Warburton to captain Lions as Sexton, Farrell named to start


Sam Warburton will captain the British and Irish Lions as Jonathan Sexton and Owen Farrell were also named to start the second Test against the All Blacks.

Warburton replaces Peter O'Mahony in the starting line-up as the Lions look to keep the series alive in Wellington on Saturday.

Maro Itoje comes into the second row for George Kruis, while Farrell shifts to inside centre to replace Ben Te'o and Sexton is at fly-half.

Meanwhile, Courtney Lawes, Jack Nowell and CJ Stander all come into the squad, taking spots on the bench.

"We saw Maro's impact in the first Test and he will bring an edge and a physicality, as will Sam Warburton in terms of pressure on the ball," Lions head coach Warren Gatland said.

"It's tough on Peter O'Mahony who has done a brilliant job for us. We had to look at the bench and we felt that CJ Stander's ball carrying and defence was the right choice for the bench.

"You have to make the tough calls and pick what is the right team and the right combinations for a Test match."

Gatland hopes the combination between Sexton and Farrell can lift his team, who were beaten 30-15 in the first Test.

"In terms of the backs we have gone with the Sexton-Farrell combination. Both have played well and it gives us that attacking option in the 10-12 channel," he said.

"We created opportunities in the first Test and there were a few that we didn't finish.

"There were lots of positives from the first Test but we were disappointed that we put ourselves in a position to put the All Blacks under pressure and to get back into the game and we let it slip.

"This is a big chance for these players to go out and show what they are capable of on Saturday night. For the players retained from the first Test it's an opportunity for them to step up and to show an improvement because individually they were disappointed and you have another group coming in who are also desperate to seize their chance."


British and Irish Lions: Liam Williams, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Davies, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Tadhg Furlong, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones, Sam Warburton, Sean O'Brien, Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: Ken Owens, Jack McGrath, Kyle Sinckler, Courtney Lawes, CJ Stander, Rhys Webb, Ben Te'o, Jack Nowell.