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The British and Irish Lions Head Coach, Warren Gatland has named Scotland international Stuart Hogg as team captain ahead of his side’s game against DHL Stormers.
After being named on the bench for the second tour game, against the Sharks in Joburg, Hogg was forced to self-isolate from the rest of the squad after a Covid outbreak in the Lions camp.
Hogg (29) was the only player to miss out on their loss to South Africa A in Cape Town on Wednesday.
Spending seven days in isolation has made him miss three games, which in return has made it difficult for him to break into the Test squad.
The Scottish captain was one of the players from the Lions camp who was contact-traced when COVID-19 spread last week.
It was reported that that out of the two positive tests in the camp, one of the results was a false-positive, and all remaining squad players were released from isolation par, Hogg.
He is set to return against the DHL Stormers on Saturday 17th of July, with kick-off at 5 pm BST (British Summer Time).
The game, which will be shown live and exclusively on Sky Sports. It is the final Tour match prior to the start of three tests against World Champions, South Africa.
TEAM NEWS 🦁
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) July 15, 2021
Warren Gatland Interview
In a recent interview, Gatland expressed his reasoning for the changes in the squad;
”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.
“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.
“It is particularly pleasing to be able to name Stuart Hogg in the squad. He’s not had much luck on Lions Tours to date, so it’ll be great to see him cross the whitewash again with the captain’s armband.
“I’m also delighted that Marcus will get his first start in a Lions jersey. I’ve been really impressed with his attitude since coming into camp this week; he’s been like a sponge for information.
“Obviously it’s a tight turnaround from Wednesday’s game but we’re in pretty good shape. The South Africa ‘A’ game was a physical encounter – we always knew it would be – but we’ve come out of it pretty much intact and ready to go again. Liam Williams will begin his return to play protocol following his HIA.
“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.
“Time and again on this Tour we’ve had to adapt in the face of the challenges created by COVID-19. I couldn’t be prouder of the staff and the players for the role each of them has played to get us to this point on the Tour.”
DHL Stormers v The British and Irish Lions
15. Stuart Hogg – captain (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland)
14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales)
13. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England)
12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland)
10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, England)
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
1. Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland)
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)
4. Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales)
5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, England)
6. Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland)
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
8. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)
16. Jamie George (Saracens, England)
17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England)
18. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
19. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales)
20. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England)
21. Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales)
22. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland)
23. Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales)