Sinckler cleared of a biting allegation as he returns to Test against the Springboks
So confident was British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland that Kyle Sinckler would be cleared of a biting allegation that he included the prop in the squad for Saturday's deciding Test against the Springboks in Cape Town.
Later in the day‚ Sinckler was duly cleared of the alleged bite on Bok lock Franco Mostert‚ which has paved the way for his participation on Saturday.
Sinckler‚ who was the only one cited following the tempestuous second Test won 27-9 by the Springboks in Cape Town‚ would have faced a lengthy ban had he been found guilty.
The three-man judicial panel cleared Sinckler following submissions from the player‚ the alleged victim Mostert and referee Ben O'Keefe.
Sinckler is now free to line up next to his teammates‚ some of whom he might have trouble recognising‚ given the alacrity with which Gatland wielded the axe for the final Test.
Fullback Liam Williams‚ right wing Josh Adams‚ inside centre Bundee Aki‚ scrumhalf Ali Price‚ prop Wyn Jones and hooker Ken Owen are the new faces‚ while Anthony Watson‚ Chris Harris‚ Conor Murray‚ Mako Vunipola and Luke Cowan-Dickie make way.
In a positional switch Robbie Henshaw moves from 12 to the 13 jersey vacated by Harris.
While making two changes in his front row‚ Gatland has opted to retain his second and back rows for the crunch third Test.
England's Sam Simmonds however‚ makes it onto the bench‚ and will likely bring some speed to the Lions' backrow in the latter stages of Saturday's Test.
By returning Price to the starting line-up Gatland has restored the halfback combination that helped the Lions crucially win the battle for territory in the first Test. Another player who helped them gain the upper hand in that department in the first Test‚ Owen Farrell‚ is missing from the match 23.
The elevation of Adams is recognition for his try scoring feats while Aki will now help shore up a battered midfield next to compatriot Henshaw.
B & I Lions team to play the Springboks - Liam Williams (Wales); Josh Adams (Wales)‚ Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)‚ Bundee Aki (Ireland)‚ Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland)‚ Dan Biggar (Wales)‚ Ali Price (Scotland); Jack Conan (Ireland)‚ Tom Curry (England)‚ Courtney Lawes (England); Alun Wyn Jones (captain‚ Wales)‚ Maro Itoje (England); Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)‚ Ken Owens (Wales)‚ Wyn Jones (Wales).
Substitutes: Luke Cowan-Dickie (England)‚ Mako Vunipola (England)‚ Kyle Sinckler (England)‚ Adam Beard (Wales)‚ Sam Simmonds (England); Conor Murray (Ireland)‚ Finn Russell (Scotland)‚ Elliot Daly (England).