Change is nothing new

Warren Gatland and his coaches may have rung the changes throughout the Test series against the Qantas Wallabies, but it is nothing new in modern British & Irish Lions tours. [more]

Change is nothing new

Warren Gatland and his coaches may have rung the changes throughout the Test series against the Qantas Wallabies, but it is nothing new in modern British & Irish Lions tours.

You have to go back 16 internationals to the third and decisive Test in Auckland against the All Blacks in 1993 for the last time a Lions coach carried the same team from one Test into another. That coach was Ian McGeechan’s and he gave the thumbs up to the side that won the second Test in Wellington 20-7 for the final game.

There were 11 Englishmen in that team, which was captained by Scottish full back Gavin Hastings, but they fell to a 30-13 defeat in the third game and lost the series. McGeechan also carried his second test winning side into the deciding third Test in 1989, when they beat the Wallabies in Sydney to win 2-1.

But these days the changes come thick and fast, often due to injuries. The Lions made five changes from the team that won the opening Test in Brisbane last month, but two players, Alex Corbisiero and Paul O’Connell, were ruled out with injuries.

The 2013 skipper, Sam Warburton, was ruled out of the this weekend’s winner-takes-all Test after damaging his hamstring in Melbourne, so that accounted for at least one of the six changes made by Gatland. By the end of the tour a minimum of 24 of the tour party will have experienced Test action, with Richie Gray, Justin Tipuric, Owen Farrell and Manu Tuilagi hoping to come off the bench to join that group.

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Lions Test Team Changes
Tour Tests Changes
2013 1-2 5
  2-3 6
2009 1-2 5
  2-3 8 (1 positional)
2005 Arg-1 14 (1 positional)
  1-2 10 (4 positional)
  2-3 5 (1 positional)
2001 1-2 1
  2-3 1
1997 1-2 1
  2-3 6 (1 positional)
1993 1-2 4
  2-3 0
1989 1-2 5
  2-3 0
1983 1-2 5
  2-3 4
  3-4 2
1980 1-2 5
  2-3 4
  3-4 2
1977 1-2 6
  2-3 1
  3-4 4
1974 1-2 0
  2-3 1
  3-4 1
1971 1-2 1
  2-3 2
  3-4 1

 

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