Warburton to lead B&I Lions in second Test

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 00:55

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Sam Warburton will captain the British and Irish Lions against New Zealand in the second Test in Wellington on Saturday.

Warburton replaces Peter O'Mahony in a starting line-up showing three personnel changes from the XV that started the first Test.

Maro Itoje comes into the second row for George Kruis, while Johnny Sexton is at flyhalf and Owen Farrell shifts to inside centre instead of Ben Te'o.

There are changes on the replacements' bench with Courtney Lawes, Jack Nowell and Christiaan Stander all coming into the squad after impressing against the Hurricanes on Tuesday.

"We saw Maro's impact in the first Test and he will bring an edge and a physicality, as will Sam Warburton in terms of pressure on the ball," coach Warren Gatland said.

"It's tough on Peter O'Mahony, who has done a brilliant job for us.

"We had to look at the bench and we felt that CJ Stander's ball carrying and defence was the right choice for the bench.

"You have to make the tough calls and pick what is the right team and the right combinations for a Test match."

"In terms of the backs we have gone with the Sexton-Farrell combination," Gatland said.

"Both have played well and it gives us that attacking option in the No.10-No.12 channel.

"We created opportunities in the 1st Test and there were a few that we didn't finish.

"There were lots of positives from the 1st Test but we were disappointed that we put ourselves in a position to put the All Blacks under pressure and to get back into the game and we let it slip.

"This is a big chance for these players to go out and show what they are capable of on Saturday night.

"For the players retained from the first Test it's an opportunity for them to step up and to show an improvement because individually they were disappointed and you have another group coming in who are also desperate to seize their chance."

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

Date: Saturday, July 1
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19.35 (08.35 BST; 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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