6 Jul 2017

Gatland sticking with winning formula

7:13 am on 6 July 2017

The British and Irish Lions have named an unchanged starting line-up and bench for the third and final test against the All Blacks on Saturday.

Lions captain Sam Warburton

Lions captain Sam Warburton Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Tour captain Sam Warburton will again lead the 23 who had a win in the second test in Wellington last week.

Coach Warren Gatland is keeping with his winning formula - it's the first time since 1992 that the Lions have kept the same starting 23 for consecutive tests.

Gatland said he felt he should reward the players for the result and courage they showed in coming from behind from 18-9 to take a win in the last 15 minutes.

"There are some players who are pretty disappointed not to be selected and I understand that. It is what you would expect from competitive top athletes, they back themselves.

"But we have stressed all along that this is not all about the 23 players but about everyone in the squad - they have put their disappointment behind them and are helping the match day squad prepare the best they can for the Test match," Gatland said.

He said he is expecting a backlash from the All Blacks after their defeat.

"This is a huge chance for this group of players to show their abilities and reap the benefits of the work everyone has put in. It is their chance to make Lions history."

British & Irish Lions team for the third test.

15. Liam Williams - Scarlets, Wales, #833

14. Anthony Watson - Bath Rugby, England, #816

13. Jonathan Davies - Scarlets, Wales, #778

12. Owen Farrell - Saracens, England, #780

11. Elliot Daly - Wasps, England, #822

10. Johnny Sexton - Leinster, Ireland, #791

9. Conor Murray - Munster, Ireland, #790

1. Mako Vunipola - Saracens, England, #787

2. Jamie George - Saracens, England, #819

3. Tadhg Furlong - Leinster, Ireland, #818

4. Maro Itoje - Saracens, England, #825

5. Alun Wyn Jones - Ospreys, Wales, #761

6. Sam Warburton (capt) - Cardiff Blues, Wales, #800

7. Sean O'Brien - Leinster, Ireland, #796

8. Taulupe Faletau - Bath Rugby, Wales, #779


16. Ken Owens - Scarlets, Wales, #829

17. Jack McGrath - Leinster, Ireland, #827

18. Kyle Sinckler - Harlequins, England, #814

19. Courtney Lawes - Northampton Saints, England, #826

20. CJ Stander - Munster, Ireland, #831

21. Rhys Webb - Ospreys, Wales, #820

22. Ben Te'o - Worcester Warriors, England, #815

23. Jack Nowell - Exeter Chiefs, England, #828