British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has rolled the dice with his selection for the decisive third test against Australia in Sydney, with Brian O'Driscoll dropped for the clash.
The Irish centre, tipped to captain the tourists in the absence of Sam Warburton, is the major casualty, with the veteran failing to make the 23-man squad for the sell-out clash at the ANZ Stadium.
The decision means O’Driscoll’s Lions career is all-but over, with the 34-year-old earning eight test-match caps on four separate tours over a 12-year period.
There is no room for the centre on the bench with Manu Tuilagi returning, whilst Owen Farrell is the only other English back in the squad as part of the replacements.
O’Driscoll was one of six personnel changes from the Lions’ starting XV that lost 16-15 to the Wallabies last Saturday in the second test. Jamie Roberts comes into the centre to replace the Leinster stalwart, with Jonathan Davies moving to outside centre to accommodate his returning compatriot.
Alex Corbisero is back from injury and starts in the front-row alongside Richard Hibbard and Adam Jones, with Tom Youngs and Mako Vunipola the two to make way.
Alun Wyn Jones captain’s the side from second-row, with Sean O’Brien and Toby Faletau both coming into the side behind him in the pack.
Mike Phillips returns from injury to replace Ben Youngs at scrum-half, with Conor Murray keeping his place as the replacement No.9.
Dan Cole, Richie Gray and Justin Tipuric are the other substitute forwards available to Gatland on the day.
British & Irish Lions team v Australia:
15-Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), 14-Tommy Bowe (Ireland), 13-Jonathan Davies (Wales), 12-Jamie Roberts (Wales), 11-George North (Wales), 10-Jonathan Sexton (Ireland), 9-Mike Phillips (Wales), 8-Toby Faletau (Wales), 7-Sean O'Brien (Ireland), 6-Dan Lydiate (Wales), 5-Geoff Parling (England), 4-Alun Wyn Jones (captain, Wales), 3-Adam Jones (Wales), 2-Richard Hibbard (Wales), 1-Alex Corbisiero (England)
Replacements: 16-Tom Youngs (England), Mako Vunipola (England), 18-Dan Cole (England), 19-Richie Gray (Scotland), 20-Justin Tipuric (Wales), 21-Conor Murray (Ireland), 22-Owen Farrell (England), 23-Manu Tuilagi (England).
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