British and Irish Lions: Josh Adams, Bundee Aki and Wyn Jones set for first starts in decisive third Test

Josh Adams, Bundee Aki and Wyn Jones are all set to make their Test debuts for the British and Irish Lions after being named in a much-changed starting XV for Saturday’s series decider.

In total, head coach Warren Gatland has made six changes to his starting line-up for the clash with the Springboks in Cape Town as the Lions aim to rebound from last weekend’s 29-7 loss.

Welsh flyer Adams is named on the wing, with compatriot Jones set to start in the front row after missing the first two Tests due to injury. Aki, meanwhile, comes in at inside centre to form an all-Irish midfield with Robbie Henshaw.

Elsewhere, there is a change at full-back as Liam Williams replaces Stuart Hogg, who is left out of the matchday 23 altogether. The same fate has befallen Anthony Watson, whose place has been taken by the tour’s top try-scorer Adams.

Aki’s inclusion means Henshaw shifts over to outside centre, replacing Chris Harris. There is a change in the halves too as Ali Price is brought back in at No 9 to partner Dan Biggar, with Conor Murray dropping to the bench.

Jones takes Mako Vunipola’s place at loosehead prop with the England man included among the replacements. That is one of two changes in the pack, with Ken Owens promoted from the bench to start at hooker in place of Luke Cowan-Dickie.

British and Irish Lions forward Wyn Jones says the squad are ‘excited’ and ‘edgy’ ahead of Saturday’s series-deciding Test against South Africa in Cape Town

As well as the trio named in the starting line-up, there is the likelihood of Adam Beard, Finn Russell and Sam Simmonds winning their first Lions Test caps too after being included on the replacements’ bench. Tadhg Beirne, Owen Farrell and Taulupe Faletau are the men who make way there.

Kyle Sinckler, named among the substitutes, was cleared to feature after a charge of biting following Saturday’s second Test was dismissed at a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.

“The matchday 23 have an incredibly special opportunity in front of them – to seal a Lions Series victory in South Africa,” said Gatland.

“It doesn’t get much bigger than this and we’re excited by the challenge that faces us on Saturday.

“We’ve no excuses from last week, the Springboks put us under pressure in the second half and deserved the win. We have to be much better than that second-half performance, and I believe we will be.”

British and Irish Lions: 15 Liam Williams; 14 Josh Adams, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Duhan van der Merwe; 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Ali Price; 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Ken Owens, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 6 Courtney Lawes, 7 Tom Curry, 8 Jack Conan.

Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Finn Russell, 23 Elliot Daly.


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