Lions Boss Warren Gatland Makes Three Changes To Starting XV For Second Test

Jason Hennessy

Jason Hennessy

Jason is the editor here at RugbyLAD and a proud Limerick man.
Jason Hennessy

Test two.

British & Irish Lions Head 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 Castle Lager Lions Series.

Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland), Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) and Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) come into the side for the second Test against South Africa at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday 31 July (kick off 5pm BST).

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Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales) is named captain to win his 11th successive Lions Test cap. The Welshman is again partnered by last Saturday’s Castle Lager player of the match, Maro Itoje (Saracens, England).

Vunipola packs down with hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) and Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) to complete the front row.

Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) wins his fourth Lions Test cap on the blindside flank joining Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) on the open side and Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) at No. 8.

Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales), who will play fly-half subject to completing the return-to-play protocol and assessment by an independent concussion consultant, partners scrum-half Murray.

Harris joins Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) in midfield to win his first Test cap, while the back three of Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England), Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) and Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) stays the same.

Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) 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).

“As always, 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.”

Saturday’s clash against the reigning World Champions is the second of three Tests matches in the Castle Lager Lions Series to be shown live and exclusively on Sky Sports.

SOUTH AFRICA v THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
Saturday 31 July 2021
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Kick-off: 5pm (BST)

15. Stuart Hogg
14. Anthony Watson
13. Chris Harris
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Duhan van der Merwe
10. Dan Biggar
9. Conor Murray
1. Mako Vunipola
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Maro Itoje
5. Alun Wyn Jones – captain
6. Courtney Lawes
7. Tom Curry
8. Jack Conan

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