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O'Mahony to lead Lions against All Blacks

2 min

Auckland (AFP)

Peter O'Mahony was named to lead the British and Irish Lions in the first Test against the All Blacks on Saturday, with tour captain Sam Warburton on the bench.

O'Mahony skippered the Lions to victory over the Maori All Blacks last week, while Warburton has struggled for form ahead of the Test at Eden Park.

Coach Warren Gatland made only four changes to the starting XV that defeated the Maori 32-10, including England star Owen Farrell at fly-half over Ireland's Johnny Sexton.

Alun Wyn Jones comes in at lock, allowing Gatland to use Maro Itoje as an impact player off the bench.

Gatland also reshuffled his backline in the wake of the Lions eye-catching 34-6 win over Waikato Chiefs, including Liam Williams at fullback and Elliot Daly on the wing.

They edge out Leigh Halfpenny and George North respectively, with North not even included in the match-day squad after failing to impress in the warm-up fixtures.

"We have picked a side based on form with a lot of players putting their hands up, especially from the Crusaders and Maori All Blacks games, and it was a lively selection meeting," Gatland said.

"The win against the Chiefs was also extremely important for the squad and some players played themselves into the side."

The New Zealand-born Wales coach said the Lions needed to play "courageous" rugby to defeat the back-to-back world champions in their own backyard.

"We have continuously been strong at set piece and have been good defensively in the last two or three outings," he said.

"But to beat the All Blacks you have to be courageous and play some rugby -- you have to score tries and I think we have picked a team capable of doing that."

Lions (15-1):

Liam Williams (Scarlets/WAL); Anthony Watson (Bath/ENG), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets/WAL), Ben Te'o (Worcester/ENG), Elliot Daly (Wasps/ENG); Owen Farrell (Saracens/ENG), Conor Murray (Munster/IRL); Taulupe Faletau (Bath/ENG), Sean O'Brien (Leinster/IRL), Peter O'Mahony (capt ? Munster/IRL); George Kruis (Saracens/ENG), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys/WAL); Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/IRL), Jamie George (Saracens/ENG), Mako Vunipola (Saracens/ ENG)

Replacements: Ken Owens (Scarlets/WAL), Jack McGrath (Leinster/IRL), Kyle Sinckler(Harlequins/ENG), Maro Itoje (Saracens/ ENG), Sam Warburton (Cardiff/WAL), Rhys Webb (Ospreys/WAL), Johnny Sexton (Leinster/IRL), Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon/WAL)

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