Rory Best to captain Lions against Hurricanes
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Ireland hooker Rory Best will captain the British and Irish Lions in their final midweek match on Tuesday against Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes.
Best also captained the Lions to a 34-10 win over the Hamilton-based Chiefs last Tuesday four days before the first against the All Blacks. New Zealand won the test 30-15 at Eden Park last weekend to take a 1-0 lead in the three test series. The second test is at Wellington on Saturday.
Best will lead a team against the Hurricanes which features the same forward pack that played against the Chiefs and an unchanged pairing in the halves of Scotland scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw and Wales' flyhalf Dan Biggar.
Head coach Warren Gatland said the Lions are looking to their midweek combination to restore confidence ahead of the second test.
"We are obviously hugely disappointed with the result last night but it is important to regroup," he said. "We know there are a lot of players motivated to go out and get a result for the whole group.
"A few players put their hands up for selection from the Chiefs game and played their way into the test team so they know that there is another opportunity for them on Tuesday against the Super Rugby champions."
Four players have been released by the All Blacks to play for the Hurricanes in Tuesday's match.
Winger Julian Savea, center Ngani Leaumape, lock Vaea Fifita and utility back Jordie Barrett were not members of the All Blacks match 23 which beat the Lions at Eden Park.
They now get their chance to play against the tourists for the Hurricanes whose lineup also includes former All Blacks Nehe Milner-Skudder, Jeff To'omaga-Allen and winger Cory Jane, who has been named on the bench.
Meanwhile, Damian McKenzie has been called into the squad as cover for fullback Ben Smith who failed a concussion test during the first test and for the third time this season.
The release of Savea and Leaumape, the top try-scorer in Super Rugby, means the Wellington-based Hurricanes will field a near full-strength backline, missing only scrumhalf T.J. Perenara and flyhalf Beauden Barrett.
British and Irish Lions: Jack Nowell, Tommy Seymour, Jonathan Joseph, Robbie Henshaw, George North, Dan Biggar, Greig Laidlaw; C.J. Stander, Justin Tipuric, James Haskell, Courtney Lawes, Iain Henderson, Dan Cole, Rory Best (captain), Joe Marler. Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Allan Dell, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill, George Kruis, Gareth Davies, Finn Russell, Jared Payne.
Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea, Otere Black, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi; Brad Shields (captain), Callum Gibbins, Vaea Fifita, Sam Lousi, Mark Abbott, Jeff To'omaga-Allen, Ricky Riccitelli, Ben May. Replacements: Leni Apisai, Chris Eves, Mike Kainga, James Blackwell, Reed Prinsep, Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, Wes Goosen, Cory Jane.