B&I LionsWales lock Alun Wyn Jones will captain the Lions in the final Test against Australia on Saturday after Brian O’Driscoll was dropped from the squad.  Irishman O’Driscoll was favourite to replace injured skipper Sam Warburton.


Coach Warren Gatland makes six changes to the side beaten in the second Test, with centre Jamie Roberts fit to start.

Prop Alex Corbisiero, hooker Richard Hibbard, flanker Sean O’Brien, scrum-half Mike Phillips and number eight Toby Faletau are also included.

Roberts missed the first two Tests with a hamstring problem but returns to partner Jonathan Davies in the centres after O’Driscoll’s surprising omission.

O’Driscoll, 34, was seen as the likely replacement for Warburton as he has led sides at international level on a world-record 84 occasions – in 83 of his 125 Tests for Ireland, plus the first Lions Test in New Zealand in 2005.

He has also captained the Lions on six other occasions, but his performances in the first two games against Australia prompted Gatland to look elsewhere.

“Brian was disappointed but he appreciated that he was spoken to before the team announcement,” said Gatland.

“It’s the first time that a coach has ever made the decision with him in 15 years of rugby.  Jamie is back fit and has been given the nod in terms of his partnership with Davies.”

With the series tied at 1-1 after one narrow victory apiece for Australia and the Lions in the first two Tests, Gatland has picked 10 Wales players for the series-deciding final game in Sydney – a record number of Welshmen in a Lions starting XV, beating the nine selected for the first Test in 1971 and first and third Tests in 1977.

Alun Wyn Jones leads the Lions for the first time, although the 27-year-old has captained Wales once in his 70 appearances for the national side.

The versatile O’Brien, who has started two games at six and two at seven on tour, and came on at number eight in the second Test in Melbourne, gets the nod over open-side specialist Justin Tipuric, who is on the bench.

This will be the third successive Lions tour to Australia that has gone to a decisive third Test. The Lions won 19-18 in Sydney in 1989 but were beaten 29-23 on their most recent tour in 2001. They have not won a Test series anywhere since their victory in South Africa 16 years ago.


British and Irish Lions: 15 Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), 14 Tommy Bowe (Ireland), 13 Jonathan Davies (Wales), 12 Jamie Roberts (Wales), 11 George North (Wales), 10 Jonathan Sexton (Ireland), 9 Mike Phillips (Wales), 8 Toby Faletau (Wales), 7  Sean O’Brien (Ireland), 6 Dan Lydiate (Wales), 5 Geoff Parling (England), 4 Alun Wyn Jones (captain, Wales), 3 Adam Jones (Wales), 2 Richard Hibbard (Wales), 1 Alex Corbisiero (England)

Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs (England), 17 Mako Vunipola (England), 18 Dan Cole (England), 19 Richie Gray (Scotland), 20 Justin Tipuric (Wales), 21 Conor Murray (Ireland), 22 Owen Farrell (England), 23 Manu Tuilagi (England)

15 Responses to B & I Lions 2013: Alun Wyn Jones captains Lions in 3rd Test

  • 1

    have heard reports that George Smith will be starting for the Wallabies with Gill being dropped, so BOD has no chance of perhaps a winning swansong?

    some strange calls but both coaches will have to live by them.

    should be a cracker of a game regardless of the actual rugby played, nothing like a deciding test with it all to play for

  • 2

    1 @ nga puhi:
    Hello nga puhi the biggest surprise of this announcement must be the axing of O’Driscoll as in many circles he was being the replacement for Warburton as captain, but if he has not been in form and with Jamie Roberts fit again someone had to make way and I guess Davies did really well until the last test and partners Roberts in the midfield for Wales so Mr Gatland made the call which must have been a tough one to make.

  • 3

    @ Bullscot:
    kia ora Bullscot

    agree with you, BOD has been good defensively but has offered very little on attack imo. Davies has looked good with ball in hand, I do wonder if this will weaken their defense out wide, time will tell I guess.

  • 4

    One of the areas highlighted by Gatland as a problem area last week was the battle at the breakdown so it is no surprise that he is starting the strong O’Brien to try and get over the gainline BUT Lydiate is a strong ball carrier as well and Faletau is pacey with ball in hand and covers a lot of the ground and good in defence, and am not sure the 3 loose forwards strong point is competing at the breakdown so I would maybe have gone with Tipuric at 7 and O’Brien at 6. From what I’ve seen this season Tipuric is a very good ‘fetcher’ flank who is good at tackling and ripping the ball almost ala Brussouw plus he covers a lot of the field during a match so you will see him attending many rucks. But O’Brien weighs a bit more than Tipuric and with it sounding like the Lions struggled a bit in the scrums this extra weight may have swung things in his favour.

  • 5

    I do think gatland has realised they struggled to get over the advantage line, and as such his selections reflect this imo anyways

  • 6

    5 @ nga puhi:
    Yes Davies did mess up slipping the tackle that lead to Australia’s match winning try but I have seen big forwards miss many tackles and Davies did put in man of match performance earlier in the tour so it would have been harsh to drop him for that miss so with Roberts back at inside centre he shifts out to his normal position. Should be a cracker of a game as both teams have to go for broke to win the series, in the last test the Lions had the comfort of knowing they were one up and still had the 3rd to play so maybe as the game went on they took more of a conservative route with not that many players coming off the bench. Expect the bench to be just about cleared for this one, front row changes will be needed to relieve tiring players in second half, Tipuric will definitely come on and given a good run in second half and depending on how much work Parling gets through we should see Richie Gray getting a fair amount of time too. In the backs if the Lions are trailing or well ahead then Tuilagi will get on the field for his bullocking runs. Halfbacks may be the only question mark for subs, but a lot depends on how well Phillips has recovered if he is not 100% then Murray will come on. Farrell may only come on in case of injury or Sexton playing really badly – which is very rare.

  • 7

    @ Bullscot:
    definitely not going to miss this game thats for sure. They were very conservative in the second test, almost playing a Bok 2009 type of game, relying on defense to win it. I think gatland has realised that he cant afford to approach this game that way, hence the inclusion of strong ball runners in the squad (Faletau, Tualigi, etc).

    Corbisiero coming back into the squad will help them at set piece, shame POC got injured because I thought he was outstanding in the first test.

  • 8

    A big decision by Gatland to drop BOD, a gutsy one too. He could face a backlash from the media if it goes pear shaped. His defensive work was pretty solid on Saturday, but he certainly didn’t ignite the attack. Good call, I think. Unfortunately I am working in Saturday, and am going to miss this test, what a shame, as it is going to be huge

  • 9

    In such an important test, I would stick with BOD, as his experience could be vital in this match.

  • 10

    As suspected, the wires are red hot over here, with journo and his dog having his two pennies worth over BOD’s dropping from the squad.

  • 11

    Hope Oz win this one and the series.

    Missed last weeks game so really looking forward to the last game this Saturday.

  • 12

    3 @ nga puhi:
    Howzit naga,

    Great to see you here. Remember to join RT’s RC pool on bru.

  • 13

    8 @ Just For Kicks:
    Yes he surely will, but in fact they are already lashing him and quoting all sorts of former players who say they think this was a bad decision eg. Keith Woods is one of them, but in reality I wonder how much of the negative comments are based on emotion – not sure that many of these former players can be objective with this especially those who played with O’Driscoll – you would hardly expect them to be on the side of Mr Gatland and I think unfortunately the angle of him being an ‘outsider’ may be pushed quite a lot if Lions lose. When you look at the facts – O’Driscoll has been a fantastic player for many years he would have to be for this to be his 4th tour, but in these 4 tours he has played 8 tests won 2 lost 6 – so how much was his “talismanic genius” really worth in the light of that?

  • 14

    10 @ Just For Kicks:
    That’s a pity that this is what is dominating headlines just shows the world we live in. Spare a thought for Alun Wyn Jones who will be captaining the Lions for the first time on Saturday, what an honour it will be for him and this is why I chose to write the headline for this article that I did. The detail comes from the source quoted and so with time constraints went with that, it was clear that O’Driscoll omission would be the big talking point but he’s not there now so they need to focus on who is in the team, pity they won’t. As good a player that O’Driscoll has been it is after all a team game and I really don’t appreciate this hero worship culture that exists.
    I had planned earlier this week to pen an article highlighting some of Mr Gatland and his commitees selections but now am glad I didn’t get round to it in the light of all this negative hysteria. And now with all the negative stuff that’s out there I’m hoping even more that the Lions can pull the win off.

  • 15

    Austin Healy now a ‘rugby pundit’ voicing his opinion, a lot sounds like sour grapes to me, only thing I agree with is his mentioning how dicey it was for Mr Gatland to only have 2 specialist flyhalves in the touring squad as this is what many of us mentioned from day 1 BUT I’m sure I wouldn’t agree with Mr Healy on who should have been a 3rd flyhalf, any thoughts on this clip?:


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