Sam Simmonds in to start for British and Irish Lions at No 8; Tom Curry, Josh Navidi, Adam Beard in for debuts

Sam Simmonds is in to start at No 8 for the British and Irish Lions on Wednesday vs the Cell C Sharks, while Tom Curry, Adam Beard and Josh Navidi will make their debuts.

Other headlines include Ulster and Ireland second row Iain Henderson captaining the side, while Elliot Daly starts in the centre at 13, and tighthead Zander Fagerson, hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie and scrum-half Gareth Davies make their first Lions starts.

The back-three is made up of Liam Williams at full-back, Anthony Watson on the right wing, and Duhan van der Merwe on the left, while Bundee Aki partners Daly in midfield – the latter of whom hasn’t played at centre for England since November 2016.

Standout centre Robbie Henshaw remains out with what the Lions describe as a ‘mild hamstring strain’.

Dan Biggar starts at 10 in an all-Welsh half-back alongside scrum-half Davies, while Mako Vunipola begins at loosehead prop in a front row unit with Cowan-Dickie and Fagerson.

Henderson and Beard form a second row partnership, while the back-row is a fresh one with Simmonds making his first start and Navidi (blindside) and Curry (openside) in for Lions debuts.

The bench includes tour captain Conor Murray and Saturday’s captain Stuart Hogg, with Ken Owens, Rory Sutherland and Tadhg Furlong providing hooker, loosehead and tighthead cover respectively.

Tadhg Beirne covers the second row, Jack Conan the back-row, while Chris Harris is named in the 23 shirt.

British and Irish Lions 23-man squad to face the Cell C Sharks on Wednesday (live on Sky Sports Action and Main Event from 5pm)

British and Irish Lions: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 Zander Fagerson, 4 Iain Henderson (c), 5 Adam Beard, 6 Josh Navidi, 7 Tom Curry, 8 Sam Simmonds.

Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Stuart Hogg, 23 Chris Harris.

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