The Lions squad for their match against the Brumbies was announced over the weekend amid much fanfare at the inclusion of Shane Williams.
Williams has been brought from Japan to take up a position on the wing thanks to ever increasing injury concerns over George North and Alex Cuthbert . While Williams inclusion is a surprise, and no doubt a big disappointment for all those other international wingers currently on tours around the world, there is some logic behind the selection given the logistics of getting other players out to Oz in time for any meaningful impact. However it does smack of a Larne Legends XV tour to far off lands where every walking person with a vague connection is called in to supplement a drink destroyed touring party – ah the days!
I remember one trip we only had 12 players available for our one and only fixture and we had to make up the team from the parents of a visiting Welsh youth side and on another our resources were so depleted we had to let Ricky Kelly play! While such tours become the things of legend it doesn’t, to me anyway, set the right tone for the Lions!
Sadly for Ulster’s Rory Best, the inclusion of Williams in the squad that Best will captain, does give a fairly significant indication of the role that this game will play in the selection of players for Saturdays first test – not a lot.
At this stage of the game it looks like it’s too late for Rory to stick his hand up which will be a disappointment and with Bowe out injured it now looks likely that there will be no Ulster involvement in Brisbane, though these is speculation this morning that Bowe has an outside chance for Saturday. Smoke and mirrors?
The team also sees the inclusion of late call ups of English trio Billy Twelvetrees, Bradley Barritt (who he?) and Christian Wade in a fairly makeshift back line with the real interest in this match now the question of whether the Lions will suffer their first tour defeat or not in what could be a real car wreck of a game.
|Brumbies||V||British & Irish Lions|
|Jesse Mogg||15||Robert Kearney|
|Henry Speight||14||Christian Wade|
|Tevita Kuridrani||13||Bradley Barritt|
|Andrew Smith||12||Billy Twelvetrees|
|Clyde Rathbone||11||Shane Williams|
|Matt Toomua||10||Stuart Hogg|
|Ian Prior||9||Ben Youngs|
|Ruan Smith||1||Ryan Grant|
|Siliva Siliva||2||Rory Best|
|Scott Sio||3||Matt Stevens|
|Leon Power||4||Ian Evans|
|Sam Carter||5||Richie Gray|
|Scott Fardy||6||Sean O’Brien|
|Colby Faingaa||7||Justin Tipuric|
|Peter Kimlin||8||Toby Faletau|
|Josh Mann-Rea||16||Richard Hibbard|
|Jean-Pierre Smith||17||Alex Corbisiero|
|Chris Cocca||18||Dan Cole|
|Ettienne Oosthuizen||19||Geoff Parling|
|Jordan Smiler||20||Dan Lydiate|
|Mark Swanepoel||21||Conor Murray|
|Robbie Coleman||22||Owen Farrell|
|Zack Holmes||23||Simon Zebo|