“It’s a reward for how the back row has gone,” Gatland said in a statement on Thursday. “There is a nice balance there, while Peter captained the side against the Maori All Blacks and has done a good job.”
It is the second successive tour that Gatland has shown no sentimentality towards players in order to win the Test series.
Leigh Halfpenny, who had been impressive against the Maori All Blacks last Saturday, has dropped to the bench, with Williams offering a more incisive running option and the ability to cover wing.
Gatland has opted for a hard-running midfield combination in Jonathan Davies and Ben Te’o, while
“We have picked a side based on form, with a lot of players putting their hands up, especially from the Crusaders and Maori All Blacks games, and it was a lively selection meeting,” Gatland added.
“The win against the Chiefs was also extremely important for the squad, and some players played themselves into the side.
“Elliot has been very accurate in the way he has played, and we saw some excellent attacking play from Liam.
“We are excited about the 15 that take the field, but also the very strong and experienced bench players who will have an impact.”
15 Liam Williams, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 George Kruis, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Jamie George, 1 Maka Vunipola.
Bench: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Maro Itoje, 20 Sam Warburton, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Jonathan Sexton, 23 Leigh Halfpenny.Reuters