All change for Lions to take on Highlanders

by Sam Phillips

The Lions have continued their rotation policy in making wholesale changes to their starting XV that will take on the Highlanders on Tuesday.

The coaching staff promised before arriving in New Zealand that every one of the 41 players would be given their chance to start and now that promise has been fulfilled, each tour match from this point forward is about finding the right combinations.

That is laid bare in the midfield, where they looked to have found the right quartet against the Crusaders in Conor Murray, Owen Farrell, Johnny Sexton and Ben Te'o.

Only one of those four will play and that is Farrell, from the bench.

Sam Warburton will start after being a late out against the Crusaders.

The skipper will pack down alongside James Haskell and CJ Stander in the backrow - a trio that would be every chance of starting the first Test on Saturday week.

Up front, Joe Marler will start at loosehead prop alongside Rory Best and Kyle Sinckler.

Courtney Lawes and Iain Henderson get the nod at lock.

Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar will have their chance to shine in the halves, with Robbie Henshaw and Jonathan Joseph given their shot in the centres.

The back three will feature Tommy Seymour, Jack Nowell and Jared Payne.

Meanwhile, three All Blacks have been released to the Highlanders for Tuesday's clash in Dunedin, while international commitments ruled out another seven.

Only Waisake Naholo and Lima Sopoaga from the All Blacks squad, and Liam Coltman who is in as injury cover, have been made available to face the Lions.


Lions team to face the Highlanders

1. Joe Marler

2. Rory Best

3. Kyle Sinckler

4. Courtney Lawes

5. Iain Henderson

6. James Haskell

7. Sam Warburton (C)

8. CJ Stander

9. Rhys Webb

10. Dan Biggar

11. Tommy Seymour

12. Robbie Henshaw

13. Jonathan Joseph

14. Jack Nowell

15. Jared Payne


16. Ken Owens

17. Jack McGrath

18. Dan Cole

19. Alun Wyn Jones

20. Justin Tipuric

21. Greg Laidlaw

22. Owen Farrell

23. Elliot Daly

Highlanders team to face Lions

1. Daniel Lienert-Brown

2. Liam Coltman

3. Siate Tokolahi

4. Alex Ainley

5. Jackson Hemopo

6. Gareth Evans

7. Dillon Hunt

8. Luke Whitelock (C)

9. Kayne Hammington

10. Lima Sopoaga

11. Tevita Li

12. Teihorangi Walden

13. Malakai Fekitoa

14. Waisake Naholo

15. Richard Buckman


16. Greg Pleasants-Tate

17. Aki Seiuli

18. Siosiua Halanukonuka

19 Josh Dickson

20. James Lentjes

21. Josh Renton

22. Marty Banks

23. Patrick Osborne