Conor Murray appointed British and Irish Lions captain as Adam Beard and Josh Navidi are added to the tour squad

Conor Murray has been appointed captain of the British and Irish Lions for the tour of South Africa, replacing Alun Wyn Jones who dislocated his shoulder in the win over Japan at Murrayfield.

Scrum half Conor Murray has been appointed Lions captain following the injury to Alun Wyn Jones.
Scrum half Conor Murray has been appointed Lions captain following the injury to Alun Wyn Jones.

Jones and his Wales team-mate Justin Tipuric have both been ruled out of the eight-match tour. Tipuric, the Ospreys flanker, also sustained a shoulder injury on a costly afternoon in Edinburgh.

Two more Welshmen have been summoned to take their places in the squad, with Adam Beard coming in for Jones at second row and Josh Navidi taking the place of Tipuric.

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Murray, the Irish scrum-half who impressed in the 28-10 win over Japan, is an experienced campaigner who was part of the Lions squad in 2013 and 2017.

Warren Gatland, the Lions head coach, believes Murray will provide stability at the helm as the Lions seek a first Test series victory over the Springboks since 1997.

“Conor is an outstanding rugby player and is held in the highest regard with both the players and coaches,” said Gatland. “As a three-time Lions tourist, he knows what will be required as captain and I am certain he will lead the squad with excellence. He will also be well supported by an experienced leadership group.”

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Murray won two Test caps off the bench during the 2013 tour of Australia and started all three Tests against New Zealand four years later.

Josh Navidi has been called into the Lions squad. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire

The Lions will leave for South Africa today when Beard and Novid will link up with the squad. Also joining the tour party will be the Exeter Chiefs quartet, Stuart Hogg, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jonny Hill and Sam Simmonds who were all involved in their club’s narrow defeat against Harlequins in the Gallagher Premiership final at Twickenham yesterday.

“We plan for Adam and Josh to join up with the touring party before we depart for South Africa tomorrow evening,” added Gatland last night.

It was a tough day for Gatland who will be left to weigh up the pros and cons of taking on the Japan match before heading on tour. The leadership qualities of Jones in particular will be sorely missed.

“We’re all incredibly disappointed for Alun Wyn and Justin,” added Gatland.

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“The timing of these injuries seem particularly cruel given we fly to South Africa tomorrow, but unfortunately they’re part of the game.

“Alun Wyn will obviously be a big loss, both on and off the field, but will be ably replaced by Connor.”

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