Much-changed Lions to play Sharks after Covid scare

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Warren Gatland took charge of his first British and Irish Lions tour in 2013
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A tour match between the Sharks and the British and Irish Lions will go ahead in Johannesburg later Wednesday, but the visitors have made eight late Covid-related changes.

The Lions said early on Wednesday an unnamed staff member had tested positive for coronavirus and had close contacts with two other staff members and two players.

In an updated statement, the Lions said one of their 37 players as well as the staff member had tested positive for the virus.

They added the two affected tourists had close contacts with 12 others in the travelling party -- eight players and four staff members.

Full-back Liam Williams, winger Anthony Watson, fly-half Dan Biggar and scrum-half Gareth Davies have dropped out of the original run-on team.

Josh Adams, who scored four tries in the tour-opening 56-14 victory over the Johannesburg-based Lions last Saturday, Louis Rees-Zammit, Owen Farrell and Ali Price replace them.

There have also been four changes among the replacements with full-back Stuart Hogg, centre Chris Harris, tour captain and scrum-half Connor Murray and flanker Tadhg Beirne no longer included.

They have been replaced by Finn Russell, Maro Itoje, Hamish Watson and Taulupe Faletau, and there is no recognised reserve scrum-half on a bench containing seven forwards.

Because the entire travelling party had to be retested on Wednesday, the kick-off has been restored to its original time of 2000 (1800 GMT).

The match had been brought forward one hour to avoid a clash with the screening of the England-Denmark Euro 2020 semi-final in London.

Revised Lions team (15-1)

Josh Adams; Louis Rees-Zammit, Elliot Daly, Bundee Aki, Duhan van der Merwe; Owen Farrell, Ali Price; Sam Simmonds, Tom Curry, Josh Navidi; Adam Beard, Iain Henderson (capt); Zander Fagerson, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola

Replacements: Ken Owens, Rory Sutherland, Tadhg Furlong, Maro Itoje, Jack Conan, Hamish Watson, Finn Russell, Taulupe Faletau

Coach: Warren Gatland (NZL)

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