British and Irish Lions name unchanged team for third Test v New Zealand
By Tony Tighe
Last Updated: 06/07/17 10:45am
The British and Irish Lions have named an unchanged side for Saturday's series decider against New Zealand, live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 7.30am.
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Warren Gatland has kept faith with the team that ended the All Blacks' 46-Test unbeaten home record in Wellington last Saturday.
It is the first time since 1993 that the Lions have kept the same XV for consecutive Tests.
Mako Vunipola is retained at loosehead despite an ill-disciplined performance in the second Test, while Courtney Lawes must be content with a place on the bench as Alun-Wyn Jones and Maro Itoje continue their second-row partnership.
Liam Williams is named at full-back despite missing training on Wednesday, with Owen Farrell again selected at No 12 outside Johnny Sexton after kicking 14 points in Wellington.
Three changes for New Zealand
Jordie Barrett and Ngani Laumape make first starts while Julian Savea returns on the wing
"It is not very often on a Lions Tour that you get to pick the same 23 for the following game," said Gatland.
"We felt we should reward the players for the result and the courage that they showed in coming from behind from 18-9 down, digging themselves out of a hole and then finishing strongly in that last 10 to 15 minutes.
"There are some players who are pretty disappointed not to be selected and I understand that. It is what you would expect from competitive top athletes, they back themselves.
"But we have stressed all along that this is not all about the 23 players but about everyone in the squad - they have put their disappointment behind them and are helping the match day squad prepare the best they can for the Test match.
"We are all aware of how big this game is and we are expecting a backlash from the All Blacks. But the pleasing thing about the second Test is just how strong we were in the last 10 or 15 minutes, in terms of energy and enthusiasm so we still feel there is another level in us.
"This is a huge chance for this group of players to show their abilities and reap the benefits of the work everyone has put in. It is their chance to make Lions history."
British and Irish Lions: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 6 Sam Warburton (c), 7 Sean O'Brien, 8 Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Ben Te'o, 23 Jack Nowell.