Gatland Makes Three Changes to Starting XV
July 27, 2021 10:10 am Marcus Ó Buachalla
British & Irish Lions Head Coach, Warren Gatland, has made three changes to the starting XV which beat South Africa last Saturday to take a 1-0 lead in the Castle Lager Lions Series.
Conor Murray, 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 this Saturday 31 July (kick off 5.00pm – Irish time).
The Leinster Rugby trio of Tadhg Furlong, Jack Conan and Robbie Henshaw have all retained their places after impressing in the first Test last weekend.
Elsewhere, Alun Wyn Jones is again 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.
Vunipola packs down with hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie and Furlong to complete the front row.
Courtney Lawes starts on the blind side flank joining Tom Curry on the open side and Conan at No. 8.
Dan Biggar, who will play fly-half subject to completing the return-to-play protocol and assessment by an independent concussion consultant, partners scrum-half Murray.
Chris Harris joins 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 also added to the bench and will win his fifth Test cap should he enter the fray.
“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 (Irish Time)
15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) #783
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) #816
13. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) #844
12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #824
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #841
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821
9. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790
1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) #787
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) #851
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) #825
5. Alun Wyn Jones – captain (Ospreys, Wales) #761
6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) #826
7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) #853
8. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #839
16. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829
17. Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #840
18. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England) #814
19. Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #838
20. Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) #779
21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) #843
22. Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) #780
23. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822