Lions call on Worsley and Williams
July 1, 2009
Martyn Williams will make his first start for the Lions on Saturday © Getty Images
British & Irish Lions coach Ian McGeechan has made a host of changes to his side to face South Africa in the third and final Test in Johannesburg, many of which have been forced by injury.
Prop Phil Vickery returns to the line-up and will go toe to toe with 'the Beast' Tendai Mtawarira following the dislocated shoulder suffered by Adam Jones, while Andrew Sheridan replaces Gethin Jenkins. Jenkins has flown back to the UK with a fractured cheekbone, as has concussed centre Brian O' Driscoll.
O'Driscoll's injury means a move for Tommy Bowe in to the centre, while Jamie Roberts' wrist injury has played a factor in Riki Flutey getting the call in the No.12 jersey. Mike Phillips and Stephen Jones will again pull the strings at half-back, while out wide Ugo Monye replaces Bowe and Shane Williams gets a start in place of Luke Fitzgerald.
In the back-row, Joe Worsley and Martyn Williams get their first starts in Lions Tests, the trio completed by Jamie Heaslip, and there is no change in the second-row where Simon Shaw again partners Paul O'Connell.
On the bench, James Hook replaces Ronan O'Gara while John Hayes provides front-row cover.
"A British & Irish Lions tour is a unique experience for players in the busy, modern professional rugby calendar," said McGeechan. "The 2009 Lions have thrown themselves into the spirit of the tour, have interacted with the people of South Africa and shown themselves to be great ambassadors for northern hemisphere rugby.
"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.
"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."
British & Irish Lions: R Kearney (Leinster and Ireland); U Monye (Harlequins and England), T Bowe (Ospreys and Ireland), R Flutey (Wasps and England), S Williams (Ospreys and Wales); S Jones (Scarlets and Wales), M Phillips (Ospreys and Wales); A Sheridan (Sale Sharks and England), M Rees (Scarlets and Wales), P Vickery (Wasps and England), S Shaw (Wasps and England), P O'Connell (Munster and Ireland, capt), J Worsley (Wasps and England), M Williams (Cardiff Blues and Wales), J Heaslip (Leinster and Ireland).
Replacements: R Ford (Edinburgh and Scotland), J Hayes (Munster and Ireland), A-W Jones (Ospreys and Wales), D Wallace (Munster and Ireland), T Croft (Leicester and England), H Ellis (Leicester and England), J Hook (Ospreys and Wales)
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker