Warburton back to lead Lions in second Test

Sam Warburton (Getty Images)
Sam Warburton (Getty Images)

Wellington - Sam Warburton will captain the British and Irish Lions in Saturday's must-win second Test against New Zealand in Wellington. 

The Welshman was one of three personnel changes coach Warren Gatland made on Thursday to the starting side that lost the first Test 30-15, including calling in Johnny Sexton at flyhalf.

Gatland also picked Maro Itoje to start at lock at the expense of George Kruis, praising his impact off the bench in the first Test. 

Sexton's inclusion sees Owen Farrell move to inside centre, forcing Ben Te'o onto the replacements' bench. 

Peter O'Mahony, who captained in the first Test, was not even included in the match day 23 as Gatland called up Warburton and preferred CJ Stander on the bench. 

Courtney Lawes was also included in the replacements after a strong performance in the 31-31 draw against the Hurricanes on Tuesday and Jack Nowell replaces Leigh Halfpenny on the bench.

Gatland said he had to make some tough decisions as the Lions seek to level the three-Test series. 

"We saw Maro's impact in the first Test and he will bring an edge and physicality, as will Sam Warburton in terms of pressure on the ball," he said. 

"It's tough on Peter O'Mahony who has done a brilliant job for us. We had to look at the bench and we felt that CJ Stander's ball-carrying and defence was the right choice for the bench." 

He said the Sexton-Farrell combination in the backline increased the Lions' attacking arsenal. 

"Both have played well and it gives us that attacking option in the 10-12 channel," he said. 

"We created opportunities in the first Test and there were a few that we didn't finish."

Teams:

New Zealand

15 Israel Dagg, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Ngani Laumape

British & Irish Lions

15 Liam Williams, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Sam Warburton (captain), 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola

Substitutes: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Ben Te’o, 23 Jack Nowell

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