Australia v British and Irish Lions - second Test match preview
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter: @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: 29/06/13 10:51am
The British and Irish Lions may be on the brink of history but they know only too well to be wary of the wounded Wallabies.
The Lions haven't won a series since their 2-1 triumph over South Africa in 1997, however they had a fantastic chance to beat Australia four years later.
Under the guidance of Graham Henry, the Lions went into the second Test with a 1-0 series lead - and for 40 minutes they seemed on course for victory.
However the Wallabies came storming back into the game to stay alive, before sealing the series with a narrow win in the third Test.
Now with another New Zealander at the helm in the shape of Warren Gatland, the Lions will be looking to build on their 23-21 first Test victory when they renew hostilities with Australia in Melbourne.
Encouragingly there has been no room for sentiment in selection, with Gatland making five changes despite the success.
Mike Phillips had struggled to impose himself on the game in Brisbane, so Ben Youngs gets the chance to up the pace of the game.
While Phillips endured a difficult time, rival No 9 Will Genia was able to run riot so Gatland has reacted to what happened by bring in defensive enforcer Dan Lydiate into the back row at the expense of the benched Tom Croft.
Alex Cuthbert is also dropped to the bench despite scoring a superb try in the second half, with the fit-again Tommy Bowe coming straight back into the starting XV.
The other two changes to the line-up are enforced, with Geoff Parling and Mako Vunipola promoted from the bench after Paul O'Connell and Alex Corbisiero were ruled out through injury.
On the bench Ryan Grant, Conor Murray and Sean O'Brien will provide cover.
Australia's preparations have not been helped by injuries, citings and players pictured out at 3.50am.
Christian Lealiifano, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Pat McCabe, Berrick Barnes and Digby Ioane were all injured during the first Test, forcing Robbie Deans to tweak his line-up.
Joe Tomane and Kurtley Beale, who slipped when attempting a last-minute penalty in Brisbane, come into the starting XV, although Lealiifano and Ashley-Cooper have been passed fit.
Rob Horne and the uncapped Jesse Mogg have been called in on the bench.
James O'Connor remains at fly-half despite a torrid time at the Suncorp Stadium and being pictured with Beale in the early hours morning following the Rebels' 35-0 loss to the Lions.
The Australia pack remains unchanged despite James Horwill's run in with disciplinary chiefs.
Horwill was cited for an apparent stamp on Alun Wyn Jones and although he was initially cleared, the IRB have called for the case to be re-examined.
The Australia captain, though, will have to wait until after the second Test before he has to answer the charges for a second time.
British and Irish Lions: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 George North, 10 Jonny Sexton, 9 Ben Youngs, 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Tom Youngs, 3 Adam Jones, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 5 Geoff Parling, 6 Dan Lydiate, 7 Sam Warburton, 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.
Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
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.
Lions v Australia, second Test 2013
Mike Phillips admits he was devastated to be left out of the Lions team for the second Test with Australia.
Sky Sports brings you all the best of the action, reaction and opinion from the Etihad Stadium.
Find out what our experts thought as Australia won the second Test against the Lions in Melbourne.
- O'Driscoll: Massive week ahead
- Warburton: Lions will respond
- Ashley-Cooper revels in win
- Gatland points to turnovers
- Australia level Lions series
- Howley: Let's seal series win
- Horwill out to silence critics
- Dallaglio: Wallabies wounded
- Leali'ifano keen to kick on
- Howley's warning to the Lions
- Lions ratings
- Australia 16 Lions 15
- Word of BO'D inspires Lions
- North regrets try celebration