BRITISH and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has kept faith with the players that levelled the series in New Zealand by naming an unchanged XV for Saturday’s decider at Auckland’s Eden Park.

It is the first time since 1993 that the Lions, who beat the Kiwis 24-21 in Wellington last weekend, have named the same starting line-up for consecutive Tests.

Sam Warburton will captain the team again as he bids to become only the second Lions skipper after John Dawes in 1971 to lead the tourists to a series win over the All Blacks.

“It is not very often on a Lions tour that you get to pick the same 23 for the following game,” said Gatland.

“We felt we should reward the players for the result (in the second Test) and the courage that they showed in coming from 18-9 down, digging themselves out of a hole and then finishing strongly in that last 10 to 15 minutes.

“There are some players who are pretty disappointed not to be selected and I und-erstand that. It is what you would expect from competitive top athletes, they back themselves.

“But we have stressed all along that this is not all about the 23 players but about everyone in the squad – they have put their disappointment behind them and are helping the matchday squad prepare the best they can for the Test match.

“We are all aware of how big this game is and we are expecting a backlash from the All Blacks.

“But the pleasing thing about the second Test is just how strong we were in the last 10 or 15 minutes, in terms of energy and enthusiasm, so we still feel there is another level in us.

“This is a huge chance for this group of players to show their abilities and reap the benefits of the work everyone has put in. It is their chance to make Lions history.”

Meanwhile, Jordie Barrett, brother of All Blacks fly-half Beauden, will make his first New Zealand start in Saturday’s match.

Elsewhere, Ngani Laumape lines up at centre instead of the suspended Sonny Bill Williams, wing Julian Savea is recalled for Rieko Ioane and Israel Dagg switches from full-back to right-wing with Waisake Naholo dropping out.

New Zealand: J Barrett; I Dagg, A Lienert-Brown, N Laumape, J Savea; B Barrett, A Smith; J Moody, C Taylor, O Franks, B Retallick, S Whitelock, J Kaino, S Cane, K Read (capt). Reps: N Harris, W Crockett, C Faumuina, S Barrett, A Savea, TJ Perenara, A Cruden, M Fekitoa.

British and Irish Lions: L Williams; A Watson, J Davies, O Farrell, E Daly; J Sexton, C Murray; M Vunipola, J George, T Furlong, M Itoje, AW Jones, S Warburton (capt), S O’Brien, T Faletau. Reps: K Owens, J McGrath, K Sinckler, C Lawes, CJ Stander, R Webb, B Te’o, J Nowell.

Referee: Romain Poite (France).