Posted by: fiore | June 10, 2009

Lions’ revolving doors

Halfpenny and Ferris with Lions mascot Lenny

Departing players Stephen Ferris and Leigh Halfpenny with Lions mascot Lenny

The British & Irish Lions tour has started some 10 days ago and their basecamp looks like has revolving doors!

The party has already been hit by some very disappointing injuries and the flow of incoming and outgoing players is intense.

The worst loss is the young Irish flanker Stephen Ferris, who had an impressive debut in South Africa, scoring tries in each of his two appearances against the Golden Lions and the Cheetahs. His performances were such to let me think he would have been one of the stars of this tour. Unluckily Ferris was left on crutches after sustaining a knee injury at a training session in Durban, and he will be replaced by Wales captain Ryan Jones who will arrive in South Africa on Thursday and will join the squad in Cape Town – nine days before the first Test in Durban.

Another player who’s packing is bags is Leigh Halfpenny who has been ruled out of the rest of the tour because of a thigh injury. The young Wales winger was a late arrival on the tour, having remained in Cardiff to receive treatment on the problem but after playing against the Cheetahs on Saturday he aggravated the same injury in his thigh after opting to stay on for extra training on Monday.

Lions Coach Ian McGeechan will not be calling up a replacement for Halfpenny, since Irish center Gordon D’Arcy had already joined the party as cover.

Anyway, apart from all these injuries, so far so good. The Lions have won all three games they’ve played despite showing some problems at times especially in the breakdowns where we all hope to see some of David Wallace‘s magic very soon. I’ve been positively impressed by the set pieces, especially the scrum, where the front rowers did a great job. As for the backs, Irish Tommy Bowe and Welsh Jamie Roberts along with Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll, were my favourites. …I’ve never been a huge fan of BOD but I’m reconsidering the whole thing now despite he can’t even walk on water….. 😉

Anyway, since Leigh Halfpenny is heading home this means that Lenny the Lion, the B&I Lions mascot, will be handed back to Keith Earls who returns to be the youngest tourist of the party… Please Keith, take good care of Lenny!

RESULTS

Highveld XV 25 – 37 British & Irish Lions, 30/05/09 Royal Bafokeng Stadium,

Golden Lions 10 – 74 British & Irish Lions, 03/06/09, Coca-Cola Park

Cheetahs 24 – 26 British & Irish Lions, 06/06/09, Vodacom Park

NEXT FIXTURE

SHARKS V BRITISH & IRISH LIONS

Date: Wednesday, June 10

Venue: ABSA Stadium, Durban

Kick-off: 19.10 (18.10 GMT)

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan

Assistant referee: Wayne Barnes (England), Jaco Peyper

The teams:

Sharks: 15 Stefan Terblanche, 14 Chris Jordaan, 13 Andries Strauss, 12 Riaan Swanepoel, 11 Luzuko Vulindlu, 10 Monty Dumond, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Johann Muller (c), 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Skipper Badenhorst, 1 Deon Carstens.

Replacements:16 Craig Burden, 17 Patrick Cilliers, 18 Albert van den Berg, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Charl MacLeod, 21 Guy Cronje, 22 Lwazi Mzozo.

British and Irish Lions: 15 Lee Byrne (Ospreys & Wales), 14 Shane Williams (Ospreys & Wales),13 Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster & Ireland), 12 Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues & Wales), 11 Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster & Ireland), 10 Ronan O’Gara (Munster & Ireland), 9 Mike Phillips (Ospreys & Wales), 8 James Heaslip (Leinster & Ireland), 7 David Wallace (Munster & Ireland), 6 Tom Croft (Leicester & England), 5 Paul O’Connell (Munster & Ireland) (capt), 4 Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys & Wales), 3 Adam Jones (Ospreys & Wales), 2 Lee Mears (Bath & England), 1 Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues & Wales),

Replacements: 16 Mathew Rees (Scarlets & Wales), 17 Phil Vickery (Wasps & England), 18 Simon Shaw (Wasps & England), 19 Joe Worsley (Wasps & England), 20 Mike Blair (Edinburgh & Scotland), 21 Riki Flutey (Wasps & England), 22 Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues & Wales).

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