Four Saracens in Lions squad for second test
Four Saracens are in the match day squad for the British and Irish Lions ahead of the second test against South Africa on Saturday in Cape Town.
Mako Vunipola starts after an impressive performance off the bench in the first test, whilst Maro Itoje keeps his place in the second-row following his Man of the Match display.
Owen Farrell is amongst the replacements after his crucial penalty last weekend, and Elliot Daly is also on the bench with his versatility proving crucial.
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, Chris Harris and Mako Vunipola come into the side for the second Test. Alun Wyn Jones 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.
Vunipola packs down with hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie and Tadhg Furlong to complete the front row.
Courtney Lawes wins his fourth Lions Test cap on the blind side flank joining Tom Curry on the open side and Jack 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.
Harris joins Robbie 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 added to a 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.”
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
6 Courtney Lawes
7 Tom Curry
8 Jack Conan
16 Ken Owens
17 Rory Sutherland
18 Kyle Sinckler
19 Tadhg Beirne
20 Taulupe Faletau
21 Ali Price
22 Owen Farrell
23 Elliot Daly