Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland has named four Irishmen in his team for the second test match against the All Blacks on Saturday.
Conor Murray, Johnny Sexton, Tadhg Furlong and Seán O’Brien are chosen to start as last weekend’s captain Peter O’Mahony loses out, not even getting a place on the bench.
Sam Warburton replaces Peter O’Mahony in a starting line-up which shows three personnel changes from the team that started the first test.
Maro Itoje comes into the second row for George Kruis, while Johnny Sexton is at fly-half and Owen Farrell moves to inside centre instead of Ben Te’o.
Munster’s C J Stander comes into the squad with Courtney Lawes and Jack Nowell, as the three gain a place on the replacements’ bench following impressive performances against the Hurricanes on Tuesday.
Commenting on the demotion of Peter O’Mahony, Gatland said:
“It’s tough on Peter O’Mahony who has done a brilliant job for us. We had to look at the bench and we felt that CJ Stander’s ball carrying and defence was the right choice for the bench. You have to make the tough calls and pick what is the right team and the right combinations for a Test match.”
With a Sexton-Farrell combination chosen for Saturday, the Head Coach commented:
“In terms of the backs we have gone with the Sexton-Farrell combination. Both have played well and it gives us that attacking option in the 10-12 channel. We created opportunities in the 1st Test and there were a few that we didn’t finish.
Looking ahead to the weekend’s challenge, where the Lions must win in order to keep the series alive, Gatland admitted:
“This is a big chance for these players to go out and show what they are capable of on Saturday night. For the players retained from the first Test it’s an opportunity for them to step up and to show an improvement because individually they were disappointed and you have another group coming in who are also desperate to seize their chance.”
British & Irish Lions (v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Saturday, July 1, 8.35am Irish time)
15. Liam Williams, 14. Anthony Watson, 13. Jonathan Davies, 12. Owen Farrell, 11. Elliot Daly, 10. Johnny Sexton, 9. Conor Murray.
1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Jamie George, 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Alun Wyn Jones,
6. Sam Warburton (captain), 7. Seán O’Brien. 8. Taulupe Faletau.
16. Ken Owens, 17. Jack McGrath, 18. Kyle Sinckler, 19. Courtney Lawes, 20. CJ Stander,
21. Rhys Webb, 22. Ben Te’o, 23. Jack Nowell.
The All Blacks team to play the second Test against the British and Irish Lions at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, on Saturday 1 July has been named.
The match day 23 for the DHL New Zealand Lions Series Test is (with Test caps in brackets):
1. Joe Moody (26)
2. Codie Taylor (17)
3. Owen Franks (92)
4. Brodie Retallick (62)
5. Samuel Whitelock (86)
6. Jerome Kaino (79)
7. Sam Cane (42)
8. Kieran Read (98) – Captain
9. Aaron Smith (60)
10. Beauden Barrett (51)
11. Rieko Ioane (3)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (35)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (11)
14. Waisake Naholo (12)
15. Israel Dagg (63)
16. Nathan Harris (6)
17. Wyatt Crockett (60)
18. Charlie Faumuina (48)
19. Scott Barrett (6)
20. Ardie Savea (14)
21. TJ Perenara (31)
22. Aaron Cruden (48)
23. Ngani Laumape – new cap
The match day squad sees two expected changes through injury. Winger Waisake Naholo has been named on the right wing with Israel Dagg moving to fullback. Anton Lienert-Brown comes in at centre with new All Black Ngani Laumape being rewarded for his standout performance for the Hurricanes on Tuesday night, coming into the match day 23.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Whilst it’s disappointing to lose both Ben Smith and Ryan Crotty, it creates an opportunity for others. ‘Izzy’ (Israel Dagg) is a world-class back three player, as is Anton in the midfield, and both Waisake and Ngani are coming into the Test side following outstanding performances against the Lions for their respective Super franchises.
“Whilst we were happy with the win last weekend, we know that it was just a start, in what is a three-Test Series. That means the job is far from done. It’s going to require us to take our game to a higher level. It’s going to be very demanding, physically and mentally, on both sides.
“We’re aware the British and Irish Lions have their backs to the wall and will chuck everything at us to keep themselves alive in the Series. They are a quality side who we respect immensely.
“In reality, last week’s Test could’ve gone either way had they taken more of their chances. Our job will be to make sure that we shut down their counter-attack better than we did last weekend and at the same time, win the critical moments across the 80 minutes. As always, it’ll start with the battle of the tight five.
“We’ve worked hard throughout the week in our preparation here in Wellington and are now looking forward to Saturday.”
Mini biography – Ngani Laumape
Born on 22 April 1993 in Palmerston North, 24-year-old Ngani Laumape attended Palmerston North Boys’ High School. He toured the UK and Thailand with the school’s First XV and was selected to play second-five for the New Zealand Secondary Schools team in 2011. Despite his success, he made the decision to sign with the Warriors rugby league team when he left school and by 2014 he was an established starter in the squad. The following year he investigated a return to rugby and he made his Investec Super Rugby debut for the Hurricanes in the opening match of the 2016 season. He went on to make 11 appearances, including seven starts, to help the Hurricanes win the club’s inaugural Super Rugby title. His strong performances in 2017 saw him lead the competition early for line breaks and defenders beaten and he’s currently joint leader on the competition try scoring table with 14 tries.
* The DHL New Zealand Lions Series is the 13th tour to New Zealand by the Lions. The first game between the Lions and the All Blacks was in 1904. The teams have played 39 Test matches. The All Blacks have won 30 of those matches.
* Loose forward Jerome Kaino will play his 80th Test match on Saturday.