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Ten Welshmen named in Lions final test team

3rd July 2013

Warren Gatland today announced his selection for the Lions final test match against Australia in Sydney, 11:05am KO

Head coach Gatland has made six changes to the team beaten 16-15 in Melbourne last weekend, with Wales and Ospreys lock Alun Wyn Jones set to captain the Lions in the absence of injured tour skipper Sam Warburton.

Jones, who has 70 caps for his country, started both the first and second Tests against the Qantas Wallabies and has played a total of six times so far on tour. He featured in all three Tests in South Africa four years ago and will be the only player to match that feat this time around.

Loosehead prop Alex Corbisiero and inside centre Jamie Roberts have both been passed fit to start following their own injury worries, with Corbisiero having missed the second Test with a calf problem while a hamstring injury has prevented Roberts from playing any part in the series so far.

Scrum-half Mike Phillips has recovered from a knee injury to reclaim his place in the side, while Ireland's Sean O'Brien replaces Warburton on the openside flank.

Richard Hibbard starts at hooker and Toby Faletau is named at No8 to take the total number of Welshmen in the side to 10.

Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs, Jamie Heaslip, Ben Youngs and Brian O'Driscoll are the men to make way, with Vunipola and Youngs senior dropping to the replacements bench but Heaslip, Youngs junior and O'Driscoll missing out altogether.

There are further changes among the replacements as Justin Tipuric steps into the squad following O'Brien's promotion, Richie Gray comes in for Tom Croft and Manu Tuilagi takes over from Alex Cuthbert. Ryan Grant misses out on the matchday 23 in favour of Vunipola.

"It all comes down to Saturday. Winner takes all. We know we can leave nothing in the tank and that only a complete performance will get us across the line. Picking this team was not easy and ultimately with several players available after recovering from injury the head over ruled the heart in many selection decisions," said Gatland.

"It has been a challenging tour and we have had our fair share of injuries but we always knew that would be the case. Brian O'Driscoll is a great player and has had a wonderful career but for the final Test in Sydney we just felt Jamie Roberts' presence offered us something more.

"Mike Phillips and Alex Corbisiero were first Test selections and would probably have played in the second Test if not for injury. Richard Hibbard, Toby Faletau and Sean O'Brien have also earned their starting places."

British & Irish Lions v Austraila, July 6, 11:05am KO
15. Leigh Halfpenny
14. Tommy Bowe
13. Jonathan Davies
12. Jamie Roberts
11. George North
10. Jonathan Sexton
9. Mike Phillips
1. Alex Corbisiero
2. Richard Hibbard
3. Adam Jones
4. Alun Wyn Jones (Captain)
5. Geoff Parling
6. Dan Lydiate
7. Sean O'Brien
8. Tangaki Taulupe Faletau

16. Tom Youngs
17. Makovina Vunipola
18. Dan Cole
19. Richie Gray
20. Justin Tipuric
21. Conor Murray
22. Owen Farrell
23. Manusamoa Tuilagi