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The British and Irish Lions face the All Blacks in the first Test at Eden Park in Auckland for the first time in 12 years as they look to banish the memories of the ill-fated 2005 tour. Follow the latest here.
But he is fit agin to pack down in the All Blacks’ back-row alongside Jerome Kaino and Sam Cane as New Zealand look to extend their long unbeaten run at Eden Park.
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has sprung a surprise on the left-wing, though, handing Rieko Ioane a first Test start instead of the more experienced Julian Savea.
Elsewhere, World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams lines up in midfield with a fit-again Ryan Crotty, with Crotty replacing Anton Lienert-Brown following last week’s 78-0 victory over Samoa.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said: “They’ve both been on target to return for this game all the way through, are both in great shape and, together with the rest of the squad, they’re really excited at what’s ahead of us.
Ioane was something of a surprise to make his first start on the wing for the All Blacks, given Savea’s phenomenal strike rate and virtual first-choice status since making his debut in 2012.
He has scored 46 tries in 53 tests.
Hansen said the 20-year-old had earned his spot after showing superb form for the Auckland Blues this season.
It will be the third time he has faced the Lions on tour, having also played for the Blues and Maori All Blacks.
New Zealand: Ben Smith; Israel Dagg, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane; Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks; Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock; Jerome Kaino, Sam Cane, Kieran Read.
Replacements: Nathan Harris, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Aaron Cruden, Anton Lienert-Brown.
British and Irish Lions: Liam Williams; Anthony Watson, Jonathan Davies, Ben Te’o, Elliot Daly; Owen Farrell, Conor Murray; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Tadh Furlong; Alun Wyn Jones, George Kruis; Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: Ken Owens, Jack McGrath, Kyle Sinckler, Maro itoje, Sam Warburton, Rhys Webb, Johnny Sexton, Leigh Halfpenny,