15 Jun 2017

O'Mahony to captain Lions against Maori

2:34 pm on 15 June 2017

The Irish flanker Peter O'Mahony will captain the British & Irish Lions against the Maori All Blacks in Rotorua on Saturday.

Lions flanker Peter O'Mahony and Luke Romano in action

Lions flanker Peter O'Mahony and Luke Romano in action Photo: Photosport

The Munster skipper follows Sam Warburton, Ken Owens and Alun Wyn Jones in leading the 2017 Lions in what has been billed the '4th Test'.

Tour skipper Sam Warburton gets another chance to press his claim for a test spot from the bench.

Warburton arrived on tour under an injury cloud having not played since April due to a knee injury and only returned to action in the opening match against the Provincial Barbarians, a 13-7 victory.

The Welsh flanker scored a try in Tuesday's loss to the Highlanders but will be hoping for plenty of gametime to impress in Rotorua on Saturday given the back row talent coach Warren Gatland has available to him.

Coach Warren Gatland was expected to select close to his first choice side for the fifth match of the tour with the first test against the All Blacks only a week away.

If that is the case, then the New Zealander will clearly be looking to dominate the hosts physically in midfield after naming Jonathan Davies and Ben Te'o in the centres.

Jonny Sexton also returned at firs-tfive in an all-Irish combination with scrumhalf Connor Murray, while England's Owen Farrell will be on the bench.

The hulking George North and pacy Anthony Watson will occupy the wings with Leigh Halfpenny named at fullback, a position that might have been taken by Stuart Hogg had the Scot not been ruled out of the tour by injury on Tuesday.

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.

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."

Gatland added: "Peter is a proven captain with Munster. He 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."

British & Irish Lions

(# British Lions number)

15. Leigh Halfpenny - Toulon, Wales, #775

14. Anthony Watson - Bath Rugby, England, #816

13. Jonathan Davies - Scarlets, Wales, #778

12. Ben Te'o - Worcester Warriors, England, #815

11. George North - Northampton Saints, England, #792

10. Johnny Sexton - Leinster, Ireland, #791

9. Conor Murray - Munster, Ireland, #790

1. Mako Vunipola - Saracens, England, #787

2. Jamie George - Saracens, England, #818

3. Tadhg Furlong - Leinster, Ireland, #817

5. George Kruis - Saracens, England, #819

6. Peter O'Mahony (capt) - Munster, Ireland, #833

7. Sean O'Brien - Leinster, Ireland, #796

8. Taulupe Faletau - Bath Rugby, Wales, #779


16. Ken Owens - Scarlets, Wales, #829

17. Jack McGrath - Leinster, Ireland, #827

18. Kyle Sinckler - Harlequins, England, #814

19. Iain Henderson - Ulster, Ireland, #808

20. Sam Warburton - Cardiff Blues, Wales, #800

21. Greig Laidlaw - Gloucester Rugby, Scotland, #810

22. Owen Farrell - Saracens, England, #780

23. Elliot Daly - Wasps, England, #822