B&I Lions add more muscle for Boks
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: British and & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has made three changes to the starting XV which beat the Springboks last Saturday to take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.
Conor Murray, Chris Harris and Mako Vunipola come into the side for the second Test against South Africa at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, July 31.
Alun Wyn Jones is named captain to win his 11th successive Lions Test cap.
The Welshman is again partnered by last Saturday’s player of the match, Maro Itoje.
Vunipola packs down with hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie and Tadhg Furlong to complete the front row.
Courtney Lawes wins his fourth Lions Test cap on the blindside flank joining Tom Curry on the openside and Jack Conan at No.8.
Dan Biggar, who will play flyhalf subject to completing the return-to-play protocol and assessment by an independent concussion consultant, partners scrumhalf Murray.
Harris joins Robbie Henshaw in midfield to win his first Test cap, while the back three of Anthony Watson, Duhan van der Merwe and Stuart Hogg stays the same.
Taulupe Faletau is added to a bench and will win his fifth Test cap should he enter the fray.
Historically, the Lions have lost just two Series after winning the first Test (against New Zealand in 1930 and Australia in 2001).
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A Lions Test is special – It’s the pinnacle. Career defining.
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) July 26, 2021
“As always, the selection was incredibly tough,” said Gatland.
“However, we’ve made the changes we think are the right calls for the weekend’s game.
“It’ll be another tight contest.
“We know the Springboks will be hurting and they’ll throw everything at us on Saturday, but I think there’s plenty more to come from us too.
“We feel we can go up another level from where we were in the first Test and I would expect us to improve.
“It’s the biggest game on the Tour and we have to embrace the expectation that comes with it.
“As players and coaches, these are the games you want to be involved in.
“We’re relishing the opportunity to face the Springboks again on Saturday and potentially seal a Series win.”
British and Irish Lions: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Ali Price, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Elliot Daly.
Date: Saturday, July 31
Venue: Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Kick-off: 18.00 (17.00 BST; 16.00 GMT)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Mathieu Raynal (France)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
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— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) July 27, 2021