Chiefs duo named in Lions starting XV
By Mark Stevens
Exeter Chiefs duo Luke Cowan-Dickie and Stuart Hogg will start again for the British & Irish Lions in Saturday’s second Castle Lager Lions Series Test against South Africa in Cape Town.
Cowan-Dickie, a try-scorer in the opening Test, keeps his place in a Lions pack which sees Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) come into the front-row in place of Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland).
The two other changes in personnel come in the back division where Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) and Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) come in for Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) and Elliot Daly (Saracens, England).
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales) is named captain to win his 11th successive Lions Test cap. The Welshman is again partnered by last Saturday’s Castle Lager player of the match, Maro Itoje (Saracens, England).
Historically, the Lions have lost just two Series after winning the first Test (against New Zealand in 1930 and Australia in 2001).
“As always, selection was incredibly tough,” said Gatland. “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.”
Saturday’s clash against the reigning World Champions is the second of three Tests matches in the Castle Lager Lions Series to be shown live and exclusively on Sky Sports.
SOUTH AFRICA v THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
Saturday, July 31,Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town (5pm)
15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) #783
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) #816
13. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) #844
12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #824
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #841
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821
9. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790
1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) #787
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) #851
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) #825
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales, capt) #761
6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) #826
7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) #853
8. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #839
16. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829
17. Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #840
18. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England) #814
19. Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #838
20. Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) #779
21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) #843
22. Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) #780
23. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822