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Parling to lead Lions

23rd June 2013 07:28

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British and Irish Lions  Geoff Parling

Inspirational: Geoff Parling

England lock Geoff Parling will lead the British and Irish Lions in the final midweek game against the Melbourne Rebels on Tuesday.

Parling, who won his first Lions Test cap as a second half replacement in the 23-21 first Test win over the Qantas Wallabies in Brisbane, is one of four members of that victorious team to start in Melbourne. The others are fellow replacements Dan Lydiate, Richard Hibbard and Dan Cole.

Two more unused replacements from the Suncorp Stadium, Sean Maitland and Owen Farrell, are also given a run out against the Rebels, while fit-again centre Manu Tuilagi makes his return, having not played since sustaining a shoulder injury in the Queensland Reds game. He is joined in the midfield by England team-mate Brad Barritt.

Sean O'Brien returns to the No 7 jersey after two runs on the blindside, while fullback Rob Kearney plays his second match of the tour.

"I am very pleased for Geoff. For him to be part of a winning Lions Test side is very special and he has shown throughout the tour that he is one of the many leaders we have in the squad so we are looking forward to seeing him in that captaincy role," said Lions head coach Warren Gatland.

"It is also good to get Manu back on the pitch after a frustrating injury. This is a good chance for him and others to put their hands up."

"We are obviously delighted to start the Test series against the Wallabies with a win but this game is very important to us in terms of keeping the momentum going," said Lions tour manager Andy Irvine.

"Those playing on Tuesday have a major part in delivering this and at the same time keeping the pressure on for Test match selection."

British and Irish Lions: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Ian Evans, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Stuart Hogg.

Date: Tuesday, June 25
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19.40 local (10:40 BST, 09:40 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)