LIONS V SPRINGBOKS: VUNIPOLA, MURRAY & HARRIS TO START

Jul 27 • British & Irish Lions, British & Irish Lions News, General News, International, National, South Africa, South Africa, Springbok News, Springboks • 493 Views • No Comments on LIONS V SPRINGBOKS: VUNIPOLA, MURRAY & HARRIS TO START

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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).

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 blind side 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

  1. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) #783
  2. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) #816
  3. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) #844
  4. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #824
  5. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #841
  6. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821
  7. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790
  8. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) #787
  9. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) #851
  10. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818
  11. Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) #825
  12. Alun Wyn Jones – captain (Ospreys, Wales) #761
  13. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) #826
  14. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) #853
  15. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #839

Replacements:

  1. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829
  2. Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #840
  3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England) #814
  4. Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #838
  5. Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) #779
  6. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) #843
  7. Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) #780
  8. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822


Saturday 31 July 2021

Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

Kick-off: 5pm (BST)

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