Gatland rings changes v Springboks
Hogg dropped, Russell on bench for decisive Lions Test
Finn Russell and Ali Price involved in Cape Town (pic: SNS Group).
Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg has been dropped by Warren Gatland for the British and Irish Lions’ decisive Test against South Africa this weekend.
Hogg is one of six changes to the tourists’ starting XV following the 27-9 defeat to the Springboks on Saturday.
Glasgow Warriors’ Ali Price replaces Conor Murray at scrum-half for the Cape Town showdown, while Liam Williams, Josh Adams, Bundee Aki, Ken Owens and Wyn Jones are all introduced for their first starts of the series.
Fly-half Finn Russell is named on the bench after recovering from an Achilles tendon injury, although Rory Sutherland and Chris Harris, like compatriot Hogg, drop out of the squad. Hamish Watson, who wasn’t included in the match-day squad for the second Test, has also been omitted from Gatland’s 23-man pool for the make-or-break encounter.
Duhan van der Merwe, who was born and raised in South Africa and played twice for the Junior Springboks in 2014 but qualified for Scotland on residency grounds after joining Edinburgh in 2017, has retained his place, meaning the winger will have started all three of the Tests.
“The matchday 23 have an incredibly special opportunity in front of them – to seal a Lions Series victory in South Africa,” said Gatland.
“It doesn’t get much bigger than this and we’re excited by the challenge that faces us on Saturday.
“We’ve no excuses from last week, the Springboks put us under pressure in the second half and deserved the win. We have to be much better than that second half performance, and I believe we will be.”
British and Irish Lions: Williams; Adams, Henshaw, Aki, Van der Merwe; Biggar, Price; Jones, Owens, Furlong, Itoje, A Wyn Jones (c), Lawes, Curry, Conan. Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Vunipola, Sinckler, Beard, Simmonds, Murray, Russell, Daly.