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Conor Murray starts for the Lions in crucial second test

Conor Murray returns to the starting line up as Warren Gatland has named his team to face the Spr...

Stephen Kisbey-Green
Stephen Kisbey-Green

10:02 27 Jul 2021



Conor Murray returns to the starting line up as Warren Gatland has named his team to face the Springboks in the crucial second test match.

The British and Irish Lions took the lead in the series with a 22-17 victory over South Africa on Saturday, with a brilliant second half performance.

Now, heading into what could be the deciding week for the series, Gatland has made three changes to the side that beat the world champions.

Conor Murray, Chris Harris and Mako Vunipola come into the starting side for the second test while Alun Wyn Jones remains captain to win his 11th successive Lions test cap.

The Welshman is again partnered with Maro Itoje, the man of the match in the previous meeting between the two sides.

Tadhg Furlong, Robbie Henshaw and Jack Conan all retain their places in the starting XV, while Tadhg Beirne keeps his place on the bench.

Dan Biggar, who will play fly-half subject to completing the return-to-play protocol and assessment by an independent concussion consultant, partners Murray in the halfbacks.

Murray Lions

Taulupe Faletau has been brought onto the bench and could win his fifth test cap for the tourists should he be brought onto the pitch.

Warren Gatland discussed how difficult this series has been in terms of selections, and suggested that there were no easy choices throughout the team.

“As always, selection was incredibly tough,” Gatland said. “However, we’ve made the changes we think are the right calls for the weekend’s game.

“It’ll be another tight contest. We know the Springboks will be hurting and they’ll throw everything at us on Saturday, but I think there’s plenty more to come from us too. We feel we can go up another level from where we were in the first Test and I would expect us to improve.

“It’s the biggest game on the Tour and we have to embrace the expectation that comes with it. As players and coaches, these are the games you want to be involved in. We’re relishing the opportunity to face the Springboks again on Saturday and potentially seal a Series win.”

Historically, the Lions have lost just two series after winning the first Test (against New Zealand in 1930 and Australia in 2001).

British and Irish Lions starting XV

Backline: Stuart Hogg, Anthony Watson, Chris Harris, Robbie Henshaw, Duhan van der Merwe, Dan Biggar, Conor Murray

Forwards: Mako Vunipola, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tadhg Furlong, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Jack Conan

Replacements: Ken Owens, Rory Sutherland, Kyle Sinckler, Tadhg Beirne, Taulupe Faletau, Ali Price, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly

Catch every moment of the British and Irish Lions series on Off The Ball, with live commentary from the likes of Brian O’Driscoll, Ronan O’Gara, Keith Wood, Alan Quinlan and more throughout the test series.

Brian O'Driscoll will be on commentary duties again for the second test this weekend, live on OTB Sports.

The 2021 British & Irish Lions Tour on OTB Sports with Vodafone. Lead Partner of the British and Irish Lions

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Read more about

Ali Price Alun Wyn Jones Anthony Watson British And Irish Lions Chris Harris Conor Murray Courtney Lawes Dan Biggar Duhan Van Der Merwe Elliot Daly Jack Conan Ken Owens Kyle Sinckler Luke Cowan-Dickie Mako Vunipola Maro Itoje Owen Farrell Robbie Henshaw Rory Sutherland South Africa Springboks Stuart Hogg Tadhg Beirne Tadhg Furlong Taulupe Faletau Tom Curry Warren Gatland

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