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Match Reports - Tuesday 2 June 2009 - 12:00

Golden Lions v British & Irish Lions

Coca Cola Park (Ellis Park) – Johannesburg

Date: 3 June 2009 – Kick Off 7.10pm local time (6.10pm BST)

UK Television: Sky Sports 1 & HD 1 (5.30pm)

Weather: Sunny day, clear evening. Max 20 degrees (day), Min 2 degrees (night)

Referee: Craig Joubert

Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes, Marius Jonker

Television Match Official:Johann Meuwesen

Assessor:Denis Immelman

Timekeeper: Gabriel Pappas

Golden Lions

15. Louis Ludik

14. Michael Killian

13. Jannie Boshoff

12. Doppies la Grange

11. Dusty Noble

10. Andre Pretorius

9. Jano Vermaak

8. Willem Alberts

7. Franco van der Merwe

6. Cobus Grobbelaar (capt.)

5. Willem Stoltz

4. Brad Mockford

3. Gert Muller

2. Willie Wepener

1. Lawrence Sephaka

Replacements:

16. Ethienne Reynecke

17. JC Janse van Rensburg

18. Ernst Joubert

19. Todd Clever

20. Chris Jonck

21. Walter Venter

22. Earl Rose

British & Irish Lions

15. Rob Kearney (Leinster/Ireland)

14. Tommy Bowe (Ospreys/Ireland
)

13. Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster/Ireland)

12. Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues/Wales)

11. Ugo Monye (Harlequins/England)

10. Stephen Jones (Scarlets/Wales)

9. Mike Phillips (Ospreys/Wales)

8. Jamie Heaslip (Leinster/Ireland)

7. David Wallace (Munster/Ireland)

6. Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers/England)

5. Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys/Wales)

4. Nathan Hines (Perpignan/Scotland)

3. Phil Vickery (London Wasps/England)

2. Lee Mears (Bath/England)

1. Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues/Wales)

Replacements:

16. Ross Ford (Edinburgh/Scotland)

17. Euan Murray (Northampton Saints/Scotland)

18. Stephen Ferris (Ulster/Ireland)

19. Andy Powell (Cardiff Blues/Wales)

20. Harry Ellis (Leicester Tigers/England)

21. James Hook (Ospreys/Wales)

22. Shane Williams (Ospreys/Wales)

Match Preview

With the Lions still licking their wounds from the game on Saturday where fans and Lions alike underestimated the conditions, altitude, combinations, progress and all the other factors, they now move back into the city to Ellis Park in Johannesburg for a stiffer task still.

Super 14 side the Golden Lions finished as one of the bottom three sides in the competition, however don’t let that fool you. The Golden Lions are no mugs and will represent a significant step up in intensity from the game on Saturday and the B&I Lions will need to have improved significantly since the weekend to come out this clash with anything.

The noises coming out of the B&I Lions camp are encouraging; with defence coach Shaun Edwards telling the media that he took the three tries conceded on the weekend personally. However he also stressed that the Lions have been working hard on their defence this week and will be looking to put right a lot of the basic errors that blighted their performance on Saturday. “We worked hard on our defence this week. Our defence at the lineouts will be better as we hadn’t worked on that before last Saturday’s match.”

The signs of improvement are good and stand-in captain for this match Brian O’Driscoll will be out to prove that the nerves that hit Keith Earls, his young competitor for the 13 shirt, will not befall him when he runs out to lead the Lions for the first time since “that day” in 2005 when he last lead the Lions.

O’Driscoll heads up a Lions side featuring virtually a completely new look from the weekend’s match. The only players to retain their places in the starting line up are winger Tommy Bowe, inside centre Jamie Roberts and number 8 David Wallace who has been moved to openside flanker for this game.

The side features a number of players who weren’t considered for selection at the weekend due to having played in the two European finals a week previously with Kearney, O’Driscoll, Heaslip and Croft coming in to the starting line up, and Euan Murray and Harry Ellis warming the bench.

With a relatively strong Lions side on show it is hoped that the Golden Lions will be able to put up a good fight, although they will find their chances limited by the fact that three of their Super 14 stars Anton van Zyl and Springboks Jannes Labuschagne and Jacque Fourie will not be available for the game. Van Zyl is on his way to Western Province, Labuschagne is out injured and Fourie is only just returning from injury and will meet up with the Springbok squad for training rather than appear in this match.

We still believe that there will be enough Golden Lion strength on show to give our Lions another step up in intensity throughout the game on Wednesday evening and hopefully further flush out any problems the Lions may have before they get to the more difficult tasks later on in the series.

In 1997, the B&I Lions put their tour firmly back on track with a hard fought 20-14 victory against the Golden (formerly Gauteng) Lions. They had suffered one of only 2 tour defeats four days previously going down 30-35 against Northern Transvaal.

Lions-Tour.com Prediction

It’s likely to be a stiffer task for the B&I Lions with the level of opposition upping the ante somewhat, but the Lions will have more preparation under their belts. The first game is out of the way and the players will realise that opportunities are limited on such a short tour to make a bid for a test place. With names already being pencilled in it is vital for the big players to stand up and claim a test spot as soon as possible.

Golden Lions 17 British & Irish Lions 29

Betting

Paddy Power are delighted to be working with Lions-Tour.com for the duration of the tour. For all new accounts there is free £10 bet after you place your first bet of £10. There’s 35 different bets on the warm up game against the Golden Lions plus a further 40 bets on the test series itself.

After a disappointing start to the Tour on Saturday the Lions will be looking for a much improved performance tomorrow against their namesakes in Johannesburg. A much changed side has been announced with only three from Saturdays starting XV set to ‘back up.’ Some interesting combinations have been selected notably Brian O’Driscoll lining up alongside Jamie Roberts, one of the few to enhance his reputation against the Royal XV, in the centre.

Whereas Saturday’s opposition came from an amalgamation of five Vodacom cup sides containing only a handful of players with Super 14 experience, the Golden Lions boast internationals such as Andre Pretorius and Lawrence Sephaka. Look out for Jano Vermaak, released from the Springbok training squad for this game, who enjoyed an outstanding Super 14 campaign. 25/1 for first try scorer represents good value for the pacey number nine.

The Lions will be looking to improve their work at the breakdown, where 14 turn-overs alone in the first half against the Royals is a statistic that will be giving coach Ian McGeechan nightmares, particularly given the Bulls dominance in this area in the Super 14 final. “It’s all about the intensity in the collisions”, mused Warren Gatland in his pre match interview. They should still overcome the Golden Lions although the 14 point handicap may prove to be a step too far. Either way, reputations and test places are at stake.

10/11 +14 Golden Lions

25/1 Handicap Draw

10/11 -14 British Lions

First Tryscorer

9/1 Monye

9/1 Bowe

10/1 O’Driscoll

14/1 Roberts

14/1 Kearney

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