Gatland makes bold changes

Warren Gatland (AFP)
Warren Gatland (AFP)

Melbourne - British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has made five changes for Saturday's second Test against the Wallabies in Melbourne with fit-again Tommy Bowe on the wing.

As well as having to fill the positions of injury victims Alex Corbisiero (calf strain) and Paul O'Connell (broken arm), Gatland has dropped scrumhalf Mike Phillips.

Bowe broke a bone in his hand in the win over Reds and returns at the expense of one of the try scorers in last weekend's 23-21 first Test triumph in Brisbane, Alex Cuthbert in the team announced on Thursday.

Ben Youngs joins his brother Tom in the starting XV at scrum-half as Welsh scrumhalf Phillips is completely overlooked. He has been hampered by a knee problem, but loses his place after playing in the last four Lions Tests. Ireland's Conor Murray comes onto the bench as cover for the No 9 shirt.

England's Mako Vunipola and Geoff Parling are promoted from the replacements to take the places of Corbisiero in the front row and O'Connell in the second row, while Dan Lydiate, who led the Lions to their 35-0 win over the Melbourne Rebels on Tuesday night, gets the nod over Tom Croft in the back row.

Croft drops to the bench where further changes see Scottish prop Ryan Grant and Irish back-rower Sean O'Brien get their first introduction to Test team duty.

"We said after the first Test that we had improvement in us and we are confident that this is the case," said Gatland.

"Several players have put their hands up this week and have forced their way into the Test side while several players have returned to fitness.

"That is typical of Lions tours. We want players to constantly push for selection, we then select who is on form and who is available. Based on that we have selected a squad that is capable of winning the Test and securing the series."

The Lions need just one win from the remaining two Tests for a first Test series victory since 1997 and to claim the Tom Richards Trophy for the first time.

"We are one Test to nil up and have a wonderful chance to win our first series since 1997. Sixteen years is a long time to wait for a series win," said tour manager Andy Irvine.

"The Wallabies are always a tough proposition at home and showed in 2001, after losing the first Test, that they are capable of coming from behind in a series.

"We will not underestimate them and will be prepared for a Wallabies side that has to win to keep the series alive."

Teams:

Australia:

15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson

Substitutes: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Rob Horne, 23 Jesse Mogg

British and Irish Lions:

15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 George North, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Makovina Vunipola

Substitutes: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Tom Croft, 20 Sean O'Brien, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Alex Cuthbert

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