Lions team for second test
June 27, 2013, 11:27:33
RE: Planet Rugby
The British & Irish Lions have announced a starting XV comprising five changes to play the Wallabies in the second Test at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne on Saturday.
Scrum-half Ben Youngs is promoted from the bench to replace Mike Phillips, who has been dropped from the matchday 23. Youngs joins brother Tom, who plays his second Test at hooker.
Flanker Dan Lydiate, who captained the Lions against the Rebels on Tuesday, replaces Tom Croft and wing Tommy Bowe takes over from Alex Cuthbert on the right wing following his return to full fitness.
Two additional changes are forced by injury. Second row Geoff Parling replaces Paul O'Connell, who suffered a fracture to his right arm in the first Test while Makovina Vunipola takes over Alex Corbisiero, who strained a calf muscle in the same game.
On the bench there are five changes with Ryan Grant, Sean O'Brien, Conor Murray, Tom Croft and Alex Cuthbert earning spots alongside Richard Hibbard, Dan Cole and Owen Farrell.
"We are one Test to nil up and have a wonderful chance to win our first series since 1997. Sixteen years is a long time to wait for a series win. We were very close in 2009 and the whole squad is firmly focused on victory this weekend," said British & Irish Lions Tour Manager Andy Irvine.
"The Wallabies are always a tough proposition at home and showed in 2001, after losing the 1st Test, that they are capable of coming from behind in a series. We will not underestimate them and will be prepared."
Head Coach Warren Gatland said he was "confident" his team would improve on their performance in the first Test.
"Several players have put their hands up this week and have forced their way into the Test side while several players have returned to fitness," explained Gatland.
"That is typical of Lions tours. We want players to constantly push for selection, we then select who is on form and who is available. Based on that we have selected a squad that is capable of winning the Test and securing the series."
British and Irish Lions: :15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 George North, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Makovina Vunipola. Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Tom Croft, 20 Sean O'Brien, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Alex Cuthbert.
Date: Saturday, June 29 Venue: Docklands Stadium (Etihad Stadium), Melbourne Kick-off: 20.05 AEST (11.05 BST, 10.05 GMT) Weather: 11°C. Closed roof. Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa) Assistant referees: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Romain Poite (France) TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)