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Bundee Aki starts for the Lions as Gatland makes six changes for final Test

Ali Price, Liam Williams, Josh Adams, Ken Owens, and Wyn Jones all start too.

Bundee Aki will start the series decider.
Bundee Aki will start the series decider.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

LIONS BOSS WARREN Gatland has brought Ireland and Connacht centre Bundee Aki into his starting XV as one of six changes for Saturday’s deciding third Test against South Africa in Cape Town [KO 5pm Irish/UK time, Sky Sports].

Conor Murray has made way for Ali Price at scrum-half, Liam Williams starts at fullback in place of Stuart Hogg, Josh Adams replaces Anthony Watson on the right wing, and Aki comes in for Chris Harris in midfield to win his first Lions Test cap.

In the forward pack, Ken Owens gets the nod at hooker in place of Luke Cowan-Dickie and Wyn Jones returns from injury at loosehead prop.

Otherwise, Gatland has kept faith with the team that lost last weekend’s second Test.

Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe starts on the left wing again, while Robbie Henshaw moves to outside centre as Aki comes into the number 12 shirt in a proven midfield combination, while Dan Biggar is at out-half again.

Tadhg Furlong continues at tighthead prop, with captain Alun Wyn Jones and Maro Itoje in the second row again, while the back row of Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry and Jack Conan also remains unchanged.

There have been further changes on the bench, with Wales’ Adam Beard coming in for Tadhg Beirne and Exeter’s Sam Simmonds replacing Taulupe Faletau.

Gatland has also included Scotland playmaker Finn Russell after his recovery from an Achilles tendon injury, with England captain Owen Farrell dropped from the matchday 23, as are Watson, Harris, and Hogg.

Kyle Sinckler has been named among the replacements but his involvement is subject to the outcome of his disciplinary hearing later today, with Zander Fagerson set to come in if Sinckler is banned.

Lions (v South Africa):

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 (captain)

6. Courtney Lawes

7. Tom Curry

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8. Jack Conan

Replacements:

16. Luke Cowan-Dickie

17. Mako Vunipola 

18. Kyle Sinckler [subject to outcome of disciplinary hearing]

19. Adam Beard

20. Sam Simmonds 

21. Conor Murray 

22. Finn Russell

23. Elliot Daly

Referee: Mathieu Raynal [France].

About the author:

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