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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lions make five changes, Wallabies receive fitness boost ahead of 2nd Test

The Lions and Wallabies teams for the second Test of the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia have been announced. Both sides feature changes to those that played in the first game, some through injury and other's based on form.

The Lions starting XV comprises five changes to the side that won in Brisbane last Saturday.

Scrum-half Ben Youngs is promoted from the bench to replace Mike Phillips. He joins brother Tom, who plays his second Test at hooker, while flanker Dan Lydiate, who captained the Lions against the Rebels on Tuesday night, replaces Tom Croft and wing Tommy Bowe takes over from Alex Cuthbert on the right wing following his return to full fitness.

Geoff Parling replaces Paul O’Connell, who suffered a fracture to his right arm in the 1st Test while Makovina Vunipola takes over Alex Corbisiero, who strained a calf muscle in the same game.

On the bench there are five changes with Ryan Grant, Sean O’Brien, Conor Murray, Tom Croft and Alex Cuthbert earning spots alongside Richard Hibbard, Dan Cole and Owen Farrell.

"Several players have put their hands up this week and have forced their way into the Test side while several players have returned to fitness," said Head Coach Warren Gatland.

"That is typical of Lions tours. We want players to constantly push for selection, we then select who is on form and who is available. Based on that we have selected a squad that is capable of winning the Test and securing the series."

The Wallabies have had big boosts as Christian Leali'ifano and Adam Ashley-Cooper have both recovered from a head knock and shoulder problem respectively. That means that there are only two changes to the starting XV, with Kurtley Beale coming in at fullback for Berrick Barnes, and Joe Tomane on the wing for Digby Ioane.

On the bench dynamic Brumbies back Jesse Mogg replaces Beale, while Rob Horne comes in for Pat McCabe, who will be out for the rest of the year with a neck injury.

Second Test - Etihad Stadium, Saturday June 29, 8:05pm, (11:05am BST)

15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 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 (captain), 6 Ben Mowen, 7 Michael Hooper, 8 Wycliff Palu
Replacements 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Rob Horne, 23 Jesse Mogg

British & Irish Lions
15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 George North, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Ben Youngs, 1 Makovina Vunipola, 2 Tom Youngs, 3 Adam Jones, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 5 Geoff Parling, 6 Dan Lydiate, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 8 Jamie Heaslip
Replacements 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Tom Croft, 20 Sean O’Brien, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Alex Cuthbert

Time: 1:29
Credit: @rugbymedia

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