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Match Reports - Friday 29 May 2009 - 12:02

Royal XV v British & Irish Lions

Royal Bafokeng Stadium – Rustenburg

Date: 30 May 2009 – Kick Off 3pm local time (2pm BST)

UK Television: Sky Sports 1 (1.30pm)

Weather: Sunny, high of 14 degrees.

Referee: Marius Jonker

Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper, Reuben Rossouw

Television Match Official: Shuan Veldsman

Assessor: Arrie Schoonwinkel

Timekeeper: Gabriel Pappas

Royal XV

15. Russell Jeacocks

14. Egon Seconds

13. Deon van Rensburg

12. Hanno Coetzee

11. Bjorn Basson

10. Naas Olivier

9. Sarel Pretorius

8. Jonathan Mokuena

7. Devon Raubenheimer

6. Wilhelm Koch (c)

5. Jacques Lombaard

4. Rudi Mathee

3. Bees Roux

2. Rayno Barnes

1. Albertus Buckle

Replacements:

16. Pellow van der Westhuizen

17. Stef Roberts

18. Rynard Landman

19. RW Kember

20. Jacques Coetzee

21. Riaan Viljoen

22. Jovan Bowles

British & Irish Lions

15. Lee Byrne (Ospreys/Wales)

14. Tommy Bowe (Ospreys/Ireland)

13. Keith Earls (Munster/Ireland)

12. Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues/Wales)

11. Shane Williams (Ospreys/Wales)

10. Ronan O’Gara (Munster/Ireland)

9. Mike Blair (Edinburgh/Scotland)

8. Andy Powell (Cardiff Blues/Wales)

7. Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues/Wales)

6. Joe Worsley (London Wasps/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. Andrew Sheridan (Sales Sharks/England)

Replacements:

16. Lee Mears (Bath/England)

17. Phil Vickery (London Wasps/England)

18. Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys/Wales)

19. Stephen Ferris (Ulster/Ireland)

20. Mike Phillips (Ospreys/Wales)

21. Stephen Jones (Scarlets/Wales)

22. Riki Flutey (London Wasps/England)

Match Preview

The British & Irish Lions have named a strong side for this opening fixture against an invitational Royal XV in the first match of the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour.

Lions skipper Paul O’Connell leads the side out in the first match of the tour in what will surely be a show of physical domination as quickly as possible in the tour. Having protected 2005 skipper Brian O’Driscoll in the opening three matches of the New Zealand tour, putting out a strong side and giving the skipper a run out in the first game of 2009 will surely be seen as a sign of what is to come later in the tour.

The real story though is that ‘bolter’ Keith Earls gets an early opportunity to show what he can do in the Lions camp. Earls is on a bit of a tough task having to compete with International colleague Brian O’Driscoll for the 13 shirt, but given his appearances for Munster in this seasons Heineken Cup and coupled with the fact that the Bok’s will be unlikely to have done their research on him properly he remains a very real prospect to feature in the tests at some point.

The Royals XV are not expected put up much of a resistance to the Lions pack. A large number of the players feature in the second tier of South African rugby competition, however there are a handful of players who have featured in the Super 14 including scrum half Sarel Potigieter, Naas Oliver, Bjorn Basson and Bees Roux of the Cheetahs and Deon van Rensburg of the (Golden) Lions. The Royal XV squad contains 13 Vodacom Cup-winning Griquas, 8 Leopards and one Puma. There has to be a joke in there somewhere…?

Royals Skipper Wilhelm Koch has previous Lions experience in his family as he is a relative of the former Springbok prop Chris Koch who faced the 1955 British Lions.

Lions-Tour.com Prediction

The Royals are a fairly weak side but will be looking to give a good account of themselves in what will undoubtedly be the pinnacle of their careers. However the Lions are far too strong for the local side and the Royals will do well to keep the score below 50 points.

Royal XV 6 British & Irish Lions 73

Betting

Odds courtesy of BetFair

Match Odds

Royal XV – 16/1

British & Irish Lions – 1/33

Draw – 49/1

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