British and Irish Lions: Alun-Wyn Jones will captain a new-look line-up
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter: @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: 03/07/13 4:12pm
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has rolled the dice and made six changes for the final Test decider against Australia on Saturday - with Alun-Wyn Jones named as captain.
On Sky Sports
- January 1, 1970 1:00am
With the three-Test series standing at 1-1, Gatland has named Jamie Roberts, Mike Phillips, Alex Corbisiero, Richard Hibbard, Sean O'Brien and Toby Faletau in a starting XV that contains 10 Welshmen.
However there is no place in the squad for Brian O'Driscoll, though, despite the legendary centre having been tipped for the captaincy in the build-up to the clash.
Jones replaces the sidelined Sam Warburton as skipper and will now go head-to-head with Australian counterpart James Horwill, who had been twice cleared of deliberately stamping on the Lions lock.
Roberts was always likely to return to the midfield after shaking a hamstring problem, however he had been expected to be reunited with 2009 centre partner O'Driscoll.
Davies, though, retains his place in the starting XV with fit-again Manu Tuilagi chosen to provide cover on the bench. The decision means that O'Driscoll has almost certainly played his last game for the Lions - bringing an end to his 12-year association with the tourists.
Highlights from the deciding Test between Australia and the British & Irish Lions at Stadium Australia, 14th July 2001.
Ben Youngs and Jamie Heaslip join O'Driscoll in dropping out the squad completely.
Phillips regains the No 9 jersey after missing the second Test loss, while Conor Murray continues to act as back-up on the bench ahead of Youngs.
Heaslip makes way for Toby Faletau at No 8, with Gatland rejigging his back row. Sean O'Brien starts on the openside in place of Warburton, while Dan Lydiate is retained on the blindside and compatriot Justin Tipuric is included among the replacements.
There is also a new-look to the front row with Corbisiero and Hibbard preferred to the benched Mako Vunipola and Tom Youngs.
The final change to the squad sees Richie Gray poised for his first Lions cap after he was brought in on the bench.
Gatland said: "It all comes down to Saturday. Winner takes all. We know we can leave nothing in the tank and that only a complete performance will get us across the line.
"Picking this team was not easy and ultimately with several players available after recovering from injury the head overruled the heart in many selection decisions.
"It has been a challenging tour and we have had our fair share of injuries but we always knew that would be the case.
"Brian O'Driscoll is a great player and has had a wonderful career but for the final Test in Sydney we just felt Jamie Roberts' presence offered us something more.
"Mike Phillips and Alex Corbisiero were first Test selections and would probably have played in the second Test if not for injury. Richard Hibbard, Toby Faletau and Sean O'Brien have also earned their starting places."
British and Irish Lions: 15 Leigh Halfpenny. 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Mike Phillips, 1 Alex Corbisiero, 2 Richard Hibbard, 3 Adam Jones, 4 Alun-Wyn Jones (capt), 5 Geoff Parling, 6 Dan Lydiate, 7 Sean O'Brien, 8 Toby Faletau.
16 Mako Vunipola, 17 Tom Youngs, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Manu Tuilagi.