Bundee Aki will make his Lions Test debut alongside his long time centre partner Robbie Henshaw in the final Test against the Springbok in Cape Town on Saturday.
Bundee made his Ireland debut against South Africa in 2017 at the Aviva Stadium and has featured five times for the Lions on tour to date before the Test Series commenced. Aki and Henshaw have lined out 11 times for Ireland but only once as a partnership against South Africa – the 38-3 win 2017.
Tadgh Furlong and Jack Conan retain their places in the starting XV while Conor Murray moves to the replacement bench. There is no room for Tadgh Beirne among the replacements as British & Irish Lions Head Coach, Warren Gatland makes six changes to the starting XV and introduces three new players to the bench in Wales’ Adam Beard, England’s Sam Simmonds and Scotland’s Finn Russell.
“The matchday 23 have an incredibly special opportunity in front of them – to seal a Lions Series victory in South Africa,” said Gatland.
“It doesn’t get much bigger than this and we’re excited by the challenge that faces us on Saturday.
“We’ve no excuses from last week, the Springboks put us under pressure in the second half and deserved the win. We have to be much better than that second half performance, and I believe we will be.”
British & Irish Lions – 3rd Test v South Africa
15. Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) #833
14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) #836
13. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #824
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) #837
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #841
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) #843
1. Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) #842
2. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) #825
5. Alun Wyn Jones – captain (Ospreys, Wales) #761
6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England)#826
7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) #853
8. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #839
16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) #851
17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) #787
18. *Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England) #814 – subject to outcome of disciplinary hearing.
19. Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales) #852
20. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) #849
21. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790
22. Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland) #835
23. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822
SOUTH AFRICA v THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
Saturday 7 August 2021
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Kick-off: 5pm (BST)