Lions make three changes to starting XV for second Test

Conor Murray 24/7/2021
Warren Gatland has made three changes to The British & Irish Lions starting XV as the tourists bid to secure a series victory in the second Test at Cape Town Stadium.

Warren Gatland has made three changes to The British & Irish Lions starting XV as the tourists bid to secure a series victory in the second Test at Cape Town Stadium.

Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray, Scotland centre Chris Harris and England prop Mako Vunipola all come into the side after the Lions took a 1-0 lead in the series last weekend.

Lions defeat Springboks in first Test after second-half comeback

Wales icon Alun Wyn Jones is named captain again and will win his 11th successive Lions Test cap in the second row, where he is partnered by England’s Maro Itoje.

Vunipola, who came off the bench in the first Test, packs down with England teammate Luke Cowan-Dickie and Ireland tighthead Tadhg Furlong to complete the front row.

England’s Courtney Lawes wins his fourth Lions Test cap on the blind side flank joining Red Rose teammate Tom Curry on the open side and Ireland No. 8 Jack Conan.

Wales fly-half 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.

Harris joins Robbie Henshaw of Ireland 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.

Wales No.8 Taulupe Faletau is added to the bench and will win his fifth Test cap should he enter the fray, with Owen Farrell and Elliot Daly also named among the replacements.

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.”

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

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