Loftus Versfeld – Pretoria
Date: 27 June 2009 – Kick Off 3pm local time (2pm BST)
UK Television: Sky Sports 1 & HD 1 (1.30pm)
Weather: Sunny, Max 15 degrees
Referee: Christophe Berdos (France)
Assistant Referees: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand), Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
Television Match Official: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)
Assessor: Tappe Henning
Timekeeper: Gabriel Pappas
1. 1. Tendai (the Beast) Mtawarira
2. Bismark du Plessis
3. John Smit (captain)
4. Bakkies Botha
5. Victor Matfield
6. Schalk Burger
7. Juan Smith
8. Pierre Spies
9. Fourie du Preez
10. Ruan Pienaar
11. Bryan Habana
12. Jean de Villiers
13. Adrian Jacobs
14. JP Pietersen
15. Frans Steyn
16. Chiliboy Ralepelle
17. Deon Carstens
18. Andries Bekker
19. Danie Rossouw
20. Heinrich Brussow
21. Jaque Fourie
22. Morne Steyn
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. Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster/Ireland)
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. Paul O’Connell (Munster/Ireland) captain
4. Simon Shaw (London Wasps/England)
3. Adam Jones (Ospreys/Wales)
2. Matthew Rees (Scarlets/Wales)
1. Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
16. Ross Ford (Edinburgh/Scotland)
17. Andrew Sheridan (Sales Sharks/England)
18. Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys/Wales)
19. Martyn Willams (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
20. Harry Ellis (Leicester/England)
21. Ronan O’Gara (Munster/Ireland)
22. Shane Williams (Ospreys/Wales)
With this match vital for the Lions to keep the series alive, Paul O’Connell and co will be fighting for their lives on Saturday afternoon.
The Lions suffered in the first test with a series of scrum penalties against prop Phil Vickery strangling the life out of the Lions and putting the game beyond them.
When replacement prop Adam Jones came on early in the second half parity was restored and Jones has been rewarded with a starting spot for the second test.
Alongside side him, Matthew Rees comes in for Lee Mears to make up an all Welsh front row. Veteran lock Simon Shaw comes into the side in place of Alun Wyn-Jones, and Ugo Monye loses his place in the test side to Luke Fitzgerald.
Finally, Ireland full back Rob Kearney comes in for Lee Byrne who has unfortunately had to leave the tour due to a thumb injury.
The changes are all in key positions identified as areas where the Lions were deficient last weekend and it is good to see that head coach Ian McGeechan is giving opportunities to those players that have played well on the tour, whilst dropping those that have underperformed at the key moments.
Take winger Ugo Monye. He has lost his place in the test side for a few small but critical mistakes by not finishing off the Springboks when given a couple of glorious opportunities to do so.
At this level it is crucial that you take the opportunities on offer as you may not get another chance, and in the case of Monye this has proved to be the case.
The Springbok’s have gone for a much more settled side, with the only change to their team being to bring back their former IRB Player of the Year Schalk Burger in place of the outstanding Heinrich Brussow.
Worryingly, this gives the Springbok’s an even more settled look to their side and strengthens their back row further. The Lions back row put up a decent fight last week, but will need to be even more brutal if they are to combat the physicality of Burger and Smith.
With the Lions needing a win to keep the tour on track it will be vital for the new charges to stand up where their colleagues failed last week, and in the cauldron that is Loftus Versfeld there is no harder place to do this.
The Boks are back to full strength, however the Lions have also strengthened their side following the deficiencies highlighted last week. With the match taking place at the scene of the Bulls Super 14 triumph it will be extremely difficult for the Lions to stem the green tide, but they will have to in order to keep the series alive. Our prediction is the Lions to sneak the match just by a couple of points.
South Africa 17 British & Irish Lions 19
Betting – Lions v SA – 2nd Test preview
The Lions head up to the altitude to Pretoria knowing that this is a make or break game for their tour. The Lions have now lost six Test Matches in a row and if they lose against the Springboks in Loftus Versfeld it will be another lost test series for the Lions. Get on and support The Lions with Paddy and a free £10 bet.
Head coach Ian McGeechan has made five changes to the team that faced the Boks first time out. Four of them tactical and one of them, Lee Byrne being replaced by Rob Kearney who replaced him half way through the first test. It will be interesting to see which Lions team turns up for this game after their Jekyll and Hyde performance in Durban. Will it be the team that got taken apart in the set piece and that was mauled off the field for the first 55 minutes? Or will it be the team that ripped the South African defence apart at will for the final 25 minutes. The addition of Adam Jones and Matthew Rees should beef up a front row that destroyed by the ‘Beast’ Mtawarira? Phil Vickery will be having nightmares about his first half performance for years to come. While Simon Shaw should add that extra bit of grizzled bulk that the pack requires to compete with the South Africans at the coalface.
What could the result have been had Ugo Monye taken either or both his guilt edged chances? Scoring even one of his two chances would have made it very hard to drop Monye but hopefully his inability to finish clinically will not be copied by his replacement Luke Fitzgerald. With thirteen Irish and Welsh combined, it almost has the look of a Magners League Dream Team but it is the combinations of players that should know each other well such as the Welsh front-row and halfback and the Irish back three that will be vital if the Lions are to finally fulfil their potential and prove their doubters wrong by winning against the World Champions in their own backyard at altitude.
The Paddy Power Money-Back Special on the second test is; if the first score of the game is a Lions Try Paddy Power will refund all losing winning margin and try scorer bets on the match.
Look for it to be a very physical confrontation but I think the Boks might just edge it.
Lions with a start of 9 points to just cover the spread
10/11 -9 South Africa
20/1 Handicap Draw
10/11 +9 The Lions win
2/7 South Africa win
12/5 The Lions win
14/1 De Villiers
14/1 J. Roberts
25/1 T. Croft