Mako Vunipola of the Lions is tackled by Siya Kolisi during the 2nd test match between the Springboks and the British & Irish Lions at Cape Town Stadium on July 31 2021. Picture: DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES
Mako Vunipola of the Lions is tackled by Siya Kolisi during the 2nd test match between the Springboks and the British & Irish Lions at Cape Town Stadium on July 31 2021. Picture: DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES

Cape Town — British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland reshuffled his backline and front row after last weekend’s Test drubbing against SA, making six changes for Saturday’s decisive final match.

In the backs, Josh Adams, Bundee Aki and Liam Williams come in while Ali Price is restored at scrumhalf, replacing Conor Murray, for the third encounter at the Cape Town Stadium with the series poised at 1-1.

Wyn Jones is picked at loose head to make his Lions Test debut after having had to pull out of the first Test with an injury, while Welsh teammate Ken Owens replaces Luke Cowan-Dickie at hooker.

Gatland also shook up the bench, dropping England captain Owen Farrell and replacing him with Finn Russell. Forwards Adam Beard and Sam Simmonds are among the replacements for the first time in the series.

Prop Kyle Sinckler is included subject to the outcome of a disciplinary hearing after being cited for an alleged biting incident in Saturday’s second Test.

He was to due attend the hearing via video conference on Tuesday. If found guilty, the England front row could face a sanction of anything between three months and two years on the sidelines. He is alleged to have bitten SA second row Franco Mostert’s arm during a ruck.

“The match day 23 have an incredibly special opportunity in front of them — to seal a Lions series victory in SA,” Gatland said. “It doesn’t get much bigger than this and we’re excited by the challenge that faces us on Saturday.

“We’ve no excuses from last week. The Springboks put us under pressure in the second half and deserved the win. We have to be much better than that second half performance, and I believe we will be.”

SA were 27-9 winners last Saturday after the Lions won the first Test 22-17.

Team: Liam Williams, Josh Adams, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Duhan van der Merwe, Dan Biggar, Ali Price, Jack Conan, Tom Curry, Courtney Lawes, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Maro Itoje, Tadhg Furlong, Ken Owens, Wyn Jones

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler, Adam Beard, Sam Simmonds, Conor Murray, Finn Russell, Elliot Daly.

Reuters

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