Jun 21, 2017
Saracens dominate Lions side to face All Blacks
Saracens will have a heavy presence in the first British & Irish Lions test team to face the All Blacks on Saturday at Auckland’s Eden Park (Live on SkySports kick-off 08h35).
Loosehead prop Mako Vunipola, hooker Jamie George, lock George Kruis, fly-half Owen Farrell and new signing Liam Williams (full-back) will all start against the back-to-back world champions in Auckland on Saturday with the in-form Maro Itoje taking his place on the bench.
Fly-half Owen Farrell, who was a member of the victorious touring party of Australia in 203, has recovered from a thigh strain to take his place in Warren Gatland’s side. Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and George Kruis all-start after impressing in the Lions’ games against the Crusaders and Maori All Blacks whilst Liam Williams’ impressive performance from full-back in the Lions’ 34-6 win over the Chiefs on Tuesday served as a timely reminder of his attacking threat on the eve of the test-match team selection. Maro Itoje can count himself extremely unlucky not to be partnering his club and country teammate George Kruis in the heart of the Lions engine room, with Sarries lock producing some powerful displays in the Lions’ defeats to the Blues, Highlanders and their wins against the Crusaders and the Maori All Blacks.
"We have picked a side based on form with a lot of players putting their hands up, especially from the Crusaders and Maori All Blacks games, and it was a lively selection meeting," said British and Irish Lions Head Coach, Warren Gatland.
"The win against the Chiefs was also extremely important for the squad and some players played themselves into the side.
"We have continuously been strong at set-piece and have been good defensively in the last two or three outings. But to beat the All Blacks you have to be courageous and play some rugby - you have to score tries and I think we have picked a team capable of doing that."
British and Irish Lions: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Ben Te'o, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Conor Murray; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Tadhg Furlong,4 Alun Wyn Jones,5 George Kruis, 6 Peter O'Mahony (c), 7 Sean O'Brien, 8 Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Maro Itoje, 20 Sam Warburton, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Jonathan Sexton, 23 Leigh Halfpenny