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back in the frame Rollercoaster continues for Conor Murray after Lions recall for crucial second test


Conor Murray: Starting role

Conor Murray: Starting role

Conor Murray: Starting role

Conor Murray's rollercoaster Lions tour shows no signs of slowing down after the Ireland scrum-half earned a recall to the starting team for Saturday's crucial second Test against South Africa.

The Lions are aiming to clinch the series by backing up last weekend's win, and Warren Gatland has called on Murray to help steer the ship.

The Munster scrum-half impressed in his 17-minute cameo, having had to make do with a place on the bench for the first Test, despite being named tour captain until Alun Wyn Jones made a miraculous recovery from a dislocated shoulder.

Murray’s inclusion takes the number of Irish starters to four, as Tadhg Furlong, Jack Conan and Robbie Henshaw retain their places in the team, while Tadhg Beirne will be hoping to make a big impact as a replacement.

Gatland pointed to Murray's ability to control a game, as he got the nod ahead of Scotland's Ali Price, who drops to the bench.

“He was good when he came on, and it’s going to be tight in that first 20 or 30 minutes,” Gatland said of Murray.

“The way South Africa tend to play, if we look at the two games, the 'A' game and this game, they try and build the scoreboard, they try and get in front and look to hold on.

“That first 20 or 30 minutes is pretty important for us. And then we have been happy with the way we finished in the second half of both those games, and felt strong.

“And potentially the game might open up, in the tempo of the game, which is something we think Ali can bring, maybe in that second half, and the same with the other players that are on the bench.”

Dan Biggar is progressing well through the return-to-play concussion protocols and is named to start at 10, while Mako Vunipola and Chris Harris come into the Lions team along with Murray.

South Africa have also made three changes, with Leicester Tigers’ No 8 Jasper Wiese coming into the side along with props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe, as the Boks revert to a 6/2 bench split.

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