Leinster and Ireland’s Jack McGrath is looking likely to start for Lions in 3rd Test.
Due to Mako Vunipola’s indiscipline on Saturday Jack McGrath is being tipped as the new starting loosehead for the final test. While Saracens prop Vunipola has enjoyed a fine season in 2017 and a reasonably good tour to date, his indiscipline looks like it might cost him his Lions number one Jersey.
During last weekend’s second Test, Vunipola was rightly sin binned for a dangerous clear out on Beaudan Barrett. Before that he had given away a number of other silly offences which he was lucky to not be yellow carded for. Indeed, had Barrett been better off the tee, then we would be talking of prospect of a New Zealand whitewash and not a 3rd test series decider.
No doubt a repeat performance would see the Lions in serious trouble on Saturday. Vunipola offers so much around the park, but proved to be a liability in the latter stages of the second test.
Graham Rowntree was asked whether this indiscipline will affect players chances of starting and Rowntree was clear in his response
“If that is what it takes. Gats has shown he is not afraid of doing things like that. But as I say, it is not as if it is the same offenders. We will be very frank and objective with the lads. The pictures are undeniable. That will be a big theme of the week.”
This is an indicator that Jack McGrath could be involved from the start on Saturday in what would easily the biggest game in his career to date.
The All Blacks and Lions will name their teams today ahead of the final test. New Zealand will be forced into changes due Sonny Bill Williams four week ban from his challenge on Anthony Watson. With Williams suspended, Steve Hansen is weighing up whether to pick recalled Highlander Malakai Fekitoa or the less experienced Ngani Laumape to start alongside Anton Lienert-Brown.
While Waisake Naholo has missed most of the week’s training as he recovers from the head injury he suffered last Saturday, opening the door for Barrett to play at full-back with Israel Dagg reverting to the right wing.
Liam Williams remains the sole injury concern of the Lions with the rest of the squad hale and hearty heading into the decider. The All Blacks will announce their team at 6pm this evening with the Lions’ announcement coming two hours later.
Sporting Limerick will have full coverage of both teams in the coming hours.