THE ability to bring four very different nations together has always been seen as a prerequisite of success for the British & Irish Lions, and Elliot Daly has claimed that in one sense it had already been achieved. 

According to the Englishman, the Lions squad gathered after Saturday’s 56-14 win over the Sigma Lions to watch the European Championships quarter-final between England and Ukraine, and Scotland captain Stuart Hogg was one of those cheering on Gareth Southgate’s side as they won 4-0. 

“We all sat down and watched the second half after the game on the weekend,” Saracens back Daly said. “I think everyone was supporting England, to be fair – which was good.

“Some of the Scottish lads were sitting on the bench – Finn Russell was sitting on the fence – but I think we persuaded Hoggy to be an Englishman for a bit.”

England’s victory in Rome has taken them through to a semi-final against Denmark tomorrow night at Wembley. The Sharks match has been brought forward an hour to avoid a clash with the Wembley semi, although Daly himself did not seem sure of that when he was asked if he would be able to watch the game again.

 “I hope so,” he said. “I don’t know what time kick-off is, actually. It’s all going well. Hopefully we get another win and have our first final for a while.”

Lions head coach Warren Gatland, a New Zealander, said he was also backing England and their coach Gareth Southgate to go all the way and win their first major trophy in more than half a century.

“There has already been a bit of excitement in the camp with the English boys following the football,” he said. 

“It’s fantastic that they’ve got a semi-final, and from our point of view it will be great if they get to the final and win it. Just because it is a different sport, doesn’t mean we don’t follow them and support them. So, to Gareth and the team, we just wish them all the best.”    

Daly, primarily thought of as a winger, came off the bench at centre against the Sigma Lions, and he will play from the beginning in the same position tomorrow.

Only two Scots will join him in the starting line-up - winger Duhan van der Merwe, who scored on his Lions debut against Japan at Murrayfield ten days ago, and tighthead prop Zander Fagerson.

The Glasgow forward had been due to play alongside Van der Merwe against the Japanese, but had to pull out after suffering back spasms in training. He was a substitute against the Sigma Lions, however, and looked untroubled during his 25 minutes on the field.

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Three other Scots are among the replacements tomorrow night - Hogg, Chris Harris and Rory Sutherland. Hogg, who captained the Lions from his usual position of full-back, is covering stand-off against the Sharks. Dan Biggar starts as the playmaker, and neither of his rivals for the No 10 jersey in the Tests, Russell and Owen Farrell, have been named in the squad.

Harris, who had some impressive touches against the Sigma Lions including a clever chip ahead for the opening try, will cover the outside back positions.

Meanwhile Sutherland, now listed as a Worcester Warriors player along with Van der Merwe following their transfers from Edinburgh, is cover for Mako Vunipola at loosehead.  

England forward Tom Curry makes his Lions debut in the back row after recovering from a pectoral injury, and Wales’ Adam Beard and Josh Navidi will also play for the select for the first time after being late call-ups for their compatriots Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric.

Ulster lock Iain Henderson will captain the side. Munster’s Conor Murray, who was named as tour captain when Jones was ruled out with a dislocated shoulder, is scrum-half cover for Gareth Davies of Wales.  

The team Gatland picked on Saturday looks closer to his first-choice 15 than the one he has selected to take on the Sharks, but the coach insisted that nothing had been set in stone when it came to the team for the three-match Test series against the Springboks.

“I want this group of men to feel that everyone has got an opportunity right up until the Test matches.

"The message four years ago to the players who played on the Tuesday night before the first Test was that we hadn’t selected the Test team, and that there were still spots up for grabs, and a couple of players played well that night to get themselves selected in the Test team. 

“I think players want to hear that message about everyone having an opportunity. We’ve spoken about giving everyone a start in the first three games, and we’ve done that.”