DUHAN VAN DER MERWE has retained his place, Ali Price has been called back into the Lions starting XV and Finn Russell is on the bench for Saturday’s series decider against South Africa in Cape Town, but Stuart Hogg, Chris Harris and Rory Sutherland have all dropped out of the match-day 23.
In total, head coach Warren Gatland has made seven changes – six personnel and one positional – to the starting XV from last weekend’s heavy defeat to the Springboks. Alongside the recalled Price, full-back Liam Williams and hooker Ken Owens make their first starts of the series having featured off the bench previously, while left wing Josh Adams, inside centre Bundee Aki and loose-head prop Wyn Jones all make their first appearances of the series.
Second-row Adam Beard and back-row Sam Simmonds will also feature for the first time in a Lions Test match off the bench, with Tadhg Beirne and Taulupe Faletau missing out. Interestingly, the starting back five of the scrum is unchanged.
Kyle Sinckler is free to sit on the bench after the citing against him for biting during the second Test was dismissed.
“The matchday 23 have an incredibly special opportunity in front of them – to seal a Lions Series victory in South Africa,” said Gatland.
“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.”
Saturday’s clash against the reigning World Champions is the final Test match in the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series and will be shown live and exclusively on Sky Sports.
British & Irish Lions (v South Africa in the Third Test @ Cape Town Stadium, Saturday 5pm BST): L Williams; J Adams, R Henshaw, B Aki, D van der Merwe; D Biggar, A Price; W Jones, K Owens, T Furlong, M Itoje, A Jones (captain), C Lawes, T Curry, J Conan.
Substitutes: L Cowan-Dickie, M Vunipola, K Sinckler*, A Beard, S Simmonds, C Murray, F Russell, E Daly.
* subject to outcome of disciplinary hearing.