Sean Fitzpatrick backs Courtney Lawes to start second Test against New Zealand

Courtney Lawes of England in action against Australia on June 25, 2016
© SilverHub
Sean Fitzpatrick expects Courtney Lawes to start the British and Irish Lions' second Test against New Zealand, while also tipping Iain Henderson to play a part.

New Zealand legend Sean Fitzpatrick has claimed that Courtney Lawes has done enough to force his way into the British and Irish Lions' starting XV for Saturday's second Test.

The 28-year-old stood out in the Lions' 31-31 midweek draw against the Hurricanes, leaving head coach Warren Gatland with "some food for thought" as he prepares to name his latest side.

Fitzpatrick expects Gatland to keep changes to a minimum, tipping Lawes and Iain Henderson to come into the fold for the weekend showdown with New Zealand as the tourists attempt to keep the three-Test series alive.

"I think Courtney Lawes will force himself into the team and Iain Henderson will force his way onto the bench," he told Sky Sports News. "Both of them had the games of their tour really, in terms of the way they played. Courtney Lawes has that very physical presence, very good ball carrying under pressure and also defends very well.

"I must say Iain Henderson played the house down until he got that yellow card with a bit of time to go. They both played really well and it is probably something Gatland has been looking at as a result of what happened on Saturday night in the test match, in terms of needing that physical presence.

"But Gatland can't go changing that much and must build on what he's achieved, let's not take away how good the Lions were last Saturday night. They played very well and it took a phenomenal All Blacks performance to beat them."

Back-to-back world champions New Zealand, who won last weekend's opening Test 30-15 in Auckland, have made two changes to their side for the clash at the Westpac Stadium.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland smiles after their victory during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013
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