With three potential first choice Lions stars falling to injury already, Warren Gatland will no doubt be looking for a clean bill of health leading up to the next really competition on Saturday when they face Sydney Super Rugby side, the Waratahs.
This need to preserve his players has led to the decision to place Scottish fullback Stuart Hogg in at no.10 for this parade so as to limit the damage to his stars, Jonathan Sexton and Owen Farrell.Hogg played fullback against the Reds and will link up with Irelands Conor Murray in the halves.
Brian O’Driscoll will lead the team once again link up with Jamie Roberts in the centres.
“The Reds game was always going to be a big challenge and I was delighted at the victory and the way we were tested,” head coach Warren Gatland said of Saturday’s bruising encounter with Queensland.
“It was a very physical match, as we knew it would be. We now move on to Newcastle and another challenge. This team to play Country includes three players – Richie Gray, Alex Cuthbert and Stuart Hogg – who are starting their second game in a row, plus another, George North, who came off the bench early against the Reds. This is the nature of Lions tours as we adapt to injuries and playing twice a week.” He added.
The Lions face the combined NSW/Queensland Country on Wednesday in Newcastle, KO 00:00 BST (01:00 CAT)
British and Irish Lions: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Brian O’Driscoll (captain), 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Stuart Hogg, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Sean O’Brien, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Alun Wyn Jones, 20 Toby Faletau, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Jonathan Davies, 23 Leigh Halfpenny.