Southland v British & Irish Lions
Homestead Stadium, Invercargill
Tuesday 21st June 2005
KO: 7.10pm local time (8.10am BST)
Referee: Kelvin Deaker (NZ)
Touchjudges: Lyndon Bray (NZ), Steve Walsh (NZ)
Television Official: Paul Honiss (NZ)
Well, if you believe what Sir Clive has said, the players selected for this game against Southland will not be featuring in the test team at the weekend but what he has said and what he has done have an uncanny tendency of not actually tallying up.
Gavin Henson and Michael Owen have both been selected for the game on Tuesday and therefore they are not in contention for a place in the test team this weekend …apparently! However, this does present them with a late opportunity to get Sir Clive to change his mind.
It’s not just Henson and Owen either, there are a number of players selected in this side who remain real contenders for a test match place and Woodward will be watching them closely to assess their performance and indeed reaction to the news that they are not in contention for the tests.
There will undoubtedly be disappointment all round for those selected in this game, but they must not put that ahead of the team unity and togetherness. The test side will be looking to the boys to put in a good performance and send them on their way to Christchurch with a winning performance above all other considerations.
Some of these players will more than likely more up into the test side at some point and it will be a true test of their character if they can overcome their disappointments and put Southland to the sword. The coaches will be watching and those that drop their heads will be unlikely to get any breaks at this stage in the day.
A win for the Lions on Tuesday is crucial for the spirit within the camp and to set the test build up off with a bang. The class of the Lions side on display this Tuesday is beyond doubt, but it is the temperament of the side that will dictate the outcome of this match.
Providing the Lions can concentrate fully on the game in hand, our Lions-Tour.com prediction should be for the Lions to win the match comfortably by 20 points.