Injuries have been the major influence in the selection by British & Irish Lions coach Ian McGeechan as he makes eight changes to his side for the third and final Test in the Castle Lager Series against the Springboks this weekend. With four players invalided out of the tour last weekend Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, Brian O’Driscoll and Jamie Roberts McGeechan has had to dig deep within his squad to field a competitive side.
McGeechan said (quote) It is fair to say injuries have had an impact on the tour as you would expect including selection for the third Test as we were unfortunate to lose Brian O’Driscoll, Jamie Roberts, Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones through injury last Saturday, however, the players coming into the starting XV are all talented international players and are as keen as ever to turn the tables on the Springboks. Last Saturday we were minutes away from winning and that is a huge positive to take into the Third Test. (end quote)
Andrew Sheridan, Joe Worsley and Martyn Williams will all be part of a Lions starting XV for the first time. Stephen Jones, Mike Phillips, skipper Paul O’Connell and Jamie Heaslip will earn the distinction of being in the starting XV for all three Test matches. Tom Croft could feel hard done by as he had a strong game in the last test. Vickery get his chance to clear his demons against Tendai “The Beast” Mtawarira.
Rob Kearney (Leinster/Ireland), Ugo Monye (Harlequins/England), Tommy Bowe (Ospreys/Ireland), Riki Flutey (London Wasps/England), Shane Williams (Ospreys/Wales)
Stephen Jones (Scarlets/Wales), Mike Phillips (Ospreys/Wales),
Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks/England), Matthew Rees (Scarlets/Wales), Phil Vickery (London Wasps/England), Simon Shaw (London Wasps/England), Paul O’Connell (Munster/Ireland, Captain), Joe Worsley (London Wasps/England), Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues/Wales) and Jamie Heaslip (Leinster/Ireland)
Ross Ford (Edinburgh/Scotland), John Hayes (Munster/Ireland), Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys/Wales), David Wallace (Munster/Ireland), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers/England), Harry Ellis (Leicester Tigers/England) and James Hook (Ospreys/Wales)