Lions make changes in bid to clinch series against South Africa

Starting role: British And Irish Lions's Mako Vunipola.Starting role: British And Irish Lions's Mako Vunipola.
Starting role: British And Irish Lions's Mako Vunipola.
The British and Irish Lions and South Africa have both made three changes for Saturday’s second Test – the tourists giving starts to Conor Murray, Chris Harris and Mako Vunipola.

Murray takes the scrum-half duties from Ali Price, who drops to the bench in a straight swap of roles from the series opener at Cape Town Stadium that saw the Lions emerge 22-17 winners.

Vunipola is rewarded for his impact off the bench in the first Test, which included a solid scrummaging performance, by getting the nod ahead of Rory Sutherland at loose-head prop.

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Sutherland struggled at the set-piece and with Wyn Jones suffering from a shoulder problem, the Scotland front-row is needed among the replacements.

The final adjustment to the XV that have placed the Lions on the brink of a first series victory over South Africa since 1997 is Harris’s promotion from outside the 23 to replace Elliot Daly in the centres.

South Africa give a full debut to Leicester No 8 Jasper Wiese.

Head coach Jacques Nienaber has reacted to the defeat last Saturday by replacing the ineffectual Kwagga Smith with Wiese, who came on as a replacement against Georgia on July 2.

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There are two adjustments to the front-row with only hooker Bongi Mbonambi surviving as the Springboks give starts to props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe.

Ox Nche, one of the starting props for the first Test, has been ruled out by a neck problem but Mbonambi continues after recovering from a hamstring issue.

South Africa have opted for a six-two split on the bench, which includes Saracens tight-head Vincent Koch. Marco van Staden takes over from Rynhardt Elstadt as back-row cover alongside Smith.

“This is a massive game for us - it’s do or die in order to stay in the race to win the series,” said Nienaber.

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“We have selected a team that offers continuity in selection, but also one that we thought would be the best suited to achieve the objectives we have set for this match.

“We disappointed ourselves last week, and we all know how important it is to bounce back with a strong performance and show our fighting spirit and pride as a team and nation.”

South Africa: W Le Roux (Toyota Verblitz); C Kolbe (Toulouse), L Am (Cell C Sharks), D De Allende (Munster), M Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks); H Pollard (vice-captain, Montpellier), F De Klerk (Sale); S Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), B Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), F Malherbe (DHL Stormers), E Etzebeth (Toulon), F Mostert (Honda Heat), S Kolisi (Cell C Sharks, capt), PS Du Toit (DHL Stormers), J Wiese (Leicester).

Replacements: M Marx (Kubota Spears), T Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls), V Koch (Saracens), L De Jager (Sale), M van Staden (Vodacom Bulls), K Smith (Yamaha Jubilo), H Jantjies (DHL Stormers), D Willemse (DHL Stormers).

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British and Irish Lions: S Hogg (Exeter, Scotland); A Watson (Bath, England), C Harris (Gloucester, Scotland), R Henshaw (Leinster, Ireland), D Van Der Merwe (Worcester, Scotland); D Biggar (Northampton, Wales), C Murray (Munster, Ireland); M Vunipola (Saracens, England), L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter, England), T Furlong (Leinster, Ireland), M Itoje (Saracens, England), A W Jones - captain (Ospreys, Wales), C Lawes (Northampton, England), T Curry (Sale, England), J Conan (Leinster, Ireland).

Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets, Wales), R Sutherland (Worcester, Scotland), K Sinckler (Bristol, England), T Beirne (Munster, Ireland), T Faletau (Bath, Wales), A Price (Glasgow, Scotland), O Farrell (Saracens, England), E Daly (Saracens, England).

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