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Lawes on bench for second Lions test

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Courtney Lawes has been included on the bench for the British and Irish Lions' second test against New Zealand on Saturday.

The Saint has been rewarded for his impressive performances thus far on tour, not least in Tuesday's draw against Super Rugby champion Hurricanes in Wellington. The Lions have stayed in New Zealand's capital city for the rest of this week, with Saturday's clash with the All Blacks also taking place in the Westpac Stadium.

Tour captain Sam Warburton has been promoted to the starting back row, with Maro Itoje and Jonny Sexton also joining the starting 15. Back rower CJ Stander and wing Jack Nowell join Lawes as other newcomers on the bench.

Head coach Warren Gatland believes that the 23-man match day squad has the ability to square the series against the world champions.

"There were lots of positives from the first test but we were disappointed that we put ourselves in a position to put the All Blacks under pressure and to get back into the game and we let it slip," he said.

"This is a big chance for these players to go out and show what they are capable of on Saturday night. For the players retained from the first test it's an opportunity for them to step up and to show an improvement because individually they were disappointed and you have another group coming in who are also desperate to seize their chance.”

Saturday's game kicks off at 8:35am, UK time, with full coverage on Sky Sports.

There has also been less positive news from a Saints' perspective today, with George North ruled out of contention for selection by a hamstring injury sustained against the Hurricanes. The winger is returning to the UK this weekend to begin his treatment.

BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS TEAM TO PLAY NEW ZEALAND
Second test
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Saturday, July 1st, 2017
Kick off 8:35am, UK time
15 Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales)
14 Anthony Watson (Bath, England)
13 Jonathan Davies (Scarlets, Wales)
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, England)
11 Elliot Daly (Wasps, England)
10 Johnny Sexton (Leinster, Ireland)
9 Conor Murray (Munster, Ireland)
1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England)
2 Jamie George (Saracens, England)
3 Tadhg Furlong (Leinster, Ireland)
4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, England)
5 Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales)
6 Sam Warburton (capt)(Cardiff Blues, Wales)
7 Sean O'Brien (Leinster, Ireland)
8 Taulupe Faletau (Bath, Wales)

16 Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales)
17 Jack McGrath (Leinster, Ireland)
18 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, England)
19 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England)
20 CJ Stander (Munster, Ireland)
21 Rhys Webb (Ospreys, Wales)
22 Ben Te'o (Worcester Warriors, England)
23 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, England)