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Watson and Faletau start decisive Test

6 July 2017

Bath Rugby’s Anthony Watson and Taulupe Faletau are part of an unchanged British & Irish Lions starting line-up and bench for the decisive Test at Eden Park on Saturday.

Sam Warburton will again lead the 23 who secured victory in the 2nd Test in Wellington – the first time since 1993 that the Lions have kept the same XV for consecutive Tests.

Head Coach Warren Gatland said: “It is not very often on a Lions Tour that you get to pick the same 23 for the following game.

“We felt we should reward the players for the result and the courage that they showed in coming from behind from 18-9 down, digging themselves out of a hole and then finishing strongly in that last 10 to 15 minutes.

“There are some players who are pretty disappointed not to be selected and I understand that. It is what you would expect from competitive top athletes, they back themselves. But we have stressed all along that this is not all about the 23 players but about everyone in the squad – they have put their disappointment behind them and are helping the match day squad prepare the best they can for the Test match.

“We are all aware of how big this game is and we are expecting a backlash from the All Blacks. But the pleasing thing about the 2nd Test is just how strong we were in the last 10 or 15 minutes, in terms of energy and enthusiasm so we still feel there is another level in us.

“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.”

British & Irish Lions (v New Zealand, 3rd Test, Saturday, July 8, 19:35 NZST, 08:35 BST):

15. Liam Williams – Scarlets, Wales, #833

14. Anthony Watson – Bath Rugby, England, #816

13. Jonathan Davies – Scarlets, Wales, #778

12. Owen Farrell – Saracens, England, #780

11. Elliot Daly – Wasps, England, #822

10. Johnny Sexton – Leinster, Ireland, #791

9. Conor Murray – Munster, Ireland, #790

1. Mako Vunipola – Saracens, England, #787

2. Jamie George – Saracens, England, #819

3. Tadhg Furlong – Leinster, Ireland, #818

4. Maro Itoje – Saracens, England, #825

5. Alun Wyn Jones – Ospreys, Wales, #761

6. Sam Warburton (capt) – Cardiff Blues, Wales, #800

7. Sean O’Brien – Leinster, Ireland, #796

8. Taulupe Faletau – Bath Rugby, Wales, #779

Replacements

16. Ken Owens – Scarlets, Wales, #829

17. Jack McGrath – Leinster, Ireland, #827

18. Kyle Sinckler – Harlequins, England, #814

19. Courtney Lawes – Northampton Saints, England, #826

20. CJ Stander – Munster, Ireland, #831

21. Rhys Webb – Ospreys, Wales, #820

22. Ben Te’o – Worcester Warriors, England, #815

23. Jack Nowell – Exeter Chiefs, England, #828

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