British & Irish Lions

Bok scrumhalf Reinach lauds appointment of Murray as Lions captain: 'He's a great pick'

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Conor Murray in action during the 1888 Cup match between the British & Irish Lions and Japan at Murrayfield on 26 June 2021. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Conor Murray in action during the 1888 Cup match between the British & Irish Lions and Japan at Murrayfield on 26 June 2021. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
  • Springbok scrumhalf Cobus Reinach said Irish halfback Conor Murray is the perfect candidate to lead the British and Irish Lions for their South African tour.
  • The 32-year-old Murray replaced Welsh lock Alun Wyn Jones, who sustained a shoulder injury against Japan in Edinburgh on Saturday.
  • Reinach has only played against Murray once at Test level in 2014 and he was on the losing side.

Springbok scrumhalf Cobus Reinach said Irish scrumhalf Conor Murray is a great pick as the new British and Irish Lions captain.

With veteran Welsh lock Alun Wyn Jones sustaining a shoulder injury against Japan on Saturday that ruled him out of the tour, the 32-year-old Munster stalwart who has represented his country 89 times replaced him.

Murray becomes the first backline captain of the British and Irish Lions since his legendary compatriot Brian O'Driscoll led the Lions to New Zealand in 2005 before being injured in the first Test.

He was replaced by Welsh utility back Gareth Thomas while Murray also became the first back to lead the British and Irish Lions since 1968 when they were captained by Irish fullback Tom Kiernan.

Reinach has only ever faced Murray once in a Test and that was 2014 where Murray got the best of them at Lansdowne Road 29-15.

"He's a classy player and has everything a scrumhalf needs," Reinach said.

"He can, kick and pass very well, so just as a player, he's exceptional on the field. He's also been there for quite a long time.

"Making him captain is probably a great choice because he can help with the forwards and guide the backs where it's needed. He's a great pick."

Reinach's stop-start career has seen him play only 14 Tests since his debut in 2014 against Australia at Newlands.

However, he was part of the 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning group in Japan after missing out on the 2015 trip to the United Kingdom.

While the memories of the 2 November night against England still burn bright, Reinach said they need to focus on the present that is Georgia at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.

Reinach will be making his sixth start for the Springboks with Herschel Jantjies coming off the bench.

"Winning the World Cup will forever remain unbelievable and it is a story that I'll always tell to my kids for the rest of my life," Reinach said.

"It's not the time to look at that now. There's still some rugby to be played. I'm still trying to improve myself and be a better player.

"Facing Cheslin Kolbe is definitely one way of improving yourself because you don't know what's coming. He creates magic from nothing."

Teams:

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Rosko Specman, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Aphelele Fassi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse

Georgia

15 Davit Niniashvili, 14 Akaki Tabutsadze, 13 Giorgi Kveseladze, 12 Merab Sharikadze (captain), 11 Demur Tapladze, 10 Tedo Abzhandadze, 9 Vasil Lobzhaidze, 8 Tornike Jalagonia, 7 Beka Saginadze, 6 Giorgi Tsutskiridze, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Gigauri Davit, 3 Giorgi Melikidze, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Guram Gogichashvili 

Substitutes16 Giorgi Chkoidze, 17 Nikoloz Khatiashvili, 18 Luka Japaridze, 19 Nodar Cheishvili, 20 Giorgi Javakhia, 21 Gela Aprasidze, 22 Giorgi Babunashvili, 23 Ilia Spanderashvili

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