Kyle Sinckler is free to play in the British and Irish Lions' deciding third Test against South Africa on Saturday after a citing for alleged biting against the prop was dismissed.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland has made six changes to the side that lost 27-9 in last weekend's encounter in Cape Town.

Hooker Ken Owens, prop Wyn Jones, scrum-half Ali Price, centre Bundee Aki, wing Josh Adams and full-back Liam Williams all come into the XV.

Wales duo Adams and Williams are likely to have an important role in the back three under the Springboks' kicking game that dismantled the Lions after half-time last time out.

Tight-head prop Sinckler will take his place on the bench alongside fly-half Finn Russell, lock Adam Beard and number eight Sam Simmonds – the three of whom are in Test squad for the first time in the series.

Gatland has axed Owen Farrell Taulupe Faletau, Anthony Watson, Stuart Hogg, Rory Sutherland, Tadhg Beirne and Chris Harris from his 23.

"The matchday 23 have an incredibly special opportunity in front of them - to seal a Lions series victory in South Africa," said the veteran coach.

"It doesn't get much bigger than this and we're excited by the challenge that faces us on Saturday.

"We've no excuses from last week - the Springboks put us under pressure in the second half and deserved the win. We have to be much better than that second-half performance, and I believe we will be."

Sinckler denied allegations that he bit Franco Mostert and World Rugby were unable to find sufficient evidence to punish the England forward, who was facing a minimum 12-week ban.

A statement from the governing body read: "Having reviewed all the evidence, the committee deemed that on the balance of probabilities, it could not be satisfied that the player committed an act of foul play.

"On that basis, the committee dismissed the citing and the player is free to play again immediately."

South Africa are without world player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit and influential scrum-half Faf de Klerk through injury.

Cobus Reinach comes in for De Klerk while Franco Mostert's switch to blindside flanker means Lood de Jager will partner Eben Etzebeth in the second row.

Veteran fly-half Morne Steyn, whose long-range penalty secured a series triumph for the Springboks over the Lions in 2009, is named on the bench.

 

British and Irish Lions: Liam Williams, Josh Adams, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Duhan van der Merwe, Dan Biggar, Ali Price; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tadhg Furlong, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Jack Conan

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler, Adam Beard, Sam Simmonds, Conor Murray, Finn Russell, Elliot Daly

 

South Africa : Wille le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach; Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Siya Kolisi (captain), Franco Mostert, Jasper Wiese

Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Trevor Nyakane, Vincent Koch, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Herschel Jantjies, Morne Steyn, Damian Willemse

Kyle Sinckler could miss the British and Irish Lions' deciding Test against South Africa after being cited for an alleged bite on Franco Mostert.

The incident occurred during the 64th minute of an ill-tempered second Test in Cape Town, a game the hosts won 27-9 to level the series at one apiece.

England prop Sinckler has come off the bench in both Tests so far but would face a minimum ban of 12 weeks if found guilty.

The 28-year-old will attend a World Rugby hearing via video conference on Tuesday.

In a statement, World Rugby added there were no additional citings from the match after Lions full-back Stuart Hogg denied allegations that he had bitten Springbok counterpart Willie le Roux.

"I would never bite an opponent and I am annoyed and upset by this unsubstantiated accusation. I've always been proud of playing rugby in the spirit of the game," Scotland international Hogg said in a statement issued by the Lions.

The third and final Test between the teams takes place at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday. 

Kyle Sinckler has been called up to the British and Irish Lions squad for the upcoming tour of South Africa, following Andrew Porter's injury.

Tighthead prop Porter has been ruled out of the series due to a toe problem, which the Ireland international sustained on Friday while in action for Leinster.

Sinckler was a big-name omission from the original selection, but Warren Gatland has now called up the England prop.

Following his omission from the 37-man squad, Sinckler had said it "didn't make sense" to him that he had been left out. He has previously toured with the Lions in 2017, when the team visited New Zealand.

The Lions squad will convene on June 13, taking on Japan in Edinburgh 13 days later before heading out to South Africa, with the tour culminating in a three-Test series against the Springboks.

"It's really bad luck for Andrew and we send him our very best wishes for a quick and successful rehab," said Gatland.

"Andrew is a young man with a big future ahead of him and I'm sure he'll be in contention again in four years' time."

And the former Wales coach hopes Sinckler proves him wrong for his initial decision to leave him out.

"As always in rugby, when there's an injury there's an opportunity for someone else," Gatland added.

"I have been very pleased to see the way Kyle has responded to initially being left out of the touring party.

"He's showed some excellent form of late and I hope he continues to stick two fingers up to me about leaving him out in the first place."

The Lions last toured South Africa in 2009, when they lost the Test series 2-1.

England are back to being themselves after recovering from last week's defeat to Scotland with a 41-18 victory over Italy on Saturday, according to captain Owen Farrell.

The reigning champions ran in six tries to claim a bonus-point victory at Twickenham, a week on from losing 11-6 to Calcutta Cup rivals Scotland.

Monty Ioane put Italy ahead early on but Jonny Hill gave England lift-off with their opening try and Anthony Watson crossed over either side of Jonny May's 32nd Test try.

Jack Willis touched down on his debut and, though Tommaso Allan added a second for Italy, it was plain sailing for the home side as Elliot Daly ran through down the left.

And while accepting England were far from their best against Italy, Farrell was pleased with the way they responded to their opening loss.

"We're back to being 'us' there," he told ITV. "It wasn't a perfect performance, not the best we've ever had, but in terms of the feeling, the energy and the intent, that felt back to 'us'..

"We had some honest conversations with ourselves during the week... there was excitement to get on the training field and put things right. 

"And the way that we built up showed in the way that we played. I thought we attacked the game. 

"Obviously they had an advantage to move the ball and they ended up scoring a try, which was probably a bit over over-eagerness from us

"But after that I thought our intent was brilliant. We got in behind them, probably not everything went our way, but we stuck at it and the game ended up going our way."

England have now won each of their 22 Six Nations fixtures against Italy, who have lost their last 29 matches in the competition in a run stretching back to February 2015.

The Azzurri offered promising glimpses, not least with their second-quickest ever Six Nations try through Ioane, but England ultimately proved too strong on home soil.

"Credit to Italy, they were tough, they never gave up, and we knew they were going to do that," said England prop Kyle Sinckler. 

"Up front they were strong, their forwards carried hard, their backs had good energy... it was a tough, tough test match but our boys got stuck in there and got the win."

Echoing the thoughts of skipper Farrell, Sinckler hailed England's response to last week's rare home loss.

"I think it was a step in right direction. I think our intent was a lot better today, especially up front," he said. 

"We probably didn't get the rewards we wanted, but in terms of the intent, and showing how much it means to us to play for our country, I think it was a step in the right direction.

"We were obviously very frustrated with the performance last week, and we knew we had to step up and play the England way, and the way we want to dominate up front. 

"We did that at times today, but we know there's so much more to give. But like I said, it was a step in the right direction. The game's done, we move on to the next one."

Next up for England is a showdown with Wales at the Principality Stadium on February 27.

England head coach Eddie Jones has named a new-look front row and recalled George Ford for the Six Nations game against Italy on Saturday.

The reigning champions went down 11-6 to Scotland on the opening weekend of the 2021 tournament, their first defeat to their Calcutta Cup rivals at Twickenham in 38 years. 

As he looks for a response following that setback, Jones has selected Ford at fly-half in his starting XV, meaning captain Owen Farrell switches to inside centre for the clash with the Azzurri. 

In the pack, the fit-again Mako Vunipola comes in to play opposite fellow prop Kyle Sinckler, while Luke Cowan-Dickie gets the nod at hooker ahead of Jamie George, who is on the bench. 

Courtney Lawes also gets a start at flanker, joining Tom Curry and Billy Vunipola in the back row.  

Ollie Lawrence – who was handed his first Six Nations start against Scotland – is absent from the 23-man squad entirely, with Henry Slade picked to play next to Farrell in midfield.  

"As always, we've picked what we think is our strongest 23 to try and win the game," Jones said.

"We're pleased to have Mako and Kyle back into the team and we've made some changes to our starting XV, but our finishers are just as important to our gameplan. We look at the whole 80 minutes.  

"We've trained very well this week, I've been very pleased with the players' attitudes and work-rate. We're hoping to put on a good performance on Saturday and kick on with our Six Nations campaign." 


England team to face Italy at Twickenham:

Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson, Henry Slade, Owen Farrell (captain), Jonny May, George Ford, Ben Youngs; Mako Vunipola, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Jonny Hill, Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Billy Vunipola

Replacements: Jamie George, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewels, Ben Earl, Jack Willi, Dan Robson, Max Malins.

Props Kyle Sinckler and Mako Vunipola have returned to the England squad for the Six Nations encounter with Italy at Twickenham on Saturday.

British and Irish Lions duo Sinckler and Vunipola missed the 11-6 Calcutta Cup defeat to Scotland on the opening day of the tournament due to suspension and an Achilles injury respectively.

They will be available to beef up the defending champions' pack against an Azzurri side smarting from a 50-10 hammering at the hands of a rampant France at Stadio Olimpico.

Harry Williams and Tom West will not feature for Eddie Jones' side after they were released to return to their clubs.

The Red Rose never got going in a poor performance versus dominant Scotland, but they won the tournament last year after losing their opening match to France and number eight Billy Vunipola said they can respond again.

He said: "It is frustrating. I won't lie. But this happened last year, and we managed to pull it back so it's massive for all of us to make sure we get around each other and whatever we need to fix this week we do as soon as possible.

"We only have a week to do it, which is probably the best thing for us. We don't have a fallow week to let that settle in and frustrate us.

"You never really forget these days, you never really forget these moments, and to be honest I don't really want to forget them.

"I want to move on from it, but I don't want to forget it as it keeps you sharp. Losing like this at Twickenham is never what you dream of."

Kyle Sinckler will miss England's opening game in this year's Six Nations after the prop was handed a two-week ban for swearing at a referee.

The Bristol Bears forward was cited by an independent commissioner for failing to respect the authority of a match official during Saturday's Premiership game against Exeter Chiefs.

Sinckler contested the charge at a disciplinary hearing, during which he accepted he had used foul language.

The 27-year-old was handed a suspension by an independent panel and will now be unavailable until February 9, three days after England open their 2021 campaign against Scotland.

"The player was candid in his evidence as to why he had done so and regretted his actions," a statement from the independent panel read.

"The panel found that his actions disrespected the authority of the referee and it was in breach of a core value of rugby - respect of match officials - and warranted a red card.

"The panel determined that in all the circumstances it was a low entry point with no relevant mitigation. The sanction is a two-week ban."

Following on from the Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham, Eddie Jones' squad host Italy on February 13.

The Six Nations is scheduled to go ahead amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, though the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup have been temporarily suspended after French authorities ruled the participation of Top 14 clubs to be too much of a public health risk.

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