British and Irish Lions: Warren Gatland names new starting 15 for Crusaders match

Alun Wyn Jones
Jones, 31, captained the Lions in the third Test in Australia in 2013
British and Irish Lions 2017
Date: 3 June - 8 July Venue: New Zealand
Coverage: Live text commentary on every match on the BBC Sport website and mobile app.

Experienced lock Alun Wyn Jones will captain the British and Irish Lions in the third game of their tour of New Zealand, against the in-form Crusaders.

Flanker Sean O'Brien, scrum half Conor Murray, centre Jonathan Davies and wing George North all make their first appearances of the tour.

Murray forms a half back partnership with England stand-off Owen Farrell.

Ben Te'o partners Davies in midfield, while Liam Williams and Stuart Hogg join North in the back three.

The Crusaders - who are unbeaten this season, having won all 14 games in Super Rugby - have eight All Blacks in their starting XV including captain Sam Whitelock and Israel Dagg.

For the Lions, Jamie George and Tadgh Furlong start in the front row alongside Mako Vunipola.

George Kruis lines up with Jones in the second row, with O'Brien, Peter O'Mahony and Taulupe Faletau in the back row.

"The aim was always to start everyone in the first three matches and this selection ensures that we achieve this," said head coach Warren Gatland.

"This is an experienced team with nine of the starting 15 players having featured in 2013.

"Our squad is working hard and we are seeing improvement in their performances both at training and in the games.

"The result against the Blues was disappointing and we know we can't afford to give away so many penalties.

"We are looking forward to the clash against the Crusaders and we expect a tough game against the most successful team in Super Rugby history."

Lions squad to play Crusaders:

Team: S Hogg; G North, J Davies; B Te'o, L Williams; O Farrell; C Murray; M Vunipola, J George, T Furlong; AW Jones (capt), G Kruis; P O'Mahony, S O'Brien, T Faletau

Replacements: K Owens, J McGrath, D Cole, M Itoje, CJ Stander, R Webb, J Sexton, A Watson

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Lions will 'love a kick'

Six of the eight All Blacks starting for the Crusaders are in the forward pack.

New Zealand regulars Owen Franks and Sam Whitelock are part of an all-international tight five, while experienced full back Israel Dagg also starts.

"If we match them physically we have a good opportunity," said Dagg. "If we don't, it's going to be a tough day.

"Northern hemisphere teams, they love a kick, so we will be preparing ourselves to have an aerial battle, and we sent a whatsapp message last night saying that we are going to prepare for those high balls.

"But they are physical. They have big boys up front and they love a set piece. So it's going to be something we are not used to. It's going to be tough."

Crusaders team: I Dagg, S Tamanivalu, J Goodhue, D Havili, G Bridge, R Mo'unga, B Hall, J Moody, C Taylor, O Franks, L Romano, S Whitelock (capt), H Bedwell-Curtis, M Todd, J Taufua.

Replacements: B Funnell, W Crockett, M Alaalatoa, Q Strange, J Brown, M Drummond, M Hunt, T Bateman.

Sibling trio included in All Blacks squad

Scott, Beauden and Jordie Barrett
Scott, Beauden and Jordie Barrett are the first sibling trio to be named in the same All Blacks squad

Meanwhile, all three of the Barrett brothers - lock Scott, fly-half Beauden and outside back Jordie - have been named in the New Zealand squad for the Test series.

Jordie Barrett and centre Ngani Laumape are the two uncapped players in the 33-man party.

Kieran Read is named as captain as he targets a return to fitness in time for the First Test on June 24, while hooker Dane Coles is included despite his long-standing issues with concussion.

The All Blacks play Samoa in Auckland on Friday 16 June, before the three-Test series against the Lions.

"This has been the toughest team that we've had to select for some time and some players who are in very good form missed out," said head coach Steve Hansen.

"We're excited by the uniqueness that comes with playing a Lions Series as it only comes around every 12 years."

New Zealand squad:

Forwards: Dane Coles, Codie Taylor, Nathan Harris, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Owen Franks, Joe Moody, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Samuel Whitelock, Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read, Ardie Savea, Liam Squire.

Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Cruden, Lima Sopoaga, Ryan Crotty, Ngani Laumape, Anton Leinert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams, Jordie Barrett, Israel Dagg, Rieko Ioane, Waisake Naholo, Julian Savea, Ben Smith.

Lions tour
3 JuneProvincial BarbariansWon 13-7
7 JuneBluesLost 22-16
10 JuneCrusaders
13 JuneHighlanders
17 JuneMaori All Blacks
20 JuneChiefs
24 JuneNew Zealand
27 JuneHurricanes
1 JulyNew Zealand
8 JulyNew Zealand

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