Sexton starts for Lions, Stander on bench

The British & Irish Lions have made three personnel changes to their starting XV for the second Test against the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday.

Sam Warburton replaces Peter O'Mahony at blindside flank and will captain the team, while Maro Itoje comes in for George Kruis in the second row.

Johnny Sexton will start at flyhalf, with Owen Farrell shifting to inside centre in place of Ben Te'o.

Courtney Lawes, Jack Nowell and CJ Stander are all on the bench.

'We saw Maro's impact in the first Test and he will bring an edge and a physicality, as will Sam Warburton in terms of pressure on the ball,' said coach Warren Gatland.

'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.

'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 first Test and there were a few that we didn't finish.'

Meanwhile, wing George North and centre Robbie Henshaw have both been ruled out of the rest of the tour in New Zealand with injuries.

Both backs picked up the injuries during the Lions' draw with the Hurricanes on Tuesday, and will now return home.

British & Irish Lions – 15 Liam Williams, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Sam Warburton (c), 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Subs: 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.

All Blacks team

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Post by

Simon Borchardt