Lions make six changes

 Jul 03,2013
Written by: Editor

Alun-Wyn Jones has been named British and Irish Lions captain for Saturday's deciding Test against Australia in Sydney, in a team that features six changes.

Irish centre Brian O'Driscoll, expected by many to over take the captaincy after Sam Warburton suffered a tour-ending hamstring injury, was left out of the matchday 23 altogether in a huge call by coach Warren Gatland.

Wales duo Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies have been paired in the centres with the former selected after missing the first two Tests with a hamstring problem.

The starting XV is made up of 10 Wales players, three from Ireland and two from England.

Irish loose forward Sean O'Brien and English prop Alex Corbisiero are joined by Welshmen Richard Hibbard, Toby Faletau and Mike Phillips as the other changes in the starting XV.

Scotland lock Richie Gray, Wales flanker Justin Tipuric and England centre Manu Tuilagi are the new faces on the bench.

Faletau comes in at number eight for Ireland's Jamie Heaslip and Phillips, who played in the first Test win but was rested for the second Test defeat because of concerns about his knee, returns at scrum-half in place of England's Ben Youngs.

O'Brien replaces Warburton at openside flanker in a muscular new-look  back row.

O'Brien replaces Warburton at openside while loosehead prop Corbisiero returns after missing the second Test with a calf injury, resulting in Mako Vunipola's demotion to the bench. Hibbard is picked at hooker for his first Test start of the tour with Tom Youngs named among the replacements.

O'Driscoll, playing on his fourth Lions tour and still searching for his first Test series win, has been overlooking in favour of Tuilagi, who is preferred to cover the backline.

"Brian was disappointed, but he appreciated that he was spoken to before the team announcement," said Gatland.

"It's the first time that a coach has ever made the decision with him in 15 years of rugby.

"Jamie is back fit and has been given the nod in terms of his partnership with Davies."

"It has been a challenging tour and we have had our fair share of injuries, but we always knew that would be the case," added Gatland.

"Brian is a great player and has had a wonderful career, but for the final Test we felt that Jamie Roberts' presence offered us something more."

Make your predictions

British and Irish Lions: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, Mako Vunipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Manu Tuilagi





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