Super Rugby

British & Irish Lions make 15 changes for Blues



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The British & Irish Lions team to play the Blues on Wednesday has been announced with Wales hooker Ken Owens captaining the side.

Owens will be one of 11 players making their British & Irish Lions debut at Eden Park after Head Coach Warren Gatland made 15 changes to the side that kicked off the 2017 Tour with a victory over New Zealand Provincial Barbarians on Saturday.

Commenting on the team to face Super Rugby side the Blues, Gatland said: “We have made 15 changes to the starting XV and we are excited to see what this team is able to do against the Blues.

“We have stated from the off that we want to give every player a start in the first three games and Wednesday is an opportunity for this set of players to show what they can do in a Lions jersey.

“It was good to get the win under our belts last weekend. The boys in the stand were itching to get their chance and they are really excited about Wednesday.

“In terms of Ken, he has worked really hard on his recovery and it’s great to have him available. He has captained the Scarlets and has assumed a leadership role within the camp and it is a great opportunity for him.

“We are expecting a big crowd at Eden Park. It will be the first of three matches there for us and we know the atmosphere will be outstanding. We are hoping for some good weather and are expecting a tough, fast and open game of rugby.

“We have a few work ons from last weekend and we know we need to be more clinical. We created some good opportunities against the Barbarians but didn’t see them through and that is something we want to improve on.”

British and Irish Lions

15. Leigh Halfpenny – Toulon, Wales, 14. Jack Nowell – Exeter Chiefs, England, 13. Jared Payne – Ulster, Ireland, 12. Robbie Henshaw – Leinster, Ireland, 11. Elliot Daly – Wasps, England, 10. Dan Biggar – Ospreys, Wales, 9. Rhys Webb – Ospreys, Wales, 1. Jack McGrath – Leinster, Ireland, 2. Ken Owens (Capt) – Scarlets, Wales, 3. Dan Cole Leicester Tigers, England,, 4. Maro Itoje – Saracens, England, 5. Courtney Lawes – Northampton Saints, England, 6. James Haskell – Wasps, England, 7. Justin Tipuric – Ospreys, Wales,, 8. CJ Stander – Munster, Ireland

Replacements : 16. Rory Best – Ulster, Ireland,, 17. Joe Marler – Harlequins, England, , 18. Kyle Sinckler – Harlequins, England, , 19. Iain Henderson – Ulster, Ireland, , 20. Peter O’Mahony – Munster, Ireland, 21. Greig Laidlaw – Gloucester, Scotland, , 22. Johnny Sexton – Leinster, Ireland, , 23. Liam Williams – Scarlets, Wales

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