O’Mahony to lead the Lions against the Maori

Peter O’Mahony will captain the British & Irish Lions against the Maori All Blacks at Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday.

The Munster skipper, who will start at blindside, follows Sam Warburton, Ken Owens and Alun Wyn Jones in leading the 2017 Lions.

O’Mahony partners Ireland team-mate Sean O’Brien at openside and Wales’ Taulupe Faletau in the No.8 jersey.

In the pack, England duo George Kruis and Maro Itoje will make up the second row with their international team-mate Jamie George getting the nod at hooker. George packs down alongside Mako Vunipola and Tadhg Furlong.

There’s an all-Ireland half-back pairing with Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton named and Ben Te’o and Jonathan Davies outside them.

The back three sees George North and Anthony Watson on the wings and Leigh Halfpenny at full-back.

Tour captain Sam Warburton is on the bench alongside Kyle Sinckler who has impressed so far in the tour.

Head Coach Warren Gatland said: “At this stage of the Tour it is important to build on the foundations that have been laid in the last few weeks.

“We were obviously disappointed with the loss against the Highlanders and realise that we need to improve in several areas, including our discipline, but we feel that overall we are building well towards the Test matches.

“Every game is a big challenge, which is what we wanted, and this is an experienced Lions team with eight of the starting 15 involved in the last Test in Australia in 2013.

“Peter is a proven captain with Munster who never takes a backward step and we believe that those leadership qualities will serve us well on Saturday against a quality and determined Maori All Blacks team.”

Lions: Leigh Halfpenny; Anthony Watson, Jonathan Davies, Ben Te’o, George North; Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Tadhg Furlong; Maro Itoje, George Kruis; Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: Ken Owens, Jack McGrath, Kyle Sinckler, Iain Henderson, Sam Warburton, Greig Laidlaw, Dan Biggar, Elliot Daly

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