VS British & Irish Lions
Following the comprehensive mauling by the British and Irish Lions during the week, Sharks coach Sean Everitt has made a number of changes to his side largely as a result of the quick turnaround of the matches.
He has announced a new front row and lock partnership amongst the forwards where Ntuthuko Mchunu, Kerron van Vuuren and Wiehahn Herbst will pack down with Le Roux Roets and Reniel Hugo forming the second row.
Elsewhere in his team, Dylan Richardson and Mpilo Gumede will make up the seven changes to the pack with captain Phepsi Buthelezi retained at the base of the scrum, the vastly experienced Lionel Cronje comes in at flyhalf and Murray Koster and Werner Kok making up the centre pairing.
The final two changes sees Marnus Potgieter named on the wing and Anthony Volmink taking over at fullback.
On the other hand, British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland named Jamie George of Saracens as captain in his starting XV which includes 13 changes to the team that beat the Sharks earlier in the week.
Only Elliot Daly of Saracens and Duhan van der Merwe of Worcester Warriors in Scotland retained have been retained for this match against the Durban-based Sharks that has replaced the scheduled tour clash against the Bulls.
This match is the third in an eight-game series that will culminate in the three Tests against World Champions the Springboks.
Pick: British & Irish Lions Wins by 0.72 at BetXChange