British and Irish Lions: Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell Start in Second Test

 Chris Jones

Sexton comes in at fly-half with Farrell at inside center, the first time the combination has started in New Zealand. Captain Sam Warburton replaces Peter O'Mahony on the blindside flank, with Maro Itoje preferred to George Kruis.

Robbie Henshaw and George North have been ruled out of the rest of the tour. Ireland center Henshaw (pectoral) and Wales wing North (hamstring) were injured in the 31-31 draw against Hurricanes in Wellington and will return home after Saturday's match.

Wales second-row Alun Wyn Jones keeps his place in the starting XV despite a difficult outing in the first Test with strong midweek performances from Courtney Lawes and Iain Henderson giving Gatland "food for thought".

Lawes, CJ Stander, and Jack Nowell are among the replacements after playing in the midweek draw with Hurricanes on Tuesday. Ken Owens, Jack McGrath, Kyle Sinckler, Rhys Webb and Ben Te'o also make the bench.

The Lions lost the series opener 30-15 in Auckland, with Lions head coach Warren Gatland citing a lack of physicality in the forwards, which he has sought to address with the inclusion of Saracens lock Itoje and Warburton.

"You have to make the tough calls," Gatland said.

"We saw Maro's impact in the first Test and he will bring an edge and a physicality, as will Sam Warburton in terms of pressure on the ball." But while those changes were expected, Gatland has been reluctant to field Sexton and Farrell in the same midfield in the tour matches.

"Both have played well and it gives us that attacking option in the 10-12 channel," Gatland continued. "We created opportunities in the first Test and there were a few that we didn't finish." New Zealand has made two changes - Waisake Naholo comes in on the wing and Anton Lienert-Brown at outside center.

They replace injured pair Ben Smith (concussion) and Ryan Crotty (hamstring). Experienced Welshman Jones retains his place in the second row and will partner England's Maro Itoje, who has selected ahead of countryman George Kruis.

"It's a big game for him," Gatland said of Jones.

"He was a bit disappointed with last week and how it went.

"He's pretty focused and pretty motivated. Normally in the past when he's had those sort of challenges he has really fronted the next game. "He's trained well this week and I think he's looking forward to Saturday night."

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Domain: Afterhours
Category: Sports
Chris Jones
10 July, 2017
25 June, 2013