South Africa A v Lions: Chris Harris given another chance to impress

Conor Murray to lead a side containing just one Scot in starting XV and one more on the bench

Chris Harris switches from inside to outside centre for Wednesday's clash against South Africa A. Image: © Craig Watson -
Chris Harris switches from inside to outside centre for Wednesday's clash against South Africa A. Image: © Craig Watson -

TOUR captain Conor Murray will lead the Lions onto the field for the first time when they take on South Africa A in Cape Town on Wednesday evening.

Chris Harris shifts from inside-centre to his preferred outside-centre position as the only Scot in the starting XV, with Anthony Watson switching from right-wing to full-back and Dan Biggar at stand-off the other two players to retain their place in the team following Saturday’s hammering of the Cell C Sharks.

Meanwhile, Scottish tight-head Zander Fagerson will hope to make an impact from the bench. There is no Stuart Hogg, who has only made one appearance on the tour so far and has not featured since dropping off the bench a few hours before the tourists took on Cell C Sharks last Wednesday. Ali Price is also missing his second game on the bounce.

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“We’re pleased to have arrived in Cape Town as we near the halfway stage of the Series,” said Lions head coach Warren Gatland.

“Wednesday’s game against South Africa ‘A’ will be our toughest encounter since we arrived here and we’re looking forward to it. We expect them to be physical in the contact area and look to test us at scrum time.”

“I think we’ve benefitted from playing at altitude in the first three games. While the boys have felt it in their lungs, they’ll be all the better for it now we’re at sea level.

“As we move towards the business end of the Tour, it’s pleasing to see so many players putting in some stand-out performances. As coaches we want the players to make Test selection as hard as possible and that’s we’re seeing.”

British & Irish Lions (v South Africa A at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday @ 7pm BST): A Watson; L Rees-Zammitt, C Harris, B Aki, J Adams; D Biggar, C Murray; W Jones, K Owens, K Sinckler, M Itoje, I Henderson, J Navidi, T Curry, T Faletau.

Replacements: L Cowan-Dickie, M Vunipola, Z Fagerson, A Beard, T Beirne, S Simmonds, G Davies, E Daly.

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About David Barnes 3956 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he 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. Yes fitness permitting I would love to see a midfield of Henshaw and Harris for the first test. Although I think Henshaws continued absence through injury makes that unlikely. With Finn’s injury I except to see a 10, 12 of Biggar and Farrell, which I think would be the wrong call. Farrell’s lack of pace, poor form this season and a penchant for a rugby league tackle or 6 makes him a liability IMO.

  2. It’s a shame there isn’t the normal midweek match between the first and second tests, as this is going to leave a lot of players kicking their heels for well over a fortnight.

    Hopefully Hogg is available for the final warm up game on Saturday.

  3. Is Hogg the player isolating with Townsend etc? Is that why his name is missing and if so why is it a big secret?

    • Has been mentioned a few times on the Lions site that Hogg has a hamstring niggle.

      He may also be isolating but they haven’t even named Townsend as the coach who had it.

  4. Loftus Versfeld is not in Cape Town ?
    I think it’s all very much still open for selection with injuries/niggles playing on the mind of the coaches.
    Not long to go now till we find out!

  5. For avoidance of doubt, after much confusion regarding this Lions “tour that isn’t really a tour”, Wednesday’s SA “A” fixture is scheduled to be staged at the Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town.

    Clearly a slip of the pen by (our normally uber-reliable though probably harrassed house-moving editor) to indicate Loftus Versfeld as the venue.

  6. Big game for all with test match aspirations. The SA “A” is probably the best every A team to play.

    If the Lions team including perhaps those fighting (Sinckler, Curry, Harris etc)v those thought to be a “stick on” for the test team perform well v effectively the SA test team then it would be tough to leave them out the test 23.

  7. If the perceived wisdom is true then Gatland will play close to his test side on Saturday. That could be good news for the Scots not featuring here. I have to say I don’t really agree with that perceived wisdom. I would absolutely love it if Ali Price got the test start he has been exceptional. Fingers crossed for Finn & Hogg. A lot of pundits still talking about a Biggar Farrell axis even tho it’s not been played so far? and the Irish still believe Sexton will be jetted in last minute to start the tests, whose delusional now?

  8. The Scottish lads have made a great impression on tour – and for my money six out of the original eight are in serious contention. Harris ha been excellent as always, while I expect Hogg’s lack of game time must mean he is being kept ‘fresh’ for later. The Mish is a shoe in for me, as is Sutherland. Tired of hearing that VDM can’t tackle. He’s worked hard on it this tour and has put in some decent hits. An unstoppable flying machine, but also elusive for a big guy. That try he set up for Harris in the Sharks reload was quality. And six of his own says everything. He must be knocking on the door. Ali Price – about time he was given his due. Murray as captain was a mistake in my view and the Welsh lad had a mare. On merit our boy deserves a shout. Gutted about Finn, who does things the other tens can’t and would have offered a real point of difference had he remained uninjured. I hope Zander is given another decent chance to show just how good he can be. Of course the wretched Covid thing lurks. Let’s hope they’re not ‘coming home’ just yet.

  9. Presumably means Price will start on Saturday. Bizarre that no comment about Hogg when its clear either Henshaw or Hogg has to be the player isolating in Jo’berg.As both have been injured of course he might still be out with the dead leg.

  10. It’s never pleasant eating ‘Umble Pie’ but in the case of Harris I have to admit I didn’t initially appreciate his on field performances last season but he has been excellent on tour.
    Is the preponderance of Welsh players an indication of Gatland’s default selection process, or an indication that there will be a better representation come the 1st Test? On a performance basis I would hope to see Harris in the frame along with Watson [H] and VDM starting with Price on the bench owing to Murray.
    I presume Hogg is the ‘un-named’ player with the Lurgy and along with Russell hopefully getting a look in after the 1st Test, but it doesn’t look particularly good for them at the moment.

    • I hadn’t seen George’s post.I thought all players were clear but one was still isolating as a close contact of “management” (again presumably Toonie?)
      If so no reason-if otherwise fit- why he then wouldn’t be available by then for Saturday’s match-a back three of Hogg,Williams and DVDM would do nicely for that game!

    • I’m another convert. Originally wondered why he was included considering Huw Jones could burn him for pace every time. But that defensive effort against France was massive and finally turned a prejudice that was already shifting. As they say, it is the way he organises defences beyond his personal effort that Gatland will find useful against the Bokke.

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