Alun Wyn Jones will be the next player to lead the British and Irish Lions as they attempt to get their 2017 summer tour of New Zealand back on track against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday (10 June).

The experienced lock, who replaced official Lions captain Sam Warburton as Wales skipper in January, takes over from international teammate Ken Owens for the third match of the trip following Wednesday's hugely disappointing and ill-disciplined 22-16 loss to the Blues at Eden Park.

Wyn Jones was previously handed the honour back in 2013, leading the team in a memorable series-clinching 41-16 third Test drubbing of Australia in Sydney after Warburton suffered a hamstring tear and head coach Warren Gatland made the controversial decision to omit Brian O'Driscoll. He also played throughout the 2009 tour to South Africa.

Warburton was absent from the 23 for the second match in succession having played 66 minutes of an unconvincing opening 13-7 victory over the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians at the weekend - his first game since suffering a season-ending medial knee ligament injury on European duty with the Cardiff Blues in April.

Irish duo Peter O'Mahony and Sean O'Brien are named in the back row alongside Taulupe Faletau, while England's Owen Farrell makes his first start of the tour at fly-half next to likely Test partner Conor Murray. Ben Te'o partners Jonathan Davies in midfield, with the backline completed by George North, Liam Williams and Stuart Hogg. Wyn Jones is joined by George Kruis at lock and the front row is comprised of Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and Tadhg Furlong.

"The aim was always to start everyone in the first three matches and this selection ensures that we achieve this," Gatland said. "This is an experienced team with nine of the starting 15 players having featured in 2013.


"Our squad is working hard and we are seeing improvement in their performances both at training and in the games. Last night's result against the Blues was disappointing and we know we can't afford to give away so many penalties. We are looking forward to the clash against the Crusaders and we expect a tough game against the most successful team in Super Rugby history."

The formidable Crusaders have won all 14 of their Super Rugby fixtures this season and coach Scott Robertson has opted to name eight All Blacks in his starting XV. Such a haul includes every member of their tight five - Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Luke Romano and captain Sam Whitelock - as well as the likes of Seta Tamanivalu and returning full-back Israel Dagg.

Alun Wyn Jones
Alun Wyn Jones and Warren Gatland address the media in Christchurch

Steve Hansen named an experienced New Zealand squad for those three forthcoming Tests against the Lions earlier on Thursday, with uncapped pair Ngani Laumape and Jordie Barrett both making the cut. The latter joins brothers Beauden and Scott in the 33-man party led by Kieran Read, who should be fit for the opening clash in Auckland on 24 June after a fractured thumb.

Hooker Dane Coles is included, although will likely miss the series due to concussion problems. Centre Ryan Crotty, who will not play against the Lions for the Crusaders, is said to be "touch and go" as he recovers from rib cartilage damage. The likes of Nehe Milner-Skudder, Liam Messam, Akira Ioane and Ihaia West have been included in Colin Cooper's Maori All Blacks squad for a match against the tourists in Rotorua on 17 June.

British and Irish Lions fixtures [8:35am BST kick-off time unless otherwise stated]

Saturday 10 June – Crusaders – AMI Stadium, Christchurch

Tuesday 13 June – Highlanders – Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

Saturday 17 June – New Zealand Maori – International Stadium, Rotorua

Tuesday 20 June – Chiefs– Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

Saturday 24 June – New Zealand– First Test, Eden Park, Auckland

Tuesday 27 June – Hurricanes – Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Saturday 1 July – New Zealand – Second Test, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Saturday 8 July – New Zealand – Third Test, Eden Park, Auckland