Rugby Union: Saracens lock Maro Itoje replaces club mate George Kruis in British & Irish Lions team to face New Zealand in second Test
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Itoje impressed off the bench during first Test loss
Saracens lock Maro Itoje has replaced club colleague George Kruis in starting XV for the British & Irish Lions’ second Test against New Zealand on Saturday.
Itoje impressed off the bench last weekend in the first Test defeat in Auckland and clearly did enough to earn a start for this Saturday’s clash.
The 22-year-old comes in to partner Welsh lock Alun Wyn Jones in the second row at the expense of Kruis, who drops out of the matchday 23 altogether.
Sarries back Owen Farrell retains his place in the starting team, though has moved from 10 to 12, with Ireland’s Jonny Sexton at fly half.
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Prop Mako Vunipola and hooker Jamie George keep their spots in the front row, while soon-to-be Sarries man Liam Williams keeps retains place at fullback despite an indifferent first Test.
Welshman Sam Warburton takes over the captaincy and the blindside flanker role from Peter O’Mahony of Ireland for the crucial second Test.
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Lions squad to face New Zealand: Williams (Wales); Watson (England), Davies (Wales), Farrell (England), Daly (England); Sexton (Ireland), Murray (Ireland); Vunipola (England), George (England), Furlong (Ireland); Itoje (England), Jones (Wales); Warburton (Wales, captain), O’Brien (Ireland), Faletau (Wales).
Replacements: Owens (Wales), McGrath (Ireland), Sinckler (England), Lawes (England), Stander (Ireland), Webb (Wales), Te’o (England), Nowell (England).