Australia v British and Irish Lions - Third Test match preview
By Tony Curtis. Last Updated: 06/07/13 10:31am
After 720 minutes of rugby the British and Irish Lions' tour now hangs on one game against Australia in Sydney on Saturday.
Just like the 1989 and 2001 tours to Australia, the series has been taken to a decider - with the Lions winning the first Test 23-21 but then losing 16-15 in Melbourne.
The main talking points heading into the clash, which will be shown live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 10am, have surrounded the two surviving playing members of the '01 series - Brian O'Driscoll and George Smith.
O'Driscoll, a veteran of four tours, will have to watch the match from the stands at the ANZ Stadium after he was dropped, while Australia flanker Smith has been handed a sensational recall nearly four years after he last appeared on the international stage.
O'Driscoll has never tasted series success following defeats to the Wallabies (2001), New Zealand (2005) and South Africa (2009) - but his hopes of ended that run will now be out of his hands.
Lions coach Graham Rowntree has described tomorrow's decider against Australia as the most important match of all their careers.
The omission of O'Driscoll was one of six changes made by Lions head coach Warren Gatland - with Jamie Roberts, Mike Phillips, Richard Hibbard, Toby Faletau, Alex Corbisiero and Sean O'Brien coming into the started XV.
Roberts comes into partner Jonathan Davies in the midfield - and with Manu Tuilagi providing cover on the bench, there is no place for O'Driscoll.
Hibbard and Corbisiero replace the benched Tom Youngs and Mako Vunipola in the front row, while O'Brien and Faletau come into a new-look back row alongside Dan Lydiate.
Phillips, who played in the first Test victory, replaces Ben Youngs at scrum-half, with Conor Murray keeping his place on the bench where he is joined by Richie Gray and Justin Tipuric.
With skipper Sam Warburton injured Alun-Wyn Jones has been handed the captaincy, with the Lions lock set to face Australia counterpart James Horwill in an interesting match up.
Warburton confident for series win
Horwill was cleared for a second time this week of stamping on Jones in the first Test.
The only change to the Wallabies XV sees Smith return, with the 32-year-old having last played for his country against Wales in November 2009.
Smith replaces the benched Michael Hooper, with Liam Gill dropping out the squad. Rob Horne is also omitted, with versatile Force forward Ben McCalman called in.
Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Will Genia, 1 Benn Robinson, 2 Stephen Moore, 3 Ben Alexander, 4 Kane Douglas, 5 James Horwill (capt), 6 Ben Mowen, 7 George Smith, 8 Wycliff Palu.
Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 James Slippper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Michael Hooper, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Jesse Mogg
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.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Manu Tuilagi.
Lions v Australia, third Test 2013
Warren Gatland has admitted he would consider leading the British and Irish Lions to New Zealand in 2017.
Phil Vickery thinks the British & Irish Lions series in Australia is one of the greatest modern performances he has seen.
Brian O'Driscoll is delighted to be part of a winning British and Irish Lions series team