Adam Beard and Josh Navidi called into Lions squad

Conor Murray has taken over from the injured Alun Wyn Jones as tour captain

The Lions squad after their 28-10 win over Japan at Murrayfield. Image: © Craig Watson -
The Lions squad after their 28-10 win over Japan at Murrayfield. Image: © Craig Watson -

WARREN GATLAND has gone with who he knows best in calling up Welshmen Adam Beard and Josh Navidi to his Lions squad which will fly out to South Africa tomorrow evening, in place of injured duo Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric. 

Meanwhile, Irish scrum-half Conor Murray has taken over captaincy of the squad from Jones.

While Jones was ruled out of the tour by Gatland due to a shoulder dislocation immediately after this [Saturday] afternoon’s pre-tour hit-out against Japan at Murrayfield, the head coach had been hopeful that a scan on Tipuric’s shoulder would clear him to take part in the expedition, but that has clearly not been the case.

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“We’re all incredibly disappointed for Alun Wyn and Justin,” said former Wales head coach Gatland. “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 Conor.

“Conor is an outstanding rugby player and is held in the highest regard with both the players and coaches. 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.

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

The call-up for Beard will be a bitter pill to swallow for Irishman James Ryan and Scotsman Jonny Gray, who would both be widely regarded as the next two cabs of the rank in terms of second-row options for this Lions trip.

The appointment of Murray as captain is a blow to Scottish scrum-half Ali Price‘s hopes of making the Test starting XV.

Meanwhile, Exeter Chiefs quartet, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Stuart Hogg, Jonny Hill and Sam Simmonds will also link up with the 37-man touring party as planned in Edinburgh on Sunday 27th June.

Lions v Japan: Alun Wyn Jones injury casts a shadow over successful first hit-out

About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Get me Adam Beard – said no one ever. Until now…

    Bizarre choice. Real shame for James Ryan but then just flat out insulting for Gray. He’s even got the extra selling point of being regular Hill’s partner in the row for Exeter. Would be no bad thing to have an existing partnership to call upon in what us still effectively a scratch team.

    He’s even a line-out machine, so that’s not even a point of difference with Beard.

    I wonder if Gatland judges him harshly for the Ireland game this year. No matter the cause, it’s hard not to see Gray’s strengths being hand-waived away and his faults magnified.

    Murray as Captain? He’s an experienced player but not as a Captain nor is he bang in form (unlike Biggar who really is peaking).

  2. Oh no, Gats returns to his old routine … 14 Welshman nd 1 Irishman in the first test … and SA hump us

    wish I was joking

  3. There’s a lot of “wait and see” here for me. Captain isn’t just on the field. Murray has three tours, has captained an international side before, and would be well thought of at Munster by the players group.

    In saying all that, he is not my first choice replacement. Too much reliance on kicking, some poor decision-making that I’ve seen when the pressure is on and not enough strategic work with the head going on during phases. But that’s why I’m not the Lions head coach and Gats is…his choice. He lives and dies by his decisions. Its served him well in the past.

    This is a fluid situation. There’s a lot of rugby to be played on this tour, and for me, Gray and Ryan both have a shout at a call up.

  4. Gatland seems to have done quite well on previous Lions tours so perhaps he knows a thing or two about selection? (A controversial idea to some I appreciate).

    • As a Scot, I’m bitterly disappointed for Jonny Gray. Dont know what he ehas to be a Lion.A stalwart of the Scottish team and now Exeter. Tackles more than anyone in the game but not considered big enough for the Springboks challenge. Who says size doesn’t matter (apart from Hamish thankfully). Navidi also a tough rugged 7 who is very physical.

  5. Two issues here first Murray as captain , bad move , there are players in the squad who are club or international captains, and captains seem to work better if they are in the forward packs. I realize that the captain is going to have to play in most games so I assume will Murray.
    As for Beard I think that’s just a Gatland knee jerk Welsh comfort reaction, since I thought Gray played Hill off the park yesterday in the English final, I’m surprised at his omission. I think James Ryan is injured and out of the Irish squad.

    • Ryan playing today for Ireland….it’s just Gatland playing to his usual script. 100% loss record in his last job….

  6. The biggest surprise is that Owens being Welsh didn’t get the shout, Gatland’s ‘comfort blanket’ is virtually anyone he has had previous dealings with in the Welsh squad, as evidence both replacements for AWJ and Tiperic are Welsh [Adam Beard and Josh Navidi] and they have been summoned up with almost indecent haste.

    • Well the plane leaves soon (possibly today even?) so the haste is hardly ‘indecent’. Not sure Beard would have been my top choice but Navidi is a superb player.

      • The last I heard there will be another flight to SA and my use of ‘indecent haste’ was an attempt to highlight Gatland’s default team selection, if you get my drift, as for Navidi: other ‘superb’ players are available.

    • the surprise is that Owens took over captaincy yesterday when Jones went off. Murray didn’t and for me was pedestrian. Yet he is now a nailed on test starter. As ever, all Gatland’s fine words about places up for grabs are worthless, he had his mind up before the squad was selected what his test 15 will be, subject to injuries of course

      • fair to say other superb players are available but Navidi is a worthy selection. Not sure Beard is.

        as to another plane to SA – there is a huge wave of covid currently in SA, worse in Gauteng where the Lions would mostly be based and play. And there are cases in the Springbok camp. Their players were all apparently vaccinated

      • Didn’t see Murray as a Lions skipper tbh. (Has he captained any side before?) Also thought Owens would get the nod as the likley test hooked. So Ally is there now as injury cover or benchwarmer. As he was the biggest surprise from the Scottish contingent he will still be a happy boy and will probably get a start in some non-test matches.

      • To be fair he had to name a squad captain and those that look most nailed on also have question marks. Furlong isn’t a captain, Itoje will annoy the ref with his play as he lives on the edge and Farrell/Hogg aren’t certain of a place.

        All the coaches would have had an idea of their preferred XV, every representative team from U18’s through to national squads always have.

        Murray wasn’t great on Saturday, pipped to poorest performing Lion by Faletau, but Gatland has benched his tour captain before for a test match.

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