Gatland springs major surprises for final test

05:15, Jul 04 2013
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Ireland lock Paul O'Connell, who led the Lions to South Africa in 2009, feels the Hong Kong heat as the touring side take on the Barbarians.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Takudzwa Ngwenya of the Barbarians is tackled by the Lions' Welsh duo of Jamie Roberts and Adam Jones, right.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Wales halfback Mike Phillips dives over to score for the Lions against the Barbarians.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Ireland and Lions first-five Johnny Sexton lines up a shot at goal against the Barbarians.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
British and Irish fans are in fine voice as the Lions arrive in Perth to take on Super Rugby side, the Western Force.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
England and Lions centre Manu Tuilagi takes a run at the Western Force defence.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Irish wing Tommy Bowe shows why he was selected to tour despite missing the Six Nations for Ireland with injury.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Celtic cousins: An Irish fan and a Welsh fan unite to support the Lions.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Lions tour captain Sam Warburton takes in the atmosphere in Perth. He is yet to start a game because of injury.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Irish legend Brian O'Driscoll leads out the Lions to face the Western Force.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Lions and England prop Mako Vunipola charges at the Force defence.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Not many Scots featured for the Lions against the Force but there was plenty Scottish spirit on display in the stands.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Powerful Irish flanker Sean O'Brien tries to use some fancy footwork to get the ball past the Force's Corey Brown.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny landed 100 per cent of his attempts at goal for the Lions against the Force.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Lions coach Warren Gatland looks very pleased after his side comfortably beats the Western Force in Perth.
Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell
Ben Youngs (left) is congratulated by Owen Farrell after his second half try against Queensland.
Tommy Bowe
Tommy Bowe, with his right arm in a sling, is consoled by Richard Hibbard.
Richie Gray
Richie Gray reaches back to pull down a lineout throw.
George North
Lions wing George North fends off a Queensland Reds player.
Owen Farrell
Lions first-five Owen Farrell takes a penalty kick at goal.
Ben Tapuai
Queensland's Ben Tapuai is tackled high by a Lions player.
Sam Warburton
Sam Warburton leads the Lions out onto Suncorp Stadium in his debut match.
Sean O'Brien
Lions forward Sean O'Brien dives over to score in the corner, one of 10 tries in the 64-0 rout.
Sean Maitland
Sean Maitland skips away from the tackle of a Country Combined defender.
Brian O'Driscoll
Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll is upended in a tackle in Newcastle.
Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll slides over to score against Country Combined.
Toby Faletau
Lions No 8 Toby Faletau prepares to pack down into the scrum.
Lions fans
Three Lion-hooded fans watch the tourists rout Combined Country in Newcastle.
Lions v Waratahs
Jamie Heaslip of the Lions charges upfield during the match between the NSW Waratahs and the British & Irish Lions.
Lions v Waratahs
Rob Kearney of the Lions breaks with the ball during the match between the NSW Waratahs and the British & Irish Lions.
Lions v Waratahs
Jamie Roberts of the Lions is tackled by John Ulugia during the match between the NSW Waratahs and the British & Irish Lions.
Lions v Waratahs
Simon Zebo of the Lions is tackled by Bernard Foley (L) and John Ulugia during the match between the NSW Waratahs and the British & Irish Lions.
Lions vs Brumbies
British & Irish Lions wing Christian Wade leaps for a high-ball against the Brumbies' Ian Prior during their tour match at Canberra Stadium.
ACT Brumbies
ACT Brumbies players celebrate their 14-12 victory over the British & Irish Lions.
Rory Best
Match captain Rory Best lead the dejected British & Irish Lions off the field.
Shane Williams
Lions wing Shane Williams tries to escape the grasp of Henry Speight.
Clyde Rathbone
Brumbies wing Clyde Rathbone is hit by Christian Wade (left) and Rob Kearney.
Billy Twelvetrees
Lions centre Billy Twelvetrees is lifted off his feet in the tackle by Matt Toomua.
Jamie Heaslip and Alex Cuthbert
Jamie Heaslip (left) celebrates after Alex Cuthbert (centre) scored to give the British & Irish Lions the lead.
George North
George North punches the ball in celebration after scoring in the first half for the Lions.
George North
Israel Folau denies George North a try in the corner.
Lions win first test
Lions players celebrate at the final whistle of the first test in Brisbane.
Lions win first test
The victorious Lions walk up the players' tunnel to the applause of the fans.
Kurtley Beale
Kurtley Beale slips as he attempts to kick a potential match-winning penalty.
Jonathan Davies and Kurtley Beale
Jonathan Davies (right) gets up-ended as he collides in the air with Kurtley Beale.
Israel Folau
Israel Folau dives over to score one of his two tries in the first half.
Christian Lealiifano
Christian Lealiifano is stretchered off in the opening minutes of the first test.
Lions fans
A trio of Irish Lions fans at Suncorp Stadium.
Lions fans
A fired-up Lions fan celebrates the first test victory.
Will Genia
Wallabies halfback Will Genia is hit by Jamie Heaslip as he attempts to kick.
Sean Maitland
Kiwi-born Scottish international Sean Maitland goes over for one of the British & Irish Lions five tries in their 35-0 rout of the Melbourne Rebels.
Manu Tuilagi
Lions centre Manu Tuilagi skips out of the grasp of the Melbourne Rebels' Jason Woodward.
Simon Zebo
Simon Zebo finds space against the Melbourne Rebels.
Rob Sidey and Brad Barritt
Melbourne's Rob Sidey is tackled off his feet by Brad Barritt.
Lions fans
Five Lions fans spell out their support in Melbourne.
Cooper Vuna and Stuart Hogg
Melbourne's Cooper Vuna collides with Stuart Hogg going up for a high-ball.
Adam Ashley-Cooper
Wallabies fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper celebrates his match-winning try late in the second test.
George North and Israel Folau
Lions wing George North lifts Israel Folau off the ground in the tackle.
Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny successfully kicks a penalty in the second half.
Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny is consoled by Jonathan Sexton (left) and Sean Maitland after his extra-time penalty to win fell short.
Wallabies celebrate
Wallabies players James Horwill and Benn Robinson celebrate as Leigh Halfpenny's kick misses.
Sam Warburton
Lions captain Sam Warburton is helped from the field during the second test.
Mako Vunipola
Lions prop Mako Vunipola charges through the Wallabies' defence.
Mako Vunipola
Mako Vunipola wipes his face during a break in play.
Alun Wyn Jones
Alun Wyn Jones receives some treatment on his legs.
George North
Lions wing George North evades two Wallabies players.
Lions fans
Lions fans at Etihad Stadium before the second test.
Lions fans
Lions fans at Etihad Stadium before the second test.
Jonathan Sexton, Jamie Roberts, Conor Murray
Jamie Roberts (centre) and Conor Murray congratulate Jonathan Sexton on his second half try.
Alex Corbisiero
Lions prop Alex Corbisiero squeezes over for the first try of the deciding test.
Lions celebrate
Lions players and staff celebrate their third test and series victory in Sydney.
Lions celebrate
Lions and Wallabies players show contrasting emotions at the final whistle.
Jamie Roberts
Centre Jamie Roberts dives over for a second half try that sealed the Lions' victory.
James O'Connor
Justin Tipuric is fended off by Wallabies first-five James O'Connor.
Dan Lydiate
Lions lock Dan Lydiate rises high to take the ball from a lineout.
Jamie Roberts
Centre Jamie Roberts sprints away from the chasing Wallabies defence.
Jonathan Sexton
Jonathan Sexton celebrates the series victory with Lions fans in the stands.
Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll, dropped for the third test, celebrates the team's victory.
Lions fans
Lions fans pay tribute to former captain Brian O'Driscoll.
Lions celebrate
Injured captain Sam Warburton holds the series trophy after victory at ANZ Stadium.

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has put his reputation on the line by making sweeping changes to his side for Saturday night's series-deciding test against the Wallabies in Sydney. 

Already without the irreplaceable experience of veteran lock Paul O'Connell and the energy of tour captain Sam Warburton, Gatland has boldly decided to omit talismanic Irish centre Brian O'Driscoll - who was widely tipped to lead the team - from his squad completely. 

O'Driscoll, who has captained at test level on a world record 84 occasions and would have provided ample experience on the field, is replaced in the backline by Welshman Jamie Roberts, who missed the first two tests with injury. 

The utility role on the bench has gone to England's Manu Tuilagi.

"Brian was disappointed but he appreciated that he was spoken to before the team announcement," Gatland said at the team announcement today.

"It's the first time that a coach has ever made the decision with him in 15 years of rugby.

"Jamie is back fit and has been given the nod in terms of his partnership with [fellow Welshman] Davies."

The Lions will be led by Welshman Alun Wyn Jones as they chase their first series victory since 1997's tour of South Africa.

"It wasn't about picking a captain but the best team. Then the question was who would do the best job once we'd picked the team," Gatland added.

"Alun just leads from the front. He was one of the first names on the sheet in the first test and he will lead by example. He is an important part of the engine room that needs to fire for us on Saturday."

Wyn Jones will scrum-down in a pack that contains four changes from last weekend's 16-15 loss to the Wallabies in Melbourne which levelled the series at one win apiece. 

In the front row England's Mako Vunipola takes his place in the reserves to make way for fit again compatriot Alex Corbisiero, while Richard Hibbard takes over at hooker from Tom Youngs, who also drops to the bench. 

Irish powerhouse Sean O'Brien has been given the nod at No 7 in place of Warburton but there is no room for his Ireland colleague Jamie Heaslip who drops out of the test squad to be replaced by Toby Faletau.

Elsewhere in the backs Mike Phillips comes in at No 9 to replace England's Ben Youngs, who like O'Driscoll and Heaslip, also drops out of the match day squad. 

However, the decision to go with Ireland's Connor Murray on the bench as back-up to Phillips will be seen as a curious one given both players have a very similar playing style. 

Gatland, however, seems to have courage in his convictions: "There's been a lot of competition in this squad. But the changes are going to strengthen the team."

Lions: Leigh Halfpenny, Tommy Bowe, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North, Johnny Sexton, Mike Phillips; Alex Corbisiero, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, AW Jones (c), Geoff Parling, Dan Lydiate, Sean O'Brien, Toby Faletau. Reserves: Tom Youngs, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Richie Gray, Justin Tipuric, Connor Murray, Owen Farrell, Manu Tuilagi

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Warren Gatland
ALL TO PLAY FOR: Lions coach Warren Gatland will be hoping his side can wrap up the test series with the Wallabies.

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