O’Mahony retains captaincy for All Blacks Test

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:00

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Ireland's Peter O'Mahony, who led the Lions in their victory over the Maori All Blacks, has retained the captaincy for the first Test against New Zealand at Eden Park on Saturday.

"We have picked a side based on form with a lot of players putting their hands up, especially from the Crusaders and Maori All Blacks games, and it was a lively selection meeting. The win against the Chiefs was also extremely important for the squad and some players played themselves into the side.

"We have continuously been strong at set-piece and have been good defensively in the last two or three outings. But to beat the All Blacks you have to be courageous and play some rugby - you have to score tries and I think we have picked a team capable of doing that," Lions head coach Warren Gatland said. 

The pack is retained from the Crusaders victory, including the back row of O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien and Taulupe Faletau.

"It's a reward for how the back row has gone. There is a nice balance there while Peter captained the side against the Maori All Blacks and has done a good job," he added.

There are seven Test Lions in the starting XV with three more on the bench in a match day squad combining experience and form.

Liam Williams is selected at fullback and Elliot Daly on the wing following the four-try victory against the Chiefs on Tuesday.

"Elliot has been very accurate in the way he has played and we saw some excellent attacking play from Liam on Tuesday night. We are excited about the 15 that take the field but also the very strong and experienced bench players who will have an impact," he stated.

British & Irish Lions: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Ben Te'o, 11 Elliot Daly,10 Owen Farrell, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Peter O'Mahony (captain), 5 George Kruis, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Maro Itoje, 20 Sam Warburton, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Johnny Sexton, 23 Leigh Halfpenny.

Date: Saturday, June 24
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT, 08.35 BST)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Jérôme Garcès (France)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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