Posted by: fiore | June 26, 2009

No hope is lost

No hope is lost for the Lions. They might have lost the first test of the series with the Springboks last Saturday, (26-21), but they shew some very good rugby at times, and if they can fix the set pieces, especially the scrum, they are still my

BOD, Brian O'Driscoll

BOD, Brian O'Driscoll

favourites for tomorrow’s game.

My key player is Brian O’Driscoll who proved to be the real playmaker of the team, outshining Stephen Jones.

In the meantime Ian McGeechan announced 5 changes in the starting XV for tomorrow, with the debut of Simon Shaw who, after over a decade of trying, he finally gets the Lions shirt. The other 4 are Rob Kearney who substitutes the injured Lee Byrne whose Tour is over, Luke Fitzgerald, Matthew Rees and Adam Jones.

So we have a whole Welsh frontrow, a mixed second row, an almost Irish back-row. Then we have a 9-10 Welsh combination and Ireland’s backs with the inclusion of a Welsh player.

All in all I think this is a very balanced team. Perhaps I would have changed the back row, with David Wallace and Martyn Williams playing together. Actually Jamie Heaslip didn’t impress me too much in the first test, but hopefully he’ll improve.

TEAMS

South Africa: F Steyn (Sharks); J P Pietersen (Sharks), A Jacobs (Sharks), J de Villiers (Stormers), B Habana (Blue Bulls); R Pienaar (Sharks), F du Preez (Blue Bulls); T Mtawarira (Sharks), B du Plessis (Sharks), J Smit (Sharks, capt), B Botha (Blue Bulls), V Matfield (Blue Bulls), S Burger (Stormers), J Smith (Cheetahs), P Spies (Blue Bulls).

Replacements: C Ralepelle (Blue Bulls), D Carstens (Sharks), A Bekker (Stormers), D Rossouw (Blue Bulls), H Brussow (Cheetahs), J Fourie (Golden Lions), M Steyn (Blue Bulls).

British and Irish Lions: R Kearney (Leinster and Ireland); T Bowe (Ospreys and Ireland), B O’Driscoll (Leinster and Ireland), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues and Wales), L Fitzgerald (Leinster and Ireland); S Jones (Scarlets and Wales), M Phillips (Ospreys and Wales); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues and Wales), M Rees (Scarlets and Wales), A Jones (Ospreys and Wales), S Shaw (Wasps and England), P O’Connell (Munster and Ireland, capt), T Croft (Leicester and England), D Wallace (Munster and Ireland), J Heaslip (Leinster and Ireland).

Replacements: R Ford (Edinburgh and Scotland), A Sheridan (Sale Sharks and England), A-W Jones (Ospreys and Wales), M Williams (Cardiff Blues and Wales), H Ellis (Leicester and England), R O’Gara (Munster and Ireland), S Williams (Ospreys and Wales).

Referee: Christophe Berdos (France).

Assistant referees: Bryce Lawrence and Vinny Munro (both New Zealand).

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