Conor Murray replaces Alun Wyn Jones as Lions captain for tour of South Africa

Conor Murray has played 89 Tests for Ireland and five games for British and Irish Lions
Conor Murray has played 89 Tests for Ireland and five games for British and Irish Lions

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has named Ireland international Conor Murray as the captain of the side for the upcoming tour of South Africa.

The decision follows after regular skipper Alun Wyn Jones will miss the series against the Springboks after sustaining a dislocated shoulder during the warm-up game against Japan at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Murray has played 89 Tests for Ireland and was part of Lions' tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2013 and 2017 respectively during which he played five Tests combined. He has overcome competition from England duo Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje to take over the reins of the side.

“We’re all incredibly disappointed for Alun Wyn and Justin. The timing of these injuries seem particularly cruel given we fly to South Africa tomorrow, but unfortunately they’re part of the game,” said Gatland.

“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’m certain he will lead the squad with excellence. He will also be well supported by an experienced leadership group".

Meanwhile, the Lions have also confirmed that Justin Tipuric, who also had a shoulder injury during the weekend's game will not be part of the touring squad with Adam Beard and Josh Navidi added to the squad.

“We plan for Adam and Josh to join up with the touring party before we depart for South Africa tomorrow [Sunday] evening", added Gatland.