Saturday, July 4, 2009

Test Match: South Africa-Lions Rubber is Dead

British and Irish Lions v South Africa in Johannesburg (3rd Test)

It's a pity. So much was made of this unique British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa. But in the end it's became a fizzer. The Lions came so very close to pulling off the needed win last weekend but eventually went down 25-28 and from that point the series died. There may be a consolation Lions win here but already this side has been relegated to the group of Lions' sides that have failed.

Having said that the selectors have turned the game sideways with a huge number of changes made from the second test. They are not all forced by injuries although in the Lions camp, fresh legs were called for since the energy-sapping second test. Remember all players were selected to be able to play test rugby against South Africa.

For the Lions being without their inspirational back O'Driscoll wil hurt. But elsewhere across the paddock the possibilities are endless and in reality this is almost a one-off test. Pity about the dead rubber.

Lions Results on Tour So Far
30 May Lions 37, Highvelt Royals XV 25 at Rustenburg
3 June: Lions 75, Golden Lions 10
6 June: Lions 26, Free State Cheetahs 24 in Bloemfontein
10 June: Lions 39, Natal Sharks 3 in Durban
13 June: Lions 26, Western Province 23 in Capetown
16 June: Lions 20, Southern Kings 8 in Port Elizabeth
20 June: South Africa 26, Lions 21 in Durban (1st Test)
23 June: Lions 13, Emerging Springbox 13 in Capetown
27 June: South Africa 28, Lions 25 in Pretoria (2nd test)

GWC Rugby Rankings do not apply.

Prediction: Sentiment prevails. The Lions by 7 points.


South Africa
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Johann Muller, 3 John Smit, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Guthro Steenkamp, 18 Dean Carstens, 19 Steven Sykes, 20 Pierre Spies, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Frans Steyn.

British and Irish Lions
15 Rob Kearney, 14 Ugo Monye, 13 Tommy Bowe, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Joe Worsley, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Phil Vickery, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 John Hayes, 18 Alun-Wyn Jones, 19 David Wallace, 20 Tom Croft, 21 Harry Ellis, 22 James Hook.,25883,16024_5413116,00.html

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