British & Irish Lions v Argentina
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Monday 23rd May 2005
Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Aus)
Touchjudges: Joel Jutge (Fra), Christophe Berdos (Fra)
Television Official: Eric Darriere (Fra)
To kick off the tour, the British & Irish Lions are breaking with tradition and playing their first match of the tour at home before departing for New Zealand and their six week long tour.
The Lions first game on home soil for 16 years comes against a weakend Argentina side who are suffering from a number of absentee’s due to the non release of players from french club sides who are still competing for silverwear in their domestic seasons and in the Heineken Cup.
This leaves the Pumas without such luminaries as Agustin Pichot, Rodrigo Roncero and Omar Hasan to name just a few.
Having only been officially assembled for less than a week, the Lions are likely to be extremely ring rusty and will not have had much time to bond into any sort of team by the time the match is kicked off, but with such an array of superstars taking part, it will be an exciting game for all spectators.
Michael Owen assumes the captaincy in the abscence of tour captain Brian O’Driscoll who is not in the match day 22, and Jonny Wilkinson is vice captain.
Considering the lack of options in the Argentina side and even taking into account the lack of preparation for the Lions, the contest is still expected to be one sided with the Lions enjoying a successful run out before they depart for New Zealand on Wednesday.
Our Lions-Tour.com prediction is for the Lions to win by 18 points.