British & Irish Lions

Ireland's Murray takes over as Lions captain from injured Jones

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Conor Murray (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Conor Murray (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Ireland scrumhalf Conor Murray has been named as the new captain of the British and Irish Lions after original skipper Alun Wyn Jones was ruled out of the tour of South Africa by a dislocated shoulder.

Wales lock Jones left the field injured just eight minutes into the Lions' 28-10 warm-up win over Japan in Edinburgh on Saturday following a clear-out at a ruck and a similar injury in the same match has also ruled out compatriot Justin Tipuric.

Their places in the squad for an eight-game tour that culminates with three Tests against the world champion Springboks have been taken by two fellow Wales internationals in Adam Beard and Josh Navidi.

There had been speculation that England captain Owen Farrell, team-mate Maro Itoje or Wales hooker Ken Owens, who took over as captain when Jones went off at Murrayfield, might be appointed as the new skipper.

But Lions head coach Warren Gatland has instead opted for Murray, who started against Japan and is a veteran of 89 caps with Ireland and two previous Lions tours.

"We're all incredibly disappointed for Alun Wyn and Justin," said Gatland in a statement.

"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."

The New Zealander added: "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."

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