Auckland - The
British and Irish Lions named an unchanged team on Thursday for the
decisive third Test against the All Blacks, who gambled on rookies in a
Kick-off is at 09:35 SA time.
Visiting coach Warren Gatland urged his team to "make Lions history"
as he had the luxury of picking the team's first unchanged line-up since
The All Blacks, who are back-to-back world champions, won the first
Test 30-15 but lost 24-21 last week, when the Lions came from nine
points down in the final 20 minutes.
The Lions will now bid to complete their first New Zealand series
victory in 46 years on Saturday at Auckland's Eden Park - where the All
Blacks are unbeaten in 38 Tests.
"It is not very often on a Lions Tour that you get to pick the same 23 for the following game," Gatland said.
"We are all aware of how big this game is and we are expecting a backlash from the All Blacks," he added.
"This is a huge chance for this group of players to show their abilities and reap the benefits of the work everyone has put in.
"It is their chance to make Lions history."
While the composite team are finally settled at the end of their
tour, the All Blacks were forced into changes with coach Steve Hansen
giving Jordie Barrett and Ngani Laumape their first Test starts.
Prolific wing Julian "The Bus" Savea returns after being dropped
for the first two games with Barrett, flyhalf Beauden's brother, named
at fullback and Laumape at centre.
It comes after Sonny Bill Williams was suspended following his red
card in the second Test. Hansen said Rieko Ioane was unwell and his
fellow wing Waisake Naholo was dropped as a precaution after a head
Jordie Barrett and
Laumape have just 70 minutes of international rugby between them, and
Anton Lienert-Brown, who will partner Laumape in the centres, only made
his debut last year.
Hansen denied reports of scuffles at training as tensions mount
pre-game, and insisted that Barrett, who is likely to face an aerial
bombardment from the Lions, could handle the pressure.
Barrett, is a "cool, calm collected kid and we wouldn't have put him
there if we didn't think he was up to it. He wouldn't be put in the
position if we didn't trust him," Hansen said.
"Ngani's the guy we see going forward is going to play a big part in
our selection process and we've got a lot of confidence in him."
The last time the All Blacks played a rookie fullback against the
Lions was in 1977, when Bevan Wilson came in after New Zealand lost the
second Test. His penalty-kicking prowess steered the All Blacks to
victory in the remaining two Tests of that series.
Hansen also attempted to play down the importance of the game,
insisting it would not be the end the world if the Lions win only their
second series in New Zealand.
"I've heard a lot of stories this week that you'd think the All
Blacks have never lost a game and the sky's fallen in" after losing the
second Test, he said.
15 Jordie Barrett; 14 Israel Dagg,
13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea; 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: Nathan Harris, Wyatt Crockett,
Charlie Faumuina, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Aaron Cruden,
British and Irish Lions
Liam Williams (Scarlets/WAL), 14 Anthony Watson (Bath/ENG), 13 Jonathan
Davies (Scarlets/WAL), 12 Owen Farrell (Saracens/ENG), 11 Elliot Daly
(Wasps/ENG), 10 Johnny Sexton (Leinster/IRL), 9 Conor Murray
(Munster/IRL), 8 Taulupe Faletau (Bath/ENG), 7 Sean O'Brien
(Leinster/IRL), 6 Sam Warburton (captain, Cardiff/WAL), 5 Alun Wyn Jones
(Ospreys/WAL), 4 Maro Itoje (Saracens/ENG), 3 Tadhg Furlong
(Leinster/IRL), 2 Jamie George (Saracens/ENG), 1 Mako Vunipola
16 Ken Owens (Scarlets/WAL), 17 Jack McGrath (Leinster/IRL), 18 Kyle
Sinckler(Harlequins/ENG), 19 Courtney Lawes (Northampton/ENG), 20 CJ
Stander (Munster/IRL), 21 Rhys Webb (Ospreys/WAL), 22 Ben Te'o
(Worcester/ENG), 23 Jack Nowell (Exeter/ENG)