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Lions bring South Africa team announcement forward by 24 hours

Lions bring South Africa team announcement forward by 24 hours
© Reuters
Warren Gatland will name his starting XV and bench for the Cape Town Stadium showdown on Wednesday morning.

The British and Irish Lions have brought forward their team announcement for Saturday's first Test against South Africa by 24 hours.

Warren Gatland will name his starting XV and bench for the Cape Town Stadium showdown on Wednesday morning, with tour captain Alun Wyn Jones expected to lead the side after recovering from a dislocated shoulder.

It follows in the footsteps of the Springboks, who also revised their schedule by unveiling their 23 on Tuesday rather than Wednesday.

The Lions squad were informed of the team on Tuesday before the afternoon's practice session at their base outside of Cape Town, which was the first opportunity for the starting XV to train together.

The competition for places following a warm-up schedule against modest provincial opposition has been fierce, with only three players thought to be certainties – Maro Itoje, Tadhg Furlong and Josh Adams.

It is the most critical team selection of the tour as only once before, in 1989, has a Lions team lost the first Test but gone on to win the series.

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Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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