Venue: Sydney Football Stadium, Brisbane
Date: Saturday 15th June 2013 19.30 local (10.30 UK)
UK Television: Sky Sports 2 & HD 2 (10.30 UK)
Weather: Partly cloudy with moderate winds, Max 15 degrees
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jerome Garces, Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Television match official: tba (New Zealand)
Assessor: Scott Young/Andrew Cole (Australia)
|NSW Waratahs||The British & Irish Lions|
|15. Drew Mitchell
14. Cam Crawford
13. Rob Horne
12. Tom Carter
11. Peter Betham
10. Bernard Foley
9. Brendan McKibbin
8. Dave Dennis c)
7. Pat McCutcheon
6. Jed Holloway
5. Ollie Atkins
4. Will Skelton
3. Paddy Ryan
2. John Ulugia
1. Jeremy Tilse
|15: Leigh Halfpenny
14: Sean Maitland
13: Jonathan Davies
12: Jamie Roberts
11: Simon Zebo
10: Jonathan Sexton
9: Mike Phillips
8: Jamie Heaslip
7: Sam Warburton (c)
6: Tom Croft
5: Paul O’Connell
4: Alun Wyn Jones
3: Adam Jones
2: Tom Youngs
1: Mako Vunipola
|16. Luke Holmes
17. Richard Aho
18. Sam Talakai
19. Lopeti Timani
20. AJ Gilbert
21. Matt Lucas
22. Ben Volavola
23. Tom Kingston
|16: Richard Hibbard
17: Alex Corbisiero
18: Dan Cole
19: Geoff Parling
20: Dan Lydiate
21: Ben Youngs
22: Owen Farrell
23: Rob Kearney
So we reach the dress rehearsal stage. One week out from the first test and the Lions are fielding what looks like an almost complete test forward pack with a back line shorn or three or four real test contenders due to ongoing injury concerns. The Lions are taking this seriously indeed!
There have been multiple complaints from the visiting fans and pundits that their hosts have not taken the tour seriously so far.
Although disappointing, it’s relatively normal for the Lions to face provincial teams shorn of their international stars who will play in the test series for their country. However what is getting up the noses of everyone is the fact that the Super 15 franchises are resting players outside of international call ups on the basis of keeping them fresh for their Super rugby campaign.
There is more than a little suspicion that these teams are being encouraged by the Wallaby management to give the Lions as easy ride as possible into the test series so they lack the test match intensity until the first test. This approach has angered fans of the Lions who have expressed disappointment with their hosts, with some going as far as to suggest future Lions tours to Australia could be jeopardy.
Whatever the thoughts of the Lions management on the issue, and I’m sure these will become clear after the tour, one thing is for certain the team to face the Lions tomorrow is certainly not what it should be regardless of the fact that two of the Wallabies squad have been released to play in this match including captain Dave Dennis and centre Rob Horne. The other notable inclusion is full back Drew Mitchell, although he has not been selected for the Wallabies camp for the test series. The Waratahs are short of 11 internationals who have not been released from the Wallaby squad.
The Lions have named a strong pack for the game with only hooker berth and the back row places still perhaps up for grabs. The line out has been of some concern to the Lions in the last couple of matches so Tom Youngs will have a great opportunity to put down a marker ahead of the test next week. The back row conundrum rumbles on with head coach Warren Gatland indicating that tour captain Sam Warburton is not assured of his place in the test side and needs to put in a good performance tomorrow.
In the back line, it’s a lot more difficult for the Lions to field a Test match rehearsal. The players like Manu Tuilagi and George North who likely to make the test team next Saturday are not fit and Brian O’Driscoll is being carefully managed to ensure his fitness for the tests. Therefore the Lions are giving opportunities to impress to the likes of Jonathan Davies, Sean Maitland and the newly arrived Simon Zebo.
If the Waratahs can give the Lions any kind of contest then this will prove to be a fascinating exhibition into the likely test match side and combinations. I’m sure the Wallaby management will be analysing at this match very closely, but if the Tahs don’t put up much of a fight then I don’;t think this will hugely benefit either side really.
The Lions wont have the opportunity to really try out their test combinations ahead of next Saturday, whilst the Wallabies wont learn anything about hos the Lions ability to cope under pressure. Let’s hope the Waratahs do us all a favour and at least make a good game of it.
Comments from British & Irish Lions fans on the Forum
“The Tahs do have an injury crisis at the moment but I’m happy that they will name the strongest 15 they can. There’s a fair bit of talk here about the now notorious 2001 fixture between these 2 teams, which is helping to hype the match. Can’t see the Tahs taking this anything less than seriously.”
Join in the chat at our Lions Tour Forum to have your say, and next time it could be your comments here.
This one could either be a relatively tight contest, or if the Waratahs don’t show up then it could be a very one-sided affair. We think the Tahs will stand up and be counted so the score will be close, but the Lions will have far too much from their likely test pack. Fifteen point win for the Lions
Queensland Reds 17 British & Irish Lions 32