After a disappointing second Test, the British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has made sweeping changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s third Test against New Zealand.
The British and Irish Lions is a rugby union team that competes in the Rugby Championship. Warren Gatland will be making sweeping changes for the third Test of this year’s series against New Zealand.
Centre Bundee Aki will make his Test debut, but Owen Farrell (left) will not be included in the side.
Warren Gatland, the head coach of the British and Irish Lions, has made significant changes to his matchday team for Saturday’s crucial third Test against South Africa.
In Cape Town, hooker Ken Owens, prop Wyn Jones, scrum-half Ali Price, center Bundee Aki, wing Josh Adams, and full-back Liam Williams will all start.
Fly-half For the first time this series, Finn Russell, lock Adam Beard, and number eight Sam Simmonds are in the starting lineup.
The team is without Owen Farrell, Taulupe Faletau, Anthony Watson, and Stuart Hogg.
The Lions were humiliated 27-9 in the second Test after winning the first 22-17, setting up a winner-take-all match this weekend.
“The matchday 23 have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to clinch a Lions series win in South Africa,” Gatland added.
“It doesn’t get much larger than this, and we’re looking forward to the challenge on Saturday.”
“We don’t have any excuses for last week’s loss; the Springboks put us under pressure in the second half and deservedly won. We’ll have to be lot better in the second half than we were in the first, and I think we will.”
Following the Lions’ humiliation in the second Test, captain Alun Wyn Jones predicted that Gatland would make significant changes, and the Lions coach has delivered, replacing six of the starting XV and drastically overhauling the bench.
Rory Sutherland, Tadgh Beirne, and Chris Harris are all out of the 23-man squad.
After returning from injury, loose-head Jones will make his Lions Test debut, while Owens has been chosen ahead of Luke Cowan-Dickie, who will be dropped to the bench.
Kyle Sinckler, a tight-head prop, has been selected as a substitute, pending the result of his disciplinary hearing on Tuesday night.
The backline has been rebuilt, with Aki making his first appearance in a Lions Test series and the Welsh duo of Adams and Williams moving into the back three after the Lions were thrashed by South Africa’s kicking game last weekend.
Beard, a late call-up to the tour, is given a spot on the bench after good warm-up performances, while Russell’s inventiveness and Simmonds’ speed are chosen above Farrell and Faletau’s experience.
Du Toit and De Klerk were not selected for the Springboks.
Injury has kept both talisman scrum-half Faf de Klerk and reigning global player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit out of the Springboks squad.
Cobus Reinach, a former Northampton scrum-half, begins at nine, while lock Franco Mostert moves to blind-side flanker.
Lood de Jager, a key Sale lock, begins with Eben Etzebeth in the second row.
Meanwhile, Morne Steyn, the experienced fly-half who won the 2009 series against the Lions with a long-range penalty, returns to the matchday squad.
Duane Vermeulen isn’t in the starting lineup after returning from injury this week.
Williams; Adams, Henshaw, Aki, Van der Merwe; Biggar, Price; Jones, Owens, Furlong, Itoje, A Wyn Jones (c), Lawes, Curry, Conan; Biggar, Price; Jones, Owens, Furlong, Itoje, Itoje, Itoje, Itoje, Itoje, Itoje, Itoje, Itoje, Itoje, Itoje, Itoje, Itoje, Itoje
Cowan-Dickie, Vunipola, Sinckler, Beard, Simmonds, Murray, Russell, and Daly are the replacements.
South Africa: Le Roux; Kolbe, Am, De Allende, Mapimpi; Pollard, Reinach; Kitshoff, Mbonambi, Malherbe, Etzebeth, De Jager, Kolisi (c), Mostert, Wiese; Kitshoff, Mbonambi, Malherbe, Etzebeth, De Jager, Kolisi (c), Mostert, Wiese
Marx, Nyakane, Koch, Van Staden, Smith, Jantjies, Steyn, and Willemse are all possible replacements.