Injuries force Lions changes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Injuries force Lions changes

By Luke Phillips 02/07/2009 11:09:16 PM Comments (0)

The British and Irish Lions made six changes to their starting line-up for the third and final Test against the Springboks at Ellis Park on Saturday.

With front-line props Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins out injured after the second Test, won 28-25 by South Africa, English duo Phil Vickery and Andrew Sheridan come into the front row.

Martyn Williams and Joe Worsley start their first Lions Test in the back row, with David Wallace and Tom Croft dropping to the bench.

Shane Williams and Ugo Monye line up on the wings, Luke Fitzgerald dropping out of the match-day 22 and Tommy Bowe moving to outside centre to partner Riki Flutey, with regular midfield pairing Brian O'Driscoll and Jamie Roberts injured.

Two changes on the bench see late Irish prop replacement John Hayes and Welsh utility back James Hook come into the team.

"The players are determined to ensure that all their hard work during the 10-match tour is rewarded with a Test victory," said Lions manager Gerald Davies.

"There is no doubt that little has separated the British and Irish Lions and the Springboks so far in what has been a tremendous series. Saturday should prove to be another great match."

The Springboks held off a resurgent Lions 26-21 in the first Test in Durban, and the Boks snatched a last-second 28-25 victory in the second Test in Pretoria to seal an unassailable 2-0 series win.

Head coach Ian McGeechan said that the Lions had been hard hit by injuries, not least to the two props and two centres in the brutal second Test.

"It is fair to say injuries have had an impact on the tour as you would expect including selection for the third Test as we were unfortunate to lose Brian O'Driscoll, Jamie Roberts, Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones through injury last Saturday," the Scot said.

"However, the players coming into the starting XV are all talented international players and are as keen as ever to turn the tables on the Springboks."

McGeechan added: "Last Saturday we were minutes away from winning and that is a huge positive to take into the third Test.

"We're very keen to finish with a win. We've had two fantastic games of rugby.

"If we get enough right, hopefully we'll be in with a shout of winning come Saturday."

Team

Lions: Rob Kearney (IRL); Ugo Monye (ENG), Tommy Bowe (IRL), Riki Flutey (ENG), Shane Williams (WAL); Stephen Jones (WAL), Mike Phillips (WAL); Jamie Heaslip (IRL), Martyn Williams (WAL), Joe Worsley (ENG); Paul O'Connell (IRL, capt), Simon Shaw (ENG); Phil Vickery (ENG), Matthew Rees (WAL), Andrew Sheridan (ENG) Res: Ross Ford (SCO), John Hayes (IRL), Alun Wyn Jones (WAL), David Wallace (IRL), Tom Croft (ENG), Harry Ellis (ENG), James Hook (WAL)

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